ADAA is my go-to conference as a therapist in a specialty private practice. I know I will experience useful and engaging clinical workshops that give me ideas for complex cases or exposures to new ideas. I can also obtain up to date reviews of the field and researching findings that are relevant to my practice. And especially, when in person, but even pretty good virtually, I can connect with colleagues or meet new ones.
So definitely submit to present. You do have something to offer either as primarily a therapist or a researcher or both. Do not doubt, just submit and see what happens. Conference submissions are not weighted based on presenters in the review process, so you have just as good a chance at acceptance as more senior submitters if you have an interesting and well written proposal.
It is helpful to have a catchy engaging title to help stand out among all the presentations. This will aid you in both the review process and in standing out in the conference program. Those colons help to not only be clever, but to tell people what topic you are going to address. Engage people, but be honest and clear about what you are going to cover. This can be covered better and more thoroughly in your abstract. Make sure to describe what you are presenting.
Invite and engage colleagues who will bring diversity and an exchange of ideas. It can be helpful to pair with people you may not know well (rather than just your friends) to provide a diversity of viewpoints and experience.
Your fellow ADAA members reviewing your proposals are looking for a few things. Does your proposal address the theme of the conference? It does not have to directly relate to it if you have a really good proposal, but it helps if it does. Does your proposal contain enough detail to evaluate what you and your colleagues are going to address? Are your intervention and ideas routed in the empirical literature or have you made the case for innovation? Lastly, those evaluating are looking for topics that have not been presented before at the conference. For example, in my area, child anxiety and OCD, there are multiple proposals each year on this topic. The ones more likely to be accepted look at comorbid diagnoses and interventions that target, for example, autism spectrum or behavioral issues. Also, this year, in addition to others, ADAA is looking to highlight proposals that are geared for an advanced or experienced audience. This means not going over diagnoses or the relevance of CBT approaches. Instead, it is diving into complexity and nuance.
It is really important that your proposal is well written. Make sure to review your proposal to look for errors and typos. These limitations have an impact on reviewers’ impressions. There are helpful videos available to describe the types of submissions.
To summarize – steps for submitting to the conference
- Create an engaging topic, title, and abstract
- Make sure it is well written and checked for errors
- Try to cover a topic or create an angle of your own, compared to the usual topics frequently covered
- Invite colleagues that will bring diversity of interventions or opinions
- Try to address the theme of the conference (Common Psychopathology: What Can the Past Tell Us About the Future?)
- Don’t doubt yourself, just submit and see what happens