Author Archives: Sean Naughton

DGKJP Congress Ulm, Germany 2017

From 22-25 March 2017 the XXXV. Congress of the German Society for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy (DGKJP) took place in Ulm.

The conference focused on the topic “belonging to” and this motto was found in many of the Congress’s events. The bi-annual scientific Congress is the largest child and adolescent psychiatry and psychotherapy event in the German-speaking world. The congress offers an important opportunity for further professional development and the presentation of the latest scientific results, as well as the possibility for a regular reunion of colleagues and to get to know new participants and exchange experiences.

“Belonging to” is a theme that is relevant to all children and young people from early childhood. Being part of a family, friends, school, sports clubs etc.

“Belonging to”  has many facets in our society. It shows, on the one hand, the discussion about the inclusion of children with difficulties in regular school teaching. In addition, children who are particularly burdened also need better participation opportunities in our society. At the moment, the refugee crisis and the fate of the unaccompanied underage refugees make it clear every day how important acceptance and opportunities are for a successful treatment of trauma. Therefore, during the UNICEF day on Saturday, 25 March, the focus was on the participation and integration of mostly young refugees as well as on the topic of international work.

This year, it was a great honor that the EFPT could be represented by a symposium on the subject during the UNICEF day.

“Intercultural understanding within the framework of specialist training –
The example of the European Federation of Psychiatric Trainees –
Chances and opportunities”

The contribution demonstrated the opportunities for intercultural understanding and perspective which arise through the EFPT.

During the symposium, the importance of intercultural understanding for child and adolescent psychiatrists was discussed. The work of the CAP working group was presented. In addition, the exchange program was outlined, allowing young clinicians in psychiatry to gain experience in other European countries, representing an opportunity for intercultural understanding for curious trainees. In addition, opportunities for young researchers in Europe were presented.

The 90-minute symposium was organized by representatives of EFPT: Teresa Gómez Alemany (Barcelona, Spain); Franziska Bässler (Heidelberg, Germany); Roland Grassl (Vienna, Austria) and Sarah Maria Birkle (Hamm, Germany). There was a total of four lectures which were assessed by the participants as a very positive experience.

This symposium was a clear example of the determined strength and persistent enthusiasm shown by EFPT members.

This example demonstrates that EFPT gives us the opportunity to develop  intercultural understanding towards our profession and our patients, to obtain different perspectives during our training program, and enables an international approach to our thoughts and ideas enriching both our common and individual goals.

At this point we would also like to give our thanks to the DGKJP for the opportunity to participate in the congress.

Best wishes,

Teresa Gómez Alemany (Chair of the EFPT- CAP Working Group and EFPT Board Member)

Sarah Maria Birkle (EFPT CAP and – Exchange Working Group member, CAP representative EFPT, Germany)

Franziska Bässler (Former EFPT Board Member and – EFPT secretary)

Roland Grassl (Former EFPT Board Member and – EFPT treasurer)

MENTA: Promoting Psychiatric Training in Europe and Beyond

For the first half of the EFPT year, MENTA has been working hard to fulfill the goals set in Istanbul, in accordance with our new statement:

“EFPT strongly believes that the coordination of trainees’ interests and efforts is key to promoting high quality psychiatric training. It is therefore essential that all psychiatric trainees are represented by national trainee organisations in their countries. These associations are the core of the Federation, keeping it international, strong and continuously active in the improvement of psychiatric training around Europe and the world. EFPT should serve as a model, guide and framework to maintaining the existing national trainees associations and establishing new ones in Europe and beyond, serving for the best interests of trainees from all over the globe”.

To that end we have been maintaining regular online communication amongst the members of our WG, which includes 10 trainees from 8 countries.

Our first and most important objective is to help trainees from all the National Training Associations (NTAs) to maintain strong and active associations within their countries. We are in close contact with the EFPT Board and the General Manager of NTAs in order to give the necessary assistance, mainly to those countries which find it difficult to actively maintain their associations and fully participate in the Federation. We invite any trainee who may be having difficulties in the development of their NTA to contact us.

Secondly, our most visible work is to promote the establishment of new NTAs and their full integration with EFPT. We hope that Kosovo and Moldova will join us as full members in Bristol 2018, following their fruitful participation in the previous annual fora. We have also contacted two motivated trainees from Bulgaria (Kaloyan Martin and Kristina Semdakova) thanks to their participation in the Young Psychiatrist’s Network, and are providing guidance to establish an association and begin their active participating in EFPT. We are also reaching out to colleagues from Iceland.

