The Beginner's Guide to the Annual Conference

If it is your first time attending a BABCP Conference, you may feel a little overwhelmed by the Conference programme. To make it easier for you to navigate the different events and decide which presentations to attend, we have prepared this short guide.

The Conference consists of a full day of pre-Conference Workshops, and then a three-day programme involving keynote addresses, symposia, debates and roundtables, skills classes, open paper sessions, and poster presentations.

Streams… The whole Conference programme is organised into 10 streams, which are broad areas within psychology, such as Adult Mental Health. All presentations will be colour coded by stream in the Conference programme. Where possible, presentations within a stream will be scheduled at different times to allow delegates interested in a specific area to attend most or all of the relevant presentations. Some sessions this year are across two colour streams and colour coded accordingly.

… ‘But how do I decide what to attend?’…

If you are interested in the latest research in an area, posters, symposia and keynotes will be of particular interest to you. However, if you need to broaden or update your skill base then Workshops and skills classes are most appropriate. If you are skilled in one specific area in CBT, you may want to go to something completely outside this competence. Alternatively, you may want to stay with what is relevant to your work and just top up and get the latest ideas.

Symposia, open paper sessions, and poster presentations can be really useful for networking and meeting people working in similar fields...especially in the coffee breaks! Alternatively, you may just want to attend events by well-known presenters who you have never had a chance to hear, in which case you will find the keynotes, and perhaps the debates and roundtables most interesting.

In addition to all this, there are book exhibitions, information stalls, special interest group meetings and of course the social programme, all of which carry more opportunities for new learning!

You will probably get the most out of the Conference if you take half an hour or so at the start to sit quietly with the programme to go through it and then plan your own individual itinerary/schedule.

We hope this is helpful, please do ask any of the organisers if you have any questions during the Conference, and above all, enjoy!

 

‘What exactly are the different types of presentations
at the Conference?’

Workshops… These are whole day events focused on both skills and theory. They are scheduled on the day before the conference and on the first day of the congress. A separate registration fee applied to these workshops and they must be booked in advance.

Keynotes… Keynote speakers are typically clinical researchers who are well known nationally or internationally. They usually attract large audiences, and are a whole hour with one speaker, including time for questions. They usually cover research and clinical issues. The keynote presentations are scheduled after the symposium sessions, in both the morning and the afternoon, and generally there will be four or five on different topics in parallel.

Symposia… These are collections of talks, perhaps 4 or 5, focusing on a specific topic or subject area. Some papers can be very data-focused, centred on new studies and trials and their outcomes. Others are more applied, looking at service or skills related subjects. Speakers may range from presenters at an early stage in their careers presenting their own work, to leaders in the world of CBT. Symposia often have a discussant at the end where time is allowed for audience participation.

Panel Debates… These are events where speakers are encouraged to debate a topic with each other, and actively with the audience. There are generally 4 or 5 speakers, and often these events feature nationally or internationally recognised researchers or clinicians.

Clinical Roundtables… These are events where clinicians discuss how they would approach treating a specific case, for example, treatment-resistant depression. These involve well known clinicians, and audience involvement is encouraged.

Posters… Posters report on research studies, service evaluations, clinical case reports etc., and the presenter will usually stand with their poster and answer any questions. Posters will be on display all day and you are free to walk around and interact with the presenters.

Skills Classes… These are opportunities to learn and practise a particular skill. Skills classes focus on a specific clinical or research skill or therapeutic approach. For example this year we have skills classes focusing on topics from reliving PTSD to how to become a happier therapist. These classes generally involve quite large groups, and are led by a well-known clinician. Depending on the numbers, these may be more or less didactic or interactive, but there will often be opportunity for delegates to get involved, and practice their skills.