International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

Invited Sessions

The ISTSS 34th Annual Meeting is the largest gathering of professionals dedicated to trauma treatment, education, research and prevention. . 


Meet the Editor In Chief of the Journal of Traumatic Stress

Thursday, November 8
3:00 PM to 4:15 PM

Kerig, Patricia, PhD
University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
In this informal conversation hour, Patricia Kerig, the Editor in Chief of the Journal of Traumatic Stress, will be available to meet with interested conference attendees. Dr. Kerig will respond to participants’ questions regarding the JTS publication process, including how authors might determine whether JTS is the appropriate outlet to which to submit their research, the factors that are involve in decisions about whether to accept submissions, the review process, best practices for responding to reviewers, and strategies for navigating the manuscript preparation stage. Dr. Kerig also would be happy to talk about how participants might become more actively involved with JTS as authors, reviewers, or Editorial Advisory Board members.
NOTE: This session does not carry continuing education credits

The Mental Health Impact of Family Separation: Research, Practice and Policy

Thursday, November 8
3:00 PM to 4:15 PM

Nickerson, Angela, PhD1; Alisic, Eva, PhD2; Newman, Elana, PhD3; Schnyder, Ulrich, MD4

1University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
2University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia, Australia
3The University of Tulsa, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
4Zurich University, Zurich, Switzerland, Switzerland

Forced separation from loved ones has been found to have a profound and long-lasting impact on mental health. This panel provides three perspectives on this critical public health issue. Angela Nickerson will discuss the recent ISTSS Statement on the Importance of Keeping Families Together. Nickerson will also present research findings from a survey of 1,091 refugees and asylum seekers living in Australia, outlining the psychological effects of forced family separation, and potential mechanisms underlying these mental health outcomes.  Eva Alisic will share insights from research on family separation in the context of domestic homicide. When one parent kills the other parent, children experience multiple types of loss at once. In the subsequent decision-making by child protection workers, questions regarding separation from siblings and contact with the perpetrator frequently come up. Alisic will describe key findings regarding children's circumstances and perspectives on these issues. Elana Newman will discuss roles for trauma experts who want to support trauma-informed immigration legal work and help separated families.  Newman will describe collaborative work she has done with a US University legal immigration training clinic: (1) supporting the education and practice of law students and (2) educating/supervising psychology students to conduct trauma-focused assessments for asylum seekers.  She will describe a pilot service-learning course she implemented this year bringing a psychology student to accompany law students to do work at a US family detention center. Ulrich Schnyder will lead discussion on the importance of this issue in the current global context, and how research can guide practice for those supporting individuals separated from their loved ones. 

A Global Perspective on the Trauma of Hate-Based Violence

Thursday, November 8
4:30 PM to 5:45 PM

Ghafoori, Bita, PhD1; Caspi, Yael, ScD2; Salgado, Carolina, MD3; Allwood, Maureen, PhD4; Nadal, Kevin, PhD5; Kreither, Johanna, PhD6; Tejada, Jose Luis, MD7; Hunt, Tanya, Undergraduate8; Waelde, Lynn, PhD9; Slobodin, Ortal, PhD10; Failey, Mieko, Esq, JD11; Gilberg, Porter, MS11; Larrondo, Paulina, MS7; Ramos Alvarado, Nadia, Magister En Psicología6; von Haumeder, Anna-Diana, MA Student1

1California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, California, USA
2Rambam Medical Health Care Campus, Haifa,  Israel
3Hospital Talca, Talca, Chile
4John Jay College, CUNY, New York, New York, USA
5Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
6Universidad de Talca, Talca, Chile
7Cintras/ACET, Santiago, Chile
8Palo Alto University, San Francisco, California, USA
9Palo Alto University, Palo Alto, California, USA
10Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheba, Israel
11LGBTQ Center Long Beach, Long Beach, California, USA
Manifestations of prejudice and hate occur all over the world. Hate-based violence is a specific type of trauma and is defined as violence against a person that is motivated by bias and prejudice against the person’s perceived group membership (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2013; Green, McFalls, & Smith, 2001; Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, 2010). Group membership might be classified by race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, disability, or other personal characteristics. The trauma of hate-based violence is rarely reported as many countries have no infrastructure or legal framework to collect and report these incidents (Perry, 2014). In fact, the report of the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI, 2016) stressed that the actual scope of hate-based speech, incidents, and crimes has not been comprehensively assessed due to a lack of systematic information and data collection. Existing research suggests hate-based violence is associated with negative consequences for the survivor, the survivor’s community, and society at large. However, direct and systematic research on the subject is still very limited and has mostly been carried out in developed countries (Dzelme, 2008). There is an urgent need to understand and respond to the health needs of victims of hate-based violence.

