2021 Chapter Conference Auckland

COVID-19 and the Upcoming ANZ ACBS Conference: An Update

The ANZ ACBS Auckland conference has been postponed, and will now be held on 10 -14 November 2021 at Auckland University of Technology. The ANZ ACBS Board has been monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic carefully and, given current circumstances, it is no longer feasible for this event to be run in 2020.

Our excellent chairs, Karen Hielkema (conference chair), Elizabeth Maher and Geetanjali Basarkod (program chairs) have all agreed to stay on for the 2021 event. We will also be aiming, as much as is possible, to bring you the same outstanding line-up of invited speakers.

ANZ ACBS Conference 2021

Diversity, Connectedness and Inclusivity (DCI) infused CBS practice

The 2021 ANZACBS conference theme was selected based on the recent challenges faced by our communities in New Zealand, Australia and across the world in different contexts. By bringing the focus of DCI to HOW we practice and WHAT we practice within a CBS framework, the intention is to emphasise how we as a community with diverse backgrounds can use process-based practices to help alleviate human suffering. The aim of this year’s conference is to create a space where we come together to learn from each other and with each other, sharing our knowledge, skills, and understanding.

Event details:


Auckland University of Technology (AUT)
55 Wellesley Street East, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010


Pre-Conference Workshops:

Tuesday 10th & Wednesday 11th November 2021

Main Conference:

Thursday 12th & Friday 13th November 2021 (full days) and
a half day on Saturday 14th November 2021


The 2021 ANZACBS conference will offer delegates an exciting range of workshops, symposiums and other presentations. Keep an eye out for more pre-conference speaker announcements, registration information, and key abstract submission dates!

A full schedule of our pre-conference workshops  and conference offerings will be available on our Schedule page in due course.

Pre-Conference Workshops

Integrating ACT and Schema Therapy for Trauma-Related Disorders with Dr Avigail Lev

Avigail Lev, PsyD, is a psychotherapist, author, and executive coach in the Bay Area. She is the director of the Bay Area CBT Center, a clinic in San Francisco that provides Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for individuals and couples. She specializes in integrating Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Schema Therapy and has co-authored three books on strengthening relationships including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Interpersonal Problems, The Interpersonal Problems Workbook, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Couples. She has presented her research at regional and international conferences and provides consultation, trainings, and workshops on utilizing evidence-based treatments. You can find more information about Avigail Lev at www.BayAreaCBTcenter.com

Superhero Therapy with Dr Janina Scarlet

Dr. Janina Scarlet is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, author, and a full-time geek. A Ukrainian-born refugee, she survived Chernobyl radiation and persecution. She immigrated to the United States at the age of 12 with her family and later, inspired by the X-Men, developed Superhero Therapy to help patients with anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Superhero Therapy refers to incorporating popular culture examples into evidence-based therapy to help the client to become the hero of their own journey. Dr. Scarlet is the recipient of the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award by the United Nations Association for her work on Superhero Therapy. Her work has been featured on Yahoo, BBC, NPR, Sunday Times, CNN, CW, ABC, Huffington Post, The New York Times, Forbes, the Nerdist, BuzzFeed, and many other outlets. She currently works at the Center for Stress and Anxiety Management in San Diego.

She authored Superhero Therapy, Harry Potter Therapy, Therapy Quest, Dark Agents, Super-Women, as well as numerous contributions to Star Wars Psychology, Star Trek Psychology, Wonder Woman Psychology, Supernatural Psychology and many other books.

Living Fully with Illness with Dr Kenneth Pakenham

Dr Pakenham is a Professor of health and clinical psychology in the School of Psychology at The University of Queensland. His psychology research and clinical practice spans almost 40 years. Inspired by the resilience of people with serious illnesses, he has committed his career to investigating the processes that foster personal growth in the context of mental and physical health adversities, and to translating his findings into interventions that help people live fully with illness, including carers. Through 160 publications, 7000 citations of his work, 80 conference presentations, 10 invited keynotes, 3 research awards, more than 3 million dollars of competitive grant funding and invited workshops and masterclasses in Asia, North America and Europe, he has become a world leader in the application of positive health frameworks to several chronic illnesses and to caregiving in these contexts.

The “living fully with illness” theme integrates his early research in stress/coping theory and cognitive behaviour therapy, his mid-career shift to incorporate positive psychology, and his current focus on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). He developed the first university ACT course in Australia. Through 10 teaching focused publications, conference presentations, and five teaching awards, he has become a leader in integrating therapist and self-care competencies into ACT training using a self-practice approach. Recently he has focused on developing innovative ACT interventions that build resilience in people with chronic illness and their carers. His career-long commitment to ‘practice what you teach’ is epitomised in his recently published memoir The Trauma Banquet: Eating Pain – Feasting on Life.

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