We thought we’d share some of the most frequently asked questions by potential conference attendees. Please add your own questions in the comments! Staff will do their best to answer.
Q. Who typically attends the annual conference?
A. Approximately 450 people attend the annual conference.
- 19% are an adult sufferer of Trichotillomania,
- 10% are an adult sufferer of Dermatillomania,
- 12% are a child sufferer of Trichotillomania and/or Dermatillomania,
- 13% are teen sufferers of Trichotillomania,
- 6% are teen sufferers of Dermatillomania,
- 30% are parents/caregiver of a child or teen sufferer,
- 10% are professionals (researchers, doctors, therapists, presenters
Q. Will my child have the opportunity to meet other children his or her own age?
A. Yes, the workshops are divided into categories where the children, teens and young adults participate in specific age appropriate workshops. They are encouraged to attend these workshops without their parents, and to build relationships with their peers. This also allows parents, and their children, to speak freely in sessions.
Q. In theory that sounds good, but does that really happen?
A. Friday evening starts off with workshops that are focused on relationship building and interactions. The following cocktail hour will also have an ice-breaking activity and an opportunity to socialize. Every year, there are teens or kids that first walk in perhaps a little uncomfortable. These children are encouraged to participate as much or little as they are comfortable with. For some kids, it helps to simply be in the presence of others who have had similar experiences. For others, by the end of the first evening, the kids and teens are laughing and carrying on as if they’ve been friends forever. It does not take long to see packs of children or teens hanging out together. This is one of our favorite things about the conference: seeing these kids drop their shame and shyness and just be themselves. The younger children are running around and the teens find the pool deck or similar location to share their experiences. All our meals are taken in the main conference room, and it is perfectly normal at this conference to join a table of strangers, and introduce yourself. Every child experiences the Conference in his/her own way, there is no “right” way to participate. Some join the group of kids or teens and travel as a pack, others have a quieter experience, observing others and taking in the experience slowly.
Q. My child wears a hair piece. Should he or she take it off?
A. All attendees are encouraged to come to conference in whatever way they feel most comfortable. There will be delegates, who will clearly be balding, and pulling, some will wear bandannas, etc., and others will be wearing hair pieces. Hair Club is our sponsor so they will be able to demonstrate the hair pieces to anyone who is interested. Some young people might take off their wigs in public for the first time because they feel less isolated, but there is never any pressure. There is no standard expectation of attendees, please come and be comfortable.
Q. My child only pulls her lashes/brows/from a small spot. Will seeing other people who have more severe cases make my child’s trich get worse?
A. Trich is an individual disorder. While many people with hair pulling disorder might migrate pulling spots, where one pulls or picks from is of unique interest to the person engaging in the behavior. Being in a room with other kids who pick or pull can generally be good for the kids. The experience can help them feel less isolated, gain more support for their struggles, and generate some great ideas for creative problem solving. For some kids, though, the environment may feel overwhelming. Just as we are suggesting that parents take care of themselves, we encourage kids to do the same. Generally the kids/teens find spending times with others (whether more severe behaviors or not) to be extremely positive for many reasons. However, if your child is not, allow your child to take breaks and take care of him/herself. There will be staff members and professionals available to help guide and support you and your child to help make the conference a positive experience.
Q. What will I learn, and why should I come?
A. The first and probably most lasting thing you will learn is that you are not alone whether you are a sufferer or a caregiver.
At the conference you can expect opportunities to share with others, if that is your wish, or attend a discussion on the most recent research with leading researchers in this field, or to acquire some new life skills that will help you along this journey. You might take a class on developing a self-help treatment plan. You might get an understanding of what medications help, and which ones don’t. You’ll certainly have a chance to meet others who understand, exchange contact info, and set up a support network of new friends.
It is important to remember that the conference is only 2 full days, beginning Friday evening and ending Sunday at lunch. Arrive at the conference with an open mind and open heart, look at the program, and decide what sessions might suit your needs best. To facilitate this learning, talk to others, especially people who have ribbons on their name tags because they are likely more involved in the details of the conference, and may be able to direct you to an appropriate session or can talk with you if you have questions or are feeling overwhelmed.
Q. Is the conference good value for the dollars?
A. it’s true that the cost of the conference may seem expensive at $325.00 (member, early registration). But, when comparing the opportunity to spend the weekend with the best treatment providers in the world to the cost of one hour of CBT treatment (which ranges from $100-200/hour, more for experienced clinicians), it really is an incredible value. Registration also includes most meals.
We strive very hard to keep the costs for attending the conference as low as possible, so that we are able to ensure that the conference can be accessible to all those who wish to attend. Partial scholarships are available to assist with the costs of the conference. If you would like to apply for a scholarship, we would encourage you to do so by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org In addition to scholarships, TLC offers installment plans. Our goal is to reach out to people suffering from Dermatillomania and Trichotillomania, and our staff will help as much as possible to help you attend this event. TLC is very confident that first time delegates will have an amazing experience with much learning and sharing, and that you will have exceeded your expectations of the conference, and dispelled your worries about having good value for your dollars.
Q. Do I have to go to all the sessions?
A. Part of recovery from BFRB’s is learning to take care of yourself. Therefore, while we ask that you pre-select your workshops, we do not take attendance, and you can change your mind about attending a particular workshop at any time. Attend the sessions that you are moved to, or, if you feel tired and overwhelmed, take a break! Sit in the hall and chat with new friends! Do what feels right to you.
Q. Will there be an opportunity to discuss individual concerns or meet with professionals?
A. This conference is unique in that it is attended by sufferers, caregivers, and professionals. While the sessions are focused on a specific topic, at the end of each session there is an opportunity to ask questions of the presenter, and most certainly presenters will be eating and socializing in the same conference areas as the delegates, and so you may have an opportunity to participate in a discussion with a professional, but he or she will be unable to provide individual consultations.
Q. What percentage of people return to the conference?
A. About 50% of conference attendees have never attended a TLC event before. The other 50% have attended some type of event hosted by TLC. Because the conference is in a different location every year, this number changes a bit. The attendance of the conference continues to rise, and this year we expect a record number of delegates at 500.
Q. Is it families who attend or single parents with their child?
A. Both! Each year we see more and more men. The predominant family is mother and child, but having said that, there are also a number of dads and their child, and a number of larger families including parents, grandparents or siblings.
Q. What should I bring to the conference?
A. The conference is very casual, so wear what you feel comfortable in. The dinner event on Saturday evening is very casual as well and you will feel comfortable in your jeans or something dressier, but there is no need to pack fancy clothes. Cameras are welcome, but please do not take pictures of delegates without their prior consent. Please bring with you a notebook and pen. You may also bring a recorder to record sessions for your personal review later!
If you have other questions not answered here, we would love to hear them! Please email questions to email@example.com or call 831-457-1004.