Call for Submissions

The theme for the 46th Annual International Meeting of SPR in Philadelphia is:
"Psychotherapy: improving adaptation from the inner life to the outer world.”
People seek psychotherapy when some aspect of their lives brings distress to themselves or others. Psychotherapy directs attention to the sources of this distress. The aim is to improve psychological adaptation and relieve emotional suffering. A central focus of all psychotherapies is helping individuals adapt more effectively. This happens on many levels. The innermost level includes the psychological experiences and processes by which the individual adapts to internal and external stressors and conflict. These are assessed using measures like defense and coping mechanisms, beliefs, cognitive errors, emotion and self-esteem regulation, and the like. Inner adaptive mechanisms in turn affect how the individual adapts to the world, in ways of relating to others, society and the environment, measured by quality of life, satisfaction, psychosocial functioning, interpersonal functioning, creative accomplishment and the like. Helping to improve adaptation operates in many modalities and formats: individual, couple, family, group, and newer versions adapted to the digitally inter-connected world; durations that are brief/ short, medium-term, long-term, open-ended; frequencies that include infrequent, intermittent, monthly, weekly, intensive; with training and implementation that includes manual-based, supervised, unsupervised, experience-based, and non-traditional types. All of this occurs within a cultural context, influenced by societal factors, third-party payers, and both cost and cost-effectiveness considerations. The Society for Psychotherapy Research is the “big tent” that encompasses the empirical study of all of these. SPR’s aim is to facilitate the exchange of ideas and knowledge, connect students and researchers around the world, and encourage new developments and collaborations. We are looking forward to doing all of this once again, at this coming year’s annual international meeting in Philadelphia, a city which has been the venue for many transformative developments over the past several centuries.

With this introduction, the Program Committee would like to encourage you to consider proposals that explore how and under what circumstances psychotherapy improves some aspects of adaptation. As always we welcome research from multiple perspectives including patients/clients, therapists, researchers, health care systems, and society. We hope that participants will draw on the rich history of research and scholarship in psychotherapy process and outcome, build on the lessons learned to inform current theoretical issues and problems facing the field, and point to future directions for research and practice. As always, we want to stimulate discussion among colleagues from around the world as well as across the generations of psychotherapy researchers. We would like to encourage presentations, panels, discussions, and posters from a broad spectrum of psychotherapy researchers and clinicians drawn from diverse disciplines, theoretical orientations, modalities, methodologies, and cultures. In addition to the specific conference theme, SPR’s Program Committee invites submissions on all areas of psychotherapy research, practice, and training. We welcome the full range of contributions to the field of psychotherapy, including reports of innovative research methods and empirical studies of varied treatment modalities (individual, couple, family, group, and milieu therapies), diverse patient populations (children, adolescents, adults, and seniors), a wide range of diagnostic and problem categories (e.g., various psychological/ psychosomatic disorders as well as the effects of cultural, political or economic oppression and migration), and a broad spectrum of theoretical approaches (e.g., CBT, behavioral, existential humanistic, interpersonal, psychodynamic, family systems, etc.). As in all previous calls for submissions to SPR conferences, we invite qualitative as well as quantitative studies, single case research, process and outcome studies, meta-analyses, methodological contributions, research on psychotherapy measures, literature reviews and so forth.

In addition to the above, this year the Program Committee would also like to invite presentations in two new initiative areas:
1) economic aspects of psychotherapy including cost-effectiveness studies; and
2) psychotherapy in medical contexts and/or directed at medically related problems.
Both have significant public health implications.

Submission Policies and Guidelines

The official conference language will be English; all submissions should be made in English. First authorship by an individual is limited to one presentation on a Panel or Brief Paper session and two presentations in the Poster format. However, please note that one person can be listed as a co-author on multiple presentations as long as different people present them. There is no limitation on Chairing panels. In order to ensure a broad range of participation on panels and in discussion sessions, each attendee may serve as a discussant on a maximum of two panels and/ or participate in a maximum of two open discussions. Program submissions will be accepted via the submission portal (online), beginning November 3, 2014. The deadline for submissions is December 5, 2014. Notification of acceptance will be emailed mid-February 2015.

To submit go to the submission portal for Philadelphia 2015:

Please retain your submission ID. Please read these instructions carefully before submitting your work!

Although preference in general will be given to presen- tation of completed studies, we also aim to foster discussion of research projects at various stages of development (especially in Structured Discussion Groups, Posters, and Brief Paper sessions). In selecting Panels, preference will be given to those that include: (a) presentations on a topic common to different treatment approaches or research methods, (b) representatives from different research teams, (c) members from different countries, and/or (d) presenters at different career stages.

All 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. Brief Papers, Papers in a Panel, and Posters should be structured using the following headings: Aim, Methods, Results, Discussion.

Click the word example to see a sample of a Panel submission. The Book of Abstracts will be available for download on the SPR 2015 Philadelphia website and hardcopies will be available for purchase at the time of registration and at the conference.

A central purpose of SPR is to foster discussion between members and it is therefore essential that presenters leave ample time for discussion of their work. A minimum of 15 minutes in each 90-minute panel session should be reserved for open discussion with members of the audience. We encourage the inclusion of panel discussants that can provide a distinctive research and/or clinical perspective on the panel presentations. We strongly recommend submission of coherently organized Panels, as standalone presentations will be designated Brief Papers and limited to 8-10 minutes. Depending on the number of submissions and possible time constraints, it may be necessary for the Program Committee to request changing the type of presentation (e.g., oral presenta- tion to poster).

Finally, if you have an idea for a panel or other collaboration, to find colleagues with similar interests please consider using the SPR mailing list, or ResearchGate Psychotherapy_Research/

Please note that well-integrated panels with authors from different research groups often have the largest attendance.

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

We look forward to receiving your program proposals and seeing you in Philadelphia, USA, June 24-27, 2015!