Scientific theme - “A Search for Happiness”
The 33rd EFPSA Congress revolves around understanding happiness in different aspects of life. The notion of happiness is something most people are familiar with, but it is a broad concept that can be viewed from different perspectives. With the scientific programme we aim to address the many nuances of happiness and hereby obtain a better understanding of how happiness, or lack thereof affects the individual and society. The presence or absence of happiness in our life has a great influence on the individual perception of our experiences, identity and success.
The professional scientific programme will consider the concept broadly from different paradigms within the psychological field of science. Within the scientific context, we hope to explore different themes that relate to happiness in modern society. Among other things, the programme will explore how neuropsychology explains the feeling of happiness, how the search for happiness in careers and relationships affects people, and their choices in today's society. Moreover, the programme aims to investigate how to understand the connection between an individual’s happiness and mental and physical health.
Hans Henrik Knoop, MSc in psychology, authorized. Associate Professor with a distinction for the Department of Education (DPU) at Aarhus University, and Extraordinary Professor for North-West University in South Africa. He researches especially in human well-being from a Positive Psychological perspective.
Keynote Lecture: Flourishing through Transitions: How Positive Psychology Promotes Sustainable Change for Individuals and Communities
The world is changing with or without us. And like all life, through evolution, our species are adapted genetically to this. However, people often resist change where the general psychological answers include anxiety and lack of meaning. A key question thus becomes, how we can think, act and organize in ways that make for interesting, life-confirming, psychologically sustainable, ecological change? This lecture offers an overview of how insights from Positive Psychology may be applied in education, work life, and journalism in ways that may avoid many of the barriers associated with sustainable change.
Joar Vittersø, Professor of psychology at the University of Tromsø, Norway. He holds a Master’s degree in social anthropology and a Ph.D. in social psychology, both from the University of Oslo.
Keynote Lecture: Should we Really Search for Happiness? Possibilities and Threats in a Constant Struggle for Something Better
Joar Vittersø primarily conducts research on well-being, positive emotions and other elements of a good life. Over the years, he has published more than 100 articles and book chapters on happiness, and he regularly gives
popular and professionals speeches on the topic.
Ragnhild Bang Nes, MSc in psychology, Ph.D. She works as a senior scientist at The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), Division of Mental and Physical Health and adjunct professor at The University of Oslo, Department of Psychology.
Keynote Lecture: From Genetics to Public Health Policy
Ragnhild is the lead on wellbeing at the NIPH and a renowned happiness researcher in Norway. In 2017, she won the award "The Innovation of the Year", distributed by the Psychology Association in Norway for, among other things, her innovative research on well-being and quality of life. She was particularly praised for her holistic approach, integrating knowledge from genetics to politics, and for shifting the focus from illness to health, from health to quality of life, and from individual to population. In 2017-2018 she led the work on a new measurement system of quality of life in Norway, intended as a steering tool for policy development and social progress. Her main research agenda focuses on genetic and environmental influences on stability and change in mental health and well-being and the links between well-being and mental disorders. Ragnhild is also a qualified clinical psychologist and has previously worked as a clinical neuropsychologist at Oslo University Hospital.
Rikke Pristed, MSc in psychology, authorised, specialist in sexological counseling (NACS). She has a private sexological practice and is an assistant professor at the University of Agder where she teaches the 2-years sexology training programme.
Lecture: What is a “good” sex life? How is it defined, and who defines it? What is important about sex, and why do humans have it?
Research shows that 95% of the population believe that a good sex-life is important, or very important when it comes to perceived quality of life. But what does it mean to have a good sex life? Which factors are important, and what are the potential consequences when there is a problem or dysfunction? Why do people have sex, and when they do not, then why? This lecture aims to highlight different aspects of this through recent research findings, and clinical experience.
Workshop: Prejudice; Are you aware of your own prejudices concerning sexuality and different sexual practices?
