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International Society for Traumatic Stress StudiesTraumatic Stress Points
In this Issue...
President's Message
30th Annual Meeting
Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder as a Call to Action
Trauma Therapy for Journalists
Maltreatment and Trauma in Adolescence
Teaching Trauma with JOTS
Trauma and World Literature
ISTSS Distance Education
Do You Know?
16Th Annual Meeting of the DeGPT
Membership Committee Volunteer Opportunity
Upcoming Events

Traumatic StressPoints
Leadership Team

Patricia Kerig, PhD

Contributing Editors:
Cherie Armour, PhD, CPsychol
Lynnette Averill, MS
Kathryn Becker-Blease, PhD
Claudia Catani, PhD
Brian J. Hall, PhD
Patrice Keats, PhD
Harold Kudler, MD
Jessica Lambert, PhD
Rocky Liesman, PsyD, ABPP
Howard Lipke, PhD
Julia Müller, PhD
Jonathan Purtle, MPH, MSc
Paul Reynolds, PhD

Stefanie Smith, PhD


Executive Director
Rick Koepke, MSW

Marketing Communications Manager
Heather Fineman 

Administrative Director
Krista Baran

Traumatic StressPoints
Managing Editor

Donald Rolfe

January 2014

Volume 28  I  Issue 1


President's Message
Collaborating to Address Trauma and Its Impact
by Nancy Kassam-Adams, PhD

ISTSS members come from many different “places” in terms of geography (more than 40 countries!), culture, language, professional training, and area of trauma focus. ISTSS’ strategic goals recognize and honor both this diversity and our shared commitment to addressing the human impact of trauma through excellence in trauma research and practice.

Goal #2: Dissemination and Collaboration
ISTSS is a diverse and inclusive organization that emphasizes collaboration in the exchange of knowledge and in the development, dissemination and implementation of evidence based and emerging best practices for all different types of trauma and populations.

ISTSS members regularly collaborate - across disciplines, specialty areas, and national boundaries - to better understand and address the impact of trauma. The ISTSS Annual Meeting especially welcomes presentations that emphasize this kind of collaborative work to advance the field. 

I want to highlight several notable examples of our Society’s collaborative efforts to promote evidence-based and emerging best practices. I ask you to consider what you think ISTSS should be doing now and in the future to advance this strategic goal, and to share your ideas about this important work. (Looking for ISTSS on Twitter? We are @ISTSSNews. Look for the #ISTSScommunity hashtag and use it to share your thoughts about promoting / supporting best practices.)

Read full article...

ISTSS 30th Annual Meeting to Include Spanish Track
Abstract Submission Begins February 4

The ISTSS 30th Annual Meeting will be held November 6 -8 in Miami, FL, USA. The conference theme,
“Healing Lives and Communities: Addressing the Effects of Childhood Trauma Across the Life Span,” will highlight childhood trauma as an important public health issue that affects individuals, families and communities.

Presentations on a wide range of topics related to trauma and traumatic stress are welcome. During the full three days of the meeting, a selected number of presentations will be simultaneously translated (English to Spanish and/or Spanish to English) via headphones. Proposals for presentations are being invited from across the Spanish-speaking world, from Latin America and from Spain, to discuss topics both of specific local interest and from the entire range of traumatic stress studies.

We hope that the ISTSS Spanish Track will provide the conditions for a full exchange of ideas and new developments across the boundaries of language, and help to move ISTSS further along towards the goal of becoming more inclusive and diverse.

Click here for Spanish translation.

Top 5 Reasons to Attend the ISTSS 30th Annual Meeting

  • Expand your knowledge base
  • Learn from premiere scholars from all over the world
  • Expand your professional network with others who share a passion for trauma studies
  • Connect and collaborate for career advancement
  • Miami sunshine does the soul good! 

Abstract Submission Opens February 4

The goal of the ISTSS Annual Meeting is the sharing of state-of-the-art research and practice in a welcoming setting for meeting participants from around the world.

