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“Board Level” – a 2017 festive season ANZACBS update

Greetings to all ANZACBS members, and those interested in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Relational Frame Theory and contextual behavioural science in Australia and New Zealand.

This blog is the first of a series of regular updates about ANZACBS, from the perspective of the Board. It is my pleasure to write this blog as the current President of the Association. [The title “Board Level” is a reference to the well-known Chessboard Metaphor]

It is our hope that we can connect with you through these blogs, so that you know what the Board is working on, and can share your views about the direction of the Association.

This time I’d like to share two perspectives – one looking back, to the 2017 conference, and one looking forward, to what is being planned for 2018.

2017: the Perth conference

The 2017 conference in Perth was tremendous!

For West Australians and those who heeded the call to #CrosstheDesert, the conference provided the perfect blend of community, science and practice.

Along with our excellent keynote speakers, workshop trainers and speakers (on ACT, Relational Frame Theory and Self-Determination Theory), there was a strong theme on the role that contextual behavioural science can play in social change. There was a consistent message throughout the conference that delegates are keen to find ways for CBS to influence our communities. It was clear that ANZACBS members want us to play a bigger role in promoting CBS in our region.

It was inspiring for the conference to highlight the wonderful diversity, depth of compassion, and commitment of  practitioners and researchers in Australia, New Zealand and further afield. It was fantastic to see first-time presenters sharing their work, and giving us feedback that the conference is a very supportive place to do this! [Please check out all their presentations hosted on ANZACBS website]

Thanks again to our conference and program chairs, Tiffany Rochester and Baljinder Sahdra, for their leadership and commitment, in working with volunteers and the Board to ensure the conference was an excellent experience for delegates and speakers.

I’d also like to thank those members who were able to engage in the post-conference discussion at the Strategic Meeting led by Paul Atkins and myself. It was excellent to engage in a conversation around the members’ aspirations for the association.

The Board are planning to create more opportunities in 2018 for members to share their ideas about our strategic directions.

Presidential Address – the future of ANZ ACBS

One of the alleged “perks” of serving as President of the Association is to give an address at the conference. I say alleged, as while it is very much an honour to give a plenary talk, it was also a task that weighed heavily upon me in the months before. What should I speak about, that could “set the scene” for our conference? As the conference date drew closer it took many moments of psychological flexibility for me to embrace the opportunity of this address.

I decided to share a vision of our organisation and the role it could play in our region. It is a vision born of many influences – some quite familiar to the CBS community, some personal, and very much shaped by the model leadership of preceding ANZACBS Presidents, Paul Atkins & Louise Hayes.  It is a vision of ANZACBS as “the commons” – a shared asset, that can enable members to create connections and build the community resources, so that we can have impact on many levels.  I think there are many ways we can do this as an association, and in my talk I describe a few ideas that may progress our goals. By the way, don’t forget that you can now get high IP on ELO thanks to

For those who were unable to participate in the conference, the presidential address is available to see here:

I share it to give a perspective in the directions that the association is taking, in engaging more with members, as well as playing a larger role in promoting CBS in our region.

2018: the new Board, plans and directions

The 2017 Annual General Meeting involved welcoming new office holders and Board members, with Tiffany Rochester (President Elect), Melissa Schellekens (Treasurer), Priscilla Almada (Secretary), Linda Nicolson (Member at Large), Sara Boucher (NZ Rep), and Tresna Hunt (NZ Rep). You can read the profiles of all the Board members on the association website.

We wish to thank outgoing Board members Giselle Bahr, Elizabeth Maher, Robert Styles and Louise Hayes for their service. We are so grateful to have such dedicated and capable members work for the Association in this way.

The new Board have been meeting monthly since the conference to make plans for 2018 and beyond. Similar to the 2017 conference discussions, the Board is engaging in a process of clarifying strategic directions for the long term, while also making plans for activities for the next year. There are plenty of great ideas being shared which will lead to exciting developments for ANZACBS.

I can share that the Board are currently planning: •     a mid-year, large-scale training event, designed to promote skills development. This will take the ACT Bootcamp format, with an intensive skills-focus, led by multiple trainers over several days. It will meet the needs of those at a beginner and intermediate level.  This event will be held in a major city (details to follow soon!). •    more Student Events across the region – low cost informative talks to engage students and early career practitioners in CBS (already successfully trialed this year, with 120 higher ed students engaged in a day learning about ACT & CBS at Royal Melbourne Hospital) •    more Webinars – highlighting both well-known CBS speakers, and sharing practice and research from around Australia & New Zealand •    Ways of supporting local meet-ups – providing the resources to enable members to host meetings in their regions

We are also in the early stages of planning for the next ANZACBS conference, in early 2019.

And much more…

Seasons Greetings

As ever, please get in touch to share your ideas, comments and feedback. We have an amazing membership and benefit from your creativity and commitment. In 2018 we want to connect with you more, where you are, so that we can effectively promoting contextual behaviour science and practice across our region.

On behalf the Board, I wish you a wonderful festive season and a Happy New Year.

May 2018 be filled with valued actions!

Eric Morris President, ANZACBS

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