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World Congress Committee Constitution

World Congress Committee (WCC) Constitution

Final Revision July 2013


The purpose of the World Congress Committee (WCC) in Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies is to promote human well-being and to reduce human suffering through the development and dissemination of evidence-based psychological interventions grounded in the behavioral and cognitive sciences.


Beginning in 1980 a series of World Congresses were been held in Behaviour Therapy or Cognitive Therapy. The Behavior Therapy Congresses were initially organized by European Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Therapy (EABCT) and the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy (AABT, now known as the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies or ABCT); the Cognitive Therapy Congresses were organized by the International Association of Cognitive Psychotherapies (IACP). Beginning in 1995 these were combined, initially with the aid both IACP and behavior therapy societies around the world. The World Congress Committee for Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies assumed the organization role beginning in Acapulco in 1998. Since then, every three years a World Congress has been held under the auspices of the WCC. The list of WCBCT is as follows:

1st WCBCT – Copenhagen, Denmark, 1995

2nd WCBCT – Acapulco, Mexico, 1998

3rd WCBCT – Vancouver, Canada, 2001

4th WCBCT – Kobe, Japan, 2004

5th WCBCT – Barcelona, Spain, 2007

6th WCBCT – Boston, USA, 2010

7th WCBCT – Lima, Peru, 2013

8th WCBCT – Melbourne, Australia 2016

In the absence of a World Federation or some other form of a world organization for behavioral and cognitive therapies, a continental organization seemed to be a natural way to structure the WCC; the IACP is also central in view of its international nature and role in the history of World Congresses.


There are currently six member units of the WCC:

  1.  North America, as represented by the ABCT
  2. Australia as represented by the Australian Association of Cognitive and Behaviour Therapy (AACBT)
  3. Latin America as represented by the Asociación Latinoamericana de Análisis y Modificación del Comportamiento (ALAMOC)
  4. Europe as represented by EABCT
  5. Asia as represented by a delegate chosen among the Asian CBT associations, with that selection process organized by the JABT, currently the representative seat is held by the ACBTA
  6. Cognitive Therapy as represented by the IACP

Africa is not currently represented. African representation will occur by vote of the WCC representatives when a major African society emerges and applies for representation.


Each unit elects one (1) representative (along with one deputy) to serve on the World Congress Committee (WCC) for a period corresponding to the interval between World Congresses. The chairperson of the organization committee of the previous World Congress shall also be included in the WCC as a non-voting member for the sake of continuity.

Until such time as a formal Asian umbrella organization forms, JABT will be responsible for a process of obtaining inter-organizational cooperation among Asian societies and selecting a representative to the WCC on a democratic basis. If a representative is admitted from Africa on behalf of an individual country, the same process will be followed to provide representation for additional African societies.

All unit representatives current are elected by umbrella organizations with the exception of Asia, but only Europe is fully organized as a consortium of societies. Thus, in any continent, if additional societies form and wish representation, by vote of the Committee the above procedure envision for Asia and Africa may be recommended to the members to ensure democratic representation in that region. This will be treated as a by-laws revision.

A representative should be a person who is well known to the umbrella association and regularly participates in its meetings. He/she should be responsible for reporting back to the respective societies on the WCC work, especially concerning submissions for future World Congresses. Representatives should obtain input from their societies regarding views on submissions, and represent the view of their society when voting on the choice of world congress bids.

Among themselves, the representatives shall elect one person as chair and one as secretary.

Meetings and Communications

In order to create a stable group to manage proposals, the mandate period for a WCC is from one World Congress proposal to the next. At that time, a new WCC is established. Although member organizations are free to select representative who continue from one WCC to the next, their term should correspond to the WCC by-laws.

The WCC shall convene at least once every three years. This shall include a face to face meeting annually at the ABCT conference, and at each World Congress. Its primary task is to decide the venue and sponsoring organization of the next World Congress. . Additional meetings will take place at the discretion of the chairperson or if at least three committee members require a meeting. As the WCC has no budget of its own, the representatives of the umbrella organizations are responsible for their own travel expenses in relation to the WCC work.

