DID Awareness Day Webinar - 2023
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ISSTD is thrilled to offer our third annual webinar for the public! Join experts including those with lived experience from a number of International organizations which provide resources and support to people with dissociative disorders. Our conversation this year will focus on what healing from dissociative disorders looks like for some of us thus far, as well as answering your questions about what healing looks like for you.
This webinar is jointly presented by ISSTD, An Infinite Mind, Beauty After Bruises, Blue Knot Foundation, and System Speak.All proceeds from the webinar will be divided as donations among the presenting organizations. If you would like to make an additional donation to a specific organization, you can do so in the registration process.
This webinar is specifically designed for members of the general public and non-clinicians. The webinar will be recorded and the recording will be made available to all registered attendees.
Cathy Kezelman | Blue Knot Foundation
Dr. Cathy Kezelman AM is a medical practitioner, has a lived experience of dissociation and is President of Blue Knot Foundation - Australia’s Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma, and Deputy Chair of the National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse.
Cathy was forced to stop work to process her trauma experiences, as recorded in her memoir, Innocence Revisited – a Tale in Parts. Her own journey inspired her to work to empower other survivors to find pathways to recovery – hence her roles in Blue Knot. Under her stewardship Blue Knot has grown from a peer support organisation to a leading national Australian organisation which combines lived and living expertise with that of researchers, academics and clinicians. It is a key driver of trauma-informed change and informed responsiveness to complex trauma and dissociation. She is co-author of multiple seminal Blue Knot documents, and other publications, and a prominent voice in the media, at conferences and in podcasts and webinars. In 2020 the ISSTD awarded Cathy and Pam Stavropoulos the Pierre Janet Award for Blue Knot’s clinical guidelines.
Lexi | Beauty After Bruises
Lexi is a trauma educator, survivor outreach provider, and co-founder of Beauty After Bruises. As a survivor of highly complex trauma herself, she uses her lived experience of Dissociative Identity Disorder, as well as navigating all levels of treatment, to inform her public outreach and advisory to clinicians, survivors, and all members of BAB. Due to the nature of her trauma story, many of her personal credentials and life identifiers must maintain a level of anonymity, which has become a unique opportunity to demonstrate healthy boundaries and show one potential path concerned survivors can take while still pursuing their passions.
Lexi's main focus is in creating clear, well-synthesized, heartfelt psychoeducation; writing articles, symptom management tools, and resource guides; designing social media and web materials; and most of all, bridging the gaps that stand between survivors and quality trauma care. That means matching well-researched data with deep feeling and connection; healthy realism with flourishing hope; and compassionate awareness with real, tangible, and effective change.
Anne Knisley | Beauty After Bruises
Anne Knisley is the Co-founder and Survivor Outreach Liaison for the nonprofit organization Beauty After Bruises. Beauty After Bruises directly helps survivors with Complex PTSD and Dissociative Disorders access the therapeutic and inpatient care they need. BAB provides financial aid as well as bridging the many gaps in trauma care by locating specialized clinicians, educating the public on trauma and dissociation, and giving survivors themselves the tools and self-compassion needed to fight another day.
Anne received her BA from York College of Pennsylvania and built her career and businesses ownership in the health and human services industry. Her life was redirected by a loved one's close and intimate battle with complex trauma, and her focus transitioned into becoming an effective support person in their life. This required a robust crash course in trauma and dissociative disorders, the bureaucracy and financial demands of the healthcare industry, and society's mistreatment of survivors. This early introduction and life milestone birthed a passion to ensure the same services reach the countless survivors that did NOT have anyone in their corner to guide them through this maze. Thus, the Beauty After Bruises initiative was born. Today Anne mainly works one-on-one with our survivors, their therapists, and doing public education. In every role, she offers the information, skills, and self-confidence needed to proceed with strength, self-agency and the knowledge that someone has their back.
Jaime Pollack | An Infinite Mind
Jaime Pollack is the Founder and Director of An Infinite Mind, a national non-profit dedicated to helping those living with dissociation and dissociative identities. She volunteers on several client-focused advisory panels and gives frequent presentations at conferences and universities. She lives in Central Florida with her husband and 5 fur children where she teaches pre-school children with special needs and works part time as an in-home early interventionist for special needs children aged birth to three.
Emma Sunshaw | SystemSpeak: A Podcast About Dissociative Identity Disorder
Emma Sunshaw (pseudonym) and her system were diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) by a licensed therapist and psychiatrist following inpatient treatment for a significant fugue experience and related trauma issues. Prior to this experience, Emma had functioned well for nearly twenty years as a doctorate level clinician until both her parents passed away. The layers of this experience triggered a collapse of protective walls that had thus far sustained them internally, leading them to seek treatment.
That said, Emma and her system began this podcast when they began to study available research as a form of education to increase understanding. They also found many survivor videos online, but had little time to sit and watch them. They discovered few ongoing podcasts as a source of support, and most of what was available at the time was episodic and general in content. Recognizing this need for an ongoing DID-related podcast, appropriate boundaries were negotiated and they began a new podcast as a way of educating themselves and others in effort to collaborate together on a project.
This podcast is not about broadcasting private details, disclosing abuse history, or working out therapeutic issues publicly. It is about documenting one journey, educating many, and finding our own voice. It is about somehow finding a way to bridge the gap between survivor and clinician. It is about advocacy, fighting stigma, and adding substance and quality and rawness to the online conversation regarding complex trauma in general, and Dissociative Identity Disorder specifically.
General Public and Clinicians of all Levels