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ISST President’s Message January 2019

30 Jan 2019 10:48 AM | David Edwards

The ISST begins 2019 with a new Executive Board which just had time for one meeting in 2018 after the election results were announced. 

Election Thanks

I would like to thank Kerry Beckley, Chairperson of the Election Committee for running the election so efficiently.  The Board has asked her to continue in this role and I am pleased to report that she has accepted:  she will be assisted by Aleksandra Yaltonskaya as a member of the committee.

I would also like to thank those who stood for election and were not elected.  Thank you for being willing to serve the ISST.  Although you were not elected this time this does not mean that your contribution would not have been of value.  As you know, for several of the Board positions there was a line up of strong candidates.  If you would like to work for the ISST and gain some experience of how it operates, we would consider using your services on one of our committees which we are in the process of reviewing and restructuring.  Please let me know if you would like to do this.

Welcoming Our New Executive Board Members

In the new Executive Board, we have a great blend of continuity and new energy:  there are four members from the 2016-2018 Board and four new members. You can see photos of them and some further information at https://schematherapysociety.org/ISST-Executive-Board.  Incidentally this is the 6th Executive Board to be elected since the ISST was founded in 2008  - you can see the members of our previous Boards at https://schematherapysociety.org/Past-Executive-Boards

It’s great to be welcoming our new Board members, all of whom bring a great deal of valuable experience to their roles on the Board: 

Suzanne Vind, our new Vice President, has been contributing to the Case Conceptualization Committee’s important work as well as the work of the Quality Assurance Committee.  She is already heavily involved in the organization of the INSPIRE 2020 conference in Copenhagen

Jeff Conway, our new Training Coordinator, is a close associate of our founder Jeffrey Young and has been Chairperson of the Case Conceptualization Committee and of the Supervisor Skills Development Committee.  In these roles he has been at the forefront of developing resources for training in schema therapy.

Alexandra Schosser, our new Research Coordinator is a former Vice President who took a leading role in organizing the Vienna conference in 2016.

Susan Simpson, our new Secretary, has made a big contribution to the dissemination of schema therapy in Australia – though she’s now living in Scotland and leading the organization of our Edinburgh ENLIGHT event in May.  She has also published important articles on schema therapy for eating disorders and is finishing off the editing of a book on the subject that will appear later this year and is eagerly awaited.

Executive Board Members Providing Continuity

We have four Executive Board members continuing to serve who were on the previous Board, myself and three others.

Paul Kasyanik, after a term on the Board as Research Coordinator, moves to the challenging role of Certification Coordinator.   He has been working closely with Joan Farrell for several months and is well prepared to ensure continuity in this important area of the ISST’s work.

We continue to benefit from the energy and expertise of our Media Coordinator, Travis Atkinson who continues to work tirelessly on keeping members up to date via the website and listerve and is involved in the media aspects of ISST events (ENLIGHT 2019 and INSPIRE 2020) and in providing expert information about important aspects such as data protection.  He does all of this while running a busy practice focusing on schema therapy for couples and has been a major contributor to the development of training and certification in this area.

We also continue to benefit from the commitment of Eckhard Roediger, in the role of Treasurer, to keeping the financial and administrative infrastructure of the ISST in good working order. Towards the end of the previous term and on an ongoing basis he has been and is leading the transformation of our office infrastructure. This will be managed from 1st February by Volunt, a professional office management company, who have already made many constructive suggestions.  We are expecting that this process will help to eliminate many of the administrative bottlenecks that we have experienced recently as our organization has grown rapidly.  All this has taken a great deal of Eckhard’s time and energy over the past few months and will continue to do so.  The contributions that Eckhard has made to the ISST are incalculable.  He has been on the Board in one portfolio or another since the ISST was founded in 2008!  He is just beginning his 6th two year term.  It will be his last as the new ISST statutes limit the number of terms to three going forward.  Eckhard’s long service is testament to his commitment to the ISST in ensuring that the office infrastructure in Frankfurt and the financial management are in good order and keep pace with the expansion of the ISST.  We could not have done without him, and I am very grateful that he is on the current Board so we can focus on establishing the new infrastructure with Volunt. In addition to all this work for the ISST, Eckhard runs a schema therapy training centre, is a leader in the training of schema therapy for couples, and has found time to write several widely read books on schema therapy including Contextual Schema Therapy (with Bruce Stevens and Robert Brockman) that was published in 2018.

Farewell to Former Members of the Executive Board

As this new Executive Board looks forward to serving the ISST in the coming two years, we look back with gratitude to the three members of the previous Board who stepped back and did not stand for re-election.

Remco van der Wijngaart, our outgoing Vice-President, is one of our inspirational leaders who has contributed to the dissemination of schema therapy by offering training in many cities and countries and who has been central to the development of several training DVD series that are widely used all over the world. As Vice-President he did a massive amount of work on the planning and running of the 2018 Amsterdam conference and we can thank him for contributing to an event that was a wonderful success with (once again) record numbers of attendees.

