Fairbanks Regional Conference

Diagnosis and Treatment of DID and PTSD in Indigenous Peoples

June 17-20, 2020
Virtual Conference

We are excited to announce our 2020 Regional Conference in Fairbanks, AK! Join ISSTD for this four-day virtual conference featuring presentations by Colin Ross, Lynette Danylchuk and Christine Forner as they discuss how to diagnose and treat DID and PTSD in Indigenous populations.

All times listed are Alaska Daylight Time

Days 1 and 2

9:00am-10:15am               Training Part I
10:15am-10:45am             Break
10:45am-12:00pm             Training Part II
12:00pm-1:15pm               Lunch Break
1:15pm-2:45pm                 Training Part III
2:45pm-3:15pm                 Break
3:15pm-4:45pm                 Training Part IV

Days 3 and 4

9:00am-10:30am               Training Part I
10:30am-11:00am             Break
11:00am-12:30pm             Training Part II
12:30pm-1:30pm               Lunch Break
1:30pm-3:00pm                 Training Part III
3:00pm-3:30pm                 Break
3:30pm-5:00pm                 Training Part IV

Registration Details

Student registrations are reviewed and accepted upon approval. Student registrants must provide proof of current status in a related field and must submit verification by email or fax. Discounts for Emerging Professionals (first three years after licensure or graduation) are available, please email a copy of your license or degree to ISSTD HQ for discount codes. All registration fees listed are in US Dollars (USD).

Group rates are available for groups of five or more from the same hospital, facility, or university. Please email the ISSTD HQ for assistance with group rates.


This conference will be livestreamed and will not contain any in-person elements.

Cancellation Policy
Cancellations must be received in writing via email or fax. A processing fee of $45 will be charged for cancellations received on or before June 10, 2020 at 5:00 PM ET. No refunds will be issued for no-shows. Refund requests will not be accepted after June 10, 2020. Not all requests will be granted. Substitutions for attendees are accepted at any time.

Registration Contact Information
Email: info@isst-d.org
Phone: 844.994.7783
Fax: 888.966.0310


Meet our Speakers!

Colin A. Ross, MD completed medical school at the University of Alberta and his psychiatry training at the University of Manitoba in Canada. He is a Past President of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation, and is the author of over 225 papers and 32 books. He has spoken widely throughout North America and Europe, and in China, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand. He has been a keynote speaker at many different conferences, and has reviewed for over 30 different professional journals.

Dr. Ross is the Director of hospital-based Trauma Programs in Denton, Texas, Torrance, California and Grand Rapids, Michigan. He provides cognitive therapy groups at all three locations, in person in Texas and by video-conference in Michigan and California. He has been running a hospital Trauma Program in the Dallas area since moving to Texas in 1991.

Dr. Ross’ books cover a wide range of topics. His clinical books focus on trauma and  dissociation and include: Dissociative Identity Disorder. Diagnosis, Clinical Features and Treatment of Multiple Personality, Second Edition (1997); Schizophrenia: Innovations in Diagnosis and Treatment (2004); The Trauma Model: A Solution to the Problem of Comorbidity in Psychiatry (2007); Trauma Model Therapy: A Treatment Approach for Trauma Dissociation and Complex Comorbidity (2009); Structural Dissociation: A Proposed Modification of the Theory (2013); and Treatment of Dissociative Identity Disorder: Techniques and Strategies for Stabilization (2018).

Dr. Ross has published a series of treatment outcome studies in peer-reviewed journals, which provide evidence for the effectiveness of Trauma Model Therapy. Many of his papers involve large series of cases, with original research data and statistical analyses, including a paper entitled ‘Trauma and Dissociation in China” in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Besides his clinical psychiatry interests, Dr. Ross has published papers and books on cancer and human energy fields, as well as literary works including essays, fiction, poetry and screenplays. He has several different hobbies including travel.

Lynette Danylchuk, PhD, has been working in the trauma field since mid-80, starting with Vietnam Vets and people with DID. She served 12 years on the original Board of Directors of Survivorship, and then worked for the Board of the Star Foundation for several more years. She had her private practice in San Mateo, California, where, in addition to working with clients, she did (and continues to do) periodic consultation and teaching where she sees a need, including a local graduate school, juvenile hall, or the county trauma-informed services conference. Lynette has been adjunct faculty to graduate schools in the San Francisco area where she has taught, and been a dissertation chairperson. She has given keynote speeches and workshops across the state and at annual conferences of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD). 

Lynette is a Past President of ISSTD .She has been an active society member since 1996. She has chaired the Volunteer Committee, and the Professional Training Program. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors, the Conference Committee, the PTP Task Force, the EMDR/PTP Task Force, and Chair of Certificate Program Committee, and the UN Task Force.