We all have preconceptions about other people, about specific ways of living, expressing gender, sexual orientations or sexual practices. Even therapists have preconceptions. It is perfectly normal, and it does not have to be a problem, unless you are unaware of them, and bring them with you into the therapeutic relation. This workshop aims to challenge some of these preconceptions, and make you more aware so that you can examine them, re-evaluate them, and (perhaps) discard at least some of them, so they will not stand in the way of the therapeutic relationship with the client.
Karoline Myrvang Breuner, MSc in psychology. She is working in Syddjurs Kommune, where she is helping caregivers through individual therapy and Mindfulness practice in groups, with the purpose of heightening their quality of life.
Lecture: Happiness despite dementia? – how psychological interventions for caregivers can affect quality of life
Becoming old is often connected with a delightful retirement or time with the grandchildren. Sometimes dementia happens and changes these expectations radically. Dementia can make a spouse say: I wish he would have cancer instead. As a neurodegenerative disease, dementia can slowly take away the core of our existence – our memory, our ability to interact and understand – in general the abilities of being human. The caregivers (spouses) of people with dementia often suffer from both physical and psychological symptoms as sleep deprivation, high blood pressure, stress, depression and anxiety.
Tea Trillingsgaard, MSc in psychology, authorised, PhD. Associate professor in Developmental Psychology at Aarhus University, Denmark, with a special interest in family and couple therapy. Her most recent research focuses on how relationship checkups work to enhance satisfaction and intimacy in long term romantic relationships.
Lecture: Strengthening Intimate Relationships
Relationship science shows that the health of our intimate relationship has powerful effects on our happiness, mental and physical health. Nevertheless, few of us realize that our intimate relationships, just like our bodies, need proper care and attention to remain healthy. This lecture gives insight into the science behind the relationship health checkup (Cordova, 2014; Trillingsgaard, Fentz, Stølen-Due, Steenberger, 2016). This is a tool designed to help couples recognize their strengths and develop strategies to confront their problems. Furthermore, the lecture explores skills needed for working as a psychologist with couples to promote healthy intimate relationship.
Tim Lomas, PhD. He teaches a senior lecturer in positive psychology on the MSc in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology.
Lecture: Experiential cartography: Mapping wellbeing through the study of untranslatable words
Tim Lomas is a senior lecturer in positive psychology at the University of East London. His research interests include mindfulness, Buddhism, cross-cultural psychology and language. His current main focus of activity is creating a positive cross-cultural lexicography of untranslatable words, which is the topic of this presentation.
Helene Grau, MSc in psychology, authorised. Helene Grau’s field of interest is grief with a narrative perspective with individuals who have lost a family member.
When a child dies during pregnancy or shortly after death or even later in life, it looses the human rights that children are born into, the right to be talked about, shared, thought of, continuously loved by its parents. These rights are only for living children and as a result, these children and their parents are marginalized, the children are silenced and the parents' responses are only seen in the light of symptoms of grief and not parents who are searching or trying to find ways to continue the relationship. This lecture will address how we can respond differently to death and grief in regard to parents, who experienced the death of a child. It will address how we can support and honor and create conditions for continuing the relationship to the child that is no longer breathing.
Anders Sørensen, MSc in psychology, PhD fellow at Nordic Cochrane Centre, Rigshospitalet. He researches in withdrawal from psychoactive drugs and has his own private practice in Copenhagen, where he helps long-term patients out of psychotropic drugs.
Lecture: The psychologist’s role in psychiatric drug withdrawal and psychological aspects on psychopharmacological treatment
Contradicting current guidelines and the medical/psychiatric paradigm, independent researchers continue to reveal the true harms and poor effect of psychiatric drugs, especially when taken long-term. In this presentation, Anders Sørensen will focus on the central arguments for why we should help patients come off psychiatric drugs when they want to as well as why psychologists should play a key role in this. He will show how the industry has succeeded in exaggerating the effect and downplayed the true harms of psychiatric drugs in the published scientific literature, and therefore in most practitioners’ and patients’ beliefs. Furthermore, he will discuss why so many patients can’t simply stop taking the drugs, even though they want to, and what it takes to help them get through and reach a drugfree life. In addition to this, Anders Sørensen will describe how he works in his own practice with helping long-term patients withdraw from the psychiatric drugs, which their psychiatrists tell them they need and thus can’t get off, and how these patients actually get better once drugfree.
