International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

Communications Corner

Posted 1 March 2003 in StressPoints by ISTSS

Special Interest Groups
Child Trauma SIG
The Child Trauma SIG provides a forum for discussion for clinicians, researchers, and others with an interest in the area of children and trauma. The SIG continues to welcome new members, ideas and proposals. Those looking for a forum for discussion are encouraged to join the electronic listserv. To learn more about the SIG, go to the Members-Only section of the ISTSS Web site at www.istss.org or e-mail Margaret E. Blaustein at mblauste@mindspring.com.

Dissociation SIG
The Dissociation SIG plans to submit a presentation for the ISTSS annual meeting in Chicago. A new chair or co-chairs will be elected at the meeting also. Dissociation SIG members are encouraged to attend the meeting. For more information or to make suggestions, contact co-chairs Kathy Steele at katsteele@mindspring.com or Constance Dalenberg at drcjd1@email.msn.com.

Diversity and Cultural Competency SIG
The Diversity and Cultural Competency SIG (DCC-SIG) held its inaugural meeting at the November 2002 ISTSS annual meeting. The DCC-SIG formed as a result of work done by the Diversity Task Force, under the leadership of Linda Williams. The DCC-SIG seeks to address all aspects of diversity in relation to trauma, including diversity in ISTSS membership and diversity as a factor in responses to trauma and in trauma-treatment outcomes.

The SIG's first meeting was attended by 20 participants who represented much of the diversity within ISTSS, including international and North American communities. A lively discussion was held concerning increasing presentations at the annual meeting to reflect ISTSS's international and nationally diverse profile. Toward that end, Wanda Grant-Knight agreed to become the DCC-SIG co-chair in charge of annual meeting presentations, working closely in collaboration with the Program Committee.

The DCC-SIG sponsored a well-attended panel on "Racism, Trauma and PTSD" at the 2002 annual meeting-the SIG also hopes to sponsor presentations at the 2003 meeting in Chicago. In addition, the DCC-SIG will be in charge of the meeting mentor project at the 2003 meeting, as it was in 2002. The bright pink "mentor" buttons labeled meeting attendees available to help first-time attendees steer their way through the meeting. Members of ISTSS interested in joining the listserv, or any other aspect of the DCC-SIG including volunteering to be a 2003 meeting mentor, are welcome to contact DCC-SIG chair Elisa Triffleman at elisa.triffleman@yale.edu.

Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma and Resilience SIG
The Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma and Resilience (ITT&R) SIG's purpose is the study and the clinical and general understanding of the consequences of trauma alone and trauma-related psychopathology, on offspring of traumatized individuals. This includes the study of resiliency for, vulnerability to, and prevention of future retraumatization.

During the ISTSS 2002 annual meeting in Baltimore, members of the ITT&R SIG met twice: first, during the reception at the conference opening for a social encounter (for the first time SIGs had dedicated tables, which had an important identity-building effect); second, a business meeting on the Saturday of the conference, where plans for the following were discussed:

  • Submissions and research for future ISTSS meetings
  • The need to develop a Web site to reach out to old and new members and as a resource
  • The possibility of a future international conference on intergenerational trauma, organized with the help from the Takini Network

Elections for chairs resulted in the election of Diane Elmore and Mary Armsworth as SIG co-chairs, and Andrei Novac will serve as former chair and advisor.

The SIG has an active listserv and is currently is working to establish an SIG Web site focusing on intergenerational issues. For more information, see http://alastor.ultraservers.net/mailman/listinfo/intergenerationalsig_istsslist.org.

Member Projects
Recent work of ITT&R SIG is highlighted below:

Joseph H. Albeck has recently published the following article: Albeck, J. H., Adwan, S., & Bar-On, D. (2002). Dialogue Groups: TRT's Guidelines for Working Through Intractable Conflicts by Personal Storytelling. Peace and Conflict, 8, (4), 301-322. For more information, contact Joseph H. Albeck at jhalbeck@post.harvard.edu.

Mary Armsworth and Diane Elmore are preparing several documents for inclusion in the upcoming SIG Web site, including an intergenerational bibliography, an intergenerational fact sheet, and a review of the literature focusing on measuring resilience. For more information, contact Mary Armsworth at armsworth@uh.edu or Diane Elmore at delmore@apa.org.

Danica Borkovich Anderson, founder of the non-profit organization, The Kolo: Women's Cross Cultural Collaborations (KWCCC), has been facilitating The Kolo: Psychosocial Education Conflict Evolution and Trauma Trainings in Bosnia and Sri Lanka. In addition, she is involved with the third annual Peaceful Dimensions Against Gender Violence Conference from June 27-July 7, 2003 in Novi Travnik, Bosnia. For more information, contact Danica Borkovich Anderson at danica_kolo@yahoo.com.

Theo K. de Graaf has been working on a project titled The Role of Trans-Generational Trauma in Schizophrenia. While working with psychotic adolescent inpatients in Israel, the author found that many of their parents either had lost close relatives during the Holocaust or had been victims themselves of the Nazi persecution. For further information, contact Theo K. de Graaf at info@theokdegraaf.nl.

Andrei Novac was asked to be the guest editor of an educational series on trauma. He prepared an introduction article and reviewed the other submissions for the April issue of the Psychiatric Times. For more information, contact Andrei Novac at anovac@msx.ndc.mc.uci.edu.

Charles Portney has an article that will be published in the Psychiatric Times in April 2003. The article is titled, "Intergenerational Transmission of PTSD" and gives an introduction and overview of our field of interest. For more information, contact Charles Portney at cportney@ucla.edu.

Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart, director/president of The Takini Network, is preparing for the organization's second national conference titled "Models for Healing Survivors of Historical Trauma: A Multicultural Conference II" to be held September 2-6, 2003 in New Mexico. For more information, contact Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart at takininet@rushmore.com.


Physiology, Pharmacology, and Neuroscience SIG
The Physiology, Pharmacology, and Neuroscience Special Interest Group (PPN-SIG) held their first annual meeting in Baltimore in 2002 and plans to meet again in Chicago. There were twenty-three ISTSS members in attendance and we welcome more in 2003!

  • The PPN-SIG has a number of goals including:
  • Educating the ISTSS community about advancements outside the field that have implications for research and treatment of trauma survivors
  • Promoting awareness of the relationship between traumatic stress and biological issues
  • Fostering communication among PPN-SIG members regarding their work and interests
  • Narrowing the gap between research in these areas and clinical practice.

Last year's meeting resulted in some ideas that have already been put into action. Most notably, the PPN-SIG is sponsoring a submission for a Panel Discussion around the theme How Does the Brain Change with Psychotherapy?

If you are interested in joining the PPN-SIG, please contact either of the co-chairs, Matthew Kimble (M.Kimble@bangor.ac.uk) or Jennifer Vasterling (jennifer.vasterling@med.va.gov) or join us at our 2003 meeting.

 


Research Methodology SIG
The Research Methodology Special Interest Group (RMSIG) reports a change in leadership. For the past six years, Daniel King and Lynda King, research psychologists with the National Center for PTSD and affiliated with Boston University, have co-chaired the group. The new co-chairs will be Dean Lauterbach, Department of Psychology, Eastern Michigan University, and Dorie Glover, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA School of Medicine.

Lauterbach previously has served as treasurer of the RMSIG. His background and expertise include the development of instruments to assess trauma exposure and PTSD severity. He is interested particularly in models that help explain individual differences in response to trauma. Glover has extensive experience in the tonic and phasic psychobiology of anxiety and currently directs studies of hippocampal volume, neuroendocrine profiles, and symptoms of PTSD and depression among parents of children with cancer and among depressed mothers and their newborn infants.

The goal of the RMSIG is to make the larger ISTSS membership aware of current, state-of-the-art methodological approaches for trauma research, including the latest within the realms of measurement and instrumentation, research design and data analysis techniques. The RMSIG also strives to foster communication among researchers and between researchers and practitioners and to provide educational opportunities, especially aimed at new or junior investigators.

For the past several years, the RMSIG has sponsored specialty training courses preceding the annual ISTSS conference to address contemporary quantitative topics (e.g., health outcomes and cost-effectiveness analysis, structural equation modeling, longitudinal data analysis, hierarchical modeling, categorical data analysis, incomplete data strategies) as well as workshops and symposia within the conference program (e.g., data warehousing and mining, negotiating the clinician-to-researcher transition, understanding regression analyses, cross-cultural validity, merging qualitative and quantitative methods, item response theory, objective assessment of traumatic stressors). The group also solicits and sponsors brief methods-focused articles in Traumatic StressPoints, typically authored by an RMSIG member and featuring a user-friendly overview of a particular research strategy or issue.

The most recent RMSIG activity has been the submission of an application to the National Institute of Mental Health for support of a Conference on Innovations in Trauma Research Methods. In addition to Daniel King and Lynda King, grant application co-investigators are Jeffrey Sonis, Departments of Social Medicine and Family Medicine, University of North Carolina, and Elisa Triffleman, Senior Research Scientist with the Public Health Institute, San Francisco.

For additional information about the RMSIG and its activities, please contact new co-chairs Dean Lauterbach at deanlaut@online.emich.edu or Dorie Glover at dglover@mednet.ucla.edu.


Traumatic Grief SIG
To provide some closure on last year's ISTSS activities by the Traumatic Grief SIG, we would be remiss not to mention the well-attended PMI session, "Complicated Grief and Traumatic Loss," endorsed by the Traumatic Grief SIG (presenters: Ilona Pivar, Bette Spear, Selby Jacobs, Robert Neimeyer, M Katherine Shear, Edward Rynearson, Alison Saloum and Holly Prigerson). The session generated much interest in new clinical applications in the study of complicated grief following traumatic loss, and it fostered collaborative work in this area.

Membership in the Traumatic Grief SIG has grown, partially in response to the PMI, but also because of the SIG's concerted effort to heighten awareness of ISTSS, focusing on research and clinical applications in the study of trauma and loss.

We have encouraged the submission of PMIs, workshops and symposia that would receive Traumatic Grief SIG endorsement if accepted for presentation at the 2003 annual meeting in Chicago. Bette Spear and Holly Prigerson are discussing an agenda and will distribute it in advance of the annual meeting.

We have considered changing the name of the SIG to the Complicated Grief and Traumatic Loss SIG. Comments about this change are welcome in the attempt to define the SIG's mission. Several members of the SIG will formulate a mission statement, with SIG member approval, to clarify goals, enhance identity, and direct group activities.

SIG members have developed other related Web sites (e.g., Ted Rynearson's Web site http://vdbs.org/). Through contacts at the Center for the Advancement of Health, several Traumatic Grief SIG members have responded to media inquiries on complicated grief and traumatic loss following the Columbia tragedy and on psychological preparedness as we approach war in Iraq.

Anyone interested in being involved with the activities mentioned above or in shaping the agenda of the Traumatic Grief SIG, contact ejspear@surfglobal.net or holly.prigerson@yale.edu.