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The European Perspective of Trauma Work

The European Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ESTSS) was founded in 1993 as a network for professionals in the field of psychotraumatology. However, three European conferences starting five years earlier served as an inspiration to form this organization that would bring together practitioners, researchers and academics working in the fast growing field of psychotrauma. Today 450 regular ESTSS members come from over 30 European countries, while affiliate members also come from the Americas, Africa and Asia including Pacific regions. This makes the ESTSS a true European organization with a number of services provided to the members. This includes the “European Trauma Bulletin” published twice a year; reduced subscription to the leading professional journal in the field, the “Journal of Traumatic Stress”; a directory of ESTSS members where their addresses and fields of interest are listed; the access to the society’s web pages reserved for members only; greatly reduced registration fees for scientific meetings arranged by any of the international societies for traumatic stress studies; the opportunity to purchase books published in the ESTSS and Oxford University Press jointly produced book series “European Perspectives on Psychotraumatology” at a preferential price. On the web pages reserved for the members, previous Bulletins are available, as well as translations of some of the issues in French, Italian and German. The ESTSS membership directory is increasingly being used by students and colleagues to establish contacts, share experiences and work on joint projects.

Right from its onset the ESTSS nurtured collaboration with other international and regional organizations with shared interests. In recognition of the role of ESTSS, president of the ESTSS is an ex-officio member of the Board of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS). ESTSS is strongly committed to facilitate a worldwide network of international societies for traumatic stress studies. As such, it is proud that regional societies for traumatic stress hold the affiliate status with the ESTSS, such as the societies from the German and French speaking countries.

The regular biannual European Conference on Traumatic Stress (ECOTS) became the key professional meeting among colleagues from academic institutions, treatment centers and decision makers with shared interests in the effects of trauma and their resolution. The last ECOTS was held in Berlin a year ago in collaboration with the “Deutschsprachige Gesellschaft für Psychotraumatologie” (DeGUPT), while the 9th European Conference will be held in Stockholm, in May 2005. The 10th ECOTS is already scheduled to be held in Croatia in May 2007. These conferences typically attract between six hundred and one thousand participants from all European countries, and many come from other continents, with traditionally strong contribution from North America. Between the European Conferences, ESTSS organises two smaller thematic regional meetings every year. In a cooperative venture with the European Commission the ESTSS has worked to influence policy decisions in respect of training requirements for professionals involved in the care of victims of traumatic stressors as well as standards of practice within treatment centers.

The ESTSS is committed to ensuring that continued prominence is given to all aspects of traumatic stress and its many repercussions. The increased risk of exposure to traumatic experiences brought about by natural disasters, such as recent earthquakes in Turkey; technological hazards, such as airplane crashes and fires in urbanized environment, such as were the cases in The Netherlands; war-related traumatic experiences among the military and civilian populations, as in the recent wars in South East Europe; massive terrorist attacks, such as those in Madrid or Istanbul, or caused by traffic accidents, rape and other forms of violence, make the ESTSS’s role in networking among individuals and organizations within the field of psychotraumatology in the European-wide perspective even more pertinent. At the same time ESTSS remains dedicated to ensure that clinical practice and research, as well as policy practices in this field are governed by evidence and best practices, and are widely disseminated for the benefit of the victims of trauma.

Professor Dr Dean Ajdukovic
European Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ESTSS) and Department of Psychology, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia +385 1 561 20 197; dean.ajdukovic@ffzg.hr; secretariat@estss.org www.estss.org