You are highly encouraged to submit an abstract and share your research and expertise with other professionals in the trauma field. Participating actively in the ISTSS Annual Meeting – whether via an oral presentation or a poster - is an excellent opportunity for professional growth and for interchange with colleagues.

International submissions from colleagues who are collaborating across countries and communities are welcome. This year’s conference includes a Spanish speaking track for the first time and we encourage Spanish speaking professionals to share their work.

Find more information here.

Abstract Submission Schedule 
Opens: February 4, 2014
Closes: March 18, 2014


Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder as a Call to Action: 
Using a Propsed DSM-5 Diagnosis to Advance the Field of Childhood Grief
by Julie B. Kaplow, PhD, ABPP, Christopher M. Layne, PhD, and Robert S. Pynoos, MD, MPH

Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder (PCBD) is a newly proposed (i.e., candidate) diagnosis included in the appendix of DSM-5 as an invitation for further study and exploration (American Psychiatric Association, 2012). Many facets of this proposed disorder—ranging from the risk of pathologizing “normal” grief reactions, to the minimum required duration of symptoms, to the specific nature of PCBD criteria, to the added value of PCBD above and beyond other grief-related constructs—have been the subject of considerable debate that continues to persist (e.g., Wakefield, 2012).

Indeed, some grief researchers have advocated for the summary dismissal of PCBD and a return to previously studied grief constructs, construct names, related grief assessment tests, and associated lines of research (e.g., Boelen & Prigerson, 2012; Melhem, Porta, Payne, & Brent, 2013; Prigerson et al., 2009; Shear et al., 2011). Such spirited debate is not surprising given that the introduction of a candidate disorder into the appendix (instead of the main text of the DSM-5) denotes a body of empirical evidence that the DSM-5 reviewing committee has judged to be both sufficient to establish the likely existence of a new psychiatric disorder, yet nevertheless insufficient to unambiguously clarify its primary features. Indeed, the inclusion of PCBD as a candidate disorder constitutes a call to action to the grief field to “grow” the evidence base more vigorously and rapidly, giving careful attention to enhancing methodological rigor, valid assessment, and systematic theory-building. 

Read full article…

Trauma Therapy for Journalists: What is Needed?
by Patrice Keats, PhD with Brian Kelly


Canadian Amanda Lindhout was a keynote speaker at the recent ISTSS 29th Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. In 2008, she was working as a journalist in Somalia, along with Australian photojournalist Nigel Brennan. Both were abducted on their way to conduct interviews in a camp outside of Mogadishu. Their captors held them hostage under dire conditions for 15 months before releasing them after being paid a substantial ransom by the journalists’ families. While in a Nairobi hospital after her release, Lindhout reported that a female trauma psychologist from Canada was flown there to support her and to help her through the vulnerable time of recovery. She continued that care upon on her return to Canada.

Whether they have experienced abduction, combat exposure, loss of a colleague on assignment, or witnessed atrocities, there are considerable physical and psychological dangers for journalists who work in trauma contexts. Indeed, journalists need to have access to effective and appropriate trauma-related psychological care. This article summarizes a conversation that Brian Kelly, an experienced journalist, and I had when discussing vital aspects for therapists to consider when caring for journalists who have been affected by trauma.

Read full article...

Maltreatment and Trauma in Adolescence: A Time of Heightened Risk and Potential Resilience
by Patricia K. Kerig, PhD


Child abuse or maltreatment constitutes all forms of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect, or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development, or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power (World Health Organization, 2006), p. 9).

Although the term “child maltreatment” may conjure for many the image of a hurt small child, there is increasing recognition among researchers, clinicians, and policy makers that adolescence is a time of heightened risk for abuse (Becker-Blease & Kerig, in press; Kerig & Becker, in press). National incidence studies in the US show that adolescents experience the highest rates of certain forms of maltreatment, including sexual abuse and—surprisingly—neglect (Finkelhor, Turner, Ormrod, & Hamby, 2009; Sedlak, 2010; Trickett, Negriff, Ji, & Peckins, 2011).

