If it is your first time attending a World Congress, you may feel a little overwhelmed by the scientific programme. To make it easier for you to navigate the different events and decide which presentations to attend, we have prepared this short guide.

The World Congress consists of a full day of pre-congress workshops, and then a three-day programme including invited addresses, symposia, panel debates and roundtables, in-congress workshops, skills classes, technical demonstrations, open paper sessions, and poster presentations.

Streams… The World Congress scientific programme is organised into 20 streams, which represent broad areas within CBT, such as Adult Anxiety, Children and Adolescents etc., plus a separate German Language stream. To help you better plan your use of time, all presentations are colour coded by stream within the  scientific programme. Where possible, presentations within a stream have been scheduled at different times to allow delegates interested in a specific area to attend many or all of the relevant stream presentations.

‘But how do I decide what to attend?’

If you are interested in the latest research in a specific stream, then posters, symposia and keynotes are likely to be of particular interest to you. However, if you wish to broaden or update your skills base then Workshops, Skills Classes and Panel Debates are likely to be more appropriate. Alternatively, if you are skilled in one specific area in CBT, you may want to go to something completely outside this area of competence. Finally, many delegates prefer to stay with what is relevant to their current practice in order to top up their skills and knowledge and get the latest ideas.

Symposia, open paper sessions, and poster presentations can be really useful for networking and meeting people working in similar fields… especially in the coffee breaks! Alternatively, you may prefer to attend events by well-known presenters who you have never had a chance to hear, in which case you will find the Invited Addresses and perhaps the Panel Debates and Clinical Roundtables most interesting.

In addition to all of this, there is a full exhibition including stalls from book publishers, relevant companies, and international CBT organisations, as well as special interest group meetings, and of course the social programme, all of which carry more opportunities for new learning and networking!

You will probably get the most out of the World Congress if you take half an hour or so at the start to sit quietly with the scientific programme in order to go through it carefully and then plan your own individual itinerary/schedule.

We hope this is helpful, please do ask any of the organisers if you have any questions during the World Congress, and above all, enjoy!


‘What exactly are the different types of presentations at the World Congress?’

Pre-Congress Workshops… these are whole-day events focused on both skills and theory. They are scheduled on the day before the World Congress. A separate registration fee applies to these workshops and they must be booked in advance.

Invited Addresses (IA)… IA speakers are typically clinical researchers who are well known nationally or internationally. These addresses usually attract large audiences, and last approximately one hour, including, if possible, time for questions. The IA typically cover current research and clinical issues of both theoretical and clinical relevance, as well as touching on the World Congress themes. The IA are scheduled after the symposia sessions, at both noon and the late afternoon, and generally there will be five or six English Language parallel IA on different topics.

Symposia… these are organised collections of talks, perhaps 4 or 5, focusing on a specific topic or subject area. Some papers can be very data-focused, centred on new studies and trials and their outcomes. Others are more applied, looking at service or skills-related subjects. Speakers may range from presenters at an early stage in their careers presenting their own work, to leaders in the world of CBT. Symposia often include a discussant at the end where time is allowed for audience participation. Some symposia have been put together by a convenor listed in the programme, whereas others are designated ‘Open Paper’ symposia, meaning that the individual speakers have independently submitted talks that the scientific committee have then grouped together to form a coherent symposium addressing a specific area of interest.

Panel Debates… These are sessions, typically one hour in length, where speakers are encouraged to present their points of view and debate a topic with each other, and actively with the audience. There are generally 4 or 5 speakers, and often these events feature nationally or internationally recognised researchers or clinicians.

Clinical Roundtables… These are events where clinicians discuss how they would approach treating a specific case, for example, treatment-resistant depression. these involve well-known clinicians, and audience involvement is encouraged.

Posters… The content of a poster can range from research studies and service evaluations to clinical case reports. There are three poster sessions per day, each of which is themed to include contributions from one or more of the World Congress streams. The sessions last 2 ½ hours and you are free to walk around and interact with the presenters, who will usually be present by their poster to discuss their poster in more detail, answer any questions, and offer handouts or take contact details for further communication. You should plan your attendance carefully for the poster session(s) that interest you, as the posters are removed promptly at the end of each session.

In-Congress Workshops (ICW)… These are half-day (3 hour) events focused on both skills and theory. They are scheduled throughout the World Congress scientific programme. Details are listed on both the World Congress website and a separate brochure included in the delegate pack. A separate registration fee applies to ICW and delegates can register either in advance of the World Congress, or alternatively on-site.

Skills Classes (SC)… These are opportunities to learn a particular applied skill. SC focus on a specific clinical or research skill or therapeutic approach. Focusing on such varied topics as using virtual reality to treat paranoid psychosis to how to develop and apply single-case design methods in routine clinical practice. A well-known clinician typically leads them and depending on the topic involved these may be more or less didactic or interactive, but there will often be opportunity for delegates to ask questions and interact with the presenter. Please note, that as SC are free to attend to all registered delegates, they generally can get full quite quickly, and therefore for safety reasons become closed when the maximum capacity of the room is reached,

Technical Demonstrations: These are comparatively short demonstrations that last up to one hour and present specific technology or equipment and its application to CBT. Technical demonstrations can include the presentation of both hardware and software, as well as research and clinical data, in a flexible yet focused manner. Presenters can have a commercial interest in the technology presented, although any commercial organisation involvement and/or affiliation should be identified in the description of the presenters. Technical demonstrations will run during the lunch period of the main World Congress programme.


As a final point, by bringing together so many people in the world of CBT together in one place, the World Congress offers a great opportunity to meet people with similar interests, some of whom you may have heard of but never met, and some of whose work you may encounter for the very first time at the conference. If you hear someone give a talk or present a poster that you find particularly interesting, you vaguely recognise their name from somewhere, or you simply find yourself standing next to someone in the queue for coffee, don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and ask them about their own work and interests, or perhaps what they’ve found particularly interesting at the congress so far. Most people love talking about their work and interests, whether research or in clinical practice, and will be very happy to chat for a few minutes or even longer. Meeting people in this way can be one of the great pleasures of such a congress, so please do make the most of this opportunity.