Adam Redman Congleton
Lecture: The Devil is in the Details: How Emotions Shape Our Memories for Events
Our memories for events play a vital role in how we interact with and form representations of the world. Many of these event memories are personal, or “autobiographical,” in nature and serve a variety of purposes, including providing us with information we use when solving problems, maintaining social bonds, and establishing our personal identities. Research has shown these memories are not exact reproductions of past events. Rather. they are reconstructions that may be affected by a host of factors each time we retrieve them. One of the most decisive influences on event memories, including on their accuracy, is the emotion we experience during the events. Whether we interpret an event as emotionally positive or negative, as well as the degree of emotional arousal we experience, can have a significant impact on what details we later remember. In this lecture, Adam Redman Congleton will discuss how our emotions, both positive and negative, can shape our memory for events. He will also discuss how the use of different forms of media, including first-person perspective films, video games, and virtual reality, provide researchers with unique ways of testing event memory in controlled settings.Kjetil Diepeveen Skaugen, MSc in psychology. His main areas of interest are mindfulness, mentalization-based therapy, processes in clinical practice, addiction and positive psychology.
Workshop: Mindfulness and work with recurrent depression - Coping with rumination and enabling happiness
Depression takes away our ability of living the way we want. It limits our innate potential of experiencing happiness. For everyone who has experienced depression it’s clear that repetitive negative thoughts, or rumination, may be one of the most vital factors keeping you away from recovery. Recurrent negative thoughts are also part of non-pathological functioning and we all know how they can affect us. In Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy we use mindfulness to try to be more present and meet all mental, emotional and bodily states without trying to change them in any way, even if they are uncomfortable or even painful. How can we try becoming aware of these states as they arise, accept their presence and explore them?
Workshop: Mindful Dialogue
There are few things more important for our happiness and well-being than the relationships we have with others. In this workshop I focus on the conversations we have and the connections we make with other people in our everyday lives. How can we listen and interact mindfully and with compassion, seeking to understand, alleviate suffering and enhance happiness. How can we actually be attentive in our daily conversations and how can we attempt to let go of our own ego in dialogue with others? By holding some of these qualities present in our minds when communicating with other human beings, I believe it’s possible to have more meaningful and compassionate conversations and relationships.
Sverker Svikström, Professor in Cognitive Psychology, Chair of the Cognitive Division, Lund University. His area of interest Quantification of meaning.
Lecture: Measuring Mental Health and Happiness with Words Analysed with Artificial Intelligence
Mental health is one of the major future challenges. Currently, rating scales are the dominating method for measuring mental states, however, words are the natural way of communication. We have developed methods for measuring mental health, in both clinical and happiness context, using words as outcome measure, and where we use artificial intelligence as an aid in diagnosis. This lecture will go further into this research, where results show a promising alternative for mental assessment with high validity and reliability. Psychiatric problems are often measured using closed-ended, numerical rating scales. However, when we ask individuals about their state of mind in a natural context we receive open-ended word answers. This problem can be solved by our research using semantic measures where individuals describe their mental health freely with descriptive words. The word responses are analysed with natural language processing and machine learning to measure, differentiate and describe mental health. Data shows that it can measure mental health with high validity as it correlates well with traditional rating scales of psychiatric disorders, differentiate well between similar disorders, and empirically describe disorders in word clouds better than traditional measures.
Lauri Nummenmaa, MSc in psychology, authorised, PhD. He works as an Associate professor in modelling and medical image processing at Turku PET Centre and Department of Psychology, University of Turku.
