Dear ISSTD community,
I was speaking this week with Shannon Molloy, an Australian journalist whose new book “You Made Me This Way” describes how he came to grips with his childhood sexual abuse and its long-term impacts on him. Shannon’s book also makes clear the life-changing effect of sensitive, trauma-informed psychotherapy, which he credits with giving him new insights and coping strategies. Shannon’s story is one of pain and struggle but, ultimately, he found a life worth living, due to professional support as well as the care of family and friends.
I’m often contacted by people from all around the world who are looking for a therapist with expertise in complex trauma and dissociation. Finding a clinician who is available, affordable and effective often feels like a lottery. Often enough, I’m emailed by a mental health practitioner who writes that they lack the expertise to work with a traumatised and dissociative client and they are looking for a referral.
And my message in return is that, in all likelihood, they are the right person for the job. They just need some additional training and support. I’ve heard from more than a few people who have walked into their therapist’s office and handed over books by Judith Herman, Bessel van der Kolk and other luminaries, and insisted that the information within should be guiding their treatment. That is certainly one pathway to professional development!
Registration for our upcoming annual ISSTD conference in Louisville, Kentucky on April 13 – 17 is well under way, and we look forward to seeing as many of you as possible there. As our conferences shift around the United States and indeed around the world, we are meeting more and more therapists and clinicians who understand the difference that trauma-informed and dissociation-sensitive care has for their clients.
Associate Professor Michael Salter