The aim of this briefing paper is to review existing research on the trauma of hate-based violence and the mental health needs of survivors of this type of violence. It is important to note that the majority of research on the trauma of hate-based violence has been conducted in high-income and Western countries. This briefing paper reviews levels of hate-based violence, prevalence, barriers to reporting hate-based violence, psychological and social effects, typology of perpetrators, and mental health interventions for survivors. Recommendations are made for research, clinical practice, and policy. 

Sexual Assault and Harassment: Understanding the Mental Health Impact and Providing Care for Survivors- An ISTSS Briefing Paper

Friday, November 9
3:00 PM to 4:15 PM

Littleton, Heather, PhD1; Berliner, Lucy, MSW2; Dworkin, Emily, PhD3; Weaver, Terri, PhD4; Zinzow, Heidi, PhD5

1East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA
2University of Washington/Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, Washington, USA
3University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington, USA
4Saint Louis University, Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
5Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, USA

In 2018, ISTSS appointed a work group to review the scientific literature on sexual assault and harassment and develop a briefing paper providing and overview of key findings and recommendations.  In this session, members of the work group will share findings related to the global prevalence of different forms of sexual assault, including sexual harassment.  The mental and physical health impact of sexual assault and harassment will be discussed.  Empirically supported treatments will be reviewed, as well as common barriers for treatment seeking. Global priorities for addressing sexual assault in the areas of policy, research, and practice will be delineated. 

ISTSS Treatment Guidelines Panel

Friday, November 9
4:30 PM to 5:45 PM

Amstadter, Ananda, PhD1; Berliner, Lucy, MSW2; Bisson, Jonathan, MD3; Cloitre, Marylene, PhD4; Jensen, Tine, PhD5; Monson, Candice, PhD, Cpsych6

1Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, VCU, Richmond, Virginia, USA
2University of Washington/Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, Washington, USA
3Cardiff University School of Medicine, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
4National Center for PTSD-Dissemination and Training Division, Menlo Park, California, USA
5University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
6Ryerson University, Department of Psychology, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Over the last three years, the ISTSS Treatment Guidelines Committee has updated the ISTSS Recommendations for the Prevention and Treatment of PTSD in Children, Adolescents and Adults, and developed ISTSS Position Papers on Complex PTSD*. A rigorous methodology was developed and followed; scoping questions were agreed, systematic reviews were undertaken and studies selected for inclusion according to the agreed inclusion criteria.  Meta-analyses were conducted to address the scoping questions with usable data from included studies.  The results of the meta-analyses were then used to generate recommendations for individual prevention and treatment interventions using the agreed definition of clinical importance and recommendation setting algorithm.

This panel, comprising members of the ISTSS Treatment Guidelines Committee, will introduce and discuss the methodology used, recommendations and position papers.

*These documents will be published on the ISTSS Website in November 2018.

Confronting Sociopolitical Violence and Trauma: Family-, Community- and Societal-Level Approaches from Colombia, Venezuela, and Chile

Saturday, November 10
11:15 AM to 12:30 PM

Lopez-Castro, Teresa, PhD1; Lieberman, Alicia, PhD2; Llorens, Manuel, MSc3; Tejada, Jose Luis, MD4; Reyes, Vilma, DPsych5

1City College of the City University of New York, New York, New York, USA
2University of California, San Francisco - San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, California, USA
3Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, Caracas, Venezuela
4Cintras/ACET, Santiago, n/a, Chile
5University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA

This panel will highlight efforts to understand and address sociopolitical violence in Latin American contexts that range from post-conflict to ongoing, violent upheaval. Dr. Reyes will share the unique adaption of an evidence-based treatment, Child-Parent Psychotherapy, into Semillas de Apego, a group intervention for the parents of young children who have been heavily impacted by armed conflict, forced displacement, and chronic political violence in Colombia. Dr. Llorens will present three diverse case studies of communities in Caracas, Venezuela that explore psychosocial and ecological perspectives on trauma and identify possible lines of community-based intervention. Through his work with torture survivors and the families of desaparecidos, Dr. Tejada Guiñez will describe how Chile’s national efforts at reparation and rehabilitation continue twenty eight years after the fall of its military dictatorship. Panelists will be joined by Dr. Lieberman in a conversation on the complexities of transforming sociopolitical violence and promoting healing within a family, neighborhood, and country.