Australian Association for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

By Peter Pohlman

The President of AACBT is Associate Professor Melissa Norberg, Deputy Director of the Centre for Emotional Health, and Director of the Behavioural Science Laboratory at Macquarie University.
The on-going impacts of COVID-19 have seen difficult years recently for our members and our organisation, and we continued to pursue our vision of improving the quality of practice of behavioural and cognitive therapies in Australasia, by providing high quality professional development in behavioural and cognitive therapies based on scientific evaluation.

We hosted a mixture of local and international presenters, with webinar recordings being made available for free to members, representing over 20 hours of high-quality content, plus associated readings, and materials. Examples of some of the topics covered include mental imagery, OCD, trauma & race, suicidality (including a special session on men’s suicidality), social anxiety, grief, loneliness, social factors in CBT, and sleep disorders.

The on-line format for presenting CPD allowed us to embrace a wider diversity of speakers, with several domestic speakers gaining national exposure, rather than only in their home state. We have long-form workshops from international speakers, such as Roz Shafran, Martin Antony, David M Clark, Emily Holmes, and Mark Reinecke.

We are reviewing the options for the resumption of face-to-face programming in 2022, including our 42nd National Conference. The scientific program of our 41st National Conference in October 2021 was 100% on-line and resulted our largest contingent of delegates since we hosted the World CBT Congress in 2016. Highlights of our conference included two live sessions with Christine Padesky, six domestic invited speakers, four half-day workshops, and more than 100 other prerecorded speakers. The National Board thanks our Branch Chairs, and the National Workshops & National Conference Coordinators for their on-going efforts.

We continued to offer three awards in our National Award program, with each recipient recording their presentation, highlighting their scientific output and contemporary research. The recordings are available in our catalogue. The 2021 award winners were: Dr Cele Richardson (early career), Associate Professor Genevieve Dingle (mid-career), and Professor Peter McEvoy (distinguished career).

Our 42nd conference took place 13–15 October, 2022 in Melbourne, and AACBT continued to offer our Early–Mid Career Travel Grants available to AACBT members to support travel (where possible) to the AACBT National Conference following acceptance of either an oral or poster presentation. AACBT also awarded complimentary scientific program registration, plus up to $1,000 to help cover eligible travel expenses for the applicant to attend the conference. This on-going initiative invests in the CBT community of Australia and encourages on-going research into CBT. The Board thanks our National Conference Coordinator for their service in supervising our largest annual event.

Improvements to our web portal are continuing, and members enjoy access to exclusive areas of the website, which includes access to our annual reports, our journal (“Behaviour Change”), webinar recordings, and the growing e-library (with over 40 titles).

The Board recognises the outstanding efforts of our editor (Associate Professor Genevieve Dingle) and the expanded editorial board for our journal Behaviour Change. The Board has noted the growth and improvements for our journal in attracting a wider variety of contributors. AACBT would like to acknowledge our Fellows: Professor Peter Lovibond, Professor Michael Kyrios, Professor Matthew Sanders, Professor Colin MacLeod, Professor Tracey Wade, Professor Ross Young, Professor Mark Dadds, Professor Mark Creamer, Professor Kim Halford, Professor Nicole Lee, Associate Professor Sarah Egan, Professor Louise Sharpe, Associate Professor Neville King, and our mostrecent inductees Professor Leanne Hides and Professor Ross Menzies. We thank them for their continuing contributions to the CBT community in Australia and assisting AACBT throughout the year.

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