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Our Chapter Conference

Bringing it Together

A highlight of our calendar is the ANZ ACBS conference - a chance for our members and community to meet, connect, and learn from each other and from international CBS experts.


2022 Conference
Recordings Available

Recordings available

Chapter Member discounts
Our conference's recorded sessions are available until 20th Febuary 2023 - late registration available.

Conference Program

Full program
now available!

Our program includes workshops, panels, and research presentations - as well as opportunities to network and connect with others.

Image by Bartek Garbowicz


He māramatanga tō tēnei whetū;
he māramatanga tō tērā whetū.

Each star has its own luminescence in the sky:
Compassion for diversity and context.

CPD Endorsements

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17 hours of Category A CPD


12 CPD points

Invited Presenters
Moana Waitoki


Developing mātauranga Māori and wellbeing during COVID-19 and beyond

Moana (Ngāti Hako and Ngāti Māhanga iwi) is a Senior Lecturer/Pūkenga Matua in Te Pua Wānanga ki te Ao Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies - with interests in mātauranga Māori, health/hauora and Māori wellbeing and the social determinants of health. Waikaremoana is a clinical psychologist with work and research interests in Kaupapa Māori psychology, adult mental health, child and adolescent mental health, supervision, accreditation and curriculum development. She is the President of the New Zealand Psychological Society, an advisory member of the Suicide Prevention Office, and a member of the Film and Literature Classifications Review Board.

Andre McLachlan

Andre McLachlan

Developing mātauranga Māori and wellbeing during COVID-19 and beyond

Andre (Ngāti Apa and Muaūpoko iwi) is a Clinical Psychologist. He has a background in working within Forensic Mental Health and Addictions; and teaching Mental Health and Addictions across programs at the Waikato Institute of Technology (WINTEC). He has been a panel member on the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). He is passionate about creative and innovative approaches to working with whānau (service users and their families).

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Melissa Schellekens

Weaving the Future together (so it doesn’t fall apart): Prosociality, Community Resilience, and Scaling up

Melissa is a research fellow at the Research for Educational Impact centre at Deakin University, with a PhD in educational psychology focusing on socio-educational equity particularly for young Indigneous Australians. Working in Colombia, she used ACT-based art approaches with female adolescents exposed to conflict related sexual violence. In Australia, she is working toward the application of contextual behavioural science and evolutionary science in schools internationally through Prosocial schools and Positive Peace international networks. Melissa is a co-founding member of Prosocial Australia Cooperative which seeks to assist groups of people to work better together to create deliberate futures through collaborative governance and cultural behaviour change. Melissa has over 20 years of experience across a range of organisations from government departments, private consulting, and NGOs, in Australia and in Colombia. Melissa is a past treasurer of ANZ ACBS, has been an active member of the ACBS Chapter and SIG committee committees and has presented at past ACBS World Conferences.

Trish Leonard-Curtin


'NeuroDivACT': ACT for Neurodivergent Clients: Autism and ADHD - A Neurodiversity Affirming Approach

Trish is a neurodivergent counselling psychologist who lives in Ireland with her wife and five cats. Over the last number of years she has practised using an integration of mostly acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), compassion-focused therapy (CFT) and body-based modalities of working with complex trauma. Trish co-authored The Power of Small: Making Tiny Changes When Everything Feels Too Much alongside her wife Aisling. Since her autism diagnosis last year, and ADHD diagnosis more recently, Trish became increasingly disheartened that the vast majority of autism resources and services did not have much, if anything, to offer autistic adults. Trish is curious and passionate about bringing her interest in various theories of trauma, along with her own lived experience of complex trauma as an autistic adult, to help understand how we can build a kinder, more compassionate, supportive and understanding world for neurodivergent lived experiences of trauma.

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'NeuroDivACT': ACT for Neurodivergent Clients: Autism and ADHD - A Neurodiversity Affirming Approach

Aisling is a neurodivergent Chartered Counselling Psychologist and is a peer-reviewed ACT and FAP trainer. She has experience working across a variety of settings including organisational, psychiatry, addictions, psycho-oncology, community, public, and educational settings. She is a senior psychologist for ADHD Ireland and is rolling out the Understanding and Managing Adult ADHD Programme (UMAAP) - the first public access government funded programme for adult ADHD in Ireland. Aisling teaches on multiple university courses and regularly delivers ACT workshops internationally; most notably she has given workshops at Harvard Medical School and teaches at Trinity College Dublin at Doctorate level. She is a lecturer on the Masters in Coaching in UCC and the Masters in Pluralistic Psychotherapy at IICP. Aisling is a published author, co‐authoring The Power of Small: Making Tiny Changes When Everything Feels Too Much, a number one bestseller in Ireland. Aisling’s first book, an edited volume co-edited by Matthew Skinta, Mindfulness and Acceptance for Gender and Sexual Minorities was published by New Harbinger.