Joan Farrell, our outgoing Training and Certification Coordinator, is another inspirational leader, whose contribution to the development and dissemination of Group Schema Therapy has been a major factor in the scientific credibility of the schema therapy model. With her partner, Ida Shaw, she continues to travel widely giving training in many countries. Joan continues to play a leading role in research and is one of the key players in a large international collaborative project on Group Schema Therapy, preliminary findings from which were presented at our Amsterdam conference and are already appearing in leading journals.  Her several books on schema therapy which are all very approachable and full of practical insight are mainstays of our clinical literature. The most recent one, Experiencing schema therapy from the inside out (with Ida Shaw), appeared in 2018. It is hard to fully appreciate the huge amount of work Joan did during her three terms as Training and Certification Coordinator.  As our society expanded, this role involved a great deal of administrative work and planning as there was a mushrooming increase in the number of applications for ISST certification and for approval of training programs.  Witness to the scale of the work Joan has been responsible for is the decision to split her portfolio into two.  Going forward there will be two Board members attending to what Joan was dealing with alone, a Training Coordinator and a Certification Coordinator.  The demands on her were exacerbated by the fact that, as already mentioned, our office infrastructure was not keeping pace with the expansion of our Society. We hope that going forward these problems will be alleviated somewhat now we now have two Board Members involved and additional office resources coming on stream.

Chris Hayes, our outgoing Secretary, has also been a leader in the field of schema therapy training.  In Australia, in addition to presenting his own trainings, he has promoted visits to Australia of many leading schema therapists over several years.  He has collaborated with Remco van der Wijngaart in the development of training DVDs (mentioned above) that are widely used all over the world and has been (and continues to be) one of the editors of another valuable training resource, the ISST’s Schema Therapy Bulletin.  He also contributed to a 2018 research publication (with Susan Simpson and others) on the relationship between burnout and early maladaptive schemas. During his two terms on the Board as Secretary he has contributed in many other areas of our work including the organization of our ISST events, and I am sure he will continue to contribute to schema therapy and the ISST in these and other ways.

Thanks to Our Office Staff

Finally, I want to thank Angeles Hoffman at the ISST office in Frankfurt.  She has been a central figure in our office administration.  We have placed huge, even unfair, demands on her in the past year in particular.  She has worked long hours well beyond the call of her responsibilities, to keep the ISST administrative infrastructure running. The decision to bring in Volunt was taken not a moment too soon.  Angeles is playing a leading role in liaising with Volunt and will continue to play a pivotal role in our administrative system sharing her extensive inside knowledge and administrative expertise.  We are fortunate to have her, and I hope that once the new arrangements with Volunt are up and running she will have a more normal kind of job! Angeles has been assisted by Nicole Haubitz, who processed the new membership applications over the last 2 years. Nicole did an excellent job too, dealing with the increasing number of members.

Looking Forward

The ISST is here to serve you, it’s members in several ways:

  • In providing certification we contribute to your professional status and credibility.
  • Our certification program is designed to enrich your clinical expertise from your first participation in a basic workshop training, to ongoing supervision, and the use of the case conceptualization form and other training materials designed to provide a guide to clinical practice.
  • We provide many opportunities for networking and continuing learning, not only through our INSPIRE conferences and ENLIGHT workshop events but also through regular webinars and the Schema Therapy Bulletin.
  • Our website is a rich source of information about schema therapy and the activities of the ISST. From it, members can download the Schema Therapy Bulletin and see recordings of webinars they missed and recordings of some conference Keynotes.  Our Find a therapist feature enables you to make your services known as a schema therapist in training, a certified schema therapist, and/or as a trainer supervisor.  You might like to check your own entry on this.  When you log into our website https://schematherapysociety.org/ as a member, you will see your name on the top right of the screen. You will see a “View profile” button.  This will take you to the information about you that is available on the Find a therapist or supervisor directory.  If you have not yet entered the information I encourage you to do so.  You can also edit and update it at any time.
  • Our special interest groups (SIGs) meet online usually monthly.  You can see the current groups at https://schematherapysociety.org/Special-Interest-Groups and apply to join any that interest you.  We also encourage members to start new ones focusing on clinical issues relevant to the development of the schema therapy model.

In the coming year we expect to be consolidating our capacity to deliver these services and to increase the efficiency with which we process certification applications.

The foundational schema therapy model can serve as a basis for addressing an increasing range of clinical presentations.  We know that our members are creatively working on expanding the model to deal with the particular challenges and obstacles presented by specific clinical problems. We look forward to presentations on these developments at our next conference in Copenhagen in 2020 and in the meantime invite you to use the resources of the ISST to support you in your work.

David Edwards

ISST President

Why Schema Therapy?

Schema therapy has been extensively researched to effectively treat a wide variety of typically treatment resistant conditions, including Borderline Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Read our summary of the latest research comparing the dramatic results of schema therapy compared to other standard models of psychotherapy.

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