International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

Communications Corner

Posted 1 April 2002 in StressPoints by ISTSS

Special Interest Groups

The Child Trauma SIG
The Child Trauma SIG has had an active several months. The electronic listserv is now up and running and has been a forum for discussion of child trauma-related issues as well as for sharing academic, clinical and training resources. Through this forum, SIG members have discussed and chosen to sponsor two proposals for the 2002 ISTSS annual meeting, including a symposium on child trauma assessment methods and a symposium on the complexity of childhood adaptation to trauma.

This SIG continues to welcome new members, ideas, and proposals. For more information about the Child Trauma SIG, e-mail co-chairs Margaret E. Blaustein at mblauste@mindspring.com or Toni Luxenberg at luxenbet@aol.com.

Dissociation SIG
Thanks to the Dissociation SIG Committee, who have suggested some wonderful ideas for symposia and workshops. There is now have a submission for the shared day with ISSD planned, as well as a short workshop for ISTSS.

The symposium for the shared day will be entitled "Dissociation: Lest We Forget." The overall topic will be the fact that dissociation is important and should not be forgotten as an essential component of trauma-related problems. Three of four speakers have confirmed presentations. Richard Kluft, MD, PhD, will address the issue "Can Dissociation Be Iatrogenically Created?" Stepanie Dallam, RN, FNP, will speak about "Dissociative Amnesia." And Daphne Simeon, PhD, will address "Dissociation and PTSD." An additional speaker will be forthcoming.

The workshop for ISTSS will be geared to those who are somewhat unfamiliar with dissociation or who may misunderstand it. Clarification of the concept will be a priority, as well as addressing basic misconceptions and misunderstandings. Also discussed will be dissociation across the spectrum of trauma-related disorders and basic treatment issues. The workshop will be presented by Dissociation SIG members.

Watch for information regarding our annual Dissociation SIG meeting at the conference in Baltimore. Last year's meeting in New Orleans boasted a great turnout. This year's meeting is expected to be even better. For more information, contact co-chairs Kathy Steele at katsteele@mindspring.com or Constance Dalenberg at drcjd1@email.msn.com.

Gender and Trauma SIG
The Gender and Trauma SIG invites members to join its listserv. Even if you cannot attend the SIG meetings, you can be updated with news from ISTSS and other organizations relevant to gender issues and PTSD. To join, go the members-only section of the ISTSS Web site and click on the link Student Section and SIG Listservs on the navigation bar on the left side of the page. A drop-down menu will appear, where you can select "Gender and Trauma" from the menu. For more information, contact Rachel Kimerling, PhD, at 415/206-6447 or rachelk@itsa.ucsf.edu

Internet and Technology SIG
A meeting of the Internet and Technology SIG was held at the annual meeting, and a wide variety of topics were discussed- for more than two hours! It was decided at the meeting to set up an e-mail listserv, which has been completed. Those who are interested in joining this listserv please send an e-mail to listserv@maelstrom.stjohns.edu with "subscribe istss-it yourfirstname lastname" in the body of the e-mail.

Among the issues considered for the coming year are (1) use of the Internet for helping SIG members; (2) best practices technology for conducting survey research; and (3) ISTSS ethical standards associated with Internet and technology use in research and practice. One of the SIG's goals is to increase membership, exceeding 150 members.
For more information, contact Charles R. Figley, coordinator, at cfigley@mailer.fsu.edu.

Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience SIG
A new ISTSS Special Interest Group has been formed: the Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience Special (PPN) SIG. The burgeoning knowledge in the areas of physiology, pharmacology and neuroscience in recent years has far-reaching implications for the ISTSS community. For researcher and clinician alike, keeping abreast of these significant advances in technology and treatment is a daunting task. Judging from symposia attendance the conference proceedings of the past few years, it is clear that there is great interest within ISTSS in understanding the biological consequences of trauma, appreciating their functional correlates and initiating biologically based treatments for trauma survivors.

The PPN SIG represents an effort to promote the larger mission of ISTSS and is designed to 1) educate the ISTSS community about advancements outside the field that have implications for research and treatment of trauma survivors; 2) promote awareness of the relationship between traumatic stress and biological issues; 3) foster communication among PPN SIG members regarding their work and interests; 4) narrow the gap in these areas between research and clinical practice.
Some of the long-term goals of the PPN SIG include:

  • Initiate specialty premeeting institutes to address contemporary issues and recent findings in the biology of traumatic stress.
  • Invite experts in the biology of stress who typically would not attend the ISTSS meeting to speak at ISTSS annual meetings.
  • Promote symposia that emphasize biological issues attractive to both researcher and clinician.
  • Foster communication, teaching and research collaborations among PPN SIG members through informal meetings and e-mail distribution lists.
  • Keep fellow PPN members abreast of relevant work in the area.
  • Provide educational opportunities, networking possibilities and possible mentorships for new or junior investigators interested in the relationship between biology and traumatic stress.

The first meeting of the new SIG will take place at the ISTSS 18th Annual Meeting in Baltimore. For more information, contact Matthew Kimble, PhD, National Center for PTSD, Behavioral Sciences Division, Boston VAMC, at 617/232-9500, Ext. 5740, or Matthew.Kimble@med.va.gov.

Spirituality and Trauma SIG
The purpose of the Spirituality and Trauma SIG is to discuss spiritual issues that arise in connection with trauma work. Spiritual beliefs, both religious and non-religious, are explored as catalysts for the healing of traumatic stress. Researchers, clinicians and academicians network through the ISTSS Spirituality and Trauma SIG listserv regarding symposia, research, upcoming workshops/presentations and current readings concerning spirituality and trauma. The SIG often receives requests concerning readings and research in this area, and it delights in sharing resources and acting as a clearing house for spirituality and trauma issues. As spirituality becomes more mainstream for assessment and as a treatment resource with patients in medicine and psychology, the SIG strives toward the goals of contributing knowledge, research and creative clinical approaches to this growing field.

For more information, contact Molly Guzzino, chairperson, at mollyg@eudoramail.com or go to the members-only section of the ISTSS Web site at www.istss.org and click on the Student Section and SIG Listserv button.

Traumatic Grief SIG
The Bereavement, Loss and Grief SIG has voted unanimously to change its name to the Traumatic Grief SIG, better reflecting the work done by the group. For a little history about the group, this SIG was started by Terry Rando and continued by Jack Jordan, Irene Landsman and Bette Spear and known as the Traumatic Loss group. Two years ago, the society suggested changing the name to the Bereavement, Loss and Grief SIG to expand the interest base. While this thinking was sound, the nature of the group and its interest in traumatic or complicated grief did not change to coincide with the name. The group identifies with and feels more connected to the new name, the Traumatic Grief SIG. For more information, contact co-chairs Bette Spear and Holly Prigerson at ejspear@surfglobal.net.