Kenneth Pakenham

Psychological Flexibility and Resilience in a Pandemic Context

Kenneth is an Emeritus Professor of clinical and health psychology at The The University of Queensland. His research and clinical practice in psychology span 40 years. Through his 180 publications, 10,000 citations of his work, 80 conference presentations, 3 research awards, 5 teaching awards, and more than 3 million dollars of competitive grant funding, he has become a leader in the application of positive frameworks to coping with adversity. He developed the first ACT university course in Australia which integrates training in therapist competencies and self-care skills and shows published empirical evidence of fostering competent and resilient clinicians. His most significant professional contribution to the LGBTQI+ community was his research and clinical practice over 5 years during the AIDS crisis. In particular, he conducted the first large-scale needs assessment in Australia of people affected by HIV/AIDS and published 10 articles that forged the application of positive coping frameworks and interventions. The following excerpt from the synopsis of Kenneth’s memoir The Trauma Banquet provides a sketch of his personal life. “Brutal and relentless domestic violence carved his early childhood. His merging gender fluidity and sexual diversity mystified and enraged his father and peers. When he was 13, his mother, the centre of his life, committed suicide. From this early intimacy with death, he discovered he could suck the life from pain, and this insight became his guiding light. Cared for by an older sibling in the midst of a shattered family, he suffered violent beatings at high school that punished his gender and sexual diversity. A deep desire to find meaning in his suffering led him on a roller-coaster of drug addiction, hippie communal living, homelessness and the use of sex for material survival. Close to tasting his own death, he found salvation and re-entered society. He took the straight and narrow path through religion, university, marriage, fatherhood and career advancements. The AIDS crisis touched him professionally, a ‘crucifixion’ experience, the death of loved ones from suicide and accidents, and the threat of a degenerative illness skewered him along the way. After he was shattered by divorce, a new path opened that drew him back to his authentic self and gay love.” According to statistics on the mental health of the LGBTQI+ community, the significant traumas and psychosocial challenges Kenneth encountered reflect what many sexually and gender-diverse people experience.

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Supporting the mental health and wellbeing of forcibly displaced people

Ross is a Professor of Clinical Psychology at Queen’s University Belfast, an ACBS peer-reviewed Acceptance and Commitment Therapy trainer, and a Fellow of the ACBS. He is an expert in Global Mental Health. He was lead editor of ‘The Palgrave Handbook of Socio-cultural Perspectives on Global Mental Health’. Ross has research collaborations with the World Health Organization and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees investigating the efficacy of psychosocial interventions for reducing distress experienced by refugees particularly in the context and/or aftermath of humanitarian crises. He also has an interest in the processes involved in the linguistic/cultural adaptation of psychological therapies. Ross is the Principal Investigator on the ESRC/AHRC funded Community-based Sociotherapy Adapted for Refugees (COSTAR) project that is evaluating a psychosocial intervention for Congolese refugees living in Uganda and Rwanda. Ross was a co-investigator on the EU Horizon2020 funded Refugee Emergency: DEFining and Implementing Novel Evidence-based psychosocial interventions (RE-DEFINE) project that is evaluating a group-based guided self-help intervention for refugees and asylum seekers across the EU and in Turkey.



Creating hope even as our world changes

Louise is a clinical psychologist, author, international speaker and educator. Louise currently holds a position as Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at La Trobe University, where she collaborates on projects using contextual behavioural science. She is a peer-reviewed Acceptance and Commitment Therapy/Training trainer, engaged in training professionals worldwide. She is also a Fellow and Past President of ACBS. Together with Joseph Ciarrochi, she developed DNA-V, a leading acceptance and commitment therapy model that has sparked international studies and school curricula. Louise is also an active clinician working with adults and adolescents. She is the co-author of best-selling books for young people, Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life for Teenagers; and Your Life Your Way; for practitioners, The Thriving Adolescent; and this year for adults, What Makes You Stronger. Louise leads a community of mindfulness practitioners, and is a certified Buddhist meditation teacher. She takes professionals into the Himalayas to develop their mindfulness skills and raise funds for children in remote Nepal.

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