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International Society for Traumatic Stress StudiesTraumatic Stress Points
In this Issue...
President's Message
30th Annual Meeting
Board of Directors Election
2015 ISTSS Membership Dues Renewal
Voices from Eastern Ukraine
ISTSS Endorses EFPA Statement on Ukraine
Student Perspectives: Childhood Trauma and Suicide
Understanding Terror and Violence in the Lives of Children and Adolescents
Individuals Displaced by War
For the Love of Battle
ISTSS Award Recipient
Clinician's Corner
September Webinar
Trauma and World Literature
What Are You Reading?
Do You Know
Upcoming Events
Become a Traumatic StressPoints Contributor

Traumatic StressPoints
Leadership Team

Patricia Kerig, PhD

Contributing Editors:
Cherie Armour, PhD, CPsychol
Lynnette Averill, MS
Kathryn Becker-Blease, PhD
Claudia Catani, PhD
Lana Durjava
Tara Frem, BA
Brian J. Hall, PhD
Patrice Keats, PhD
Harold Kudler, MD
Jessica Lambert, PhD
Rocky Liesman, PsyD, ABPP
Howard Lipke, PhD
Crosby Modrowski, BA
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

July 2014
President’s Message
Building a Global Community of Trauma Professionals
By Nancy Kassam-Adams, PhD

What does it mean to build and sustain a global community that addresses trauma and its effects? Our Strategic Plan states that ISTSS is committed to operating in a manner that is “responsive to issues, members, and stakeholders from all nations” (Strategic Goal #5).

I want to highlight just a few ways that ISTSS is working toward this goal, and ask for your ideas about how ISTSS can continue to do this better. Follow @ISTSSNews on Twitter, and join the conversation (#istsscommunity) to share your thoughts.

A number of ISTSS initiatives are reaching out to include colleagues around the world who might not otherwise be able to participate in ISTSS activities. The Travel Grant Program helps trauma specialists from developing countries participate in the ISTSS Annual Meeting, enriching the experience of all meeting attendees. Travel grants are supported largely by member donations – if this is important to you, please consider making a contribution. New in 2014, ISTSS offers a no-cost “Corresponding Membership”. This option is currently available to trauma professionals living in Africa.

Read full article...

30th Annual Meeting
Super Saver Registration Discount Ends July 31st

Are you planning to attend the ISTSS 30th Annual Meeting, November 6 - 8, at the InterContinental Miami, Miami, Florida USA?

More than 150 symposia, workshops, panel discussions, paper sessions, case studies and media presentations will be presented on a wide variety of topics related to traumatic stress.

Enjoy keynote presentations from:

Martin Teicher, PhD, MD: "Windows of Vulnerability: Impact of Type and Timing of Childhood Traumatic Stress on Neurobiology and Psychopathology”

Maggie Schauer, PhD: “This is My Story, I Am!” Facing Childhood Trauma within the Individual and the Community

Remember Super Saver registration discount ends July 31!

Board of Directors Election
Voting Opens August 2014

Online ballot voting for the 2014 Board of Directors election begins on August 7 and will conclude on September 11, 2014. ISTSS Regular Members will have the opportunity to vote for President-Elect and Board of Directors.

Watch for candidate statements to be posted on the ISTSS website, in addition to the online voting website.

ISTSS Board of Directors Election

Nominees for President-Elect (electing one; nominees are listed in alphabetical order)

  • Jeannie Beckham, PhD
  • Grete Dyb, MD, PhD ***

*** Current board member running for President-Elect

ISTSS nominees for Board Members (electing six; nominees are listed in alphabetical order)

  • Ananda Amstadter, PhD
  • Charles “Chip” Benight, PhD
  • Diane T. Castillo, PhD                          
  • Kathleen M. Chard, PhD **
  • Joanne L. Davis, PhD
  • Anne Dietrich, PhD
  • Alyssa A. Rheingold, PhD
  • Amy Street, PhD

** Current board member running for re-election

Please note that, with the exception of the president, individuals are typically limited to two consecutive terms on the board. This year, ISTSS members will elect six board members to serve three-year terms beginning November 2014. Members will also elect a president-elect who will assume the office of president in November 2015.

Watch your email for more details about electronic balloting. If you have questions about the election, contact Krista Baran.

