International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

Committees and Task Forces


Guidelines Committee

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Responsibilities: (explain relevance to ISTSS Strategic Goals and strategies)

ISTSS has produced Treatment Guidelines for PTSD published in the book “Effective Treatments for PTSD” (Guilford Press in 2000 and in 2008; for which ISTSS holds the copyright) and for Complex PTSD posted on the ISTSS website ( in November 2012. 

The ISTSS Strategic Plan emphasizes the dissemination of evidence-based and emerging best practices for all different types of trauma and populations (Goal 2: Dissemination and Collaboration) and  engaging ISTSS members in advancing traumatic stress science and using research to improve prevention and clinical care (Goal 4: Promotion of Science and Clinical Practice).

Consistent with these goals, the ISTSS Board determined in March 2015 to produce updated Treatment Guidelines informed by the research evidence base on psychotherapy for PTSD. The updated Treatment Guidelines may be included in part in the third revision of the Effective Treatments book, and they will be disseminated in toto on the ISTSS Website. The Board determined that a Guidelines Committee will be created to gather and integrate relevant information to bring a recommendation to the Board at the annual meeting in November 2015 as to the procedures, schedule, and benchmarks for this Committee as it prepares a plan for the creation of the next and future updates of the Treatment (and other) Guidelines.   

The recommendations of the Committee should take into account:
  • The criteria based on advances in science and practice that will be used in determining the treatments that will be included in the Treatment Guidelines and the quantitative or qualitative ratings or recommendations concerning treatment efficacy, effectiveness, and dissemination 
  • The topics that will be addressed in the Treatment Guidelines that apply across treatment modalities (e.g., provisions for safe, ethical, culturally and professional competent provision of PTSD treatment); topics to be considered should include (but are not limited to):
    • What conditions the Treatment Guidelines will address (e.g., acute or chronic PTSD, ASD, Complex PTSD, other traumatic stress-related disorders)
    • How Treatment Guidelines will define and operationalize ratings of levels of evidence
    • The criteria for inclusion/exclusion of treatments in the Treatment Guidelines
    • What treatment-related issues the Treatment Guidelines will address (e.g., phases of treatment, assessment to inform treatment planning and process/outcome monitoring, therapeutic alliance, crisis prevention/management, concurrent treatments)  
    • Whether the Guidelines should address other practice domains such as screening, assessment, or public health
    • Whether an ongoing Guidelines Committee should be convened in order to support a continuous process of updating and revising the treatment guidelines
    • How to align the work of developing and revising Guidelines with the work of the Effective Treatments Book Task Force
  • The process by which sufficient (a) input into and (b) review of all Guideline conclusions and recommendations will be obtained from experts and key stakeholders representing a range of backgrounds and orientations that reflects the diversity of views in the field
  • The process by which final conclusions and recommendations will be arrived at in Guidelines, either (a) by consensus, or (b) with alternative perspectives if a consensus is not achieved
  • Resources needed and resources available for successful completion of the project
  • Barriers to successful completion and recommendations for how to anticipate, recognize, and constructively overcome them 
The Committee will:
  • Present the above recommendations to the Board at its meeting in November 2015
  • Oversee the process of creating Treatment Guidelines following the Board’s approval of a process for this undertaking following the Board’s review of the Task Force recommendations 
  • Present proposed Treatment Guidelines to the Board for review and approval
  • Form an Effective Treatments for PTSD Book sub-committee

Composition & Designated Members: The Chair will be appointed by the President. The ISTSS Executive Director (or another staff person he designates) will serve on the Committee. The Chair will select additional task force members with input from the President. There will be between 4-6 members on this Committee. 

Authority (including limitations): The committee has the authority to make recommendations to the Executive Committee and Board. 

Interactions with other committees: Effective Treatments for PTSD Book sub-committee. 

Products: The Committee will provide interim updates to the President and Executive Committee and a report to the Board of Directors at the Annual Meeting in November 2015.  Subsequent to receiving Board approval, the Committee will oversee the creation of Treatment Guidelines and will present recommended Guidelines to the Board no later than the Annual Meeting in November 2016. The  Committee will make recommendations to the Board on the development of Guidelines in other domains no later than the Annual Meeting in November 2017. 

Staff resources available (relevant sections of Kellen scope of work): Staff support will be available to the task force to participate on phone calls and other basic administrative support. 

Financial and other resources available: Money is available for a limited number of conference calls for the committee. 

Description of operations/processes/procedures (how committee/task force/position works): The committee will schedule phone calls and do work via conference calls and email. The task force will submit reports for Board Meetings and be available to present at Board Meetings if necessary. 


Jonathan I. Bisson - Chair
Cardiff Univ
Lucy Berliner - Member
Harborview Med Center
Marylene Cloitre - Member
NCPTSD-Dissemination & Education Div
David Forbes - Member
Phoenix Australia
Tine Jensen - Member
Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies
Catrin Lewis - Member
Cardiff Univ
Candice M. Monson - Member
Ryerson Univ
Miranda Olff - Member
Academic Medical Center
Stephen Pilling - Member
David Riggs - Member
Center for Deployment Psychology/USUHS
Neil Roberts - Member
Cardiff & Vale Univ. Health Board
Francine Shapiro - Member
Mental Research Inst