“Board Level” – Winter 2018 ANZACBS update

Hello ANZ ACBS members and friends,

Winter has come, and time for another update from the ANZ ACBS Board. We have had four Board meetings since my last blog in March 2018.

The ACBS 2018 World Conference

This blog comes from Montreal, as I am fortunate enough this year to go to the ACBS World Conference.

As anyone who’s participated in WorldCon knows, it is exciting to anticipate 5 days of hearing about the latest in contextual behavioural science and experiencing the warmth and openness of the ACBS community. It’s a hyper-social conference of science, compassion, geekery and fun (plus hugs, plenty of hugs).

This year it is terrific to see the number of presenters from Australia and New Zealand on the conference program, including people presenting at WorldCon for the first time!  It is brilliant that you are sharing science and practice from our countries to the CBS world community. We are proud of our members’ contributions.

So, best wishes to everyone going to WorldCon, please feel free to say g’day at the conference. Please join us for the ANZ meet-up on Wednesday night – Jennifer Kemp, Mary Sawyer and I are meeting people at the Chapter & SIGs Social and will “partir sur un go” (party on, in Quebec-ese) afterward!

And for those not going to WorldCon, well… FOMO is hard. Been there, and will be again. When I don’t go, I think about giving social media a break during the week of WorldCon, then don’t surf those urges to check it all out. Live in regret for my poor urge control.  I hope that you approach this week  with more grace than I!

If it is any consolation… very soon ANZ ACBS hosts it’s own CBS conference!  We hope that you will be in Canberra in February 2019 for a very special conference. Along with Kelly Wilson as an invited speaker, we are sharing all the news about workshops and keynotes very soon. I promise, with what is planned this conference will be a major event for your calendar.

Recent Board ACTivities

The Board are continuing to work hard for members. We are making progress with projects about reform of finances, communications and membership. With the membership project (concerned with better processes for managing membership & developing Chapter-based services), Melissa Schellekens (ANZ ACBS Treasurer) and I are hoping to discuss matters with other International Chapters and SIGs representatives within ACBS at WorldCon this week (there seem to be similar issues across Chapters).

Since I last blogged the major projects of the Board have been about planning and hosting events. Here’s an update:

In April 2018 we hosted the first ANZ ACBS Pub Talk, with Darin Cairns speaking about “Self, Meaning and Other Stories”. Forty audience members took a ride into the contextualism of narratives about narratives, with enthusiasm, fun and community-building. Bravo to the local team of volunteers who organised this event, particularly Andrew Duirs, Mitch Hart, and Alyssa Garrett. We are looking forward to the next one!

On 27 June ANZ ACBS hosted a webinar, in the form of a practice-based networking event, around the use of the group treatment manual, “Wise Choices: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy groups for people with borderline personality disorder”. This event was organised by Katie Wyman (Board – Member at Large), who hosted the webinar with Jane Morton (an author of the manual). Eighteen practitioners participated online, from 6 organisations, with great engagement and valuable sharing. There are now plans to continue this network, with an email discussion group. Katie shared with the Board that the webinar was “energising, connecting, inspiring and made me proud”, and we would like to say to Katie: we are proud of you, well done for all the effort to organise such a great event!   Katie is going to seek feedback from participants for this event, and is planning to put together a guide around hosting practice-based networking webinars. ANZ ACBS have plans to host another networking webinar later this year, details to follow!

The Sydney Study Day, an introductory event for students and early career folk, was run on 30 June at the University of Sydney. This event aimed to give delegates an introduction to ACT and contextual behavioural science. And what an introduction!  Prof Joseph Ciarrochi engaged the audience in ACT and DNA-V, followed by speakers representing a range of experiences and settings: Janine Clarke, Vincent Fogliati, and Geet Barsokod. It was a day of big ideas, experiential exercises, and sharing common humanity. Deepest thanks to Board Members Geet Barsokod and Melissa Schellekens for organising this important event, and the speakers for volunteering their time on a Saturday.

We are now seeking participant feedback about the Study Day, and using our experiences of running these in Sydney and Melbourne (2017) to develop a guidelines about how to organise them. We are keen to run more Study Days, so let us know if you’d like to work with ANZ ACBS to host one of these in your local area!

In early August we are hosting our major event for this year, the 2018 Skills Intensive/ Boot Camp. We are pleased to share that this Melbourne event has been sold out, with 110 delegates!  Our trainers (Louise Shepherd, Lisa Soares, Ben Sedley, and myself) are preparing 2 full days of skills development and practice that will be functional and fun!  So pleased with the response from the community for this event. It will be an excellent networking experience too.

And finally… not to be outdone, we have the next ANZ ACBS Conference, to be hosted at the Australian National University in Canberra 2019. Our conference organisers, Alison Christie (Conference Chair) and Linda Nicholson (Program Chair), have been doing an outstanding job. I won’t steal their opportunities to announce all the great news of what will be happening (announced by ANZ ACBS imminently), but can share that this conference, with all the training and learning opportunities planned from international and regional speakers, will be something special indeed. And that’s before all the wonderful submissions from our community!

You can register your interest in the 2019 ANZ ACBS Conference here. More news to come!

A reflection

In many ways, 2018 has been a year of experimentation for the ANZ ACBS Board, as we see what level of activity we can sustainably offer. My reflection is that the Board is a doing a magnificent job of leading on projects to host events: so much is being achieved by dedicated Board members. I continue to feel gratitude for, and be inspired by, my Board member colleagues and our community.

We are keen to have members be more involved in organising events and webinars, so please get in touch if you have ideas and want to volunteer!

In the meantime… wherever you are… I hope you can be where you are, open to your experiences, connecting with those around you and your own chosen direction, and taking actions to do what matters.

best wishes, Eric

Eric Morris
President, ANZACBS