Adolescents also are particularly vulnerable to certain hidden forms of maltreatment, including exploitation (Barnett, Manly, & Cicchetti, 1993; World Health Organization, 2006), such as occurs in the contexts of child labor, child soldiering, indentured servitude, or sex trafficking. Further exacerbating the problem, maltreated youth may be alleged to be—and may in fact become—criminals themselves. For example, youth who are engaged in sex trafficking frequently are perceived by the social welfare and juvenile justice systems as being perpetrators of crime rather than, more accurately, as victims of commercial sexual exploitation and abuse (Mitchell, Finkelhor, & Wolak, 2010).

On the other hand, youths' attempts to cope with or escape parental abuse may put them on the wrong side of the law. Running away from home is prevalent among maltreated youth (Haynie, Petts, Maimon, & Piquero, 2009; Kim, Tajima, Herrenkohl, & Huang, 2009; Tyler, Johnson, & Brownridge, 2008) and living on the streets increases the likelihood that youth will end up committing “survival crimes”, such as theft, prostitution, or drug dealing (Kerig & Becker, 2012).

Read full article…

Teaching Trauma with JOTS
by Kathryn Becker-Blease, PhD

Many of us educators teach both scientific literacy and the science of traumatic stress. In this article, I describe ways to accomplish both of these goals using articles from the Journal of Traumatic Stress (JOTS).

The Association of American Medical Colleges shares this goal. Beginning in 2015, the medical admissions exam (MCAT) will add a new section on the “psychological, social, and biological foundations of behavior” that will include most topics commonly covered in Introductory Psychology, including trauma, and some novel types of multiple choice test questions. These questions present students with a brief, simplified synopsis of a research study and a graph depicting a result from the study, then asks students a series of questions that require them to integrate knowledge they have learned, information presented in the passage, and information displayed in the graph. More information and sample questions are available in the MCAT 2015 Student Preview Guide.

Well-designed multiple-choice tests can be a powerful and efficient way to teach material in college classes (Glass & Sinha, 2013a) A few factors are key. First, working hard to try to recall information is better than re-reading information, so go with a closed book test (Glass & Sinha, 2013b; Karpicke, 2012). Second, write distractors that cause students consider why the correct answer is right and the incorrect answer is incorrect (Little, Bjork, Bjork, & Angello, 2012). This way, students learn not only to recognize the correct answer, but information related to the wrong answers. Third, provide prompt feedback so that students can correct their errors and do not accidently encode incorrect information.

Read full article… 

Trauma and World Literature
"The Red Blood of the Somme"
by Harold Kudler, MD


Many of our readers know ISTSS member Pamela Woll, MA, CADP as an author, educator and consultant who develops reports, curricula, workbooks, self-study manuals, books, articles, booklets and other documents for a variety of human service agencies, organizations and individuals. Her focus is on resilience, trauma, neuroscience, the physiology of stress and trauma, the needs of service members and veterans, modulating and de-stigmatizing post-trauma effects, resilience-oriented systems and communities and trauma-informed healthcare integration. Many of her materials are available for free download at her website,

What ISTSS members may not yet know is that Pam is also a poet and composer. During a chance conversation at our recent ISTSS Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, she told me about a song she had written about World War I. She has been kind enough to provide her lyric, with a few words of introduction, for this installment of our Traumatic StressPoints column on Trauma and World Literature. In addition, she has created the unusual opportunity for readers to link to an audiovisual presentation of her work complete with period images, contextual remarks, references and musical accompaniment at As noted in the linked presentation, these images and themes of war may be upsetting for some. As an alternative, readers may contact Ms. Woll at to hear Pam’s music without words or pictures. Musicians are also encouraged to contact Pam through her website for a download of the sheet music for her song.

I’ll let Pam tell you more in her own words…

Read full article...

