International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

APA Appoints Task Force to Coordinate and Address Trauma Issues

Posted 1 April 2001 in StressPoints by Edmund J. Nightingale, APA Council Representative, Minneapolis, Minn., USA

In February 2000, several American Psychological Association (APA) Council representatives met to discuss the issue of trauma and its aftereffects. The group included Laura Brown (Division 35), Maria Root (Washington state), Sari Dworkin (Division 44), Laura Barbanel and Judy Alpert (Division 39), Marty Seligman (past president), and Terry Keane and Edmund Nightingale (both representing Division 18).

Representatives introduced a resolution to Council calling upon the APA to appoint a task force to give recommendations about how research, teaching, prevention and early intervention in trauma might be fostered by the APA. The group developed a working definition of a traumatic stressor as "an event or process that leads to the disorganization of a core sense of self and safety in the world and leaves an indelible mark on one's world view," and noted that psychological disorders often follow exposure to stressors such as combat, rape, sexual abuse, child abuse, life-threatening accidents, death of loved ones, hate crimes, domestic violence and prolonged exposure to harassment or bias.

A meeting co-sponsored by Divisions 18 (Public Service) and 39 (Psychoanalysis) and co-chaired by Terry Keane and Judy Alpert met August 6, during the APA annual convention. Representing divisions and state associations, more than 100 people with a clinical, research, training or public policy interest in psychological trauma, its assessment and treatment agreed on the clear need to conduct a needs assessment for better coordination and dissemination within the APA of information about these activities.

They also agreed to pursue forming a new division in the APA to accomplish these goals. A steering committee was formed including Judy Alpert, Terry Keane, Laura Brown, Dean Kilpatrick, Laurie Pearlman, Kay Saakvitne, Chris Courtois, Peter Sheras, Katherine Kendall-Tacket, Shilpa Taufique, Harry Wexler, John Perez and Bob Geffner. This is an important step within psychology, as traumatic stress studies need more legitimacy within the discipline and the APA.

For more information, contact Edmund J. Nightingale, PhD, LP, director for psychology, Minneapolis VAMC, APA Council Representative, Division 18 (Public Service), at edmund.nightingale@ med.va.gov.

 

New PTSD Discussion List for Professionals

ISTSS members are invited to join a new, credentialed e-mail discussion list, where PTSD and related disorders will be the topics. The list is open to licensed mental health professionals, educators, researchers and students. It is set up through the American Psychological Association's listserv and is a managed list.

Members interested in having their names on the list can send the command "subscribe trauma-professional" to listserv@listp.apa.org and leave the subject line blank. For more information, please contact Anne Dietrich at amdma@telus.net. To view the list's policy and guidelines, visit http://www3.telus.net/trauma/T-P.html.