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Conversation and Consultation

ISTSS is excited to announce a new opportunity to connect at the ISTSS 36th Annual Meeting! Come share valuable insight and advice with experts and colleagues in the trauma field. 

Sessions are limited to 20 participants each and are first come, first served.

What can you expect?

  • One hour of committed time dedicated by mentors
  • Insightful discussion on a topic of interest:
  • Opportunities to gain content knowledge, strengthen networking skills, develop strategies in navigating professional decisions, benefit from the experience of successful trauma experts, increase professional confidence, and identify or enhance focus on professional goals
  • Engage in peer-mentoring with mentees from diverse personal and professional backgrounds
  • Build connections with ISTSS members
What do you need to do?
  • Register for a provided timeslot for Conversation & Consultation per your convenience.
  • Enjoy this hour of enriched mentoring! 

We hope to see you at the first-ever virtual ISTSS conference and our dedicated mentors are looking forward to meeting you!

All times are listed in U.S. Eastern TIme.

Click here to register for Conversation & Consultation Sessions

Registration is easy.
When you click to register you will be taken to the registration page.

  • Login with the same email and password you used for Annual Meeting Registration.
  • When you get to the registration page, scroll down to two new sections under optional selections.
  • Check the boxes for Paper in a Day or Conversation and Consultation Sessions.
  • Click add to cart.
  • Click checkout.

(PLEASE NOTE: You do not need to register for the Annual Meeting again. You will not be charged for Annual Meeting registration. You will receive a confirmation email with all transactions.)

Questions? Contact Amy Metzgar.

Grant Writing with Glee 

This session is full and no longer accepting registrations.

Leader: Suzy Bird Gulliver, PhD

Wednesday, November 11, 12:45pm – 1:45pm

Dr. Gulliver’s work has been continuously funded by federal and state agencies as well as philanthropic organizations since 1990 (though rarely simultaneously by all three!) in large part because she carefully nurtured and sustained a few cognitive distortions in order to keep writing. In this conversational hour, Dr. Gulliver will share her tips along with some data about grant writing designed to 1) help the aspiring grant writer achieve initial success, 2) make it over the Grand Canyon between mentored grants and independent Investigator-initiated grants, and 3) keep writing until retirement, or, as they say at Pixar, "to infinity and beyond." The lofty intent of the interactive hour is to teach participants to find the joy inherent in the creative process of grant writing; more realistically, participants will find some solace in the evidence that tired old psychologists are still writing and still noting all the wonderful emotional intensities that arise as we guide our ideas from infancy through funding. Our species (clinical scientists, a very odd species indeed) fundamentally believes that the purpose of seeking funding is to do science that matters to those who suffer. Dr. Gulliver is eager to learn from the audience, and looks forward to this chat.

gulliver.jpgDr. Suzy Bird Gulliver is a licensed clinical psychologist and clinical researcher. Currently, she serves as Director of Warriors Research Institute (WRI) and as Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at Texas A&M College of Medicine. WRI is part of Baylor Scott & White Research Institute. Dr. Gulliver began her academic journey in the northeast U.S. by attending Quinnipiac College for her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychobiology, followed by a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology at Connecticut College. After completing her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Vermont, Dr. Gulliver went on to work as a National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism-funded Postdoctoral Fellow at Brown University and later spent 12 years in a variety of roles at the VA Boston Healthcare System including Associate Director of Outpatient Mental Health Programs.  While in Boston, she expanded her expertise to the study of PTSD and addiction among those exposed to occupational trauma (e.g. soldiers and firefighters). Dr. Gulliver made her way to Texas in 2007 and served as the founding Director of the VA VISN 17 Center of Excellence in Waco, Texas before founding the WRI within Baylor Scott & White Health in 2013. Dr. Gulliver has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Texas Health and Human Services Commission, among others. She has been the primary mentor for six career development awardees, all of whom now hold leadership positions in clinical science. She has served as a research mentor for numerous pre- and post-doctoral fellows and has provided countless hours of evidence-based supervision to 25 years of psychologists, social workers and psychiatrists. In her spare time, Dr. Gulliver can be found riding her horses, playing with her dog, Maggie, making a Starbucks run or doing yoga.

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The ‘Dating’ Dance of Research Collaborations: How to Navigate Equitable Partnerships as an Early- or Mid-Career Researcher

This session is full and no longer accepting registrations.

Leaders: Soraya Seedat, MD, PhD, and Monique Pfaltz

Friday, November 6, 8:45am – 9:45am 

Improving the quality and diversity of one’s research portfolio as an early- or mid-career researcher is intrinsically linked to forming (and sustaining) successful collaborations, both within and across one’s discipline. Like the fine dance of dating, there can be huge rewards but also costs to bear. As with a relationship, problems arise when there is disagreement or conflict over issues and when the actions of one collaborator is out of sync with the other. How do we make this dance look and feel easy and effortless? How do we avoid making risky investments?  What are the rules of engagement? Are there best practices for navigating tensions and misunderstandings when they arise? How do we navigate some of the barriers, such as restricted professional networks, time constraints, hierarchy (e.g., insecurities about approaching highly eminent researchers in the field), and other academic and institutional obstacles?