New Year Brings New Discounts and Content 
to ISTSS Distance Education Program

Certificate Program
What are your professional improvement plans for 2014? ISTSS is proud to offer a unique online traumatic stress training program with diverse courses, workshops and lectures from the most respected clinical and research experts in the world. This program is open to everyone (including non-ISTSS members) PLUS if you are an ISTSS member your $50 sign-up fee is waived. Expand your mind with ISTSS today. Please review eligibility requirements on our website or contact Erika Moy with questions.

Announcing New Content to the Annual Conference Library
We know how hard it is to attend the conference so we’ve just made it easier for you to get there - virtually. The 2010 and 2011 ISTSS annual conference recordings have been added to our library. Only members of ISTSS have this exclusive privilege to hear from the world renowned leaders in the field of traumatic stress. This is just another great reason to be a part of the premiere Society in the traumatic stress studies field. 

New Expert Training Session Alert
A new recording from the November 2013 ISTSS conference, Assessing PTSD According to the DSM-5, can be purchased with 4 CE credits or without credit. Learn more about the session description and learning objectives.

Do You Know?
Protips for Using the ISTSS Website and Social Media

The ISTSS Web Committee is developing an enhanced public resources section of the website designed to provide informatio to members and non-members. We are seeking your valued opinion on content for this resource.

This new tool will provide website visitors with information on specific types of potential trauma exposures, trauma-related problems, and trauma-specific interventions. Visitors will have the opportunity to select a type of trauma followed by visitor type in order to get targeted support. We envision blasting this resource out via social media in the wake of traumatic world events and disasters that will help professionals immediately.

We are looking for suggestions from our valued member community. If you would like to provide feedback on resource development, or if you have suggestions for our "Do You Know" column, contact Damion Grasso, web editor.

ISTSS Partners for 16th Annual Meeting of the DeGPT


ISTSS is a proud partner of the DeGBT (the German-speaking Society for Psychotraumatology) 16th Annual Meeting, March 20 – 22, 2014 in Hamburg, Germany.

ISTSS in collaboration with DeGPT will be presenting two symposia during the meeting titled "Innovations in Trauma Interventions."

Learn more about this event. (Right click on website and choose translate option)

Membership Committee Volunteer Opportunity

Reward yourself in 2014 by getting more involved in the vibrant ISTSS community! We have volunteer opportunities that suit a variety of interests, expertise and time commitments for early, mid- or late-career members. While contributing your ideas and expertise to ISTSS, you’ll learn how others think and feel about the organization, and together you can contribute to its growth and success.

Visit the ISTSS Volunteer Information Center for more information.


Upcoming Events


March 20 – 22, 2014
DeGPT 16th Annual Meeting 
University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
More information

May 16 - 18, 2014
Japanese Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (JSTSS)
13th Annual Conference
More information

June 5 - 7, 2014
Canadian Psychological Association 75th Annual Convention (Congrès annuel)
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
More information

September 11 -12, 2014
Australian Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ASTSS)
2014 Conference on Traumatic Stress
Melbourne, Victoria
More information

November 6 - 8, 2014
ISTSS 30th Annual Meeting
Pre-Meeting Institutes Nov. 5
InterContinental Miami
Miami, FL USA
More information

Visit the ISTSS website for more upcoming events, webinars, continuing education opportunities.

 Become a Traumatic StressPoints Contributor

To submit a story or information for inclusion in a future issue of Traumatic StressPoints, please contact Editor, Patricia Kerig, PhD, or a Contributing Editor from the list below.

Developmental Traumatology
Kathy Becker-Blease, PhD:

Global Perspectives
Cherie Armour, PhD, CPsychol:
Julia Müeller, PhD:
Claudia Catani, PhD:

Human Rights and Policy
Jonathan Purtle, MPH, MSc:
Jessica Lambert, PhD:

LGBT Issues
Paul Reynolds, PhD:

Media Matters
Patrice Keats, PhD:

Research Methods
Brian Hall, PhD:

Student Perspectives
Lynnette Averill, MS:

Trauma and Diversity
Stefanie Smith, PhD:

Trauma and the Military
Rocky Liesman, PsyD, ABPP:

Trauma and World Literature
Harold Kudler, MD:
Howard Lipke, PhD:

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