Justin W. Weeks, Ph.D., Ohio University
Welcome to Nashville! As the 2013 Program Chair, I would like to formally welcome you to Music City and the 47th annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies! Nashville is a lively and diverse city, with an endless array of music, food, and sightseeing opportunities to explore in between meeting activities. Our Local Arrangements Committee, chaired by Kirsten Haman, will no doubt see to it that you experience the very best that Nashville has to offer!
Many thanks to President Stefan Hofmann and the ABCT Board for inviting me to serve as Program Chair. It has been both a privilege and a pleasure to organize this convention, along with the many other dedicated members who have worked so hard to bring you what I am confident will be a marvelous meeting.
The theme this year is “Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies: Harnessing Synergy Among Multidisciplinary Sciences.” Cognitive and behavioral therapies (CBT) are grounded in empiricism and the scientist-practitioner model. Given its overarching scientific emphasis, it is not surprising that numerous and multifaceted methodologies have proven useful for both measuring and conceptualizing the changes CBT can yield for patients. However, utilizing diverse methodologies to evaluate CBT-related outcomes represents only one direction of effect. As a scientific discipline, CBT also stands to inform these independent disciplines in valuable ways. In line with this theme, the focus of the 47th meeting includes presentations that highlight the integration of a broad range of methodologies, including some disciplines that do not traditionally interface directly with health care.
Richard Davidson from the University of Wisconsin-Madison will kick off our theme this year with his invited address “Change Your Brain by Transforming Your Mind,” in which he will review some of the ways in which meditation may change specific brain systems that are important for emotion regulation and attention. Anke Ehlers from the University of Oxford will deliver her invited address “Updating Trauma Memories: A Cognitive Approach to Treating Posttraumatic Stress Disorder” on core treatment procedures for PTSD.
Next, Varda Shoham from NIMH will present on experimental therapeutics (“Challenges and Promises of Experimental Therapeutics”) and why this shift in emphasis could bring us to a better science. And James J. Gross from Stanford University will offer insights on the process model of emotion regulation to clinical disorders, including social anxiety disorder, in his talk, “Emotion Regulation: Conceptual Foundations and Clinical Applications.” Finally, in his Presidential Address, Stefan G. Hofmann will discuss implications of the DSM-5 and, in line with our conference theme, will review findings showing how neuroscience methodology can be used to predict, tailor, personalize, and enhance CBT for a given client.
This year’s Spotlight Research Presentation will be delivered by Kim Gratz from the University of Mississippi Medical Center, and will outline an RCT and follow-up of an emotion regulation group therapy targeting deliberate self-harm. Congratulations to Dr. Gratz for what is sure to be a thought-provoking and informative presentation.
With the tragic and unexpected loss of Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, an invited Panel Discussion moderated by Judy Garber will pay tribute to Susan’s career, highlight current research and future directions in the study of rumination, and focus on the personal impact that Susan had on the lives and careers of the panelists.
This year we received the largest number of submissions to date, which provides continued testimony of ABCT’s ongoing impact on our various professions. We received over 2,000 submissions – given our highly competitive peer-review process, we will be partaking in an exceptional meeting. With a terrific lineup of presentations contributing to this year’s theme, the Symposia, Panel Discussions, Clinical Round Tables, Workshops, Institutes, Clinical Grand Rounds, Master Clinician Seminars, and AMASS sessions will cover cutting-edge advances in research and clinical practice.
We are also pleased to debut a new presentation format at this year’s meeting: Mini Workshops. The intent of this new format is to expand the number of sessions that directly address evidence-based clinical skills and applications. These workshops are free of charge (i.e., included with the conference registration fee); address direct clinical care or training at a broad, introductory level; and are condensed to 90 minutes. We have a number of exciting Mini Workshops to offer this year, and expect that this format will become a regular feature of our annual meetings.
Serving as Program Chair of ABCT has been an incredibly rewarding experience, and I could not have done it without the help of many others. I would first like to extend thanks to the members of the 2013 Program Review Committee for their expertise, proficiency, and dedication to our peer review process, to which we owe our stellar and well-rounded program this year. I also want to thank the chairs of the Convention and Education Planning Committee for their vision and devotion in putting together such an outstanding program: Risa Weisberg (Institutes), Scott Compton (AMASS), Muniya Khanna (Continuing Education), Barbara Kamholz (Workshops), and Kevin Chapman (Master Clinician Seminars). Also, a special thanks to Sandy Pimentel for her tremendous efforts and support as the Coordinator of Convention and Education Issues; as well as to Sabine Wilhelm, Lata McGinn, and James Herbert, our Representatives-at-Large.
Many thanks also to past Program Chair Jeffrey Goodie for organizing this year’s CGR sessions, as well as for his invaluable guidance and support throughout this process. And my truly innumerable thanks go out to Mary Ellen Brown, Director of Education and Meeting Services, who goes to such great lengths in overseeing all aspects of the convention, and does so with spirit.
And finally, I would like to give special thanks to my exceptional Assistant Program Chair and graduate student, Ashley N. Howell, for her diligence, hard work, and dedication, which helped to shape the convention that you are about to enjoy.
All my best, and I hope you have a most memorable and productive convention!