The True Convention Experience

DSC02104APA convention is fun all around. It’s more than just men in suits and ties, or women in pants, dresses or fancy attire. APA convention is an experience like no other. You can go from a day of scholarly presentations to fun at social hours; and connecting with old and new colleagues.

Today was truly a rewarding experience, which solidified why I love psychology.This convention experience was full of high moments and anxiety about presenting my first solo symposium. My day started bright and early with attending the Minority Fellowship Program breakfast, which allowed me the opportunity to meet other fellows and mentors. This was followed by a busy day of seDSC02098ssions to gain valuable psychological knowledge, stopping by the APA art project in the convention hall, and then having my stomach in a knot while feeling anxious about presenting my symposium on parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT).

Convention attendee doing art.

Convention attendee doing art.

Overall, my day was busy yet rewarding. I used my own cognitive-behavioral techniques that I often use with my therapy clients to calm myself before giving my talk, which must have worked really well. I was very pleased that I was able to give my talk to a packed room waiting to hear me present on treating disruptive behaviors in children. The highlight was after my presentation getting a comment from Karen Budd, PhD (professor at DePaul University who does research on PCIT), who complimented me on doing a great job presenting and encouraged me to continue my work. Who knows, this could open doors for future collaboration. That’s what I love about APA convention. There are so many opportunities to network.


The celebration continued, and ended with attending social hours sponsored by the
Committee on Early Career Psychologist (CECP), as well as, the Division 42 S/ECP social hour. I am truly excited to be in this profession and look forward to continued involvement in APA. I hope your convention experience is full of fun.

APA members at ECP social

APA members at the ECP social

APA Convention Frenzy: Are You Prepared?

Convention hall

Convention hall

The 2014 American Psychological Association Annual Convention is under way and convention-goers are excited to connect with colleagues, friends and future collaborators. I have always enjoyed APA convention and recall my very first convention in this exact city about 10 years ago as a bright-eyed graduate student. Now, after earning my doctorate in clinical psychology I am still amazed by everything I learn each year. I also feel like “I’m not prepared.”

APA convention is a great experience.Yet, I wonder how many get that feeling of being unprepared for the hustle and bustle of convention activities. As an early career psychologist, I think I have a strategy to manage the busy convention schedule. Here are my tips for making your convention a smooth, fun time.DSC02072

  1. Plan ahead: APA convention is so large you can never have enough time to attend all the sessions and social events for your respective divisions or interests.Be sure to browse the convention program ahead of time.I recall my very first convention attempting to look through the program during or between sessions. Not a good strategy! The new convention app makes it very easy to search for sessions. If you’re in need of continuing education (CE) credits, the app also allows you to search by that category.
  2. Look at the map: Convention activities can be hard to find. Be sure to locate where your hotel is in proximity to the convention center and the supplemental hotels. This will make your convention experience less stressful. Nothing is worse than having to get from the convention center to suite programming within 10 minutes and not knowing which way to turn.
  3. Connect with colleagues in advance: Given convention is so busy, most people have limited flexibility in their schedules. Yet we all enjoy each other’s time and being able to catch up. Be sure to reach out to friends and colleagues in advance to maximize your time for fun and relaxation.

Now that I have given you some tips, let’s see if I can take my own advice!

One Week and Counting

APA’s 122nd Annual Convention is just a week away and the excitement in our office is palpable. We shipped our trunks and boxes full of convention materials yesterday. Staff badges were distributed today. Many of us are putting the finishing touches on our convention schedules and generally gearing up for the big event.

If you haven’t assembled your schedule yet, what are you waiting for?! View the full program and search by keyword, day and time, presenter, continuing education sessions, workshops and more. Highlights include:

  • Opening Session with legendary newscaster and best-selling author Jane Pauley, who will deliver the keynote address. She will talk about her experience with bipolar disorder and her work to inspire life “reinvention.”
  • Opening Reception (NEW) inside the exhibit hall immediately following the Opening Session.
  • Collaborative Programming (NEW) integrating science and practice.

And if you haven’t registered, it’s not too late. You can still register online at Or do it on site when you get to D.C.

Whatever you do, though, don’t miss psychology’s premier annual meeting.