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We are so excited to begin planning for our 2022 IOCDF Conference Series, including our in-person Annual OCD Conference in Denver, CO, and our Virtual Conferences! These programs bring the entire OCD and related disorders community together to learn, train, network, and socialize.

The first step in the planning process is building the programs — and that’s where you come in! We charge you, our community, to think about what you would like these conferences to look like. What workshops, support groups, and activities do you want to see? Whether this is your first time submitting a proposal or you are a veteran presenter, we look forward to seeing what ideas you come up with. 

Submit a proposal for these conferences

Annual OCD Conference (in-person)
Friday–Sunday, July 8–10, 2022
Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center in Denver, CO
Submit your proposal through Monday, January 31, 2022 at 5pm ET.

Online OCD Conference
Friday–Sunday, November 4–6, 2022
Submit your proposal through Monday, January 31, 2022 at 5pm ET.
The Online OCD Conference brings the global OCD community together to connect, share, and learn from one another.

Conferencia de TOC Online (Spanish Online OCD Conference)
Saturday–Sunday, September 10–11, 2022
Submit your proposal through Monday, March 14, 2022 at 5pm ET.
Conferencia de TOC Online provides information, resources, and support to Spanish-speaking members of the OCD community.

IOCDF Research Symposium (hybrid)
Thursday, July 7, 2022
Denver, CO & Online
Submit your proposal through Monday, March 21, 2022 at 5pm ET (extended deadline).
Our annual event for researchers, by researchers — featuring high-level talks and poster sessions on the latest OCD and related disorders research. This will be a hybrid in-person/online event. 

Tips for submitting a proposal

To increase the chances of your proposal being accepted, we’ve created a list of do’s and don’ts for you to consider. These suggestions come directly from feedback we've received from Conference attendees and planning committee members, so be sure to keep them in mind as you begin creating your proposals!

DO create a proposal for an underrepresented topic.

Think about topics that may be of special interest to the OCD community. Below are topics that have been frequently requested by attendees and represent areas that may have been underrepresented in previous years.

  • Multicultural and diversity issues
  • Co-occurring issues with OCD (e.g., substance use disorder, developmental/intellectual disabilities, eating disorders, autism spectrum disorders, PTSD, depression, etc.)
  • Perinatal OCD (including prenatal and postpartum)
  • OCD-related disorders: body dysmorphic disorder, hoarding disorder, trichotillomania (hair pulling), excoriation (skin picking)
  • Relationship issues, including relationship OCD and intimacy in general (dating/sex/marriage when OCD is involved)
  • OCD and aging
  • OCD and lifestyle factors, such as exercise, nutrition, and sleep
  • Employment/workplace issues
  • Navigating insurance, disability, and legal rights for those with OCD
  • Policy advocacy at the local, state, and/or national levels
  • Family issues, including parents of adult children with OCD
  • Translational talks about turning research findings into clinical practice
  • Topics related to “Life After Treatment”

Please remember that this is not an exhaustive list! Try to think outside the box and go beyond the basics.

DON'T feel limited to the traditional lecture-style talk.

Workshops that often receive the highest ratings from attendees are those that are interactive and/or experiential. Think outside the box about creative ways to actively engage the audience. Some ideas include:

  • Taking the audience through a group exercise
  • Demonstrating a technique with an audience member
  • Breaking the audience into small groups for role plays or discussion
  • Showing a related video clip alongside your talk

Think about what makes you more interested and attentive in a presentation, and then apply it to your own proposal.

DO create a diverse panel of speakers.

While it can be tempting to submit a solo presentation, attendee feedback shows that it’s much more impactful (and helpful) to hear from different perspectives. We want attendees to walk away feeling like they are not alone.

Teaming up with a diverse panel of speakers highly increases the chance that your presentation will have more of an impact on the community. Consider some of the following examples:

  • Are you an individual with OCD or a related disorder? Team up with a fellow individual, family member, and/or professional to provide a well-rounded talk about your different experiences and perspectives on a topic.
  • Are you a clinician? See if one or more of your patients and/or colleagues would like to join you on a panel to discuss an issue from several sides.
  • Are you a researcher? Work with researchers in similar or different fields to discuss your various findings around a theme and how they might change our current understanding/practice.

Typically, the ideal panel size is between 3–4 presenters — any more than that, and you may find it difficult to cover your topic within your time slot. Attendees also report that they get less out of large panels, as the presenters often have to rush through their content. For this reason, we cap the panel size at five. Please be prepared to explain the role of each person on the panel.

DON'T overestimate (or underestimate) the difficulty of your talk.