Lecture: Mapping emotions in the brain and body
Emotions prepare us for action. They organize our lives by automatically orienting actions and modulating approach-avoidance motivation. In this talk Lauri discusses how emotions can be understood from the perspective of systemic activation patterns across multiple levels of analysis. He describes their work based on machine learning showing that specific emotions and their expressions have discrete neural signatures in the brain. Such emotion-specific patterns are also found for culturally universal “feeling fingerprints” of bodily sensations, which determine the organization of our subjective feelings. Finally, he will discuss recent advances in molecular imaging of specific emotions in vivo in humans and show how the endogenous opioid and dopamine systems contribute to human positive emotions and sociability. Altogether these studies suggest a clear and consistent categorical structure of emotions across multiple levels of analysis and point towards a key role of the mesolimbic opioid and dopamine circuits in human emotion functions.Emil Rask, MSc in psychology, authorised. He specialises in the treatment of children and adolescents with anxiety disorders, and have experience in both ACT and ISTDP from certified courses and his own practice.
Workshop: The Costly Pursuit of Happiness
The workshop centers on the paradoxes of trying to control inner experiences and the contradictory relationship between pursuing and achieving happiness. The workshop is grounded in ACT, and as a participant, you will experience a dynamic workshop with demonstrations and exercises guided by the general notion that learning is best reached through experiencing rather than listening.
Lena Højgård Isager, MSc in psychology, authorised, Specialist in Psychotherapy and supervision. Recognized as a trainer and supervisor in Compassion Focused Therapy from The Compassionate Mind Foundation, run by Prof. Paul Gilbert and others.
Workshop: How to get a compassionate mind
In this workshop there will be given a brief introduction into what it means to have compassion as focus in therapy. We will look into how evolution designed a very tricky brain for us, with a lot of emotional and motivational challenges for our modern life. And we will see how compassion can help us to live a more balanced life as an individual and how compassion is a very strong and necessary power in surviving as a species.There will be both pairwork and demonstration of compassion training exercises in the workshop.
Mads Lindholm, MSc in psychology, PhD in architectural psychology. He is part-time lecturer at Aalborg University and partner in the consultancy company WICE.
Lecture: How Does the Physical Surroundings Affect Us?
This lecture will center around architectural psychology and healing architecture. In this lecture you will get an introduction to the field of architectural psychology, healing architecture and evidence based design. You will see how architectural psychology is being used to improve hospitals and how the physical space can support the healing process.
Anna Leybina, MSc in psychology, PhD. Director in Centre for International and Regional Projects, Moscow Government. Scientific Officer at Lomonosov Moscow State University. Her field of interest is Educational Psychology and Industrial/Organisational Psychology.
Lecture: What is Kindness and Will it Make You Happier?
We can observe the raise of kindness movements in recent years, and there are lots of ongoing practical and scientific discussions on the nature of kindness and its measurement and development. Of course there are kindness courses in schools and kindergartens, but is it possible to develop kindness in adults as they are role models for the children? Also there is some controversial data: there is research that proves that kindness can make people happier and healthier, and there is research that shows that kind behavior can lead to negative consequences. In this lecture Anna Leybina will provide an overview of kindness research, point out key issues and controversies, and discuss implications for future research. Also she will be talking about the nature of kindness and possible ways of its measurement and development.
Eva Søndergaard, MSc in psychology, Authorised, Specialist and Supervisor in Psychotherapy and Child Psychology. Her work have been inspired by Salvador Minuchin, Maurizio Andolfi, Gianfranco Cecchin, Tom Andersen, Harlene Anderson, Peter Lang, Michael White, Maggie Carey, Milton Ericson, Jeff Zeig and Paolo Bertrando - just to mention a few.
Workshop: Practical Skills and Visions in Family Therapy
Eva Søndergaard will share your practical experience from many years of working with families. Eva have worked as a psychologist for 38 years and she has been educated in various therapeutic styles: psychodynamic, cognitive, structural systemic, narrative and hypnotherapeutic. In this workshop she will focus in her way of working with the whole family present in practice or in theory with a single client in order to make sense of psychological reactions and to understand reactions as a response to relations. It is fundamental to focus on the client’s resources, context, hopes and dreams in order to help the client create a better and hopefully more happy future. Eva will illustrate this through cases from her practice. This workshop will focus on the practical aspect of being a psychologist. There will be time for discussions.