Christine Forner, BA, BSW, MSW, RSW, has been in the healing profession in one form or another since the age of 16 where she worked on a crisis line for teens. Christine spent the first part of her career in the front lines working at local sexual assault centres, long term therapeutic setting and shelters for domestic violence survivours. Since 2011, Christine has worked in her own private practice, which specializes in complex trauma and dissociative disorders. Christine has over thirty years of working with individuals with Trauma, Post Traumatic Stress Disorders, Traumatic Dissociation, Developmental Trauma and Dissociative Disorders, with specialized training in EMDR, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Psychotherapeutic Meditation techniques, Neurofeedback and Havening. Christine teaches locally and at an international level on the issue of dissociation, complex trauma, and the intersection of dissociation and mindfulness. Christine is a past President for the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation. Christine has also served on the board of the ISSTD since 2010 and was the ISSTD treasurer from 2011-2017. She is the author of Dissociation, Mindfulness and Creative Meditations: Trauma informed practices to facilitate growth (Routledge, 2017). The summation of her work is to educate practitioners about the vital importance of their presence, patients and care with those who have been through the most severe and brutal injuries so that they get treated with dignity and compassion; something every human deserves to experience.

Jessica Saniguq Ullrich is Inupiaq and has recently completed her dissertation at the University of Washington in the social welfare program. Jessica works as a child welfare trainer at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) and will start as an assistant professor at the UAA school of social work in the fall. Her main research interests are within Indigenous wellbeing, spirituality, land/water connectedness, protective factors, child abuse prevention, child welfare practice improvement, program evaluation, and language revitalization.


Conference Abstract

Therapeutic work and successful outcomes is often difficult with clients with Complex PTSD and dissociative disorders, and cultural differences and rural Alaskan/American issues can further complicate the treatment picture. During the first two days of the conference, Dr. Colin Ross, MD attempts to delineate and clarify considerations in diagnosing and properly treating indigenous peoples in a trauma-informed way so that clinicians can begin to see and treat the root causes for disturbances clients experience rather than becoming overwhelmed by the myriad of symptoms clients with which present. On the third day, Dr. Lynette Danylchuk, PhD discusses challenges that both client and treating clinicians face in working together and tools to use in addressing them; and she will speak about how providers can continue to be present in this challenging treatment through mindful self-care. The final day will be spent learning about the neurobiological underpinnings of both attachment wounds and mindfulness, and how using mindfulness in therapy is an imperative tool for clients to master.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this conference participant will be able to:

  • Identify culturally relevant issues related to diagnosing CPTSD and dissociative disorders
  • Explain differential diagnoses and signs and symptoms of CPTSD and dissociative disorders specific to indigenous peoples
  • Discuss relevant considerations in prescribing and using medications as part of treatment
  • Identify relevant biopsychosocial considerations in addressing therapeutic challenges, such as self-harm, suicide, and “resistance” to mindful modalities in treating those with attachment wounds
  • Discuss therapeutic tools that contribute to positive outcomes for both the client’s wellbeing and the therapist’s self-care
  • Explain the biopsychosocial system between attachment wounds and mindfulness, and various ways mindfulness can work within the therapeutic process to help the traumatized client self-regulate

Days 1 and 2

Trauma Model Therapy for Trauma, Dissociation, and Complex Comorbidity
Presenter: Colin Ross

Abstract: In this workshop, Dr. Ross will explain the principles of his Trauma Model and the relationships between trauma, dissociation and comorbidity within the model. The Trauma Model is a detailed, scientifically testable theory about the relationships between trauma and a wide range of mental disorders and addictions. He will review treatment outcome data from his Trauma Program. Dr. Ross will then explain the principles of Trauma Model Therapy, which sits on the foundation of the overall Trauma Model. These include: the problem of attachment to the perpetrator; the locus of control shift; the problem is not the problem; just say ‘no’ to drugs; addiction is the opposite of desensitization; and the victim-rescuer-perpetrator triangle. He will then describe core principles of the therapy of DID including: the central paradox of DID; the problem of host resistance, talking through to alter personalities; orientation to the body and the present; deprogramming without deprogramming; making friends with Satan; the principle of therapeutic neutrality; and levels and layers in the system. The workshop will be practical and hands-on with many examples of specific techniques and strategies. There will be ample time for questions, discussion and brief case consultation.

