International Psychotherapy Conference

 June 12, 2018

We need better theories to frame psychotherapy as an activity based on a true science of change. This is the starting statement of this event. A very provocative and controversial affirmation, but that we believe very necessary.
Psychotherapy is a craftwork, in which an interpersonal encounter takes place aiming to help someone to better deal with difficulties in life. At the same time, psychotherapy is a sort of a specialized laboratory that enables experiments on the change of the self. However, the field is far from having a solid integrative scientific theory. Without such a theory, psychotherapy is left to battles between schools and to the marketing of (pseudo)new ideas, which, after all, are usually actually very old, but frequently disguised with some fresh, and yet superficial, new make-over.
In one day we do not pretend to solve all the problems that this task entails. Our goal is to foster conditions that may enable such a theory.
As a source of inspiration for these aims, we launch a challenge: to use developmental theories and theories about the self as a way to create a model/theory of psychotherapy, from which we can deduct studies (including empirical) with theoretical relevance. Thus, we will combine a series of small conferences, by some prominent theoreticians in the field of psychology, with a round table discussion around the possible basic elements of such an encompassing, broad theory.
Different topics will be covered in this event, but time, developmental dynamics, self, change, psychopathology, and well-being will be prominent.

Book of Abstracts

Organizational Committee


  • João Salgado (President)
  • Marina Monteiro
  • Filipa Ferreira
  • Ana Bela Couto
  • Marlene Sousa
  • Eunice Barbosa
  • Sara Silva

Scientific Committee


  • João Salgado (ISMAI, Portugal)
  • Jaan Valsiner (University of Aalborg, Denmark)
  • William B. Stiles (Miami University & Appalachian State University, USA)
  • Liliana Meira (ISMAI, Portugal)
  • Carla Cunha(ISMAI, Portugal)
  • Tiago Bento Ferreira (ISMAI, Portugal)
  • Luís Fernandes (Universidade do Porto, Portugal)
  • Jesús Garcia-Martinez (Universidad de Sevilla, Spain)
  • Sergio Salvatore (Universitá de Salento, Italy)
  • Paulo Jesus (Universidade Portucalense, Portugal)

Accepted languages

English, Portuguese, Spanish.

June 12

9:30-9.45 Opening Statement
João Salgado: In search of better theories in psychology and psychotherapy.
9.45-10.30 Keynote 1: Jaan Valsiner (Aalborg University, Denmark)br/>Title: The role of theory in psychotherapy: What can developmental cultural psychology contribute?
10.30-11.00  Break
11:00-11.45 Keynote 2: Sergio Salvatore (University of Salento, Italy)
Title: The theory that psychotherapy needs in the perspective of a semiotic-dynamic psychology.
11.45-12.30 Keynote 3: William B. Stiles (Miami University, Ohio, USA, & Appalachian State University, North Carolina, USA )
What changes in psychotherapy and Why: An Assimilation Model perspective.
12.30-13.00 Keynote 4: João Salgado (ISMAI, Portugal)
Title: Integrating dialogical, semiotic, and developmental perspectives: Searching for a complex theory of human change processes.
13:00-14.30 Break
14:30-15.30 Panel: Time, psychotherapy and psychopathology
Luís Fernandes (Faculdade de Psicologia e Ciências da Educação da Universidade do Porto, Portugal).
Title: “Breves dias têm cem anos”: Reflexão sobre o tempo no atual sistema da ciência.

Jesús Garcia Martinez (Universidad de Sevilla, España)

Title: Desde la estructura a la dinámica: Una propuesta de mecanismos de cambio psicoterapéutico basado en el modelo de tres niveles de la Personalidad de McAdams.

Paulo Jesus (Portucalense University, Portugal).

Title: The poetics of time and selfhood between Jaspers and Binswanger.

15.30-16:00  Break and Posters session

16:00-18.00 Round table: What theory for psychotherapy? Searching for the founding blocks of a developmental science applied to psychotherapy.

Luís Fernandes, Jesús Garcia Martinez, Paulo Jesus, João Salgado, William B. Stiles, Jaan Valsiner & Maria Lyra (Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil)
18.00-18.15 Closing ceremony


PhD Program in Psychology, Specialty in Clinical Psychology
Laboratory of Psychotherapy Research
Project iCare4Depression
Co-funded by FCT, Compete 2020, União Europeia/Fundo Europeu de Desenvolvimento Regional

Registration Form​​​​​​

Submission Form​​​​​​

         Attendance at the conference is free of charge, but registration is required 
Proposals for posters (80*100 cm​)
Proposals are accepted until June 6. Please use the submission form  ​​