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Board Level: Spring 2020 

 November 20, 2020

By  Dr Daniel Simsion, President, ANZACBS

Board Level - Spring 2020

As the Spring of 2020 comes to an end, it is time again for another ANZ ACBS Board Level Blog, updating you on the last three months of ANZ ACBS activities. I am writing this blog on Wurundjeri land. I would like to acknowledge these first nation owners of this land, the Wujundjeri people, and pay respects to elders past, present and emerging.

The end of spring signals a change in the board, so this will be my final update before the excellent Julie Grove steps into the president role. As always, there is much for me to cover in what has been another busy three months for our chapter.  As I write this, my thoughts are with those members in South Australia who have begun a lockdown to manage the COVID outbreak there. 

As I finish a year as president of this extraordinary organisation, I cannot help but reflect on the capacity of ACBS to fundamentally alter the direction of the paths of its members. For me, this has been through a re-alignment of my worldview in my practice as a psychologist as well as my understanding of what science can be. Relative to many other professional organisations, ANZ ACBS is still relatively small. Despite this, I have seen time and time again that we deliver far beyond what would be expected from a community of this size. Our members are spread across universities, hospitals, schools, clinics, private practices, NGOs and a range of other settings. In this role I have been lucky enough to hear countless stories of how each member of this community finds ways, big and small, to employ our science in the service of alleviating suffering. As we grow, the chapter will continue to expand its ability to support members on the ground doing this important work. Given that, I have little doubt that the next few years will be the biggest yet for CBS in Australia and New Zealand. 

ANZ ACBS is an organisation that relies on the commitment of an amazing group of volunteers. If, while reading, you note an area in which you would like to support ANZ ACBS, please feel free to get in touch with me directly.

AGM and Board Elections

The end of a board year has seen the extensive preparations completed to run the annual board elections and organise our upcoming AGM for our 170 members (up from 151 since my last update!). Our board secretary, Andrew Duirs, and executive officer, Kali Madden have been working tirelessly on this in the background. 

This years' AGM will be online on Saturday 21st November at 2pm AEDT (Melbourne/ Sydney time). 

The new board will be announced at the AGM, in addition to a full review of 2020 for ANZ ACBS and a chance to ask board members questions about the organisation. If you are keen to attend, please RSVP to Andrew Duirs.  

Action and Advocacy

Our action and advocacy committee, consisting of Sarah Mooy, Andrew Duirs, Claire Sillence, Julie Grove and Toni Hanna, have been continuing their work in improving the ability of ANZ ACBS to respond to key issues affecting our communities. As I noted in my last update, this area has become an increasing priority for ANZ ACBS. This is an essential part of the future of ANZ ACBS in meeting our mission for two key reasons. Firstly, so we can build our voice in areas of social importance in which our science has something to contribute. Secondly, to allow us to have a louder voice around interventions in various contexts, including incorporation of CBS therapies into intervention guidelines and government-funded initiatives. In addition to this, the action and advocacy committee have been continuing to identify actionable steps ANZ ACBS can take to be a more inclusive space for our members. Over the next few months ANZ ACBS plans to look at ways we can more visibly take positions on key issues (e.g., through updating our websites) as well as finding ways to provide a platform to a wider variety of voices within our community. 

ANZ ACBS also continues to work with other non-US international chapters to help CBS expand across the world and support other chapters to grow. This initiative, which is led by Melissa Schellekens of the ACBS Chapters and SIG sub-committee (and a member of our chapter), has seen members of the ANZ ACBS board executive, most recently myself and immediate-past president Tiffany Rochester, meet with our international counterparts to commence planning next steps. 

Conference 2021

In consultation with our fabulous  chairs, Karen Hielkema (conference chair), Geetanjali Basarkod and Elizabeth Maher (program co-chairs), ANZ ACBS has begun the process of considering what conference 2021 will look like in light of the ongoing uncertainty with COVID-19 (particularly in relation to international speakers who may not be able to travel to our region for some time). Most recently, this has involved consulting with members via an online membership survey (a big thank you to the 71 members who responded and provided feedback!). We endeavour to be in touch in early 2021 with plans, so watch this space!