The voices of early career researchers have been largely absent from this conversation. This is a space for us to share our experiences and come up with more creative solutions for establishing fair and mutually beneficial research partnerships.

seedat-square.jpgSoraya Seedat, MD, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry, is a psychiatrist by training and chairs the Department of Psychiatry at Stellenbosch University. She has been involved in traumatic stress research for over 20 years, holds the position of South African Research Chair in PTSD and directs the South African Medical Research Council Genomics of Brain Disorders Research Unit. She is a current Board member of ISTSS.


pfaltz-square.jpgMonique Pfaltz is a trained psychotherapist and clinical and experimental researcher. She is an assistant professor at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, and her research assesses socio-emotional processes (e.g., interpersonal boundary setting, regulation of closeness and distance, emotional reactivity, facial emotion recognition) in healthy individuals and patients affected by traumatic stress, with a focus on childhood maltreatment (abuse and neglect). As part of the Global Collaboration on Traumatic Stress, she is currently leading a theme on the socio-emotional development across cultures. Findings of the corresponding projects shall provide a basis for the development of interventions improving social functioning and thus health and well-being of those affected by childhood maltreatment. Dr. Pfaltz is a member of the editorial board of the European Journal of Psychotraumatology and of the Journal of Traumatic Stress and co-organizer of the Annual Zurich Conference on Psychotraumatology.

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Translating Clinical Insights from Trauma Assessment and Treatment into Research Hypotheses

This session is full and no longer accepting registrations.

Thursday, November 12, 3:30pm – 4:30pm

Leader: Julian Ford, PhD, ABPP

In this session, participants will have an opportunity to share insights drawn from their clinical work in trauma assessment and treatment and brainstorm about how those insights could be translated into research hypotheses. Julian Ford will share what he’s learned about trauma memory processing and how this has informed his research hypotheses as an example, and this will be followed by a lively discussion amongst all participants as they help one another develop creative hypotheses. 

ford-square.jpgJulian D. Ford, PhD, ABPP, is a board certified clinical psychologist and Professor of Psychiatry and Law at the University of Connecticut where he directs two Treatment and Services Adaptation Centers in the National Child Traumatic Stress Network: the Center for Trauma Recovery and Juvenile Justice and the Center for the Treatment of Developmental Trauma Disorders. Dr. Ford is the immediate past President of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. He has published more than 250 articles and book chapters and is the author or editor of 10 books, including Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, 2nd Edition, Treating Complex Trauma: A Sequenced, Relationship-Based Approach, 2nd Edition and Treating Complex Traumatic Stress Disorders in Children and Adolescents: Scientific Foundations and Therapeutic Models.

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It Takes a Village: Building Community as a Means of Addressing Underrepresentation and Inequity in Our Field

Tuesday, November 10, 8:45am – 9:45am

Leader: Teresa López-Castro, PhD

This Conversation and Consultation hour aims to bring together ISTSS attendees interested in discussing, seeking support and problem-solving on the broad aims of increasing diversity and inclusion in trauma field training and research efforts. The facilitator will “get the ball rolling” with opening remarks from her experiences coordinating an NIH-supported, early-pipeline training program to increase the funding success of underrepresented scientists. As a group we’ll then explore existing strategies for diversity building (what’s worked at the systems-level, lab-level, individual-level?) and identify both familiar and new hurdles encountered (where and how are we struggling?). Please come with your ideas, questions and dilemmas!   

Lopez-Castro.jpgTeresa López-Castro is a licensed clinical psychologist and assistant professor of psychology at The City College of New York, where she conducts research on the connection between substance use and traumatic stress. Teresa is an active contributor to the knowledge base in support of integrating how we care for substance-related issues with mental health services. As a Latina researcher and psychotherapist, she has advocated for the training and supervision needs of bicultural, bilingual scientist-practitioners. 


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Striking a Balance: Navigating Career and Family Life in the Trauma Field

Monday, November 9, 6:30pm – 7:30pm

Leader: Angela Nickerson, PhD

This Conversation and Consultation hour will focus on the challenges and opportunities associated with combining a research or clinical career in the field of traumatic stress with family and caring responsibilities. Attendees will share their experiences in balancing career and personal life, as well as their own tips for optimizing work-life balance. During the course of the hour, the group will discuss strategies that facilitate forging a successful career in the field while maintaining their strong commitment to personal and family life.

Angela Nickerson is Professor at the School of Psychology at UNSW Sydney, and Director of the Refugee Trauma and Recovery Program. Her research focuses on understanding the psychological mechanisms underpinning refugee and post-conflict mental health and developing effective interventions for traumatic stress reactions in refugees. She is also interested in the impact of policy on refugee mental health, and cross-cultural considerations in psychological processes. She has worked with refugee and post-conflict populations in Australia, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Switzerland and the United States.


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