STARTING A NEW CHAPTER

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Perhaps you have become interested in creating a local Chapter in your area.

Chapters vs. SIGs

Chapters are distinct from Special Interest Groups. Chapters are established within states, regions, countries, or within language communities, while Special Interest Groups are defined by specific topical areas. (Organization at a level smaller than "state" aren't being encouraged as of Sept. 2012, but please talk to us.) Given their purpose, Chapters are more formal entities than SIGs.

Applying to Become a Chapter

Please consult the ACBS Chapter Handbook and the Sample Bylaws (attached below; you must be logged in as a paid member to view these files) to learn how to form your Chapter. Then you may complete the:

Online Chapter Application

Don't forget! Before your Chapter application can be reviewed by the ACBS board, you must submit the signatures in support of the development of the Chapter to Emily in the main office. Only current ACBS members can submit their signature in support of the Chapter. Electronic signatures are accepted (with the person's name, email, and full affiliation in the signature), and please compile them into one document before submitting them; do not send them to Emily individually.

Getting Started: Considerations

We recommend considering the points here, but we also affirm the need for each group to find their own ways of moving things forward. It's all about workability.

  • 1) Consider: who is interested. You may wish to a) collect a list of email addresses through friends, colleagues, folks who have attended conferences, workshops, or other local events, b) create a network of individuals who are interested in the Chapter and each of you work to create a list of interested individuals.
  • 2) Consider: if you have left anyone out of your call to interest potential chapter members. Did you contact practitioners with varying educational backgrounds and work environments (e.g., university faculty, students/trainees, hospitals, clinics, private practice, social workers/marriage and family therapists, psychiatric nurses, school counselors, etc)? There is no rule about who to contact but it may be important to consider all of your options. Ask yourself who and what types of individuals might benefit from your local Chapter and be sure to find ways to invite them to participate and to get their feedback.

Creating accepting, active, values-based groups within ACBS

When you start a group, be mindful of the possibility that there may be others who could feel left out or threatened if they are unaware of it in the early stages. Please be sensitive to that subtle human problem -- inclusion is a value in the ACBS community. If you are interested in a specific Chapter you may know who might be expected to be involved at the ground floor. Reach out to them. Err on the side of inclusion -- for example, you might first circulate the idea for such a Chapter on the main listserves. Be especially mindful of the need for democratic and open processes in choosing leadership as the group forms. If there are "competing groups" in a particular country or problem area, try to get them all involved in the process. If we are to create open values-based groups, the very process of creating them needs to fit that purpose.

  • 3) When you have a sense of who is interested, possibly even before talking to them about their goals, consider: what is the most effective area to consider for your Chapter? It may be logical to consider a state-wide chapter (for example) but when you poll your potential members, you find that there are two centrally located groups who would not be interested in activities beyond an hour or two drive. If face-to-face activities are important for these groups, consider if a state-wide chapter with a couple of different concentrations makes sense or if a region or country chapter is a better fit. Perhaps the goals of the potential members include both monthly face-to-face activities that can alternate between two relatively close areas (e.g., a day trip) as well as a local, weekly peer-supervision groups in their area. Or perhaps the larger group is interested in putting on workshops for both area Chapters.
  • 4) Ask the folks who might be interested what their goals are. This is probably best done in a face to face meeting, wherever possible, or via a telephone or video conference call. It is important to let your interested Chapter members have a voice -- and early on in the planning process.
  • 5) Consider: how the Chapter will stay connected. Is a chapter-specific email list warranted? In addition to that, how will you stay connected to your chapter? Video/phone conferencing? Do you want to develop a website? If so, consider doing so within the larger ACBS site or at least coordinating with us regarding your site so members interested in joining your Chapter from that area may be able to find you through the larger ACBS site.
  • 6) Consider: the types of activities to plan. There are so many different activities that your Chapter members may find of interest. In discussions with successful Chapters, activities can span all levels of involvement and may be very small to large conferences. Our advice: start small unless there is a high level of interest with many people available for organizing large-scale or very frequent events that take a lot of planning (such as conferences or monthly workshops).

Here are some sample activities and initiatives that might be useful to consider:

  • Peer Supervision Groups. Is there a group of individuals within a concentrated area interested in meeting weekly, twice a month, or monthly to discuss supervision issues? Who might be interested in leading such a group? Where can the group meet (with all due privacy)?

