Australian Association for Cognitive Behavior Therapy

By Peter Pohlman

The President of AACBT is Professor Melissa Norberg, Director of the Centre for Emotional Health, and
Director of the Behavioral Science Laboratory at Macquarie University.

The slow return to face-to-face events while our communities still suffer through COVID-19 has continued the recent difficult years both financially and emotionally for our organization. We feel fortunate that we were able to continue our online events while also having a return to normalcy with our annual conference able to take place as an in-person event.

We have continued to pursue our vision of improving the quality of the practice of behavioral and cognitive therapies in Australasia, by providing high-quality professional development in behavioral 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 added to our online catalog include ADHD, OCD, alexithymia, iCBT, and social anxiety disorder. The online format for presenting CPD has allowed us to continue to embrace a wider diversity of speakers, with all our domestic speakers presenting nationally for AACBT for the first time. Our catalog also has long-form workshops from international speakers such as Roz Shafran, Martin Antony, David M Clark, Emily Holmes, and Mark Reinecke.

Our 42nd National Conference featured a diverse range of keynotes and invited speakers for AACBT, all of whom were being featured for the first time. We had strong bookings and attendance, and our feedback was very positive—an average star rating of 4.42 out of 5 stars. We had 88.72% respond with agree or strongly agree that the PD provided was valuable to their needs, and 91.94% that they acquired new knowledge/skills.

The National Board thanks our Branch Chairs for their ongoing efforts and the National Conference Committee for a fine return to face–to–face events. 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 catalog. The 2022 award winners were Dr David Preece (early career), Dr Rebecca Anderson (midcareer), and Professor Ross G. Menzies (distinguished career). Our 43rd conference is scheduled for 19–21 October 2023 in Double Bay, Sydney.

The Board thanks our National Conference Coordinator for their service in supervising our largest annual event. In the interests of promoting equity of access, the AACBT Board has announced a free 12-month trial for all AACBT student memberships – this has already led to a tripling of student members, only 3 months into the trial period. 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 (“Behavior Change”), webinar recordings, and the growing e-library (with over 40 titles).

The Board recognizes the outstanding efforts of our Editor (Professor Genevieve Dingle), her editorial team, and the overall editorial board for our journal “Behavior Change”. Our journal began in 1984 and the AACBT Board announced in late 2022 that our publisher is discontinuing support and that the final edition will be published in December 2023. 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, Professor Leanne Hides, and Professor Ross Menzies. We thank them for their continuing contributions to the CBT community in Australia and for assisting AACBT throughout the year, especially Mark Dadds for participating in our inaugural World CBT Day in April 2022.

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