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Body Focused Repetitive Behaviours (BFRBs) Conference

Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviours (BFRBs) are a group of complex mental health disorders that are characterised by the uncontrollable urge to pull, pick, scratch, cut, or bite one’s own hair, skin, or nails. People with BFRBs often experience high levels of emotional distress as a result of these behaviours which can severely impact everyday life, causing avoidance and disruption at work, school and social situations. The behaviours can also lead to damage to the body, such as thinning hair or bald patches, skin lesions, scarring, and infection.

Despite affecting an estimated 4 million people in the UK and Ireland alone, these conditions are still incredibly stigmatised and misunderstood, resulting in many people with BFRBs living in secrecy and shame. In fact, only 50% of people with BFRBs seek help from a healthcare or therapeutic provider. (See BFRB UK & Ireland "What are BFRBs" page for more information). 

In partnership with BFRB UK & Ireland, we will be hosting the first Oxford BFRB conference in September 2024. 

 

 

Friday 13 September 2024        Day 1 – Research Symposium

Interior shot of museum - dinosaur skeleton in foreground, high glass ceiling, brick walls, glass museum cases.

Image via Oxford University Museum of Natural History

 

Location: Oxford University Museum of Natural History

For the very first time, experts from a wide range of scientific backgrounds will be travelling to Oxford to share insights relevant to Body Focused Repetitive Behaviours (BFRBs). Some of these scientists have studied BFRBs for their whole careers, others had never heard of BFRBs until this year, but all will have something important to tell us. Alongside the researchers, people with lived experience of BFRBs will share their insights - lived experience is at the heart of this event, and Day 2 (see below) is especially designed for and by people with BFRBs.

Day 1 will begin with refreshments at 9am, followed by four sessions (multiple speakers each) of 1-2 hours each, with breaks in between. Lunch will be provided. The sessions will end at 5:30pm, followed by a drinks reception at the museum from 6-8pm.

Accessibility info for the museum is available. The registration form will ask registrants for information about any accessibility requests, and we are very happy to discuss these individually. Please contact bfrb@psych.ox.ac.uk if you would like to discuss your needs before registering. 

 

Saturday 14 September 2024        Day 2 – Community Day

Exterior shot of building. Blue sign says Department of Psychiatry. Autumn leaves on the ground. One-story brick building.

Image via University of Oxford Access Guide

 

Location: Oxford University Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital

On Day 2 we are taking over the University's Department of Psychiatry! With an activity programme designed by BFRB UK & Ireland, this event will be a relaxed way for people with BFRBs (and their loved ones) to connect in a safe space. Activities will include meditation, support groups, art, and talks on treatment and research, with plenty of time for informal discussions. There will also be an optional opportunity to participate in BFRB-related research at the event. The day will begin at 9:30am and will run until approximately 4-5pm with lunch and refreshments provided. Attendees of all ages are welcome. 

Accessibility info for the Psychiatry building is available. The registration form will ask registrants for information about any accessibility requests, and we are very happy to discuss these individually. Please contact bfrb@psych.ox.ac.uk if you would like to discuss your needs before registering. 

 

Call for abstracts

Alongside our programme of talks on day 1 we look forward to seeing a wider range of research, practice and lived experience presented as posters, which will be available for viewing during the breaks and lunch. A small number of submitted abstracts will be selected for “Flash talks” during the Research Symposium, Oxford, Friday 13 September 2024. 

  • We welcome abstracts from any area of science, research, lived experience, community and practice relating to BFRBs.
  • Word count: 300 words or less
  • Please indicate your preference for a talk (approx 8 minutes) or poster. If no preference is stated your abstract will be considered for both.
  • Email your submission to bfrb@psych.ox.ac.uk. Deadline: Friday 12 July

We have space for 20 posters and 3-4 flash talks. Abstracts will be selected by the BFRB Research Symposium organising committee, comprising a mix of researchers and public engagement staff, including people with lived experience of BFRBs.

 

Join us in Oxford in September! Here’s how:

Ticket sales have now opened (June 2024) for this event. If you are attending in-person, buy tickets here. If you wish to join online, buy tickets here

Whether or not you can attend, contribute your thoughts during the event via #OxBFRBConf on Instagram and X (formerly Twitter) - follow along @TheTrichProf and @BFRB_UK_Ireland

 

 

Additional info for attendees

  • Please note that the Day 1 and Day 2 events are in different locations – the Museum of Natural History is in Oxford City Centre, and the Department of Psychiatry is at Warneford Hospital in the Headington area outside city centre (15 minute cycle, 40 minute walk from city centre).
  • Detailed schedules for both events will be released closer to the date.

The following accommodation recommendations are the most accessible from the Department of Psychiatry (Day 2 event location) via either walking or public transit routes. If you would like further advice on accommodation, please email bfrb@psych.ox.ac.uk. 

 

Oxford City Centre

5 star 

3 / 4 star 

  

Headington neighbourhood