Call for Submissions

Conference Theme

From Unravelling to Stitching:
Tailoring Psychotherapy in the Face of Change

Submission Portal opens November 23, 2020 - January 18, 11:59 p.m. (extended), 2021


The Society for Psychotherapy Research (SPR)

is an international, multidisciplinary scientific association devoted to research on psychotherapy. We encourage the development of research and aim to support and enhance both the empirical basis and applied value of psychotherapy research. We believe in providing opportunities to psychotherapy researchers for interaction and dialogue to ultimately enhance the empirical basis of the effective practice of psychotherapy worldwide.

Important Dates

Nov. 23, 2020 to Jan. 18, 2021: SPR invites submissions

Mar. 1, 2021: Notifications of acceptance will be emailed

Mar 1, 2021 to Apr. 30, 2021: Presenters can modify abstracts

The Submission Portal opens November 23, 2020.
Click here to submit!

A Hybrid Conference

At this hybrid conference we will celebrate 52 years of sharing our research with colleagues from around the world, both in-person and online, representing multiple professions and diverse perspectives. This conference will focus on presentations, conversations, and resources pertaining to tailoring psychotherapy to meet the individual and community-based needs of your clients. This conference will also feature a plenary session on the conference theme—so please join us both in Heidelberg and online for this exciting conference.

There are five categories of presentation to be submitted for the 2021 Conference: Panels, Brief Papers, Structured Discussions, Posters, and Pre-Conference Workshops. To increase the value of Poster and Brief Paper sessions, the program committee will organize them into groups by topic. Continuing education credits for all plenary sessions, panels, and discussion sessions are available.

In-Person & Online Guidelines

SPR aims to ensure that anyone who is interested can attend the conference safely. A hybrid model allows both in-person and online participation. In-person attendance will be limited to comply with Heidelberg social distancing requirements. These requirements may change as the conference approaches. We ask all presenters to record their sessions ahead of time and make presentation materials available to the program chair.

Interest in SPR conferences has grown over the years and we wish to give many researchers the opportunity to present. Consequently, we ask that individuals please limit their involvement to one presentation as first author and participate in up to five presentations, including roles as presenter, moderator, discussant, or poster presenter.

In some instances, you may be asked to present your submission as brief papers or posters rather than panels or papers.

Submission Types

Pre-Conference Workshops will be held on the afternoon prior to the evening session that opens the conference (i.e., Wednesday afternoon). Two types of pre-conference workshops are encouraged. The first is intended to provide training in specific areas of psychotherapy research, methods, or data analysis. The second type of workshop entails the clinical presentation of an assessment or treatment method that is followed by discussion on how best to empirically study or validate the clinical procedures described. Workshops are scheduled for three hours.

Brief papers are 8-10 minute presentations. The brief paper sessions will be 60 minutes and will consist of four to five short presentations, with 10 minutes for discussion at the end of the session. The Program Committee will designate moderators for the Brief paper sessions from among the presenters.

Posters are appropriate for the full range of research reports, including completed projects, single case studies, pilot studies, and work-in-progress. They provide an opportunity for detailed discussion with interested colleagues. We will try to group posters by topic to stimulate discussion and exchange of ideas. Posters will be posted online in a virtual poster hall for attendees to engage with.

Structured Discussions provide an opportunity for group discussion among colleagues on a specific topic in psychotherapy research (e.g., specific methods, theories, new developments in research and practice, disorders, etc.). Sessions should be structured by having each presenter give a brief (5 min. or less) position statement on the theme to elicit active participation from audience members. These sessions should be structured in a way that encourages discussion.

Panels should include three to four presentations focused on a common theme. To ensure different perspectives on a topic, panels should contain presentations from different groups. Panels will be 90 minutes with a minimum of 15 minutes for open discussion. Each panel should have a moderator (normally the organizer of the panel or another relevant person) and a discussant.

The Program Committee discourages panels containing multiple presentations from the same research group.

Submission Policies & Guidelines

The official conference language will be English and all submissions should be made in English.

Continuing education credits will be offered by the American Psychological Association Div 29 for all plenary sessions, panels, and discussion sessions. Two pieces of information to the submission are required for CE credit: the CV for the lead presenter, and two learning objectives for the session. Learning objectives should be a simple sentence that includes 2 or 3 learning points someone could gain from the session (e.g.“By attending this session, participants will be able to...”).

Abstracts are limited to 250 words. For Panels, Structured Discussions, and Pre-Conference Workshops, the moderator/ organizer should provide an overview of the session as a whole. Abstracts will be published on the SPR 2021 Heidelberg website.

Structure for Brief Papers, Papers in a Panel, and Posters should include the following headings: Aim, Methods, Results, Discussion.

If you have any questions, requests, ideas,
or suggestions for the conference and its
scientific program, please send an email at

We look forward to receiving
your proposals and hope to see you
in Heidelberg in June 2021!
Dr. Shelley McMain Program Chair

Dr. Henning Schauenburg Local Chair