Dear fellow ESTD members,
Every two years we have the opportunity to meet up with ESTD members from across Europe and beyond when our biennial conference convenes. These are very important occasions for us, as we can see old friends and colleagues, and get support for work that is often underappreciated in our home countries, perhaps outside of a small group of like-minded professionals. Coming only once every two years, the conferences are events to be cherished. That is certainly true of the one just completed, in Bern, Switzerland.
The Bern conference was different from all of our previous conferences, as it had a very special focus – looking at childhood abuse and neglect from not only clinical, but also justice and prevention perspectives – and trying to build bridges linking these professions. So some of the pre-conference workshops, and the conference plenaries, came from the fields of criminal justice and prevention (early intervention in families, for example). The conference also had separate presentation streams in French and German, in addition to English, and simultaneous translation of the English keynotes into the other two languages. So it was a very ambitious conference, on a number of levels, and frankly, some within our organization feared that it could not be successful. But it was!
Many ESTD members were delighted not only with the conference proceedings, but with the spectacular venue (but not the weather, which was miserable!). Our longstanding members were pleased and surprised at what they learned, and a number of non-members, impressed by the quality of the conference, decided to join ESTD.
Over and over, people kept trying to congratulate me on the success of the conference, but I had to insist that I had very little to do with it. The conference was the vision of Jan Gysi, and its successful implementation was down to him, Eva Zimmermann and the capable and dedicated colleagues they surrounded themselves with. Special thanks go to Eva Zimmermann, who worked tirelessly through the weekend (and in the weeks preceding) dealing with both ESTD board and conference matters (including coordinating the special gifts for keynote speakers). This will be Eva’s last ESTD conference as a board member (though, thankfully, she will be with us through 2018). Her energy and enthusiasm has contributed to the success of all of our conferences!
Over the weekend, there were a number of ESTD events. First of all, the ESTD board meeting was all day Thursday 9 November. A meeting of the ESTD country representatives was held on Friday, chaired by the membership development chairperson (and president-elect) Anca Sabau, and the ESTD annual general Andrew Moskowitz ESTD President Dear fellow ESTD members, 3 ESTD Newsletter Volume 6 Number 4, December 2017 4 Dear fellow ESTD members, meeting (AGM) was held on Saturday lunchtime.
A number of matters were discussed during the board meeting, and we had the opportunity to meet with all former ESTD presidents (Suzette Boon, Eli Somer, Remy Aquarone and Manoëlle Hopchet), along with the current ISSTD president, Martin Dorahy. During the board meeting it was decided that all former ESTD presidents (who, after all, serve a minimum of eight years on the board!) would be given lifetime honorary ESTD membership. In addition, we discussed with Martin Dorahy closer cooperation between ESTD and ISSTD, and raised the possibility of a joint conference in Europe sometime in the future.
Country representatives introduced themselves during the meeting on Friday 10 November, and discussed what was happening in their country related to trauma and dissociation. We were happy to welcome representatives from our newest ESTD countries, Portugal, Kosovo and Croatia, along with new and old representatives from existing ESTD countries. Anca Sabau spoke of the importance of the country representatives, and of the desire to make better use of this ‘middle layer’ of our organization. To that end, several new email addresses have been created to ease communication between the ESTD board, ESTD country representatives, and ESTD members. ESTD members can now email their country representative directly simply by using a country name email address (for example, ‘email@example.com’ or ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’). And emails sent to ‘email@example.com’ will go directly to Anca Sabau.
At the AGM, members were informed of current activities within ESTD, including the journal, newsletter, website, research, and training and education. A financial report was presented (ESTD is still financially strong) and other updates given. It was announced that the next ESTD biennial conference will be held in Rome – in late October 2019. The venue and exact dates will be decided very soon. In addition, Tom Horemans, who has been acting as ESTD treasurer since Annemiek van Dijke resigned last year, was formally elected to the ESTD board as treasurer. Welcome, Tom!
And finally, in Bern we had to say goodbye to Angela Kennedy, who reluctantly resigned from the ESTD board in November. Angela was a valued member of the board from 2014-2017, the last few years as secretary after Anna Gerge resigned. You will be missed, Angela! There will be an election for the secretary position, and an announcement will be sent out soon – if it has not already gone out to ESTD members by the time you are reading this. As this will be my last ESTD column in 2017, I want to wish you all a very happy and healthy holiday season. I hope that 2018 will prove to be a fruitful and exciting year for all of us!
From ESTD Newsletter Volume 6, Number 4, December 2017