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We have great pleasure in welcoming you to the first Australian and New Zealand Regional Conference of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD).The ISSTD was formed in the early 1980’s and is the oldest international society to represent the interest of clinicians and researchers working with complex trauma and dissociative disorders. It is a non-profit, professional association, organized to develop and promote comprehensive, clinically effective and empirically based resources and responses to trauma and dissociation.

This landmark binational conference is brought to you by a very well credentialed organizing committee drawn from multiple relevant professional groups and regions.The Westin, Martin Place, Sydney, the venue for the conference is centrally located, beautifully and comfortably appointed, and promises to be an excellent milieu for presentations, discussions and conversations with colleagues. In one location and for the first time in Sydney, we bring to you the ISSTD community, including its breadth of knowledge, experience and skills. The cream of national and international speakers in the field of trauma and dissociation will be discussing the latest accepted methods of assessment, innovative and proven approaches to treatment, forensic aspects and research in this area of vital importance.

Aunty Donna Ingram – elder of the Redfern Aboriginal Community, will extend to you ‘A Welcome to Country’. A Wiradjuri elder, Donna holds a diploma in Community Management from Tranby Aboriginal College. She has been an active member of many community committees and is part of the National Empowerment Project, set up for the betterment of indigenous people.

The conference will be officially opened by Mr. John Feneley, New South Wales Mental Health Commissioner. Established in 2012, the Commission has played a pivotal role in spearheading mental health reform for the people of New South Wales. As he describes himself, John Feneley is motivated by ‘fairness, and a basic respect for peoples’ rights’. We look forward to his opening address.

We are privileged to have The Chair of the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the Honourable Justice Peter McClellan, AM address us. He will update us about the work of the Royal Commission which has taken on the arduous task of identifying systemic failures, abusive practices, and unlawful and improper treatment of children In Australian Institutions. It will also make recommendations for change, including redress for those who have been harmed. The organizing committee feel that prominent coverage of the Australian Royal Commission in the conference program honours the efforts of a wide range of consumers and consumer groups who have worked tirelessly to see the Commission become a reality.

This is an auspicious time – a time when the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is fulfilling its obligations; a time when insights from the neurosciences is burgeoning, helping us better understand the inevitable mind, brain, body connection, and thus being more effective in our approach to complex trauma; a time when dissociation, hitherto seen as a defense mechanism, is considered a human response to extreme stress and fear of annihilation.

A day of pre-conference workshops will feature Professors Richard P. Kluft and Bethany Brand as well as Drs. Joyanna Silberg and Jan Ewing. They will present different facets of trauma and dissociation in children, adolescents and adults, including forensics, directed at clinicians and researchers in the field. A further pre-conference workshop will address EMDR and its application to trauma generally and dissociative disorders specifically. This workshop will be conducted by leading figures in the EMDR Association of Australia: Graham Taylor (President), Rosamund Nutting (Director) and Mary Sutton (Trainer).

Two days of keynote and invited presentations will feature scholarly papers by Emeritus Professor Russell Meares, Professors Richard Kluft, Warwick Middleton and Bethany Brand, and Drs Joyanna Silberg, Lynette Danylchuk and Philip Kinsler. A panel on Day One will discuss and invite your contributions to the topic of trauma in adults; and a panel on Day Two will encourage your participation in a discussion on child trauma.

There will also be opportunity for single paper presentations, symposia and workshops on both days of the conference. We invite submission of abstracts from clinicians, academics, researchers, trainees and service administrators during the submission window that will run for two weeks in June. We hope you will make use of this opportunity to share your work, your clinical experience and wisdom with others attending the conferenc

We look forward to sharing with you, our colleagues from Australia, New Zealand, North America, Europe and other parts of the world, a rich, informative and stimulating 3-days and a pleasant and enjoyable summer stay ‘down-under’ in one of the world’s most culturally diverse and exciting cities, situated on the greatest harbour on the Planet!

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