Bridging psychological practice and basic research

Interdisciplinary conference on the study of mental health #ICSMH

Heidelberg, Germany – July 10th – 12th 2023

The conference aims to bring together leading experts and young researchers in the field of perception, cognition and emotion. In addition, we invite experienced clinicians and therapists to share their practical knowledge and experience with patients on behavioural and psychological changes through psychotherapeutic methods.

Main objectives of the conference:

  • To promote exchange and collaboration between psychological researchers and practitioners.
  • To align working concepts and constructs between the disciplines of therapeutic/clinical practice and experimental psychology/neuroscience.
  • Development of relevant research questions to identify more targeted and innovative interventions.

The three-day conference is divided into a small number of keynote lectures and several specialised symposia (topics: theory, therapy, methodology/basics, computational psychiatry). In addition to our keynote speakers, we invite junior researchers and students, as well as therapists, to submit oral and poster presentations.



Peggy Series Prof. of Computational Psychiatry, University of Edinburgh, Scotland


Anil Seth, Prof. of Cognitive & Computational Neuroscience, University of Sussex, UK


Peter Jakob, Consulting Clinical Psychologist, Brighton, UK


Miriam Schiele, Scientist and Psychotherapist, University Hospital Freiburg, Germany

Submission of papers:

We are looking forward to contributions (talks or posters) from practitioners/psychotherapists as well as young researchers who would like to contribute to the exchange between the psychological disciplines. We also encourage contributions from early career researchers from different disciplines of psychology who are interested in re-evaluating and improving the active collaboration between cognitive psychology, mechanistic neuroscience and clinical practice. Due to availability of places, we will give preference to registrations with a contribution, but places are also available for interested guests without a contribution.

We will cover travel expenses and accommodation for participants whose contribution has been accepted as a paper in one of the symposia (topics for papers could include: cognitive control, attention, computational psychiatry, interventions, emotion regulation, subjective experience, underlying mechanisms of cognition-emotion interactions, psychotherapeutic practice, and methods). Submissions are requested to include an abstract and a brief explanation of how their contribution is valuable to the collaboration between scientific research and therapeutic practice.


For clinical psychologists and therapists working in practice 

We would welcome many submissions from practising psychologists (adults, but also child and adolescent psychotherapy), as an important part of the conference is based on clinical working psychologists sharing their perspective. We are convinced that the experience gained from direct contact with patients and clients is a valuable source of information for the development of new relevant research questions and should again play a central role in the development of scientific approaches. The conference aims to achieve a balance between clinical and academic experts and explicitly supports contributions from practising psychologists and psychotherapists. Submission topics may include, for example, issues and approaches related to specific strategies in practice (attention, emotional regulation, cognitive control, social behaviour), approaches to diagnosis, assessment of subjective experience, communication strategies, methodology, evaluation of therapeutic progress. 

For researchers in psychology and neuroscience

We would equally welcome researchers in the fields of cognitive neuroscience and experimental psychology. It is emphasised that experts in these disciplines need not have a clinical focus. The conference will enable concepts and constructs from clinical practice and therapy to be combined with conceptual proposals from cognitive neuroscience and experimental psychology, enabling an overarching framework from the symptom to the experiential level. To achieve a common approach, we need to bridge the existing gap between the invaluable knowledge base of clinical and psychotherapeutic practice and psychological and cognitive neuroscientific methods. We therefore also need a forum for interdisciplinary exchange among experts in basic brain science to identify future research directions, formulate more relevant research questions for basic investigations and re-evaluate practice guidelines.

Mentor Lectures

The conference will be divided into a small number of keynote-like “Mentor Lectures” (60 min presentation + 30 min discussion) and a series of more focused “Symposia” (120 min / 3 presentations á 20 min + 30 min discussion). The invited speakers will be scientists/practitioners who will give an overview of the state of the art on their respective topic (theory, practice, computational psychiatry, basic mechanisms) in their lectures. These lectures will form the basis for the discussion.


The symposia are organised to address focused topics (neurobiology, interventions, computational psychiatry, subjective experience, behavioural measures of relevant constructs). Three short lectures will be given per symposium by young researchers who will examine the respective topic from different interdisciplinary perspectives and present the latest findings on this topic. The symposium lectures will be shorter and more focused than the Mentor Lectures. Mentors will be invited to participate in and guide all discussions to steer the conversation towards the overall goals of the conference.

Poster sessions

Finally, we would like to involve and encourage student participants (BSc, MSc, PhD) to submit posters. Poster sessions are conveniently held on the 2nd and 3rd day so that all conference subjects can participate. This provides an opportunity for students and early career researchers/practitioners to meet and exchange ideas with researchers in their field. It is also a unique opportunity to share their own work with leading professionals from different disciplines.

Venue: Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften, Karlstraße 4, 69117 Heidelberg



Conference in Heidelberg on bridging psychological practice and basic research