For today’s blog, we wanted to take a moment to answer some of the most common questions we hear from attendees, especially those planning to come to their first IOCDF Conference. So, we sat down with Michael Spigler, our Program Director (and Conference guru), to get the inside scoop on registering for and attending this year’s conference. If you have any other questions that we failed to address, please leave them in the comments section below, and we’ll do our best to answer them.
This is my first conference, what can I expect?
Each year, about half of our attendees are coming to the conference for the first time so you will not be alone!
Our conference is a caring and respectful environment full of those who are eager to learn and meet others who are sharing the same experiences. It is a unique event where therapists, researchers, those with OCD and their loved ones all learn beside one another.
If you feel comfortable doing so, “First Time Attendee” ribbons will be available at the registration counter. By placing these ribbons on your name badge, it will help you meet others who are attending for the first time and will also let some of our more experienced conference attendees know that they should offer you some advice
What are the best ways to meet new people at the conference?
We are always trying to find new ways to create “ice breakers” early on at our Annual Conference. For those of you who are arriving in town on Thursday, I would suggest signing up for the “Improv for Anxiety” workshop being held by The Second City. More information on that program can be found here. http://ocfoundation.org/About_Conference.aspx#Improv
On Friday night, the folks at Run OCD and OCD Midwest are holding a Ping Pong 4 OCD icebreaker in the hotel’s Chicago Ballroom. Stop in, play some ping pong and make some friends. Any and all skill levels are encouraged to stop by!
Where can I find more information about the talks/sessions?
More information about each talk, including summaries of the content that will be covered, can be found on our Google calendar here: http://ocfoundation.org/conference-calendar/
Do I need to decide which sessions I want to go to ahead of time?
No. Seating at all sessions are first-come, first served. However, we rarely run out of seats as most of the meeting rooms have plenty of space.
Can I go to the professional talks if I am not a therapist or researcher?
Yes. While anyone can attend the therapist or researcher sessions, we do ask that those who are attending the sessions be prepared for the talk to be more advanced than workshops in the other tracks. As with all of our sessions, we do ask that you hold your questions until the end of the talk.
Can I leave my kids in a session or do I need to stay with them?
We do encourage parents to stay with their younger children during sessions. While each session does have a dedicated volunteer in the room at all times, they are not responsible for monitoring the children in the room. If you want to attend a session for parents, we encourage you to have your child attend the kids and teens art therapy rooms during your talk. Those rooms are staffed with experienced therapists who will make sure your child does not leave the room unattended. Please note that these rooms are therapeutic and are meant for children with anxiety disorders; they are not a substitute for childcare.
Do I need a ticket? Where do I get my conference materials?
You do not need a ticket to enter into the conference. Your name badge, which you will pick up at the hotel, is the only thing you need to get into sessions.
Once you arrive at the hotel, just check in with us at our Pre-Registration counter, which will be located on the 5th Floor near the hotel’s Chicago Ballroom. At that time you will be given your Program Guide and name badge, which you must wear at all times at the Conference.
Registration hours are as follows:
Thursday, July 26, 12:00pm–8:00pm
Friday, July 27, 7:00am–6:00pm
Saturday, July 28, 7:00am–1:00pm
What are the options for meals in and around the hotel?
Continental breakfast is included with the price of your registration on all three days of the conference. It will be located on the 4th floor of the hotel. For lunch, there are dozens of restaurant options in and around the hotel, however the hotel will also offer grab-and-go boxed lunches for sale.
A light dinner on Saturday evening is also included as part of your registration fee, but it is the only evening meal offered. The hotel’s prime location downtown means that there are many dinner options nearby that can meet any budget or taste.
If I haven’t registered yet, can I still attend?
UPDATED 7/23/12: Online and phone registration is now closed, but you can still register as a walk-in at the conference during the Registration Hours listed above.
There are no more rooms at the conference hotel—where can I stay?
UPDATED 7/23/12: The discounted conference room blocks are now sold out, but rooms are still available at the conference hotel, the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, as well as at the Courtyard Chicago Downtown Magnificent Mile across the street.
Are there opportunities for treatment at the Conference?
UPDATE 7/23/12: Dr. Reid Wilson offers a 2-day treatment program at the conference, but the program is now sold out. There are other less formal treatment opportunities at the conference, which do not require advance registration, such as the many different support groups, the “Virtual Camping” exposure experience on Friday evening, and the Kids/Teens “Magnificent Mile of Exposures” activity during the Keynote address on Saturday morning. Check out the 2012 IOCDF Conference Program Guide online (PDF) to see what else is available.
Where can I talk with other people who are going to the conference to arrange room sharing?
Because of liability issues, we cannot facilitate room sharing. However, we suggest those who are looking to save money through a roommate to post in the Conference Chatter message board on Yahoo. The message board is not affiliated with the IOCDF, but is run by experienced conference attendees who can answer your questions and post suggestions. You can find that message board here: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/CC-OCF/
Just a quick reminder that our early bird registration deadline is one week from today! You can still register after that, but prices will go up slightly. For more information about the conference, or to register, please visit: http://ocfoundation.org/conference/