Pre-Conference: March 13–14, 2025Main Conference: March 15–17, 2025Boston, Massachusetts

Submission Guidelines

Submissions Open July 1, 2024 – August 15, 2024

We invite creative, innovative, and exciting presentations that represent all aspects of understanding, researching, and treating complex trauma and dissociation in addition to the conference theme. We encourage solid scientific and clinically grounded presentations.

Guidelines and Policies for Abstract Submission

All presenters must be able to participate in the conference live from Boston, MA and will not be able to present remotely.

Please read the guidelines and policies below carefully before submitting your proposal as there are some guidelines that have changed this year to comply with updated CE/CME guidelines. Failure to comply with guidelines could result in your presentation being declined.

General Guidelines and Policies
  • All presenters, including invited plenary and pre-conference workshop speakers must submit proposals online. All presenters except for plenary speakers will be required to register for at least the day of their presentation during the conference.
  • Each individual is limited to no more than two (2) submissions. These submissions include any presentation where you are in the role of presenter or co-presenter. Poster sessions and invited presentations are not included. Presentations are limited to four (4) participants except paper sessions and symposiums where each presentation within these sessions is limited to four (4) participants.
  • One individual must gather all the required information from all individuals (presenters, co-presenters, authors, etc.) ahead of time and be responsible for making the submission. We strongly suggest that you prepare a document that contains all of your submission information from each individual involved in your submission in advance (i.e. presenters, co-presenters, authors, etc.). This will save time online and ensure that you have a backup copy of all of your information. The following information is needed:
    • Title and abstract of your proposal
    • If you are submitting a symposium, you will need:
      • the title and abstract of the symposium, AND
      • the titles, abstracts, and authors of each paper that will be presented in the symposium
    • The names, degrees, designation, unique email address, complete mailing address, and phone number of all individuals involved in your submission. You will also need a 200-300 word bio for each presenter that follows the guidelines below and a copy of each individual’s CV.
    • Five learning objectives that use acceptable verbs to complete the sentence, “Participants will be able to…” We recommend that you view the Guidelines for Writing Behavioral Learning Objectives before you begin writing your learning objective.
    • Five citations from peer-reviewed sources per the detailed guidelines below. Books, conference presentations and other non-peer reviewed materials are not acceptable citations. These citations must be included in your final presentation. Additional citations beyond these five can be used in addition to the original citations and do not need to meet these criteria. These will be submitted as part of the bibliography task for accepted speakers before the conference. Please pay close attention to this requirement, as this is the most frequent error received in submissions.
    • For each submission, you will be required to answer the following questions:
      • The theme of this year’s conference is the healing power of dignity. Does your presentation address this topic? If so, please explain how it is addressed.
      • Does your presentation address complex trauma? If so, please explain how it is addressed.
      • Does your presentation address dissociative disorders and processes? If so, please explain how it is addressed.
      • ISSTD is committed to developing programs that respects cultural, individual, and role differences, including those based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, and socioeconomic status. Please advise how your proposed presentation addresses sociocultural determinants.
    • The submission site will not allow you to submit your proposal until you have provided all items.
  • Abstracts must be relevant to and mention complex trauma and/or dissociation. Therapists may not present with their own clients at this conference. We do not accept first-person accounts of trauma. We request that details of clients’ traumatic experiences not be discussed during presentations, since explicit details of trauma may be distressing to the audience and do not enhance learning.
  • The most common reasons a proposal is rejected are for an incomplete, poorly written, or unclear abstract, and other failures to follow submission guidelines. Your submitted abstract must be complete, clear, concise, and grammatically correct in order to be considered by the program committee. For suggestions on how to improve your conference proposal, view our guide, Tips for Writing a Great Conference Proposal.
  • Those for whom English is a second language or who have expressive language difficulties may request help from someone on the Annual Conference Committee in editing their abstracts to meet acceptable grammatical standards. Such requests should be made BEFORE the proposal is submitted. You may contact ISSTD Staff at to receive support.
  • Presentations should be original contributions (i.e., they have not been published prior to the date that you submitted the abstract).
  • Abstracts will be published in their original form, with edits where needed, in the conference app and online schedule.
  • Case material and biographical information must be disguised so that the client’s identity is concealed.
  • If you have difficulties with the online submission process please contact the ISSTD office at
  • You will be notified by e-mail about your proposal’s status in October 2024. All decisions of the Annual Conference Committee are final. 

Presentation Types
TypeDetailsWord Count# of PresentersDiscussant Required?
Single Paper or Case Study
Paper Sessions are 90 minutes in length and contain four (4) 20-minute papers
Research, theoretical, clinical, or case study. Authors of unaccepted submissions may be offered the opportunity to present their paper as a Poster (see Posters below).500 words1 or more presentersDiscussant n/a
Session Length: 90 minutes
Several presentations on a specific theme, issue, or question.Overview: 500 words   Each presenter’s abstract: 500 words 2–4 presenters, including discussantDiscussant Optional
Panel Presentation
Session Length: 90 Minutes
Expert panelists conduct an organized discussion of a specific theme, issue, or question. Note: Audience interaction is limited with the panelists discussing answers to audience questions.Overview: 500 words2–4 presenters, including discussantDiscussant Optional
Forum Discussion
Session Length: 90 Minutes
A 30-45 minute presentation followed by 45-60 minutes of discussion with the audience. Note: Audience interaction and discussion is encouraged.500 words1-3 presenters, not including the moderatorDiscussant Optional
90 Minutes or 3 Hours
Workshops help participants to increase their understanding and skill in a particular area of interest, or use case material to illustrate clinical, theoretical, or policy issues. Workshops should include both didactic and practical or experiential components.500 words1-4 presentersDiscussant n/a
PosterPaper presentation in poster form. Details for Poster Submissions500 words1-4 presentersDiscussant n/a
Session Length:
90 minutes
Film, videotape, music, artwork,
or other forms of media
500 words1-2 presenters, including discussantDiscussant Optional

Content Level

Presentations must designate the knowledge/skill level required of the participant (i.e., Introductory, Intermediate, or Advanced). Although these are only general guides, they are required in order to comply with continuing education regulations. ISSTD is committed to offering presentations at all levels.