Anna Margrethe Wegeberg Nebel, MSc in psychology, authorised. EMCC accredited systemic coach and the owner of Blue Mind Consult. She works within the field of work and organizational psychology with coaching, supervision, and competency development, and is inspired by systemic, existential and neurobiological ways of approaching life.
Workshop: Coaching for happiness
How does the words we use and the way we speak of elements in our lives affect our quality of life? Social constructionism as a theory and tool is built on the belief, that what we focus our attention on, will grow, which goes for flowers and thoughts alike. In this workshop, we will explore systemic coaching as a theory and a tool. As a participant, you will gain insight into how systemic coaching approaches life and happiness as a relational practice, where happiness also lies in being able to take the perspective of the other and there through gain a deeper understanding of yourself. You will also be presented with different tools to work goal and action oriented with a client within the framework of systemic coaching.
Alfred Bordado Sköld, M.A. in Philosophy, Psychologist. Ph.D.-fellow at the Department for Psychology and Communication, Aalborg University.
Lecture: Happiness: What Does it Even Mean? - and is it Worth Struggling for?
Alfred's presentation asks the critical question whether the struggle for happiness in contemporary western societies have gone too far? Seeking a nuanced answer to this question, he approaches it from an Aristotelian point of departure, assuming that happiness is the final goal of human endeavor and accordingly, that it is “impossible to be against happiness” (Badiou, 2018). The crucial question becomes how the phenomenon is understood and he will argue that positive psychology and happiness studies are suffering from a reductive view on happiness that is shaped by highly influential sociocultural narratives and ideologies (Davies, 2015; Cederström & Spencer, 2016). The existential, ethical and political potentialities that happiness does carry are being diminished in today's “happiness culture” (Bruckner, 2011). Accordingly, his aim is twofold. First, to formulate a critique of contemporary “happiness imperatives” and the ways they interfere with scientific approaches as well as the everyday lives of inhabitants in western societies. And second, to discuss the role happiness might have in “the good life” and thereby revitalize the concept.Niels Bagge, MSc in psychology, authorised. Specialist in psychotherapy and supervision and accredited facilitator, supervisor and local trainer in emotion-focused therapy from International Society for Emotion- Focused Therapy. Niels Bagge runs Institute for Emotion-Focused Therapy Denmark and has a private practice in Roskilde near Copenhagen.
Workshop: Happiness: Emotion therapy and facilitating happiness
In this workshop, the participants will have an introduction to the basics of emotion-focused therapy. There will be a focus on the transformation of sad, anxious and shameful emotions into self-compassion and protective anger. This leads the way to the needs of the client and eventually happiness from having one's needs met. A central part of the workshop will be training in practice with one of the signature emotional change processes from EFT: The chair work for self-criticism. The aim of the workshop is to have the participants experience EFT in action as well as giving them a basic understanding of the principles of EFT. The lecture, demonstrations, and excises will go hand in hand in the workshop.
Lars Larsen, MSc in psychology, authorised. Professor with special responsibilities at the Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences at Aarhus University. Head of the Center for Quality of Life in the Municipality of Aarhus and Head of the Geropsychological Research Unit at the Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences at Aarhus University. Member of EFPAs Standing Committee on Geropsychology.
Lecture: Individual psychotherapy improves the well-being of elderly Danish care-recipients
Historically, psychotherapeutic treatment of psychological problems in old people have had low priority among clinical psychologists, especially in regards to non-psychiatric problems. Surprisingly few studies have been conducted on the effects of psychotherapeutic treatment of elderly persons in non-psychiatric populations.The Center for Quality of Life in Aarhus is a municipal center that offers free psychotherapy to elderly care recipients living either at home or in nursing homes. On average, the elderly clients score very low on subjective well-being at the beginning, but show major improvement after psychotherapy. The effect remains three months after the last session. Scores on anxiety, depression and loneliness also decrease significantly. Psychotherapy seems to be an efficient way to improve the well-being of frail elderly persons in non-psychiatric populations.