ANZ ACBS Conference 2021

Book Readings

Spring 2020 saw the continuation of our free book reading series. The brain child of ANZ ACBS board secretary Andrew Duirs, these readings have provided authors of CBS-informed books an opportunity to share their excellent work with our community. 

In Spring, the book readings went international, with two outstanding authors joining us from the US. Firstly, we had Jill Stoddard reading from her book Be Mighty. 

This was followed by Dayna Lee-Baggley reading from Healthy Habits Suck. 

Both of these events provided an exciting opportunity to look into these great CBS books, as well as a chance to explore the writing process and the stories behind these CBS classics.

ANZ ACBS is currently exploring ways to host recordings of these videos for members on our website. We are also currently in discussion with a variety of CBS authors from around Australia and New Zealand, as well as worldwide, for future events, with multiple events already in the works for 2021. If you are an author of a CBS book and are interested in being involved, please feel free to get in contact with Andrew. 

Mindfulness Sessions

As part of the ANZ ACBS response to the COVID19 pandemic, Claire Turner and Hayley Quinn partnered to run free weekly mindfulness sessions. As things move towards a 'COVID Normal' across our region, the decision was made to wind these up in October. The feedback around these sessions was extremely positive and the space to come together in incredibly difficult circumstances was highly valued by all those who attended. These sessions will be very missed!

Webinars

Led by our sub-committee (Sara Boucher, Jennifer Kemp, Shelley Viskovic and Eric Morris), Spring has seen more activity on the ANZ ACBS webinar front. 

October saw Ken Zulumovski Hon DHSc join us for a Q&A style webinar on ‘Combining Third Wave Therapy Approaches with Indigenous Wisdom and Making it Applicable to the Workforce and Community who we Serve’. This webinar highlighted the extraordinary work Ken is doing with first nations Australians through a combination of third wave therapies and wisdom approaches to intervention. You can still grab tickets here to the recording and check out the details here.

Our final webinar of 2020 promises to be another awesome one. We have Dr Pandora Patterson and Sandy Cham from Canteen speaking on 'ACTivating wellbeing with adolescents and young adults impacted by cancer and the staff that work with them in a not-for-profit'. You can get your tickets here and check out the details here.

Thank You!

It has been an incredible privilege to lead this organisation in 2020 and I couldn't have done it without the immense support of members from across our very special community. Thank you to every member who has contributed to ANZ ACBS this year - whether it be through leading and organising events, putting together a presentation, working on our processes or getting in contact with ideas. And, if you have read this far into this blog, then thank you for your ongoing engagement with our community. 

I have been hugely lucky to work with an incredible team of board members: Tiffany Rochester, Julie Grove, Andrew Duirs, Farah Gulamoydeen, Jennifer Kemp, Sarah Mooy, Shelley Viskovich, Karen Hielkema, Nathan Phillips and Claire Turner. ANZ ACBS is incredibly lucky to have such an amazing team of volunteer leaders. Thank you for the countless hours you have put into this organisation, for fearlessly advocating for ways to improve ANZ ACBS and for your friendship and support. 

No reflection on 2020 for ANZ ACBS would be complete without acknowledgement of our executive officer, Kali Madden. Kali continues to bring to her role a huge passion for our organisation, corporate and financial expertise and ongoing support for our board. 

Finally, on a more personal note, I could not have done this role without the support in my career of three great mentors and a supportive partner (all of whom are members of ANZ ACBS). Thank you Eric Morris, Tiffany Rochester, Louise Hayes and Lahna Bradley for supporting me to take the steps needed to embark on this incredible journey. 

Dr Daniel Simsion, President, ANZACBS


Dr Daniel Simsion is a clinical psychologist with the Victorian government specialist forensic mental health service, Forensicare. His professional home has been with the ACBS and he is focused particularly on implementing ACT interventions with acute populations, both in a community mental health service and in a forensic inpatient context.

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