Please consider submitting a presentation at the beginning/introductory or advanced level as we typically receive fewer submissions at these levels but they are highly requested by conference attendees.

  • Beginning/Introductory: Suitable for all professional participants (including students). Introduces learners to a content area; includes information about a condition, treatment method, or issue; and involve learning and comprehending content.
  • Intermediate: Provides information that builds on knowledge practioners with some experience already have. Focus on skill-building or adding knowledge, possibly following a brief overview of basic information, and involve using information in concrete situations and understanding the underlying structure of the material.
  • Advanced: Provides content for participants who have been working in the content area and have a clear understanding of the issues. These cover and address the complexities involved in the work and involve synthesizing material to create new patterns or structures or evaluating material for a specific purpose.

Abstracts are the primary information used by our reviewers and Annual Conference Committee to evaluate your presentation and the primary information attendees use to determine which presentations they will attend. Abstracts should clearly convey the main information that will be presented. Abstracts should be at least 300 words and are limited to 500 words.

For research/scientific presentations, abstracts should include the purpose, methods, findings, and conclusions. For clinical presentations, abstracts should clearly convey how the presentation information will be able to be used in the attendee’s clinical practice.

Learning Objectives

Learning objectives for ISSTD events must follow the guidelines for writing behavioral learning objectives based on the information linked below. Objectives should complete the sentence “Participants will be able to…” starting with a verb and should use only the acceptable verbs listed in the linked document.

Learn and Understand are not acceptable verbs for learning objectives.

Objectives should advise what the participant will be able to do once they have completed a conference session and should be measurable. Please make your objectives as detailed and specific as possible.

Guidelines for Writing Behavioral Learning Objectives

Statement of Ethical Standards

All work presented at the ISSTD Annual Conference must conform to discipline-appropriate national or professional ethical standards. ISSTD strongly opposes the exploitation of patients for any purpose. Submissions wherein clinicians, researchers, or academics collaborate and/or co-present with their own patients are considered dual relationships and are wholly unacceptable. All case material, including biographical information, must be disguised so that the patient’s identity is concealed. All presentation contents should be appropriately cited giving credit to the original author when appropriate.

Potential to Distress

All submissions must declare whether the presentation has potential to cause audience distress. The conference abstract submission site will ask about this and if you answer yes, will ask you to provide details about the reason the presentation could cause audience distress. The submission site will ask you about this issue; you do not need to place a statement about potential for distress in your abstract.

Reference Citations

You must include five complete citations that are relevant to your presentation’s objectives. Citations must be within 10 years from the conference date from peer-reviewed journals. At least two must have a publication date after March 2020.

Books and other non-peer reviewed references are not acceptable.

Citations should be from a variety of authors and the presenter cannot be the sole author on any citations submitted. All citations included in the original submission must be used in the final presentation. For detailed information on APA Style, click here

Please pay close attention to this requirement, as this is the most frequent error received in submissions. Presenters may use additional citations in their final presentation that do not meet these requirements. These should be included in the presentation and referenced in a bibliography slide at the end of the presentation. All accepted presentations will be required to submit a full bibliography in advance of the conference.

Submissions that fail to follow these guidelines for references may be rejected.

Presenter Biographies

All presenters are required to submit a 200-300 word professional biography written in third person that MUST include the following information:

  • Highest degree including type of degree, major, university and graduation year
  • Professional work history
  • Summary of publications (if applicable)
  • Summary of training completed
  • Involvement in ISSTD and other associations
  • Awards and designations (if applicable)

Click here to view an example of a biography written following these guidelines.

Criteria for Review

ISSTD has updated the method for review and review questions. Each presentation will now be reviewed by at least one psychologist and one social worker to comply with continuing education requirements. Reviews will be blind (reviewers will not be able to see the names of the presenters) and different questions will be asked for clinical and scientific/research presentations. We will utilize specialty reviewers when necessary to ensure each submission is properly reviewed.

Reviewers will review the following information about each submission:

  • How well the presentation relates to the ISSTD Core Areas of Knowledge
  • Scientific relevance to the field of trauma and dissociation (Scientific/Research only)
  • Advancement of research in the field of trauma and dissociation (Scientific/Research only)
  • Clinical importance in the field of trauma and dissociation (Clinical only)
  • Originality and presentation of new/different perspectives
  • Inclusion of how the conference theme, complex trauma, dissociation and sociocultural determinants are addressed (please be as detailed as possible in this section.

Reviewers will also review the presentation writing style and adherence to guidelines. Presentations may be accepted on the condition that changes be made to ensure the information is clear and in line with the guidelines.

Information About the Online Submission Site
ISSTD uses the CadmiumCD Abstract Management System for online submission of proposals for the 2024 Annual Conference. The button at the bottom of this page takes you to the Submission Site where you will log in and submit your proposal. Please follow each step carefully.  

Further Questions?
International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation
Phone: 844.994.7783

Call for Proposals Closes Thursday, August 15, 2024 at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time

ISSTD Annual Conference