21st Annual OCD Conference – Highlights

This year’s International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) 21st annual conference was held in sunny California in Los Angeles! While the IOCDF conference is always a great conference to attend, this year’s was especially extraordinary as our HOP team presented FIVE talks and workshops. This year’s conference set a new record attendance, topping 1,300 attendees from all over the world, including top OCD experts. A special thank you goes out to the Peace of Mind Foundation for their generosity in supporting and improving the quality of life OCD sufferers and caregivers through education, research, support, and advocacy. Peace of Mind Foundation sponsored scholarships of several of our McLean OCD Institute // Houston alumni, amongst others in the community, to attend the conference.

Highlights from the conference:

  • Speaking with, educating, and learning from the people who matter most – the adults, adolescents, children, and families suffering from OCD

Children participating in Drs. Anderson and Sapp’s
by drawing their representation of their OCD









Our very own Emily Anderson, PhD, and her colleague,
Felicity Sapp, PhD, reviewing a child’s drawing of their OCD.

Thröstur Björgvinsson, PhD, ABPP, answering a question from an attendee following one of his talks. Jessica Gerfen, PhD, Emily Anderson, PhD, Christen Sistrunk, MS, LPC, and Jennifer Sy, PhD, presenting the Relapse Prevention workshop

  • Catching up with old friends and colleagues (This is akin to a high school reunion for OCD specialists)












Thröstur Björgvinsson, PhD, ABPP, meeting
two OCD experts and colleagues from Australia
(Chris Mogan, PhD, and Scott Blair-West, MD)

  • Lots of time hanging out at the HOP booth, telling people about our excellent program, and learning about new resources available now (as well as scoring some pretty cool swag!)









Naomi Zwecker, PhD, Kim Rinehart, MA,
and Saharah Shrout, MA









Naomi Zwecker, PhD

  • A little bit of work…

Kim Rinehart, MA

  • And a whole lot of fun!!!!

Emily Anderson, PhD, playing ping pong alongside a conference attendee

  • However, our favorite highlight from the conference was that the HOP team made full use of this year’s IOCDF conference to make sure that our treatment team is up-to-date on the latest developments and trends in OCD research and treatment!

(left to right) Jessica Gerfen, PhD; Jennifer Sy, PhD; Kimberly Stevens, BA; Christen Sistrunk, MA, LPC; Thröstur Björgvinsson, PhD, ABPP; Kim Rinehart, MA; Emily Anderson, PhD; Naomi Zwecker, PhD; and Saharah Shrout , MA

Stay tuned! We have MORE exciting things to share about our time at the conference. Each week we will release an overview of a talk, workshop, and research we presented (see below for the release dates!). This year, we’ll also include something special – If you missed the conference (or just really loved our talks), the slides for each talk will also be made available in each release!

Talk/Workshop/Research Title: Presenters: HOP Release Date:
How to Beat OCD: Developing an Effective Toolbox Emily Anderson, PhD and
Felicity Sapp, PhD
Monday, Aug 11

Preparing for Life After Treatment: Relapse Prevention Jessica Gerfen, PhD;
Jennifer Sy, PhD;
Christen Sistrunk, MA, LPC; and Emily Anderson, PhD
Monday, Aug 18

Overcoming Unacceptable Thoughts: Reducing Stigma and Understanding Treatment for Adolescents Emily Anderson, PhD;
Jennifer Sy, PhD;
Jessica Gerfen, PhD;
Naomi Zwecker, PhD; and
Christen Sistrunk, MA, LPC
Monday, Aug 25

Health Anxiety / Hypochondriasis: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Transcultural Adaptation Thröstur Björgvinsson, PhD, ABPP and Szu-Hui Lee, PhD Monday, Sept 1

Current Trends in OCD Family Research and Treatment Thröstur Björgvinsson, PhD, ABPP; Jonathan Grayson, PhD;
Gail Steketee, PHD, LICSW;
Bradley C. Riemann, PhD; and Barbara Van Noppen, PhD, LCSW
Monday, Sept 8