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This issue of SIG Spotlight will make the case for current and new ISTSS members who are not yet part of any Special Interest Group (SIG) to join one. We want to present four short answers to the intentionally provocative question that titles this article: Why should I join a SIG?
Joining a SIG is an excellent way to stay current on the scientific and professional discussion of a specific topic within the larger arena of traumatic stress. With over 25 SIGs focused on a range of traumatic stress matters such as theories, treatment, research methods, intergenerational trauma, and more, ISTSS almost certainly has a SIG for you. Joining a SIG is like joining a personalized scientific society with a specific focus and with meetings throughout the year.
In addition to scientific updates, becoming a SIG member is a great way to network with students and professionals at various stages of their careers from various regions of the globe. Joining a SIG can be a vibrant experience, given the SIG's activity in discussing topics, collaborating on research projects, or even developing products to disseminate knowledge. Especially in recent years, some SIGs have been increasing their presence on social media such as Twitter and Facebook, disseminating their content not only among SIG members but also to clinicians and the community.
Being part of a SIG is also a great way to prepare for the ISTSS Annual Meeting. SIGs review the program for each annual meeting and endorse presentations related to their topics of interest. In addition, joint activities that are presented at the Annual Meeting—such as symposia—are often proposed through collaboration between SIG colleagues.
Finally, SIGs are an exceptional opportunity for personal and professional development. Given the global and welcoming atmosphere, new members can experience the chance to take on leadership roles—SIGs have chairs and co-chairs and may include the roles of student chairs and co-chairs. This is an interesting way to actively engage in ISTSS and to strengthen the sense of community.
How to Join a SIG
Your ISTSS membership already enables you to be part of our SIGs. Here’s how:

  1. Log in and go to our Special Interest Groups page, where you can click on the name of a SIG to learn more about it. Having trouble logging in? Make sure you’ve followed these instructions.
  2. In your ISTSS member profile, go to the Listserves/Communities tab and select the SIGs you want to join from the dropdown. 
  3. Scroll down and click “next,” then “save changes.” 

Choose the SIGs that interest you and enjoy your SIG experience!