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.
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.
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.
Jeppe Trolle Linnet, Social anthropologist, PhD and post doc in Danish hygge. He has founded Linnet Research and today works as an author and consultant, currently on the production of three documentary movies on hygge.
Workshop: Hygge in cultural context: What is it? Is it exclusively Danish?
The concept of hygge has caught the world's attention as an icon of Danish national character. At the workshop, we will look at the main social and material features of this form of wellbeing. We will discuss how to make analytical sense of the fact, that this type of subjective experience has become a core cultural value and national icon. In order to challenge the idea that hygge is exclusively Danish, and thereby move the academic debate on the phenomenon further, non-Danish participants are encouraged to bring examples typical to their own culture, of ways that people interact in everyday life, or of everyday physical spaces (e.g. at work or home). We will use those examples (e.g. in the form of images or video links) to discuss whether hygge is a more universal trait to the human condition, perhaps even a biological necessity.
Workshop: Hygge, safe spaces, and escapism: Can there be a “hygge therapy” and Should there?
The workshop aims to apply a somewhat philosophical and existential perspective to the phenomenon of Danish hygge. While Danish hygge has often recently been described as a lifestyle phenomenon or a very particular set of cultural values, the phenomenon is essentially about the well being and sense of existential meaning, that human beings can derive from being in the presence of other people. “Hygge” seen in this light refers to a person´s encounter with close social relations in authentic, slow-paced physical surroundings. Hygge can even be seen as a form of social mindfulness: While not as intense and planned as actual meditation, it refers to a shared social and sensory experience that unfolds in a particular situation and is characterized by an orientation to the here and now. The experience of “true” hygge (not the kind marketed as a tourist experience or home decoration commodity) hereby counteracts the pressures of anxiety, stress, and alienation in modern life.
So, does hygge have a therapeutic potential? If there was a “hygge therapy”, how would it look and what could it achieve for a human being, or an organization, in crisis?
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.
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.
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?
Sverker Svikström, Professor in Cognitive Psychology, Chair of the Cognitive Division, Lund University.
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 diagnoses. The results show a promising alternative for mental assessments, with high validity and reliability. The methods also allow for describing mental states.
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.
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 Peter Rygaard, Aut.cand.psych. and member of the EFPA Promotion and Prevention group. Danish state adoption consultant and CEO at Fairstart Foundation. International participants can see papers and presentations in several languages here.
After decades of work with children and youth in orphanage, foster care, refugee and adoption systems, the presenter published the 2005 handbook “Severe Attachment Disorder in Childhood”, soon spreading in 14 language versions. Lectures and studies of care systems worldwide instigated the idea of creating a virtual meeting point to connect international child researchers, organisations and government agencies in charge of children and youth without parental care, and their frontline caregivers.
Stretching from Greenland to Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America, the Fairstart Foundation enters two year partnerships with organisations, educating 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.
Lecture: “Applying psychology research on a global scale - by designing online educations and partnerships”
This example will inspire you to make your own e-learning designs, 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? Welcome to a global journey!
Online therapy, education and training is a rapidly expanding field, providing new job opportunities for young psychologists. To inspire the audience, this example describes the process from idea to a global organisation, providing NGOs and governments with blended learning staff educations, and group training programmes in 20 languages. This project aims to improve care for the millions of abandoned children, but the basic designs can be applied to any area of psychology.
Emil Rask, Aut.cand.psych from Aarhus University.
Emil Rask specialises in the treatment of children and adolescents with anxiety disorders and has been working in that field since 2012. He holds a particular interest for experiential psychotherapy and has experience in both ACT and ISTDP from certified courses and his own practice. Both traditions focus on the here-and-now in therapy and aim to give the client a more flexible relationship with their own thoughts and feelings through new experiences with their inner life.
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.
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.
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.