This year MENTA has made the significant step of expanding the EFPT model beyond Europe. Our Iranian colleagues, leaded by Elham Shandiz, have recently established their NTA, and sent us a picture of its Board (pictured); they are eager to collaborate with EFPT and promote new national associations in Asia. On the other hand, Samadhi Salguedo, from Bolivia, is struggling hard to establish their national association. Starting from that country, and with colleagues from Argentina, Guatemala and Panama, we think that a big movement of trainees may rapidly spread in Latin America. Our hope is that in the near future, trainees from around the globe will be more and more united: perhaps a World Federation of Psychiatric Trainees?

We are happy to keep working for the federation, and are quite open to more trainees who wish to participate in our group. Do not hesitate to contact us!

Beck Institute: the home of Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy is a leading international source fortraining, therapy, and resources in CBT. Our mission is to improve lives worldwide through excellence in Cognitive Behavior Therapy.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), was pioneered by Dr. Aaron T. Beck in the 1960s. Unlike traditional psychotherapy, he developed a treatment that was short-term and focused on problem-solving and teaching clients skills to make long lasting change in their thinking, behavior, and mood.

In the years since its introduction, CBT has been studied and demonstrated to be one of the most effective treatments for a wide variety of disorders. Thousands of studies have demonstrated its efficacy for psychiatric disorders, psychological problems, and medical issues with a psychological component.

Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy was founded in 1994 by Dr. Aaron Beck and his daughter, Dr. Judith Beck, a preeminent psychologist in her own right, as a new setting for state-of-the-art psychotherapy and professional training opportunities. Through their vision, Beck Institute has carried out the mission of teaching CBT to health and mental health professionals, enhancing the lives of people worldwide. Over the last 23 years, Beck Institute has grown into an unparalleled hub for CBT excellence.

Beck Institute runs unmatched training workshops both for individual professionals and for organizations, offers online resources to consumers and professionals alike, and provides therapy to clients at our Philadelphia headquarters. In addition to professional and client services, Beck Institute remains an international authority and resource for CBT information and research.

Today, Beck Institute continues the work of Dr. Aaron Beck by educating health and mental health professionals, students, and organizations in CBT through our interactive and experiential training, both in person and online. Offering a full range of training opportunities for professionals, educators, and students, training with Beck Institute faculty prepares clinicians for excellence in the field.

Beck Institute has an alumni network of nearly 5,500 individuals who have participated in in-person workshops since 2008, and over 6,000 individuals from 99 countries who have participated in online courses since the courses began in 2016. Each year, Beck Institute also trains thousands of clinicians through training in workplaces and at professional conferences throughout the world. According to 2016 survey results, 98% of workshop trainees would recommend Beck Institute workshops to their colleagues.

We believe that teaching CBT will improve the lives of both therapists and their clients, and fill the world with healthier, happier people.

Stay connected with Beck Institute through our email newsletter, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Testimonial: Beck CBT Online

Being a psychiatry trainee necessitates multitasking. Keeping a balance between work, studies, self-development, personal life, hobbies, responsibilities, struggles, self-doubts, victories and losses. It is always interesting, exciting, sometimes exhausting and fearful, but never boring.

In this busy schedule, it is difficult to find time for additional education. I was very glad to participate in the competition for the Beck Institute’s CBT online course. The competition was organized by the EFPT Psychotherapy working group during the EFPT Forum in Istanbul.

Online education gives the freedom to choose where, when and how much time to spend on studying. With modern technology, it is possible to learn new things while sitting with a phone on the bus in the traffic jam or sipping a double cappuccino in a cozy cafeteria with your laptop.

My expectations from this CBT course were influenced by my previous experience with online courses. However, to my great surprise, all these expectations were exceeded!

I would like to emphasize a high quality of this course. The excellent quality of video content and technical side made me feel like it was a one-to-one dialogue with a lecturer. It is important to note that despite being a non-native English speaker, it was easy to understand the course thanks to the clear pronunciation of the lecturer. I would like to thank the support team, which does a wonderful job. They were helpful and supportive in solving any technical issues.

The course is well-structured with clear agenda. This transparent and structured approach not only helps with learning new things faster but also to retain the acquired knowledge.

The content is wide in breadth and diverse. There is a wonderful opportunity to learn from the interviews with Aron Beck about the origins of CBT. Also one can study the theoretical parts through lectures with Dr Judith Beck and gain a view of CBT concepts through animations. One can see fully debriefed role-plays, as well as observe round table discussions about real case issues with faculty members. There is a fully packed library with useful resources and selected researches. One can ask questions and share your experience with faculty members and peers. The forum, where everyone shares their experiences, ideas and questions, made me feel a part of a big community.

The course is oriented to practice. It is a real pleasure to see how the knowledge and skills I gained could be used daily in my clinical work with patients for reliable results. CBT focuses on solutions, encouraging patients to challenge distorted cognitions and change destructive patterns of behavior.

