International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation

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The International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD) is a nonprofit professional organization of health professionals and individuals who are interested in advancing the scientific and societal understandings of trauma-based disorders, including posttraumatic stress disorder, complex posttraumatic stress disorder, and the dissociative disorders.[1][2]


The focus of the organization has broadened over the years. In the 1980s, the ISSMP&D, the International Society for the Study of Multiple Personality and Dissociation, grouped clinicians and researchers primarily interested in Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD). Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) had been called MPD since the 19th century, and was still called MPD in DSM-II and DSM-III. In the 1990s, DSM-IV changed the name of MPD to DID, and so the ISSMP&D simplified its name to the ISSD - the International Society for the Study of Dissociation, broadening its interest to include the other dissociative disorders. By the 21st century, the ISSD had broadened its interest to include chronic developmental traumatic disorders (also known as Complex PTSD), and so the name was lengthened to ISSTD: the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation. Editors of the book Dissociation and the dissociative disorders: DSM-V and beyond describe the ISSTD as "The principle professional organization devoted to dissociation".[3]

The ISSTD has published guidelines for the treatment of dissociative identity disorder in both adults and children[4][5][6] through its peer-reviewed Journal of Trauma & Dissociation (formerly Dissociation: Progress in the Dissociative Disorders),[7][8] published five times per year.[9][10] These guidelines are often referenced in the field as a basic starting point for psychotherapy with highly dissociative clients.[4][11][12][13][14]

The ISSMP&D's official journal, Dissociation: Progress in the Dissociative Disorders ceased operation after 39 issues (March 1988-December 1997), though its full-text contents have since been made available online.[15]


In the 1990s, controversies surrounding repressed memory and the possible connections between child abuse, traumatic events, memory and dissociation arose.[2][16]

Some mental health professionals who used hypnosis and other memory recovery techniques now known to contribute to the creation of false memories[17] found their patients lodging bizarre accusations - including of satanic ritual abuse,[18] sacrificial murder,[19] and cannibalism[20] - against their parents, family members and prominent community members. This era is now considered a moral panic, typically referred to as the “Satanic Panic.”

The ISSTD has been accused by groups such as The False Memory Syndrome Foundation[21] and The Satanic Temple[22] of propagating Satanic Panic-era conspiracy theories.

In 1995, ISSTD's founder and former president, Bennett Braun, was sued by a former patient who claimed that Braun had falsely convinced her that she'd engaged in Satanic rituals, cannibalism, and infanticide. The patient received a $10.6 million dollar settlement. Braun's medical license was temporarily suspended by Illinois state officials in 1999.[23]

In 2004, another former patient of Braun’s, Elizabeth Gale, filed a lawsuit against Braun and Roberta Sachs, another ISSTD founder, alleging that they and their colleagues convinced Gale “that her family indoctrinated her as a child so she would make babies for sacrifice in a satanic cult.” The settlement in the malpractice suit amounted to $7.5 million.[24]

Another ISSTD founder, Richard Kluft, wrote in 2014, “[I]t is undeniable that satanic elements are employed at times by those who wish to exploit the power of such materials for the purposes of intimidation and/or to pursue nefarious purposes. [...] Satanic elements remain problematic realities in many situations. I remain troubled about the matter of transgenerational satanic cults.”[25]

Former ISSTD president Colin Ross has also been accused by former patients of implanting false memories, including of satanic ritual abuse. Roma Hart accused Ross of convincing her, among other things, that she was forcibly impregnated by aliens and later gave birth to a half-alien, half-human hybrid.[26][27] Another former patient, Martha Ann Tyo, sued Ross and others in 1998, alleging that the defendants’ methods led her to believe her family was part of an “extended, transgenerational satanic cult.”[27][28]


The US-based ISSTD was officially formed in 1984 under the name of the International Society for the Study of Multiple Personality and Dissociation but changed to the International Society for the Study of Dissociation in 1994 and then to its current name in November 2006.[2][3][29][30]

The organization was resolved to be founded by Myron Boor, Bennett Braun, David Caul, Jane Dubrow, George Greaves, Richard Kluft, Frank Putnam and Roberta Sachs, a group of physicians and psychologists. Its first annual conference was held in December of the same year.[8] By the end of the 1980s, membership approached 2,000.[31]