  • ACT "Video Night". Perhaps members will be interested in getting together and watching ACT training DVDs and discussing ways to practice these concepts over the successive weeks following the event

  • Social Networking Events. Are your members interested in getting to know each other personally to further their networking with others who have similar interests? Perhaps these events could be a place where your members meet and discuss their interests more personally, share experiences, and from there, both formal and informal activities planned.

  • Reading Groups. Perhaps your members are interested in creating ACT, RFT, behavior analysis, or philosophy reading groups. If so, will they meet in person? Online? Via email?

  • Workshops. What size and type(s) of workshops might your members be interested in? Is there a need to bring in trainers from the larger ACBS community? Are there folks within your Chapter who might have something to offer? When and where might they be held?

Also, once you become an ACBS affiliated chapter, you will then have the opportunity to receive discounted fees for the application process to hold a CE co-sponsor event with ACBS. To learn more, please check out the ACBS CE Co-Sponsorship page.

  • Your Chapter in the Larger Community. If your Chapter is interested in bringing awareness of ACT and related principles to the community, in what ways might you do so? Are there people or institutions that your Chapter members wish to educate about ACT and related principles? Is there a desire to make institutional changes? Are there directives or training initiatives for your area that you can work to meet (or perhaps work to change)? Are there particular things related to practice that are unique to your area, such as certification or continuing education requirements? Perhaps you can consider providing events where training/continuing education credits for your state or country are made available.

  • 7) Consider: Fees. You may consider collecting dues for Chapter membership or charging members a discounted rate for events sponsored by the Chapter. If you do consider charging dues, please email the ACBS staff to discuss how this might work and additional responsibilities related to accounting that you will need. ACBS can not collect Chapter dues on behalf of the Chapter, sorry. Charging for specific, large-scale events has occurred, but many events are still provided for free.
  • 8) Consider: resources (particularly for international members). What resources (books, articles, training manuals, etc.) are already available for your members? If the Chapter is internationally based and primarily non-English speaking, what might need to be done in terms of translation? Might the Chapter members be interested in establishing initiatives to translate sections of the ACBS website or other important materials into another language?
  • 9) Consider: the role of research and tracking client progress. Perhaps you, or some of the other people interested in forming the Chapter are interested in research or collecting some form of data on clients as they progress through psychotherapy. If there is a specific desire to learn research methods, how might you best achieve this goal? Is there an interest in bridging the clinical practice - research gap? If so, consider how you might address this issue. Is there a set of measures (particularly if translated into other languages) that have worked for general clinical work, or for specific populations that the group can discuss? Are there ways that practitioners have tracked client progress or organized research studies (e.g., single case, multiple baseline, or open trials) that they might consider sharing with the group? For example, a clinician might ask her clients the questions from a couple of quick process and outcome measures at the beginning of session, type the answers into an excel spreadsheet, and then has a formula programmed in to score the measures. Then as clients return each week, the progress on each measure can be seen in graphed form. This could be a group process for the Chapter to consider how to do. In the meantime, there are folks who have established spreadsheets like these; see Resources for Clinicians for Joe Ciarrochi's client progress tracking spreadsheet as an example and there are more out there. There are clinical practice & research networks forming within ACBS to aid in this process, but at the level of your Chapter, you might have something to contribute to the international effort that is currently underway.
  • 10) Consider: how to write your By Laws. This probably sounds like the most painful part of the process, but it's really not that bad. Use the sample By Laws document attached to this webpage. Perhaps the most important thing for you to consider is the make up of your board, so ask yourself "Can we sustain this?". The sample By Laws attached are based on ACBS's By Laws. I'd be extremely surprised if a local chapter could support so many board positions year after year. Consider a few of these ideas: longer terms; fewer members; perhaps no student member, but allow students to run for "Member-at-Large" positions.

For Additional Information

Read the additional tips from the 2010 World Conference (listed in a child page at the bottom of this page).

Join the Chapter Officer's Listserv

This listserv is where Chapter officers ask for help in setting up Chapter activities, and share what has worked in each Chapter. Email community@contextualscience.org to get added to the listserv.

Good luck!

Chapters Made Possible By:

A big thank you to the Chapter and SIG Committee for their hard work toward making the development of both official Chapters and Special Interest Groups possible.

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