I would like to thank the Beck Institute and EFPT members for this wonderful opportunity to learn CBT online. I highly recommend this course for everyone who is interested in CBT and would like to learn it!

Best wishes

Olga Sidorova

EFPT Exchange: from Portugal to the Netherlands

EFPT Exchange Program is a short-term (2-6 weeks) observership for Psychiatry Trainees in Europe, established in 2011. It offers the opportunity to get acquainted with another mental health care system and different training programs, fostering international links among European trainees.

From 27th March to 7th April (2 weeks), I was placed in the Old Age Psychiatry Department of University Medical Center Groningen, under the supervision of Doctor W.H. van Zelst – Kwakkel and Doctor Aida Van de Poel – Mustafayeva.

Old Age Psychiatry is more than the simple application of general Psychiatry to the population aged over 65. It implies a mental shift, the need to follow a more sensitive and personalized medical practice, understanding the effect of coexistent physical illness with the normal ageing process. Considering the increasing life expectation of recent years, it is indeed a promising area for clinicians and researchers. Unfortunately, there is still lack of evidence for the treatment offered to older patients with mental disorders, and more basic and clinical research is needed.

During the period of internship, I had the opportunity to stay at the specialized ward, outpatient clinic and also to visit the liaison service. I mostly observed older patients with affective disorders (depression, anxiety and unexplained physical complaints), but also psychotic disorders. These mental disorders were very often comorbid with physical illnesses, including neurodegenerative disorders (such as Alzheimer’s disease) and other neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disorder. The Old Age Psychiatry Department promotes collaboration with internal medicine, geriatrics and neurology. I could also observe the main daily routines, attend multidisciplinary team meetings and participate in the clinical assessments of patients, where appropriated.

I also had the opportunity to attend the Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) Unit, under the supervision of Doctor Aida Van de Poel. ECT remains an important treatment for depressed geriatric patients with severe and/or treatment-resistant depression. In older patients, this medical procedure requires a careful assessment of potential benefits as well as potential risks (many of them related to anesthesia). I have also learned from conversations with Doctor Van Zelst, who is an expert in the field of psychoneurommunology and had developed several research projects about the post traumatic stress disorder in elderly patients.

This internship allowed me to have a general idea about Psychiatry Departments and health organization in Netherlands. Netherlands has an innovative mental health system and was one of the first countries to foster and promote old age psychiatry. The EU Commission Executive Agency for Health and Consumers (EAHC, 2011) has recently delivered a major report on the burden of mental disorders and inequalities in mental health in the Europe Union. Their report showed a lower prevalence of mental disorders in Netherlands (lifetime prevalence of 31.1%) than in Portugal (lifetime prevalence of 36.8%) and a smaller gender difference in terms of mental disorders in Netherlands when compared to Portugal. This difference could be perceived during my short internship period, and may have several causes, but is most likely to reflect complex socioeconomic and cultural factors.

This internship was also an opportunity to grow (not only professionally, but personally) to a much greater depth and expand my horizons by putting my psychiatric skills to work in this very different environment. Cultural variations do exist between Netherlands and Portugal – not to such a degree that we could properly appreciate culture-bound syndromes, for example, but it was possible to identify minor variations in how people communicate their symptoms and their distress.

As I had to rely many times on my nonverbal communications skills, I honestly think they improved during this internship. I have the general feeling I overcame linguistic and cultural challenges, learning not only knowledge, but experience. Even when we don’t share the same language with the patient, it is still possible to grasp a lot from him, as suffering and distress are often embodied in the appearance, posture, and affect.

Finally, I would like to mention Dr. Elena Melo and Dr. Michiel Over, who have helped me during the course of my internship.


Porto, 1st October 2017

Gustavo França, Medical Doctor, Psychiatry Trainee

Hospital de Magalhães Lemos, Porto, Portugal

EFPT Welcomes a new NTA – APFBF

Belgium is a small but very complex country, with two regions that often experience difficulty incommunicating with each other. Realising how poor ourcontacts were with our colleagues from other universities, a group of trainees from Brussels decided to create APFBF, whichstands for Association des Psychiatres en Formation de Belgique Francophone and translates in English as Association of Psychiatrists in Training from French-speaking Belgium.

The NTA’s complex name is very explicit about the motivation behind its creation: “French-speaking Belgium” because there is also a Dutch-speaking Belgium; “psychiatrists in training” because, even within our region, there is no common nomination for our job! It is our desire to gather these otherwise very dispersed trainees and represent them, and thus that we we created our NTA in 2016.

