International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

ISTSS Interest Area Updates

Posted 1 April 1997 in StressPoints by Mary Beth Williams, PhD, LCSW

Several of the ISTSS interest area groups sent in summary reports of their recent gatherings at the 1996 ISTSS Annual Meeting.

The Child Trauma Interest Area Group wants to plan for more child-focused presentations at the Annual Meeting in 1997. A subcommittee formed to work on a brochure that reviews and updates the goals, mission and directions of this interest area. Frank Putnam, MD, will serve as the group's board liaison. Joyce Silberg will serve as ISSD liaison and Holly Shaw will represent the interest area at UNICEF. Jean Bellows, PsyD, chair, wrote to each member of the interest area group to encourage submission of proposals for premeeting institutes and sessions so that child-related issues will be well represented at the Annual Meeting in November 1997.

Nonverbal and Creative Approaches Interest Area Group members who attended the meeting identified a variety of issues and goals for their attention. These include:

1. Developing a common language among different nonverbal modalities;

2. Exposing practitioners of conventional therapies to nonverbal modalities;

3. Conducting outcome studies with interim assessments;

4. Increasing communication among group members; and

5. Developing a clearer conceptualization of goals to accomplish with patients.

David Read Johnson, PhD, is chair of this interest area group.

Human Rights and Social Policies Interest Area Group members, under the leadership of Yaya de Andrade, PhD, and Steven Weine, discussed potential presentation topics for the l997 Annual Meeting. Two projects were suggested as possible workshops for 1997:

1. The impact of conditions in prisons, including solitary confinement and other control units;

2. The healing context of mental health services, looking at human rights related policies, protocols, and training of professionals.

The Curriculum, Education and Training Interest Area Group met under the leadership of Lyndra Bills. Yael Danieli, PhD, described the development of the presently used ISTSS Curriculum Guide and other members discussed their efforts to develop training programs and curricula. Bills is forming a Curriculum, Education and Training Committee to facilitate a revision of the earlier curriculum. The multi-disciplinary task force includes members and non-members of the interest area.

The Building Bridges Between Professionals and Self-Help Groups Interest Area Group is co-chaired by Anne Marie Eriksson and Jeremy Herman. A major activity of Eriksson's own organization is o send out over 800 ISTSS applications. This interest area encourages and supports self-help mutual aide clearinhouses and information centers, as well as specific self-help groups. Members have been educating others about the availability and value of self-help groups.

The Ethics Interest Area Group drew a small number of individuals who discussed ethical concerns relevant to the field of traumatology. These concerns included the duty to warn professionals entering the profession about the inevitability of coping with vicarious traumatization to some degree and the development of ethical codes in the trauma field by various organizations. The interest area will present a half-day premeeting institute on Ethics and Treatment, Research and Self Care at the 1997 Annual Meeting. This group is co-chaired by John Sommer, Jr., and Mary Beth Williams, PhD.

The Traumatic Loss Interest Area Group meeting was chaired by Bette Spear and Irene Landsman, PhD. Topics included the use of EMDR in treating traumatic loss reactions; representation at the ADEC conference in Washington, D.C., in June 1997, presentation of premeeting institutes in 1996 and 1997, and volunteering of the co-chairs to coordinate inquiries from members and board members about traumatic loss.

As chair of the ISTSS interest areas, I would like to request that chairs of individual interest area groups to furnish names of members who are willing to serve as resources to the board and to members in each specific interest area. If you are interested in joining an interest area or serving in this capacity, please contact Judy Deacetis at ISTSS headquarters.