Day 3

Indigenous Connectedness as a Framework for Relational Healing within Alaska Native Child Welfare
Presenter: Jessica Saniguq Ullrich, PhD

Abstract: This study was embedded within the Alaska Native child welfare context to fill a gap in the literature that further theorized and made evident the key concepts and mechanisms of Indigenous child wellbeing. Twenty-five foster care alumni, relative caregivers and foster parents provided their perspectives and life experience of child wellbeing within ICWA preference placements. The use of directed content analysis and Indigenous storywork helped make meaning of the knowledge bearers’ stories in comparison with an Indigenous Connectedness Framework. Results indicate that: 1) relational wounds and trauma must be acknowledged and addressed; 2) relational continuity is a crucial for wellbeing within child welfare, and 3) relational healing happens when children and adults know who they are and where they come from. This study is significant because it shifts the narrative, philosophy, values, beliefs and theory of child wellbeing within child welfare and influences how we live in right relationship with ourselves and others for the benefit of our sacred children.

Treatment Challenges: Lessons Learned
Presenter: Lynette Danylchuk

Abstract: Therapy with people who have been severely traumatized presents challenges to both the client and the therapist.  The intensity of emotional and physical needs of trauma survivors with complex PTSD and Dissociative Disorders confront therapists with challenges of how best to manage those issues – for both the client and for the therapist. Theories and techniques often take a back seat to recurrent emergencies, self-harm and suicidal behaviors.  Even without those, the therapy is intense by nature of the trauma the person needs to address and heal.

The workshop will cover:

Challenges that come from the clients – what they bring into the therapeutic relationship, the ways they have learned to be in order to survive and the areas where they were not given what they needed to grow.

Challenges that come from the therapist – their own normal limitations of time and energy, and the additional stress from personal life issues that impact their practice such as health issues, moving, and retirement. In the afternoon, the workshop will cover Self-harm and suicidal behavior.  How to work with it, and what happens to the therapist when a client suicides. The afternoon will end with an emphasis on the most important things that help us all stay in this field in a healthy manner, and do our best work with our clients.

Day 4

The Quandary of Mindfulness and Dissociation: The Flummoxed State of Needing to Know and Not Know at the Same Time
Presenter: Christine Forner

Mindfulness is best known as “a deep state of relaxation in which one is engaged in an active mental state requiring great attention” (Lazar et al., 2000). The most classic definition of Mindfulness is that it involves the development of awareness of present-moment experience with a compassionate, nonjudgmental stance (Kabat-Zinn, 1990). We have learned that Mindfulness is an effective modality that not only affects the function of the mind, but also the structure of the brain. We are also learning that Mindfulness is more than just a spiritual practice. The neurobiological result of mindfulness is very similar to the neurobiological developmental adult milestone of secure attachment. These findings suggest that mindfulness is potentially a very important part of our social engagement system.

The Diagnostic and statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (APA, 2013), defines dissociation as a disruption, interruption, and/or discontinuity of the normal, subjective integration of behavior, memory, identity, consciousness, emotion, perception, body representation, and motor control. Those who deal with disordered dissociation often have to manage daily chronic self harm, suicidal ideation, constant pain, difficult relationships, intense fear, shame, aloneness and global challenges in self regulation.

In examining these two different human experiences one can see that dissociation and mindfulness are opposite brain activities. One is about total integration and the other is partial or complete discontinuity. In theory and at first glance one would assume that Mindfulness is, or should be, an effective modality for the treatment of dissociative disorders. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The Dissociative mind tends to be very phobic of any type of mindfulness. Introducing Mindfulness Meditation, without understanding the tendencies of the dissociative process, can result in a client’s need to dissociate harder, which could lead to decompensation, in order to protect themselves from the awareness of their lifetime experiences of loss and pain.

Key points of this presentation will be: 1) to discuss what brain structures are engaged when someone regularly practices mindfulness, 2) to compare and contrast these same brain structures in individuals who dissociate and those who do not, and 3) to help participants understand why mindfulness is hard for those who chronically dissociate. In examining the various brain structures that are the dominant brain structures used during the state of mindfulness, participants will learn to understand why it is useful to see mindfulness through the lens of human attachment. This modality – mindfulness – can be an important tool in a therapist’s therapeutic repertoire.

A strong focus throughout this discussion will be: 1) showing participants the neurobiological underpinnings of mindfulness as a part of the human attachment system, and 2) explaining how intergenerational trauma compounds the difficulty of becoming mindful.

Potential to Stress

This workshop has a low potential to cause stress. No graphic trauma details will be described, however some case histories could be triggering to anyone with unresolved trauma.

Continuing Education Credits

This full conference program is pending approval for approximately 20 continuing education credits.

American Psychological Association

CE Learning Systems, LLC is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. CE Learning Systems maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Conference Access

ISSTD will be using the Zoom platform for this conference. Access details will be included in your confirmation after registration and sent to attendees prior to the conference start. Visit this page for information on Zoom system requirements.