Dear colleagues and friends,
Welcome to the 55th Annual Convention of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT)! After a fully virtual convention in 2020, I’m pleased to announce that the Convention will be back in person this year in the beautiful city of New Orleans. I want to acknowledge the thoughtful work of last year’s leadership team who successfully pivoted us to a virtual convention, including Past-President Martin Antony, 2020 Program Chair Shannon Wiltsey Stirman, 2020 Associate Program Chair Daniel Cheron, and ABCT Convention Manager Stephen Crane.
2020 taught me two important lessons about the ABCT Convention. The first lesson was that ABCT is a remarkably resilient organization, and one that is surprisingly nimble given its size. The fact that we were able to offer a virtual Convention at all continues to amaze me. The second lesson was how deeply I missed the in-person interactions of the Convention. Although the presentations were first-rate (as always), ABCT convention has (for me, at least) always been about more than content. It’s about catching up with old friends and colleagues, and meeting new people who share our passion for CBT practice and research. It’s about networking, sharing ideas, and developing new collaborations. And that’s exactly what I plan to do in New Orleans.
Looking forward to this November, I need to thank, first and foremost, our 2021 Program Chair Greg Chasson and our 2021 Associate Program Chair Elizabeth Katz. The work of an ABCT Program Chair and Associate Program Chair is Herculean, and I am deeply indebted to them. I also want to thank the work of the Convention and Education Issues Committee that includes Drs. Brian Baucom, Christina Boisseau, Samantha Farris, Cole Hooley, Tajal Jakatdar, Shireen Rizvi, Patrick McGrath, Rosaura Orengo-Aguayo, and Emily Kroska. Finally, I want to highlight the exceptional work of Local Arrangements Chair Dr. Amanda Raines, who is working to make sure that attendees have access to all that this diverse city has to offer.
This year’s convention theme will be Championing CBT: Promoting Cognitive and Behavioral Practice and Science in the Context of Public Health, Social Justice, Policy, Research, Practice, and Training. Be sure to look for invited addresses on this topic by Drs. Kelly Brownell, Monnica Williams, and Lynn Bufka; an invited panel sponsored by the Neurocognitive Therapies and Translational Research SIG; and a Lifetime Achievement Award address by past ABCT president Dr. Richard Heimberg. You can read more about these offerings in the Welcome Message by Drs. Chasson and Katz.
Perhaps, like me, you have been coming to ABCT Convention for many years and consider it an annual “homecoming” of sorts. Alternatively, perhaps you’ve never been with us before, and this is your first opportunity to check us out. In either case, my sincere hope is that you will find Convention to be a welcoming, inclusive, intellectually stimulating experience that you’ll want to repeat year after year. I want to extend a special welcome to new attendees from terminal master’s degree programs in the greater New Orleans area who may be joining us for the first time. I hope you’ll take this opportunity to see all that ABCT has to offer.
David F. Tolin, Ph.D.