In only one year of existence we have already had several adventures : multiple meetings between the three faculties of French-speaking Belgium; outreach to our Dutch-speaking colleagues and fellow European trainees, namely through our participation at EFPT forums in Antwerp (2016) and in Istanbul (2017); and meeting our elders in Belgium who very kindly invited us to participate in their own meetings. Together we have attended conferences and very proudly organised two one-day symposia in Brussels, as well as dinners and informal gatherings.

We were surprised how the creation of this NTA was an important catalyst for this communication between trainees, which we were so avid to encourage.

We are eager to pursue this adventure, to which European collaboration EFPT adds a whole new range of possibilities and boosts our enthusiasm!

We therefore thank very warmly all the fellow EFPT member-countries for welcoming us in the family.


Charles Scelles

APFBF President

Greetings from an EFPT Alumnus

During and after the most recent EFPT Forum in Istanbul, where I officially stepped down from the EFPT board after 4 years of service, many have asked me what life brings after EFPT. Each time, I have found it difficult to answer that question while wondering if there is really such a thing as “after EFPT”. Perhaps it is just my stubborn reluctance to the notion of being “retired” and embracing the “alumnus” status, yet I still feel part of EFPT – a feeling I expect will linger on long after I will have finished my training (which is scheduled by 1.5 years from the time I am writing this piece). Stepping down from certain tasks and responsibilities of a formal EFPT role has certainly created some much-needed free space in my agenda, mailbox and mind, from which other projects in my professional and personal life can benefit. Yet I know that whenever I choose to step out into the world of European psychiatry once more, be it at a congress, exchange, EFPT Forum or simply in some new (digital) venture, I will meet all of my friends again!

I want to seize this opportunity to talk a bit about the decisions that lead me to take on a formal role in EFPT, first as member of the board and later as President-Elect. I am reiterating this story as some of you may find you can relate to this. In both cases, I owe so much to the people who encouraged and mentored me into taking my engagement with EFPT to the next level. I owe them for pushing me outside of my comfort zone and making me do something I would certainly not have been ambitious or confident enough to do on my own. Because of these EFPT friends who believed in me from the start and who helped me along the way, we were finally able to bring to life two ideas which  were the motor for my commitment in EFPT, i.e. the reform of Forum fees to make them more democratic and fair for trainees from lower income countries, and the project that eventually became #TYOT. Back then as much as today, I was eager to extend the rewards that EFPT brought to me personally to other trainees and I am therefore very proud of these collaborative achievements. Likewise, I am exceedingly proud of my fellow LOC members who did the unthinkable and moved heaven and earth to organize a successful Antwerp Forum seemingly against all odds! Even today, I am at a loss to understand how we managed to do what we did – thank you so much, dear friends!

I am confident that EFPT by itself is responsible for preventing me from burnout or dropping out of my training throughout these past years. Whenever I found myself frustrated or lacking in motivation in my workplace at times, EFPT offered the necessary inspiration, companionship and support through which I could both channel and fuel my ambition and passion to make a positive impact. I therefore feel extremely grateful to EFPT for giving me these opportunities, for allowing me to learn and grow in a safe yet challenging peer-supported environment. Each of the different EFPT boards I was a member of provided keen and distinct examples of leadership and teamwork which helped me to grow both in terms of skill and confidence – and to feel supported in finding my own personal style. I can recommend this experience to each and every psychiatry trainee. Whatever role you take on, EFPT will not let you down!

In summary, to cite the wise words of our current EFPT president which were sung at a certain International Night in a certain Flemish city: “EFPT – nothing compares to you!”


Livia De Picker

EFPT President 2015-2016

EFPT Excellence Award 2017

The project (Residency Guide) is designed to reach out all the new residents, in all the training hospitals of Turkey and we considered this project, as an opportunity for our youngest members to receive comprehensive vocational information at first hand.

This guide is the end-product of our resident committee’s labour for several previous years. Each chapter was written by a senior resident or young specialist who was a member of the resident committee in the past years. Each part was designed by committee members to cover basic things that residents should have gain during their residency. For example; “How should we achieve psychotherapy training?”, “How we could search for a scientific paper?”.

Finally, this book was published by The Psychiatric Association of Turkey and distributed by the Residents’ Committee to all residents who attended our last national congress.

The Residents’ Committee of the Psychiatry Association of Turkey (PAT) was honored to receive the “EFPT Award for Excellence” recognising the collaborative effort of psychiatric trainees in Turkey. While we are preparing for the 2nd Edition of Residency Guide, this award has rekindled our enthusiasm.

Thanks to the Board of PAT for its definite support and to the delegates of the Residents’ Committee of PAT for their valuable effort as winners of the EFPT Award for Excellence 2017. After thanking the EFPT Board for 2016-2017 we wanted to quote the principles of the PAT which encourage us in all our work: “Science, Ethic and Solidarity”.