Restoring humanity to life

2015 Annual ISEPP Conference — Newton, MA — October 9-11, 2015

5/28/2015        Featured 1 Comment


Understanding Trauma: Responding Beyond the Medical Model

October 9-11, 2015

Crowne Plaza (Boston/Newton) – Newton, MA


What would happen if the mental health system stopped asking, "What's wrong with you?" and instead asked, "What happened to you?"  This year's annual ISEPP conference will explore this question.  Our plenary speakers hail from the United States, Canada, and England and include psychiatric survivors, therapists, doctors, researchers, academics, activists, trainers, and advocates whose work is framed around trauma-informed understandings of and responses to the experiences that get called "mental illness”.  Workshops will also be offered.


Complete List of Plenary Speakers​

Meaghan Buisson 
Joanne Cacciatore, PhD
Cathy Cave
Chris Chapman, PhD
Barry Duncan​ , PsyD
Ann Jennings, PhD​
Brenda LeFrancois​, PhD​
Bruce Levine, PhD
Maria Liegghio, PhD
Bessel van der Kolk, MD​
Rachel Waddingham
David Walker, PhD


Plenary Bios

Bessel van der Kolk
Bessel van der Kolk, MD, is the medical director of The Trauma Center in Boston, MA for 30+ years. He’s a professor of psychiatry at Boston University Medical School and the co-director of the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress Complex Trauma Network. He has published well over 150 peer reviewed scientific articles on various aspects of trauma and is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, "The Body Keeps The Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma".  London/New York Viking Penguin, 2014.


Bruce Levine

Bruce E. Levine, Ph.D., writes and speaks widely on how society, culture, politics and psychology intersect. His latest book is Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite (2011). Earlier books include Surviving America’s Depression Epidemic (2007) and Commonsense Rebellion (2001). A practicing clinical psychologist often at odds with the mainstream of his profession, he is a regular contributor to Salon, CounterPunch, AlterNet, Truthout, Z Magazine, and the Huffington Post, and his articles and interviews have been published in the New York Times,  Adbusters and numerous other magazines.  His Web site is


jcacciatoreJoanne Cacciatore Ph.D. researches all aspects of traumatic grief and death and mindfulness/meditation practices as an Associate Professor at Arizona State University, director of the Graduate Certificate in Trauma and Bereavement there, and the founder of the MISS Foundation, an international nonprofit organization with 75 chapters around the world aiding parents whose children have died or are dying.  In 1996, she also began a global movement of remembrance and compassion called the Kindness Project as a way to help many grieving parents honor their beloved children who have died.   She has published 50 studies in peer reviewed journals such as The Lancet, BJOG, Death Studies, Omega, Birth, Social Work, and Families in Society. She is also a medical consultant and trainer who has presented grand rounds and provided individual and agency consulting and training all around the world. She is the recipient of numerous volunteerism focused awards such as the Hon Kachina Award, the Sr Teresa Compassionate Care Award, the Empathic Therapist of the Year Award, Arizona Foothills Arizona Women Who Move the Valley Award, and the Parents of Murdered Children Father Ken Czillinger Award.   She is a Zen priest who has authored many book chapters and several books, such as The World of Bereavement and Selah: A guide toward fully inhabited grief, and she is writing another book for Wisdom Publication being released in 2016.



Meaghan Buisson BSc CPT is a 47-time Canadian National Champion, 11-time international medallist and current world record holder in the sport of inline speed skating. She graduated with distinction from Thompson Rivers University, majoring in Biological and Life Sciences with a directed studies specialization in evidence-based medicine. She was the founder and Executive Director of “BodyWhys Youth Canada”, an award-winning national charity focused on the prevention of eating disorders and self-harm in youth. Her professional expertise is coupled with lived experience. In January 2015, she was the first Canadian subject enrolled in MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for treatment-resistant PTSD. This study marked the first clinical psychedelic therapy trial in Canada in over 40 years.


Barry Duncan

Barry Duncan Psy.D. is a therapist, trainer, and researcher with over 17,000 hours of clinical experience, is Director of the Heart and Soul of Change Project (, CEO of Better Outcomes Now (, and the developer of the Partners for Change Outcome Management System (PCOMS;, a SAMHSA designated evidence based practice. Dr. Duncan has over one hundred publications, including 17 books addressing client feedback, consumer rights, and the power of relationship. His latest book, On Becoming a Better Therapist: Evidence Based Practice One Client at a Time (2nd ed., APA, 2014) describes PCOMS as a way to improve client outcomes, finally give clients the voice they deserve, and change the medical model discourse to a more relational perspective. Because of his self-help books (the latest is What’s Right With You), he has appeared on "Oprah," and other national TV programs. Barry travels nationally and internationally implementing PCOMS in small and large systems of behavioral health care.


Cathy CaveCathy Cave has 30 years working in human services invested in the movement to shift mental health, substance abuse, first responder, education and other systems’ services to become trauma-informed. In the mid 1990s She coordinated New York State’s Annual Mastering The Key Connections Conferences; presenting state-of-the-art clinical training for trauma treatment and collaborative models for engaging survivors in healing approaches and systems change. She has partnered with domestic violence, sexual assault, mental health and peer run advocacy organizations to incorporate trauma-informed approaches in service delivery, training and supervision. She served 7 years in the executive staff position as the Director for Cultural Competence at the New York State Office of Mental Health, addressing disparities elimination and inclusion of cultural considerations into services and supports. She is recognized for her work in the integration of cultural competence and trauma-informed approaches, has consulted with many national technical assistance centers and brings her experiences with survival, leadership and organizational development to all that she does.


