#ADAA2017 – So Many Great People, So Much Great Information

Elizabeth Spencer

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America conference 2017 in San Francisco was another whirlwind of great people and great information. I loved every minute, and I even won the award for Clinician of Distinction.


• “Dr. K,” Johanna Kaplan, Ph.D., spoke about #Adulting. She pointed out the need to involve parents in treatment and get them to be specific and consistent in communicating goals to their adult child. She showed an adorable video of her 18-month-old doing laundry which she uses with the parents of her clients. “If my son can do his laundry, your adult child can, too!” She urged clinicians to make sure young adults are handling their own chores themselves as a stepping-stone to autonomy.
• How about this title for a talk “Clinical Kung Fu: Managing Anger and Oppositional Behavior in Kids with Anxiety Disorders Treatment.” With Allison Alden, Ph.D. and Julieanne Pojas, Psy.D. Alden and Pojas demonstrated how they hold a child client who is refusing to go to school to get them to the car and out of the car to school. That is hands on in vivo therapy for sure and a great reminder not to shy away from high levels of anxiety with our clients.
• ERP for ARFID (Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder) by Stephanie Eken, M.D. and Angela Stebbins, Psy.D from Rogers Behavioral Health showed the effectiveness of combining mindfulness and emotional regulation skills with exposure in adolescents who have very picky eating habits. Clients who are working on exposure to cheese, for example, may have a slice of cheese on a plate that is first in another room, then the next day in the hall, and then in the same room as they are, before working up to touching and finally eating the cheese. A good reminder to start way back with exposures but to be persistent and keep things moving.

The ultimate highlight for me was presenting a workshop live with Kimberly – we record many of our workshops together through online videoconferencing with no live audience, so this was a real treat.

ADAA will be in Washington, DC in 2018. We hope to see you there!

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