2015 ISTSS Membership Dues Renewal

Thank you for your membership in ISTSS during 2014! You are a valued part of our community, and your continued membership helps us remain the world’s premier organization in the field of traumatic stress

In late-September you will receive an email with information on how to renew your membership for 2015. Please plan to renew in October.

Voices from Eastern Ukraine:
“Peace to Your House!”
(Slogan of Psychological Services in Lugansk)

By Elena Cherepanov, PhD

It is very sad to see how the once beautiful and peaceful Eastern Ukraine has been plunged into the horrors of civil war. Lives have been lost, families separated, communities destroyed. Some people are struggling for basic survival under fire, while other flee. Many of those in safety cannot sleep at night because of worrying about their family members and friends. I looked at the website of the Doneck Psychological Association, which features pictures of Freud, Fromm and Jung, and thinking “These folks cannot help you now!”

The recent developments in Eastern Ukraine have led to multiple civilian casualties, mass displacement and collective trauma. The unrest in Eastern Ukraine started in March 2014 when some regions, including Doneck, Lugansk, Slavyansk, Kharkov, Odessa and others, declared independence from Ukraine and engaged in heavy fighting with pro-governmental forces. The civilians found themselves hostages of the armed conflict and complicated international political struggle. The UN reports that hundreds of adults and children have been killed and tens of thousands have fled. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimates that more than 16,000 people fled their homes in Eastern Ukraine during June alone, bringing the number of displaced within the country to 54,000. Approximately 110,000 Ukrainians have arrived in Russia since the beginning of 2014.

Read full article...

ISTSS Endorses EFPA Statement on Traumatic Impact of Ongoing Conflict in Ukraine

In response to a request from an ISTSS member that ISTSS consider speaking out about the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the Executive Committee endorsed a statement made by the European Federation of Psychologists Associations (EFPA).

The EFPA statement notes great concern about the further unfolding of the conflict and the potential negative impacts on human rights, well-being and health of people in Europe. EFPA calls for attention for the mental health impacts of the developments on the people in Ukraine and other countries in the region, and encourages psychologists with expertise in conflict resolution and in war and peace to contribute to de-escalation and peace promotion. EFPA is an affiliated organization of ESTSS, and the full statement can be viewed here.

Student Perspectives
Childhood Trauma and Suicide: An Examination from the Perspective of the Interpersonal-Psychological Theory of Suicide

By Noelle Bassi Smith, MA

The theme of the ISTSS 2015 Annual Meeting highlights the need to address the effects of childhood trauma across a lifespan. The relation between childhood trauma and suicidality is one particular area requiring further attention. Childhood trauma is associated with increased risk of suicide across one’s lifespan (e.g., Brown, Cohen, Johnson, & Smailes, 1999; Dube et al., 2001), with marked effects of childhood physical abuse and violent sexual abuse on suicidal behaviors (Joiner et al., 2007). Although the relation between childhood trauma and suicidal behaviors has been reported in the literature, it is less often studied from the perspective of the Interpersonal-Psychological Theory of Suicide (IPTS; Joiner, 2005).

From the perspective of Joiner’s (2005) IPTS, both the desire for suicide (which involves thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness) and acquired capability for suicide (which involves fearlessness about death and pain tolerance) are necessary for lethal self-harm. The relation between traumatic experiences and these components of suicide has received some attention.

Read full article...

Understanding Terror and Violence in the Lives of Children and Adolescents

In September 2013, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS), Norwegian Center for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies (NKVTS) collaborated with the European Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ESTSS) for a conference focused on better ways to understand the suffering of children and adolescents following trauma, and methods for helping them cope and thrive.

More than 250 people attended this global conference held in Oslo, Norway, and were part of discussions on research that provided new insights into the treatment of children and youth exposed to acts of terror. The work was drawn from studies conducted by ISTSS members who examined the mass shooting at Utøya, Norway in 2011, and two school shootings in Finland –Jokela in 2007 and Kauhajoki in 2008.

The research was recently published in the newest issue from the European Journal of Psychotraumatology.

Individuals Displaced by War, Political Violence, & Human Rights Violations:
A Brief Review of Current Issues

By Jessica E. Lambert, PhD

June 20, 2014 marked the 14th Annual International Refugee Day, an event first celebrated in 2001 with the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention, when international guidelines for the protection of refugees were established. International Refugee Day is intended to bring attention to challenges of the millions of individuals who have fled their homes due to political violence, threat of persecution, or human rights violations.