Every presentation is classified according to difficulty level (introductory or advanced) and these levels are chosen by you when submitting your proposal. A surefire way to get negative attendee feedback is by having the content of your talk not match the difficulty level you chose. Advanced-level sessions should not cover the basics, and introductory-level sessions should not get too complicated. We aim for the full spectrum when setting the Conference program, so be thoughtful in deciding which difficulty level best suits your talk.

DO mix it up from previous years.

While we get new attendees every year, we also see an increasing number of Conference-goers coming back time and again. We aim to provide fresh offerings that will appeal to newcomers and veterans alike. This means we are unlikely to accept the same presentation year after year, even if ratings and attendance were high. Simply changing your title is not enough — use this as an opportunity to mix it up and explore fresh content and/or add additional perspectives.

DON'T forget about evening activities and support groups.

While daytime presentations are the most popular choice when submitting a proposal, evening activities and support groups are just as vital to the community and to the Conference program. They provide the opportunity for attendees to have fun, socialize, network, and bond after a great day of learning. (Both are also great ways to engage certain populations, such as first-time or solo attendees. Use your imagination and let your creativity run wild!)

  • Support groups can be led by professionals and peers alike, and we welcome submissions for groups of all types and compositions, for all ages. Note that we limit proposals to two group facilitators per support group.
  • Evening activities have ranged from group exposures and artistic expression activities, to film screenings and story hours.

DO submit to our live conference youth program!

The Annual OCD Conference includes programming for kids, middle schoolers, and/or teens. Each program spans all three days and youth are treated daily to a variety of activities in a camp-like structure.

We challenge you to come up with engaging activities for these age groups — will you do an art project? Teach them a new skill? Host a dance party? Put yourself in the shoes of a child with OCD or the young relative of a person with OCD, and think of what might be a fun and helpful activity to do. (Remember to be age and developmentally appropriate — lecture-style talks for youth are strongly not recommended, and we will prioritize experiential and/or activity-based sessions.)

Questions? We're here to help!

If you have a question that is not answered by this article, the Conference website, or the instructions in the proposal system, please feel free to reach out to us at conference@iocdf.org or 617-973-5801. 

Happy proposal writing, and we hope to see you in Denver, CO and online!

9 Comments

  • Susie Carver

    A session detailing how to get help for OCD therapy via feee services or fighting for coverage through insurances with therapist that are out of network,

    Reply
  • Stephanie Boysen

    My daughter (15) is interested in submitting a proposal, but we don’t see how to format it or submit it. How do we help her proceed?

    Reply
    • Jessica Price

      Hi Stephanie! We’re so happy to hear that your daughter is interested in submitting. The portal will open on January 4th, so I’d recommend checking back on that date. If you have other questions, please feel free to email us at info@iocdf.org or call at (617) 973-5801.

      Reply
  • Natalie

    Hi! I’m interested in coming to this conference this year! Is this a family-friendly event? My husband and our 3 kids (3,8,10 by the conference date). Although they don’t have ocd, they see me struggle with it daily, and I thought it might help them to see that others are going thru the same. Would they be allowed to come to some of these events, also, or is this something that would be better for me to attend on my own? Coming from Atlanta, Ga, so would prefer to not have to fly and get there on my own. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Jessica Price

      Hi Natalie! Yes, the Conference is a family-friendly event, and will feature programming for family members. Send us an email at conferences@iocdf.org with any other questions 🙂

      Reply
    • Natalie, I dont know if you have had any engagement with my team at Anxiety Specialists of Atlanta but Id be happy to talk to you more about the conference (its AWESOME). Im a professional, I’m on the IOCDF training faculty, I present at the conference, and I’m also the proud parent of a child with OCD and anxiety (and my wife has joined me at these conferences).

      The conference is DEFINITELY for everyone in the family and there are always wonderful talks, events and activities for all family members, regardless of who battles OCD/anxiety. Also, if your husband has any interest, I also run a “Loved Ones” free support group, the third monday of each month (this month it will be January 17th), at 8pm on zoom. Completely free, open to anyone over the age of 18 who cares for, supports, or is related to someone with OCD. All info is on our website events page: https://anxietyspecialistsofatlanta.com/events-2/

      If me or my team be of any support or assistance to you or your family, dont hesitate to reach out drspitalnick@anxietyatl.com. I hope to see you in Denver!! Warmly, Josh

      Reply
  • Marcia Hicks

    What if you want to submit more than one proposal for the conference?

    Reply
    • Jessica Price

      You can! The system will allow you to submit up to 10.

      Reply
  • Nathan Siegel

    Hello!
    I’m a little confused about the wording for support groups. Does limiting the number of facilitators to two mean it must be exactly two facilitators, or is it ok if there’s only one?

    Thanks,
    Nathan

    Reply

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