Rachel Waddingham

Rachel (Rai) Waddingham hears voices, sees visions and has struggled with overwhelming realities and beliefs that - in her early twenties - led to her spending most of her time as an inpatient with diagnoses of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and BPD. Following years of feeling like a zombie, Rai found her sense of humanity within the community of a Hearing Voices Group. Alongside other voice-hearers, Rai began to make sense of her experiences and find creative ways of utilising them as breadcrumbs in her healing journey. No longer identifying with psychiatric labels, she now feels privileged to be working for human ways of supporting people in distress, both inside and out of the system.  Rai is a trustee of the English Hearing Voices Network and an executive committee member of the International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis (ISPS). She is a proud member of Intervoice (the International Hearing Voices Network) and has launched initiatives supporting    children who hear voices, adults struggling with unusual beliefs and people in prison who hear voices. She is an international trainer, a Mad in America blogger and - essentially - a human being who feels lucky that she is alive and able to contribute to a thriving movement for change.


David Walker-1David Walker Ph.D. is a psychologist, musician, novelist, and freelance journalist. He seeks to expose the Western mental health movement’s complicity in American Indian cultural oppression and is currently preparing a multipart series on this topic for Indian Country Today Media. David has consulted with the Yakama Indian Nation since 2000 and traces his Missouri Cherokee heritage through his grandmothers Elizabeth Jane Albina Alexander and Elizabeth Gibson, who walked the Trail of Tears. His debut Native-themed novel, Tessa’s Dance, won an Independent Publisher Book Award (IPPY) in 2013, while its sequel, Signal Peak, won an IndieFab Book of the Year Award and was finalist in the 2014 Nancy Pearl Literary Awards.  He shared a 2006 Special Educational Needs Academic Book Award for his chapter in Critical New Perspectives on ADHD (Routledge) and has contributed to Ethical Human Psychology & Psychiatry, International Journal of Critical Psychology, and Journal of Clinical Psychology. He’s served on faculties at Washington School of Professional Psychology, Heritage University, Oakland University, and Wayne State University Medical School. A past board member of DreamCatchers, a volunteer music performance organization benefiting Native causes in the 1990s, he currently serves on the board of Refugee Women’s Alliance (ReWA) in Seattle. David’s been a member of ISEPP since 2000 and is an advisory editor for Ethical Human Psychology & Psychiatry.


Ann 2011-2Ann Jennings Ph.D. has been involved for over 20 years in raising public awareness and influencing fundamental change in the way public health and mental health systems view and treat people with histories of unaddressed sexual and physical abuse trauma.  She initiated and for 8 years directed the first state system Office of Trauma Services in the country for Maine’s Department of Behavioral and Developmental Services.  Dr. Jennings consults nationally with SAMHSA (Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration) and NASMHPD (National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors), and with numerous state health and mental health systems across the country.  She is a keynote speaker and presenter at national and state conferences and has authored and co-authored several published articles and documents.  Dr. Jennings is also the founder and president of The Anna Institute, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to speaking truth about the effects of childhood trauma, promoting prevention and early intervention, and providing resources for professional, community, and survivor use.


Chris3-2 - Version 2Chris Chapman
is Assistant Professor of Social Work at York University, Canada. He worked in the helping professions for a decade. Chris is co-editor of Disability Incarcerated: Imprisonment and Disability in the US and Canada (2014, Palgrave Macmillan) and co-author of the forthcoming Interlocking Oppression and The Birth of Social Work. His articles and chapters include Becoming Perpetrator: How I Came to Accept Restraining and Confining Disabled Aboriginal Children; Colonialism, Disability and Possible Lives: The Residential Treatment of Children whose Parents Survived Indian Residential Schools; Fostering a Personal-is-political Ethics: Reflexive Conversations in Social Work Education; and Cultivating a Troubled Consciousness: Compulsory Sound-mindedness and Complicity in Oppression.


Brenda - Version 2

Dr. Brenda LeFrançois is a full professor in the School of Social Work at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Her areas of specialism include children’s agency and psychiatrization, the lived experience of sanism, and organizing alternatives to professional services. She has published many journal articles on these topics and is co-editor of three volumes, including (along with Canadian scholars and activists Robert Menzies and Geoffrey Reaume) the book Mad Matters: A Critical Reader in Canadian Mad Studies (2013, Canadian Scholars Press Inc).  Also, she was one of the founding editors of the journal Radical Psychology. Brenda has been an activist for over 20 years, and is currently working with community members to develop the Hearing Voices Network for Atlantic Canada.


Maria Liegghio

Maria Liegghio is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  Her main areas of research are social work epistemology in child and youth mental health; the stigma of mental illness in child and youth mental health; critical social work education, theory, and practice; and collaborative, community-based and participatory action research.  She has extensive experience working as a child and family mental health therapist.   Her current work is focused on the experiences psychiatrized children and youth and their caregivers have of policing and police encounters.  



Special room rate $119 (until September 9th)
Reservations 1.617.969.3010  Group Code ISE

Register early and save - Mail in form here or register online here

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