Dear Colleagues and fellow members of ESTD.
It’s a freezing February day as I reflect and write my 3rd presidential newsletter. My admiration continues to grow for the many colleagues and supporters in Europe who are dedicating their time and energy to place this organisation firmly on the map of Complex Trauma and Dissociation.
I think first of your ESTD board, their energy, professionalism and humour. It’s not easy communicating via emails, and telephone conference calls are a poor substitute for face-to-face communication. We have relied on an average of 2 face-to-face meetings a year but hope to make this more frequent in the future.
A board member noted that membership always increases in the country where a member is on the board. It demonstrates, as always, that personal contact does more to recruit new members then any amount of publicity.
Our last face-to-face meeting in December was in Paris to coincide with our first bi-annual ESTD sponsored day conference. Our board meeting was a packed day as always. Following the request of one of our members, we have decided to give a summary of every face-to-face board meeting and this is detailed later in the newsletter.
I was officially able to confirm the appointment of 2 new board members, Mike Lloyd and Andrew Moskowitz. Mike was present for the meeting and has agreed to take over the duties of Chair of the Website Committee from Arne Blindheim. Andrew is heading the organising committee for our next conference which will be in Copenhagen in 2014. Our next bi-annual ESTD sponsored day conference will be in Praque in 2013: Jan Soukup will be confirming the details very soon.
Our first sponsored event in Paris was a great success and well organised (see a review further in the newsletter). It felt that we had finally given recognition to the birthplace of dissociation.
Our next Board meeting will be in Berlin just before the conference. Sadly it will be the time to say goodbye to 2 of our longstanding board members:
Bettina Overkamp (Tina) has been involved as treasurer on your board since our first meeting. In April 2006, she and Suzette Boon signed the legal formation of the society in the Netherlands. She has been such a loyal and hardworking member of your board and has kept us on the straight and narrow (financial term for keeping within the budget). She has also known how to make sure we have always had fun together in the evening following our board meetings! Her dedicated work will be in the safe hands of Adelheid who has been shadowing her since early last year.
Arne Blindheim has been on the board since 2008. During that time he has transformed our website presence to the newly redesigned webpage now online. With the professional expertise of Frank Myklestad, our webmaster, we now have a truly interactive website that will get regular updates and eventually direct country-specific updates from the contact people in every country represented. He has also taken it upon himself to video some of the board members and others in the field and place their recordings on the web. He has also ensured that presentations from past conferences are available in the growing ‘members only’ section. He will, thankfully, stay on the website committee for a while at least.
To both I send my sincere thanks and wish them well in the future. I will miss them both.
Did you know that these newsletters are brought together and edited by someone from as far away as New Zealand! Martin Dorahy, well known to a lot of you, was living and working in Belfast for a number of years. He and Onno van der Hart kindly agreed to head the newsletter committee last year and he and their committee have done an excellent job producing this on a quarterly basis. Thank you all.
Finally I wanted to mention two recent attempts by some to discredit those working in the field of Dissociation. One was in the US, back in October, the other in the UK. Bethany Brand, an ISSTD member in the US, responded on the radio to the existence of dissociative identity disorder and was the only articulate speaker in what was supposed to be a scientific debate. I responded to a badly written review in the British Journal of Psychiatry of a recent publication by Valerie Sinason. It is a relief to know that both the ISSTD and ESTD are now able to hold their own with clear responses to increasingly uninformed attacks. I have added, later in the newsletter, Professor’s Merskey’s initial review, my written response and his added comments, so that you can be kept informed of these events.
I very much hope to see as many of you as possible in Berlin.
From ESTD Newsletter Volume 2, Number 2, February 2012