Session types

Session types

Peruse the session types below for an explanation on the program.

The plenary sessions address the main themes of the congress. In each of the plenary sessions there are two speakers and the chairpersons who lead the discussion after the presentations by the speakers.

The Presidential Forum sessions address issues of particular relevance for the position of psychiatry in society. They bring together a chairperson and four speakers differing in their main field of interest and experience.

Each of the State of the Art symposia presents a review of current knowledge and the most important developments in the field covered by the title of the session. They are developed by the WPA Scientific sections and are presented by three speakers one of whom will chair the session.

These sessions are developed jointly by WPA and one or more of the organizations with which the WPA collaborates. Each of the organizations involved is presented by one or two of the speakers.


During each of the congresses the Scientific Committee selects a theme of relevance to the whole of psychiatry – such as the review of treatment methods – and composes a series of symposia to address.

In each of the congresses there are one or two topics to which WPA wishes to attract special attention because of their importance and the need to proceed to action without delay.

These are sessions which use different innovative methods to address a theme. They are developed in collaboration with early career psychiatrists. The sessions last one hour and on this occasion include:

Difficult case discussions – During these sessions early career psychiatrists, supported by a senior expert will present case histories of people with mental disorders whose diagnosis and management presented a number of problems. The speakers will describe the cases highlighting the issues and invite the audience to engage in a discussion and in the search for solutions to the problems which they faced.

CRPD Case studies – The Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities has been formally adopted by the United nations and presents an obligation for the UN members states. Its application sometimes presents practical  problems. The session will describe several cases in which this has happened and invite a panel of experts including persons with lived experience and carers to discuss what should be done.

The WPA three-minute competition – This competition will be an interactive session with a series of short presentations aiming to improve presentation skills of early career psychiatrists (ECP) and facilitate an exchange among them. The format of the competition aims to encourage early career psychiatrists to effectively explain their topic in 3 minutes in a clear and succinct way, improving the manner of their presentation and trying to capture the audience’s attention. The audience will select the most attractive presentation by voting and the winner will receive a prize.

The WPA book presentation sessions – Authors will a  series of  books related to the WPA program and published in the past year.

These sessions represent a particularly important part of the congress. Each of the panel sessions addresses a topic of importance and controversy selected by the Scientific Committee of the congress. The panels bring together 5 or 6 experts in the matters addressed by the theme of the panel. The discussions in the panel are led by the Chairperson and there are no formal presentation by the speakers.

Participants in the congress can submit proposals for symposia which are assessed by the Scientific committee which decides on their suitability for presentation. The accepted symposia have three speakers and one of them acts as the chairperson.

The participants can propose to make an oral communication during the congress. Those selected by the Scientific Committee will be invited to speak for 10 minutes in sessions reserved for the purpose.

Participants can propose to present a poster. Those selected by the Scientific Committee will be presented by the author for 3 minutes and then available for viewing throughout the congress (as well as for 3 months afterwards)

10 topical half day courses will be offered to congress participants.

On occasion the Scientific Committee organizes a debate addressing a topic about which there is little agreement despite its importance. The debates involve two speakers (for and against the proposition) a judge and chairpersons.

The subjects addressed by the Presidential symposia are selected by the President from the array of themes composing the WPA Plan of Action of the triennium. They last 60 minutes and are each addressed by three speakers.