Submission of Proposals and Time Schedules

Proposals for hosting the next-but-one World Congress (six years later) shall be invited immediately following each World Congress. A proposal to host a World Congress of Behavior and Cognitive Therapies can only be submitted to the World Congress Committee on behalf of one of the member units; each may submit only one proposal to the WCC at a given time. In the event that there is more than one proposal emanating from associations within that same member unit, it shall decide which of the proposals it will submit to the WCC through an open decision process.

The proposals must be submitted to the chairperson of the WCC by November 1st of the year of the invitation. In order to be processed, the submission must comply with the requirements of proposals (see Suggested Guidelines for Hosting a World Congress).

The decision will be made by the WCC by July 1st of the following year, that is five years before the World Congress in question. In practice, the proposal shall be submitted in writing to the chairperson of the WCC by November 1st of the year of invitation, and followed by a presentation in person to the WCC meeting at the ABCT conference in November of that year. Votes can be made by the committee at that time and the decision on bids made at the meeting. The presentation should not be made by a member of the WCC, instead another representative of the society should make the bid proposal i.e., an individual who is separate to the person on the WCC who will cast their vote for the society.

By having the submission deadline several months ahead of the decision time, there will be enough time for the representatives to discuss the submissions and to form an opinion before a decision is made. In the event that there is no proposal at all, or no proposal fulfilling the requirements, the WCC will suggest one country for the next World Congress, asking the association of that country to appoint a congress organizer.

The purpose of setting up detailed requirements for the submissions is to assure that different proposals can be compared on an equal basis. If a submission is incomplete, it will not be processed, but sent back to the submitting local association. At the discretion of the WCC chairperson, the proposal will either be discarded or given the opportunity to be completed within two months in order to still compete for the upcoming World Congress.

By vote of a majority, the specific time schedules may be adjusted to allow for other than three-year intervals between World Congresses or to allow for more planning time, provided the revised process is orderly, reasonable, and promulgated to all members. This, then, is the normal schedule envisioned:

  1. World Congress is held
  2. Open invitation is made to units to submit a proposal for hosting congress 6 years from that time
  3. Submissions are due by November 1st of that year
  4. Decisions by the WCC are made no later than July 1st of the following year (i.e., approximately 5 years prior to the congress in question) where the congress will be held and which umbrella organization will serve as host.
  5. This process gets repeated to maintain a structured schedule of world congresses.

If an association that has been mandated to arrange an upcoming World Congress plans to make significant modifications in the approved proposal (e.g., changes in the previous agreed upon venue or the registration fee), this association must consult with the WCC before the changes are decided upon.

The WCC will serve in an advisory role regarding various issues in the organization of world congresses. Organizers of world congresses are encouraged to seek the input of all WCC umbrella associations in the formation of the committee and the development of the scientific program. It is suggested that host associations keep the WCC abreast of the progress and activities related to the organization of world congresses.

Conflict of Interest

So as to avoid a conflict of interest the bid for a future world congress on behalf of a member unit should not be presented by the same person that is a representative on the WCC from that member unit. Representatives are encouraged to obtain input from home organizations to represent their organizations views.

Changes in the By-Laws

Changes in the By-Laws of the WCC may be made by formal vote of the member units, not merely the Committee representatives. A super majority of 2/3 vote is required for By-Laws changes.

Decision Making

All WCC decisions, including the choice of venue for future World Congresses, will be made consensually. If, however, consensus cannot be reached, formal votes by secret ballot will be taken and majority opinion will prevail. Votes are made at face to face meetings of the WCC.

Spread Around the Globe

It is the intention of the WCC that the congresses should be held on all continents across time. However, this does not mean that it is necessary to choose a venue at a certain continent that has not had a World Congress at all or in recent years if a more desirable alternative is available at the time of decision.

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Manage your Membership information, email preferences, and more.


Membership in ABCT grants you access to three journals.


We are now accepting Abstract submissions for Continuing Education Ticketed Sessions at the 2024 ABCT Convention in Philadelphia, PA.