This year the plight of those who have been forcibly displaced is particularly salient given the humanitarian crises occurring in many parts of the world. According to the recently released annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR, 2014), at the end of 2013 there were 51.2 million individuals who had been forcibly displaced, including internally displaced persons (IDPs), refugees and asylum seekers. In 2013 there were an estimated 2.5 million new refugees, more than 8 million individuals displaced within their home countries, and 1.1 million individuals who filed asylum claims that had not yet been determined. These figures make 2013 the year with the greatest number of displaced persons on record (UNHCR, 2014).

Read full article...

For the Love of Battle
By Thomas Elbert, PhD

Can it be satisfying to harm others? Roughly half of the combatants and former fighters we interviewed say it is. And yes, defeating the opponents is more fun when you see them bleed.

Soldiers, mercenary fighters, rebels, ex-combatants from various war scenarios report that they not only fought other combat­ants or attacked civilians to achieve specific aims, but also did so for the taste of “manhunt,” a “pleasure” which includes injuring and killing, be it enemies or civilians. More than a third of the interviewees revealed motivations for combat involving the sensation of a physical craving or need to go out and fight (Elbert et al., 2013):

Sometimes you harm others without any reason or order. For example, you see people on a hill and you like to shoot at them.

... Fighting is all there is in the life of a man. Whenever I hear guns go off, I want nothing more than to fight. This thirst lies deep within me…

Read full article...

ISTSS Award Recipient
Reflections on Receiving the 2013 Frank W. Putnam Trauma Research Scholar Award

By Sarah Campbell, MA

I was honored to accept the Frank W. Putnam Trauma Research Scholar award at the ISTSS 2013 Annual Meeting. While at the meeting, I witnessed the tremendously stimulating interdisciplinary community that is comprised of ISTSS members. Since then, I have continued to be inspired by and profit from the exchanges that occur within this great community. From email and phone meetings with senior researchers, to webinars that enhance my knowledge of ethical issues in trauma research, there are myriad resources within ISTSS that have bolstered my development as a budding clinical scientist.

My study collects nightly assessments from service members with posttraumatic stress symptoms, and their romantic partners, over the course of 14 nights. I believe this daily process approach to assessing human functioning is an ideal way to better understand the day-to-day lives of traumatized individuals.

Read full article...

Welcome to the Clinician’s Corner
By Joan M. Cook, PhD

As co-chair of the ISTSS Membership Committee, I have informally asked members—new and old, lapsed and prospective—what they are looking for in membership. One commonality voiced across these groups is more information immediately relevant to clinical practice. Thus, ISTSS is adding a new column to Traumatic StressPoints entitled, “Clinician’s Corner.”

The purpose of this column is to provide timely information on advances in treatment and/or related clinical issues in working with trauma survivors. Many front-line mental health professionals working with traumatized patients find it difficult to keep apprised of the research and clinical literatures. This column will help inform providers with current, clinically relevant information that has the potential to be useful in clinical practice.

We aim to include a Clinician’s Corner in each of the bi-monthly issues of Traumatic StressPoints. The articles will be written by authors that have been invited to contribute and who specialize in a specific intervention or particular aspect of practice (e.g., forensics) with traumatized individuals. As Consulting Editor, I hope that these columns will provide clinicians with helpful information for working clinically with diverse clients across the lifespan.

Several scholars have already agreed to write future Clinician’s Corner columns including:

  • Dr. Debra Kaysen from the University of Washington on the use of Cognitive Processing Therapy for use in women in the Republic of the Congo
  • Dr. Anthony Mannarino from Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh on the use of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Dr. Barbara Rothbaum from Emory University on Virtual Reality Therapy
  • Dr. Julian Ford from the University of Connecticut on emotion regulation interventions

Stay tuned...

Online Trauma Training
ISTSS September Webinar

Thursday, September 18, 2014
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Central Time

Responding to Trauma: Intervening Early with Children and Families
Steven Marans, MSW, PhD

This webinar will describe the Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention (CFTSI), an evidence-based early intervention for children ages 7-18 years of age that was developed at the Yale Child Study Center. The webinar will describe: the phenomena of trauma and trauma symptoms (including initial responses and longer-term consequences); the CFTSI model, an innovative, brief early intervention which helps to prevent PTSD; the CFTSI model’s implementation in real-life settings where traumatized children are served. 

