BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO THE EABCT ANNUAL CONGRESS
The 48th annual Congress of the European Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies is an exciting four-day long congress that brings not only the European but the international community of cognitive and behavioral therapy professionals together to share knowledge, ideas and awareness of the important issues related to the field. It is a place where people strive to achieve progress and are committed to helping others.
If it is your first time attending an EABCT Congress, you may feel a bit lost in the rich and varied programme. Here is some more information that might help you to navigate the different events and decide which presentations to attend.
The Congress consists of a full day of Pre-Congress Workshops, and then a three-day programme involving keynote lectures, symposia, roundtables, masterclasses, open paper sessions, and poster presentations.
Most of the scientific and educational programme is organised into 5 streams: General Mental Health, Children and Young People, Behavioural Medicine and Health, General Psychological Processes and Neuroscience, Psychosis. All presentations will be colour coded by stream in the final Congress programme. Where possible, presentations within a stream will be scheduled at different times to allow delegates interested in a specific area to attend most of the relevant presentations.
The latest researches in a field are presented in posters, symposia, open papers and keynotes. Workshops and masterclasses will help you to broaden or update your skills. If you aim to network and meet people working in similar fields, first of all find the meeting point of the Special Interest Groups, then attend symposia, open paper sessions and poster presentations, and take advantage of the coffee breaks and the social programme! One of the great opportunities that the Congress offers is the chance to hear famous specialists in CBT. If this is your primary goal, you will find the keynotes and the roundtables most interesting. Last, but not least, don’t miss the exhibitions and the information stalls, where you could also learn a lot. And don’t hesitate to ask any of the organisers if you have any questions during the Congress.
THE 7 TYPES OF PRESENTATIONS AT THE CONGRESS
Workshops: There are 2 kinds of workshops. The Pre-Congress Workshops are whole day events focused on both skills and theory. They are scheduled on the day before the congress. A separate registration fee applies to these workshops and they must be booked in advance. There are also paid and free half-day In-Congress Workshops, most of which are scheduled in the afternoon.
Keynote Lectures: Keynote speakers are typically clinical researchers who are well known nationally or internationally. Their lectures usually attract large audiences, and are a whole hour with one speaker, including time for questions. They usually cover research and clinical issues. The plenary keynote presentations are scheduled in the morning; the rest of them - at noontime and at the end of the afternoon, and generally there are 4 different topics in parallel.
Symposia are collections of 4 or 5 talks, focusing on a specific topic or subject. Some papers can be very data-focused, focused 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 a rather early stage in their careers to leaders in the world of CBT. Symposia often have a discussant at the end where time is allowed for audience participation.
Clinical Roundtables are events where clinicians discuss how they would approach treating a specific case, for example, comorbidity of emotional problems. These involve well-known clinicians, and audience involvement is encouraged.
Open papers are 10-15 min. oral presentations of a research project, distributed in streamed sessions. Speakers may range from young professionals to advanced researchers. At the end of every talk or of the whole session, there is room for the audience’s questions and remarks.
Posters report on research studies, service evaluations, clinical case reports etc., and the presenter will usually stand with their poster and answer any questions. Posters will be on display all day and you are free to walk around and interact with the presenters.
Masterclasses: These are opportunities to learn and practice a particular skill. Masterclasses focus on a specific clinical or research skill or therapeutic approach. These classes generally involve quite large groups, and are led by a well-known clinician. Depending on the numbers, these may be more or less didactic or interactive, but there will often be opportunity for attendees to get involved, and practice their skills.
ACROSS THE CITY
Everything in the center is within walking distance. The best way to go downtown from the Congress venue is to take the Underground. A ticket for all kinds of public transport costs 1,60 lev/0,82 euro - for a ride. (Keep it with you in case of ticket check-up). There is a metro station (Line 2) opposite to the Hotel Marinela (4 min. walk). The train direction is Obelya. Take off at the second stop (NDK - National Palace of Culture) or at the third one (Serdica). When using buses, trams or trolley buses you can buy a ticket from the driver and you must validate it in the metal punchers on board. In trams and trolley buses you also find ticket vending machines that accept only coins (in this case no further validation is needed).
The official taxi charges in Sofia are cheap. The average fee is 0,80 - 1 lev. per km and usually is written on the side window. However, to avoid overcharging it’s worth asking in advance how much it will cost and checking if the meter is on. The most reputable companies are O.K. Supertrans (tel: 02/ 973 2121), Yellow Taxi (tel: (02) 91119) and Green Taxi (mobile: 0878 810810). Taxi ranks are located at strategic points throughout Sofia and taxis also ply the streets around the center. If you would like to take up the adventure to explore our green capital by bike, you have to find the only rent location Sofia Bike, situated at a 5 min. walk from the National Theater (19, Shesti Septemvri str.). But if you choose this way of moving around, be prepared for obstacles in the cycleways.
Exploring a new place is always better when there is someone to guide you. The Free Sofia Tour (freesofiatour.com) is an English language sightseeing walking tour of the capital’s center. The tours are organized 3 times a day (10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.) by local guides of a non-profit organization, who will share with you all their stories and love for Sofia. They are both fun and educational - the perfect introduction to the city and its thousands of years of history. If you would like to join the experience, you just have to show up at the right place at the right time. The starting point is the Palace of Justice (closest metro station: Serdika ). No reservation required.