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ISST's Executive Board Response to Ukrainian Support Group Letter

08 May 2022 2:07 AM | Leonardo Mendes Wainer (Administrator)

Dear Members of the ISST and Members of the Ukrainian Support Group,


This is our follow-up to the EB’s May 5 response to the questions and concerns the ISST Ukraine Support Group originally shared in their “open letter” of May 2, 2022.


Members of the Executive Board are in an ongoing conversation with the Schema Therapy Society of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Support Group with the hope of understanding each other’s positions and to repair ruptures in relationships. We hope to assist with rallying resources and support for our Ukrainian colleagues.


Regarding questions raised around Alp Karaosmanoglu’s abrupt decision to resign from the President’s position, we understand people are concerned about whether Alp was under pressure to resign. We are not speaking for Alp on this point, as he shared his own resignation statement, which members can refer to on the Listserv. Members of the board had much agreement on goals to support Ukrainian members and denounce the Russian attack on Ukraine. We also had some disagreements on how to organize assistance for our Ukrainian colleagues, manage the question of sanctions on Russian membership, and whether to consult the Ethics and Conflict Resolution Committee (ECRC). As we all know, relationships can be complicated and sometimes messy. We were all feeling the passion and stress of the war. In spite of the stress, board members remained collegial, and open to dialogue even when we disagreed about the process. Board members remained supportive of Alp throughout the process. We were sorry to see Alp leave, and we value him as a devoted and hard-working leader in the ISST and an essential voice for Ukraine.

We share the opinion of the Ukrainian Support Group in stating that during this heated period of time, the listserv became a place of turbulence and vitriol and that the “pseudo diagnosing” of other members was unethical, unprofessional, and hurtful in effect.

We believe that in a democratic society we enjoy the wonderful freedom to express ourselves on the listserv and through other channels in this society. But we believe that with this freedom comes the solemn responsibility to consider one’s words and how they may be received by others and the impact on them.

The unfortunate net effect of this recent toxic posting on the listserv was that it became a source of added pain for our Ukrainians who are already facing horrific challenges, and in great need to feel safe in our society.

We understand that because of this terrible, destructive war and the abuse of human rights, the Executive Board and the ECRC must revisit ISST’s statutes and regulations. We need to ensure that our international membership organization holds an ethical position on human rights and international justice.

We have asked the ECRC to review the statues and recommend to the EB, which statutes need revising. As a democratic society, we invite participation from our members. If you have comments and ideas, we ask that you let us know directly at jconwayny@gmail.com.

We are pleased to be able to consult with the ECRC. The ECRC was established about 12 years ago to perform an advisory role to the EB around ethical concerns and areas of conflict in our society. The ECRC serves in an advisory capacity to the EB, much the same way that the Training and Certification Advisory Board (TCAB) advises the EB around issues related to training and certification.

With both the ECRC and the TCAB, the EB receives counsel on areas of their domain that may inform or influence our decision-making process. We view these committees as invaluable to the health and stability of our society. We look forward to the ECRC report to the EB regarding recent events by mid-May.

The ECRC is also available to all members if there is an ethical concern or area of conflict. You may reach out to them directly at dr.kavros@peregrinekavorphd.com.

If you would like to learn more about the ECRC, please refer to this link from our website:


As the EB takes on the longer-term task of reviewing the statutes, we also recognize the urgent need to take action to rally resources and support our Ukrainian colleagues and act within our power, to stop the war.

We join with the Ukrainian Support Group in asking our esteemed leaders of the ISST to make your support for Ukraine heard. Your voices carry a lot of weight, and when members are facing life and death situations every day, we need to hear from you.

And we join in amplifying the chorus that there are potential opportunities available to all of us in our home countries. Whether it be giving money, attending protests of the war, contacting government officials to give more aid and attention to Ukraine, and yes, to contacting the local Ukrainian Embassy to offer support to Ukrainian refugees, we urge you to take action.


With Warmth and Respect,

The ISST Executive Board

Jeff Conway, President

Alexandra Schosser, Vice President

Rita Younan, Training Coordinator

Cristina Sterie, Certification Coordinator

Pamela Pilkington, Science and Research Coordinator

Christian Ferreira de Vasconcellos . Treasurer

Leonardo Wainer, Media Coordinator

Richard Brouillette, Secretary

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