ISTSS conference about trauma

The annual meeting of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies is approaching. Early November the Mariott Waterfront Hotel in Baltimore will be crowded with psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, journalists, policy makers, victim advocates, counselors, and many others. This year’s theme is “Social Bonds and Trauma Through the Life Span”. The meeting may not be in the most beautiful city of the US (although, even Baltimore has its hidden charms), but it looks like there will be quite a number of interesting presentations.

Judith Herman, a pioneer in traumatic stress research, will give a keynote lecture. Her book Trauma and Recovery was probably the only textbook that really touched me during my studies. As always during the ISTSS conferences, there will be an overwhelming amount of research presentations and posters. One that I look forward to regards a meta-analysis on the relation between parent functioning and child posttraumatic stress, by Morris and Delahanty. It will be interesting to hear what they think about the ways parents influence their children; and where we can intervene. Another one that sounds promising is a symposium on challenges and successes in evaluating community-based interventions for children (Jaycox and colleagues).

But there is also room to work on your clinical skills at the conference. I have signed up for the full day workshop (‘pre-meeting institute’) on Cognitive Processing Therapy by Resick and colleagues. To give you an idea of the content: “CPT is an evidence-based cognitive therapy for PTSD and comorbid symptoms that can be implemented with or without a written narrative and can be implemented as either an individual or group therapy. It has been demonstrated to be effective across a range of traumas as well as very complex trauma histories and symptom presentations. (..) Participants in this group will be taught for how to implement the therapy protocol, including role plays of Socratic dialogue with feedback and the opportunity to practice therapist skills needed for implementation.”

And there will be panel discussions on a variety of topics. For example on psychological first aid in low- and middle-income countries, on career choices, and on the approach of grief in DSM-5. A last one: I look forward to see some of the films. “The Interrupters” tells the story of three people who interfere with urban violence (in particular shootings) through social connections. Eddie Bocanegra, a violence interrupter who specializes in high-risk mediation and intervention with youth living in the southwest side of Chicago, will also give a talk about his work.

If you are interested, more information about the ISTSS conference can be found here. More information about the ISTSS in general can be found here (you don’t need to be a member to be able to attend the conference).

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