Christian Christensen, MSc in psychology. He has worked with forensic psychology.
Debate: Debate about Happiness and the Use of Medication
Christian will present his practical experience with working in a prison and the use of medication. The debate will center around articles and personal experience. It will be an interactive and attendees is encouraged to join in the discussion and help create an open debate
Niels Peter Rygaard, MSc in psychology , authorised. Member of the EFPA Promotion and Prevention group. Danish state adoption consultant and CEO at Fairstart Foundation.
Lecture: Applying psychology research on a global scale - by designing online educations and partnerships
In this lecture, the project Fairstart Foundation will be presented and it might inspire you to make your own e-learning design, channel your competences, and multiply your audience across borders and cultures. How do you get from A to B, and what are the challenges when designing blended learning projects? The lecture describes the process from idea to a global organisation, and aims to improve care for the millions of abandoned children. Stretching from Greenland to Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America, the Fairstart Foundation enters two year partnerships with organisations, educate their staff as international instructors in how to train caregiver groups in attachment based care. In each partnership, local language training programs are designed. 420 instructors have graduated, having trained the caregiver groups to improve the mental health of some 30.000 children. Recognised and supported by EFPA, APA, the Danish Psychologist Association and colleagues around the world, Fairstart has created a major network, contributing to international standards for caregiver education.
Heidi Frølund Pedersen, MSc in psychology , authorised, PhD. She works for the Research Clinic for Functional Disorders and Psychosomatics.
Lecture: What’s the Fuss about Religion?
Psychology of religion has for decades been a sub-discipline and not a part of mainstream psychology, and in some ways it still is. However, during the last 25 years an increased focus on links between religiosity and health both in psychology and medicine has made psychologists more aware of the importance of a person’s view of life (regardless whether it is religious, spiritual, or secular) for mental and physical health in general, and especially when dealing with life crises. In this presentation we will review some of the literature on links between religiosity and health and dive into how religious faith may become a source of coping and meaning-making when facing difficulties in life. A special focus will be taken on how we as psychologists may be able to integrate a person’s religious faith in therapy – both when it presents itself as a resource and when it presents itself more rigidly and burdensome.
Do you have knowledge to share? Then look here!
This is your time to make a difference! The 33rd EFPSA Congress is approaching and this is your chance to share your research with peers. This is the opportunity for you to show your hard work and genius ideas, to inspire and to discuss your findings with fellow psychology students from all around Europe!
This is not the time for second thoughts! Take your chance and you will not regret it!
The Congress theme is “A Search for Happiness”. Have you been working on some related issues? Do you have any ideas regarding emergent areas where this concept is being be explored? We would like to know about happiness in different fields of expertise – health psychology, neuropsychology, social psychology, education, among many others!
We assure you that it will be worth it, you’ll have an experience of a lifetime!
How can you participate?
You can contribute to the Scientific Programme of the Congress by:
- presenting a poster which synthesize the results of your research;
- giving an oral presentation about your research;
- giving a workshop on a topic related to the Congress theme.
Interested in participating in our Student Programme? Register here!
Click on the following link to read more about the Guidelines for Active Participation
Social Theme - "Happily ever after"
With the social theme "Happily ever after" we wish to present a variety of happenings and social events that aim to bring the attending students closer together and to spread a feeling of happiness among the participants. Furthermore, the social programme seeks to give an impression of Danish values and cultural heritage. The social theme will be inspired by H.C. Andersen’s world of fairytales, and the programme will encourage the participants to enter and embrace a imaginative and open-minded perspective during the week.
Take a day out of the academically stimulating week to relax and have fun with your new friends. Come see the longest wooden ship in the world, a lordly castle, a park full of deer, and the “City of Smiles” - Aarhus - the second largest city in Denmark. We end this magical day with all-you-can-eat buffet of national and international cuisine before heading back to our fairytale congress.