George. B. Greaves, Ph.D. (1983–1984)
Bennet Braun, M.D. (1984–1985)
Richard Kluft (1985–1986)
George. B. Greaves, Ph.D. (1986–1987)
David Caul, M.D. (1987–1988)
Philip Coons, M.D. (1988–1989)
Walter C. Young, M.D., FAPA (1989–1990)
Catherine Fine, Ph.D. (1990–1991)
Richard Loewenstein, M.D. (1991–1992)
Moshe S. Torem, M.D. (1992–1993)
Colin A. Ross, M.D. (1993–1994)
Nancy L. Hornstein, M.D. (1994–1995)
Elizabeth S. Bowman, M.D. (1995–1996)
James, A. Chu, M.D. (1996–1997)
Marlene E. Hunter, M.D. (1997–1998)
Peter M. Barach, Ph.D. (1998–1999)
John Curtis, M.D. (1999–2000)
Joy Silberg, Ph.D. (2000–2001)
Steven Frankel, Ph.D., J.D. (2001–2002)
Richard A. Chefetz, M.D. (2002–2003)
Steven Gold, Ph.D. (2003–2004)
Frances S. Waters, DCSW, LMFT (2004–2005)
Eli Somer, Ph.D. (2005–2006)
Catherine Classen, Ph.D. (2006–2007)
Vedat Sar, M.D. (2007–2008)
Kathy Steele, MN, CS (2008–2009)
Paul F. Dell, Ph.D. (2010–2011)
Thomas G. Carlton, M.D. (2011–2012)
Joan Turkus, M.D. (2012–2013)
Philip J. Kinsler Ph.D. (2013–2014)
Lynette S. Danylchuk Ph.D (2015)
Warwick Middleton M.D. (2016)
Martin Dorahy Ph.D. (2017)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About the ISSTD". International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Reyes, G; Elhai JD & Ford JD (2008). The Encyclopedia of Psychological Trauma. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 364. ISBN 0-470-38615-0.
  3. ^ a b Dell PF; O'Neil JA, eds. (2009). Dissociation and the dissociative disorders: DSM-V and beyond. Taylor & Francis. pp. xiii. ISBN 0-415-95785-0.CS1 maint: uses editors parameter (link)
  4. ^ a b Chu 2011, p. 207-8.
  5. ^ "ISSTD Treatment Guidelines for Treating Dissociative Identity Disorder".
  6. ^ Wieland, Sandra (2010). Dissociation in Traumatized Children and Adolescents: Theory and Clinical Interventions. Taylor & Francis. pp. xxiii. ISBN 978-0-415-87749-7.
  7. ^ Kihlstrom, J. F. (2005). "Dissociative Disorders". Annual Review of Clinical Psychology. 1: 227–253. doi:10.1146/annurev.clinpsy.1.102803.143925. PMID 17716088.
  8. ^ a b Hacking 1998, p. 52.
  9. ^ "Journal of Trauma and Dissociation". Retrieved January 20, 2012.
  10. ^ Ross, C. A. (2009). "Errors of Logic and Scholarship Concerning Dissociative Identity Disorder". Journal of Child Sexual Abuse. 18 (2): 221–231. doi:10.1080/10538710902743982. PMID 19306208.
  11. ^ Petrucelli, J (2010). Knowing, not-knowing and sort-of-knowing: psychoanalysis and the experience of Uncertainty. Karnac Books Ltd. pp. 83. ISBN 978-1-85575-657-1.
  12. ^ Chu 2011, p. 16-7.
  13. ^ Luber, M (2009). Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Scripted Protocols Special Populations. Springer Pub. Co. pp. 357. ISBN 978-0-8261-2245-2.
  14. ^ McWilliams, N (2011). Psychoanalytic diagnosis: Understanding Personality Structure in the Clinical Process (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press. pp. 351. ISBN 978-1-60918-494-0.
  15. ^ "Dissociation:Progress in the Dissociative disorders". ISSMP&D. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  16. ^ Hacking 1998, p. 113-14.
  17. ^ McNally, Richard J. (2005). Remembering trauma. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674018028. OCLC 318399251.
  18. ^ Hanson, Cynthia. "Dangerous Therapy: The Story of Patricia Burgus and Multiple Personality Disorder". Chicago magazine. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  19. ^ Victor, Jeffrey (1993). Satanic Panic: The Creation of a Contemporary Legend. Chicago, Illinois: Open Court Publishing Company. pp. 52–53. ISBN 978-0812691924.
  20. ^ Thompson, Damian (March 22, 2002). "The people who believe that Satanists might eat your baby". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  21. ^ "False Memory Syndrome Foundation". Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  22. ^ "Grey Faction's Letter to the American Psychological Association". Grey Faction. March 5, 2019. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
  23. ^ Laycock, Joseph. "Satanic Temple Protests Pseudoscientific Therapies for Satanic Abuse and Witchcraft". Religion Dispatches. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  24. ^ Dardick, Hal. "Psychiatric patient tells of ordeal in treatment". Retrieved August 20, 2019.
  25. ^ "Speak, Memory". Psychiatric Times. March 19, 2014.
  26. ^ Mesner, Douglas (February 8, 2010). "Dr. Colin A. Ross: Psychiatry, the Supernatural, and Malpractice Most Foul". Process. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
  27. ^ a b George Bergen. Evidence Against Dr. Colin A. Ross, vol. 1.
  28. ^ "Martha Ann Tyo vs Ross - memory.abuse". Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  29. ^ Blaney, PH; Millon T (2008). Oxford Textbook of Psychopathology. Oxford University Press. pp. 456. ISBN 0-19-537421-5.
  30. ^ Chu 2011, p. 14.
  31. ^ Braude, SE (1995). First person plural: multiple personality and the philosophy of mind (2 ed.). Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 37. ISBN 0-8476-7996-9.


External links[edit]