Register for this webinar now  

Purchase a recording of this webinar now

Trauma and World Literature
Home Fires: How Soldiers Write Their Wars

Since launching this feature in 2006 we, and our generous contributors, have called your attention to literature which illuminates the destructive power of psychological trauma, efforts to ameliorate its impact and success in achieving resilience and/or growth in the face of overwhelming life events.

In his April 2014 New Yorker review of war literature, past and present, “Home Fires: How Soldiers Write Their Wars”, George Packer brilliantly applied these same principles. Each of us has chosen a favorite quote from that article to share with our readers:  

Soldiers who set out to write the story of their war also have to navigate a minefield of clichés: all of them more or less true but open to qualification; many sowed long before the soldiers were ever deployed, because every war is like every other war. That is one of them. War is hell is another... (p.69)

Read full article...

What Are You Reading?
Discovering What ISTSS Members are Reading and Why

ISTSS Member: Kate Chard
Title of Book: Good-Bye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War
Author: William Manchester

I have read this book several times and each time I take away something new. Manchester was a wonderful writer and he had and incredible ability to bring you into his thoughts and emotions as he tried to make sense of his war experiences. For anyone who works with combat survivors I think this is a must read.

ISTSS Member: Matthew Friedman
Title of Book: The Lowland
Author: Jhumpa Lahiri

One of my favorite authors. Great descriptive sections about Calcutta & Rhode Island. Wonderful character development. Provocative plot.

ISTSS Member: Joan Cook
Title of Book: Nancy Drew: The Quest of the Missing Map
Author: Carolyn Keene

This story is about how the teenage amateur detective Nancy Drew outsmarts a gang of thieves to find the lost map which leads to buried treasure. My daughter and I read together every night for about an hour. Reading with her is one of the highlights of my life, and whenever we read Nancy Drew we try to put the pieces together and solve the mystery before the end of the book.

Do You Know...
ISTSS Website Being Updated

Do you know that the ISTSS website is about to undergo a major update?

The project will take place over the next few months and will be unveiled in February 2015. With the help of a number of volunteers the new ISTSS website will continue to be an enriching resource for the trauma community.

If you're interested in participating in test group as we begin to make changes, contact Heather Fineman.

Upcoming Events

August 14 - 16, 2014
TRaCS conference on Human Resilience

Changi General Hospital, Singapore
More information

September 7 - 10, 2014
19th International Conference & Summit on Violence, Abuse & Trauma
San Diego, California
More information

October 17 - 19, 2014
Post-Traumatic Stress: State of the Art Research and Clinical Implications for China

Hangzhou, China
Download the First Announcement
Download the registration form for Non-Chinese Attendees 
Download the Preliminary Program 

December 5 - 6, 2014
International Psychological Trauma Meetings VIII. 

Mental Health in War and Peace
Ortaköy Princess Hotel, Ortaköy
Istanbul, Turkey
Congress Language: Turkish and English. Simultaneous translation will be provided in both languages .
For more information visit the congress website:

December 11 - 12, 2014
First International Conference on Psychological Trauma
University of Talca, Talca, Chile

Become a Traumatic StressPoints Contributor

Traumatic StressPoints is recruiting new Contributing Editors (CE) to help solicit (or generate) content for the following columns: 

  • Biological Perspectives
  • Book Reviews
  • Trauma and the Military

This is an intellectually stimulating and enjoyable way to connect with other ISTSS members around the world and to stay on the cutting edge of new developments in our organization and the field. CE’s are members in good standing of ISTSS with good writing/editing skills who agree to assist with contributions to two newsletters per year. 

Please contact Editor, Patricia Kerig, PhD for more information; or to submit a cv, statement of interest and professional writing sample.

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

Biological Perspectives (this position is open)

Book Reviews (this position is open)

Clinicians' Corner
Joan Cook:

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:
Lana Durjava:
Tara Frem, BA:
Crosby Modrowski, BA:

Trauma and Diversity
Stefanie Smith, PhD:

Trauma and the Military (there is an additional position open)
Rocky Liesman, PsyD, ABPP:

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

Have feedback about the content of Traumatic StressPoints? Please submit your comments and suggestions to

Thank you!


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