Keynote & Invited Speakers 2018

Conference speakers

The National Conference Committee for the 39th AACBT National Conference is pleased to announce the following keynote & invited speakers for 2018, and they look forward to seeing you.

King George Square @anto_oko


Keynote Speaker

Professor Allison Harvey

University of California

Allison Harvey

Developing transdiagnostic psychological treatments for better practice

Mental illness remains common, chronic and difficult to treat. This talk will address approaches to hastening progress including (1) the use of science to derive treatments and (2) targeting treatment at a transdiagnostic process.

Learning objectives:

  1. To describe approaches to deriving new psychological treatments
  2. To describe advantages and examples of transdiagnostic approaches

Keynote Speaker

Professor Stefan Hofmann

Boston University

Stefan Hofmann

Emotion regulation strategies

Emotions are critical aspects of mental health. Although conventional treatments for emotional disorders are generally effective interventions, many people still suffer from residual emotional distress, such as anxiety, depression, and anger problems. Moreover, contemporary treatments that have focused primarily on negative affect rarely leads to lasting improvements in positive affect, quality of life, and happiness. Recent scientific evidence and theoretical models of emotions can enrich the therapeutic strategies when treating emotional disorders. These strategies range from adaptive and flexible intrapersonal and interpersonal emotion regulation strategies to various mindfulness-based practices. In the case of anxiety disorders, modern emotion theories clarify the mechanism of exposure procedures and the role of avoidance strategies. These insights can inform the treatment for emotional disorders.


Invited Speaker

Professor Sue Spence

Griffith University

Using new technologies with youth emotional disorders

It has been an exciting decade for the synergy of cognitive behaviour therapy and technology in the treatment of youth psychological disorders. Research conducted on computer-based CBT (cCBT), including mobile devices, has expanded exponentially in recent years, with significant evidence demonstrating that cCBT, with relatively brief therapist support is effective for reducing youth anxiety and depression. The potential for cCBT to improve treatment access and the mental health outcomes of Australian youth is enormous given our nation’s vast rural and remote areas.

This paper will summarize the current status of research relating to the effectiveness of cCBT for youth anxiety and depression, and draw upon the presenter’s longstanding research on the BRAVE-ONLINE program. The considerable challenges that we face in moving from well-controlled cCBT clinical trials into implementation in real-world, clinical contexts will also be discussed. How can we best enable clinicians to use cCBT in their clinical practice? How do we enhance child and parent engagement and completion rates, particularly for self-help cCBT in the absence of therapist support? How do we fund cCBT when current government funding mechanisms present a barriers to the widespread adoption of cCBT for youth?

This paper will also discuss on ongoing challenges faced by cCBT program developers and clinicians who need to keep up advances in technology. Finally, the paper will note some of the emerging and interesting research into the next wave of new technologies, such as virtual reality, for the treatment of youth emotional disorders.

Disclosure: The presenter acknowledges that, although the intellectual property for BRAVE-ONLINE is owned by Uniquest/University of Queensland, she could potentially benefit from royalties related to the program.

Invited Speaker

Professor Amanda Baker

University of Newcastle

Amanda Baker

Transdiagnostic treatment opportunities in addressing co-existing mental ill-health and substance use problems

Over the last 20 years, with the benefit of large epidemiological data sets, it has become clear that many people in the community experience mental ill-health and substance use problems in their lifetime and, quite often, experience these problems concurrently. It is becoming increasingly clear that these problems are also accompanied by poor levels of physical health. There is a life expectancy gap of around 20 years between people living with severe mental health and substance use problems versus those not experiencing such problems. The first National Mental Health Report Card in Australia in 2012 called the physical health status of people living with a severe mental health condition a ‘national disgrace’. The report card called upon researchers and clinicians to better address the physical health of people with mental health problems. In this paper I will: outline how substance use undermines mental and physical health; describe effective treatments for substance use and associated mental and physical health outcomes; and discuss the evidence for integrated versus single-focused approaches. The potential to place substance use and mental and physical health within a ‘healthy lifestyles’ framework offers transdiagnostic treatment opportunities which are appealing to clients with growing evidence for effectiveness.


Invited Speaker

Professor W. Kim Halford

University of Queensland

For the children: Working with high conflict separated parents

About 1 million (1 in 5) Australian children experience their parents separate. Forty percent of separated parents do not reach mutually acceptable co-parenting arrangements. High conflict between separated co-parents is associated with child and adult adjustment, and can be a major barrier to providing children with a safe and nurturing home. In this presentation I will speak to the predictors of high conflict separations, and key issues in assisting separated parents with high conflict. I also will describe and demonstrate work we have been doing on assessment with feedback to promote parental positive goal setting, enhancing family mediation, and co-parenting education to assist high conflict parents.


More details to come.


Image Credits: King George Square @anto_oko; University of California; Boston University; Griffith University; University of Newcastle; University of Queensland