Dear ESTD members,
This is the last newsletter column I will be writing as ESTD president. By the time you read this (i.e., after 1 December 2018), Anca Sabau will officially be the new ESTD president, and I will become the past president. I am confident that Anca will do a terrific job as ESTD president, as she has for years as an ESTD board member, including with expanding our presence and influence in Eastern European countries.
In preparation for writing this, I reviewed the things I’ve talked about with you in the newsletter since early 2017. Some of the columns were about the challenges and opportunities facing ESTD, and others were about topics of interest to me (dissociation and psychosis, professional ‘fear’ of DID and schizophrenia). The last one was about our conference next year in Rome (http://estd2019.org) and the one before that about the untimely death of Giovanni Liotti, whose ideas have been so influential.
Rereading my first column left me somewhat chastened – as the challenges facing us then, almost two years ago, are still facing us today – the website, the journal, relations with other international and national/ regional organizations, and improving communication between members and the management structure of ESTD. I had hoped that these issues would be largely behind us by the time I ended my presidency, but that was probably a bit naïve; nonetheless, clear improvements can be seen. The website has been launched and, while far from ‘bug-free’, is a big improvement on what we had before. The journal is stable but still in need of regular submissions. Our relationship with ISSTD is good – we have reestablished reduced fees for attending each other’s conferences, and have agreed to advertise them, along with our respective journals, on the websites. And we are beginning to work toward a joint ESTD/ISSTD conference or venture in Europe for a few years from now. I most regret that the organizational structure is not much improved from when I began my presidency; we still need to make it easier and smoother for country representatives – the crucial ‘middle structure’ of ESTD – to communicate with their ESTD members and with the ESTD board. Our membership is stable around 500, with more than 20 European countries and 10 outside Europe (including Israel, South Africa, Japan, Australia, etc.). I hope we can add a few hundred members by the end of 2019 – perhaps attracted by the reduced fees for the Rome conference, in addition to all of our regular benefits.
In December, there will be several changes to the ESTD board. Eva Zimmermann, our current past president, will leave, and there will be an election early next year to fill her position on the board. Eva has been a most valuable and valued ESTD board member, president and now past president. She has worked to maintain good relations between ESTD and EMDR Europe, and was instrumental in helping to develop the new logo and the new website. She, along with Jan Gysi, of course, made the challenging Bern conference a rousing success. Eva will certainly be missed.
As noted above, Anca Sabau will take over the presidency now, leading us into the Rome conference next October, and through 2020. I will take over the position of past president and Raphaël Gazon, we’re pleased to say, will step into the position of president-elect. Raphaël is a highly skilled and successful clinician, fluent (like most of us on the board but me!) in a number of languages. His facility in French will be important for us as we continue to develop our relationship with AFTD, the French-language dissociation organization. Indeed, in my opinion, developing good and mutually rewarding relationships with the existing and planned regional, language-based dissociation organizations in Europe will be crucial to the success and flourishing of ESTD.
Each and every one of you, members of ESTD, should be appreciated and honored for the work that you are doing on a daily basis. We are all, in one way or another, struggling with ‘the legacy of trauma and dissociation’ – the theme of our 2019 conference. Whether we are ourselves experiencing, on a daily basis, this legacy, facing it in the clients we are working with and seeking to help, or studying it in programs and research projects in order to better understand its aftereffects – we are dealing with this legacy. This is an area many are not willing to look at – indeed, some would like to pretend it does not exist at all. And yet you – all of you! – have committed to face the darkness and deal with this pain, in order to help others and – with no exaggeration – to make the world a better place. But as we know, this is not easy work. And that is why ESTD is so important – a resource and source of support for all of us. I hope that you are all able to continue to commit yourselves to this organization in the future – we need you!
It has been my honor to serve you as ESTD president over these two years. I wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors and look forward to sharing time with you as colleagues and friends in the years to come.
From ESTD Newsletter Volume 7 Number 4, December 2018