Congress Program English

12th International Congress for Psychotherapy and Pastoral Care
17 - 20 April 2024 in Würzburg

Being more
The human being between responsibility, Presumption and Promise

Wednesday – April 17, 2024

7:30 p.m.

Welcome and opening of the conference

Anne-Katharina Neddens
1st chairwoman of the APS


Christian Schuchardt
Lord Mayor of the city of Würzburg

Wenrich Slenczka
Evangelical-Lutheran Dean in Würzburg

8:00 p.m.

Opening lecture

Michael Herbst

Being more - humankind between responsibility, presumption and promise

To make more of one's life, to achieve more, to finally get a grip on life and to become 'better' in every respect, even to grow as a human being, is probably one of the most important pursuits (not only) of our days. Our language reveals that it is about more than good performance (against which there would be nothing to say). We talk about 'optimizing ourselves', about 'living up to our potential' in every way. In almost all areas of life, it is true that we are what we perform. The assessment by others (but also by ourselves) stands and falls with our success. At times, not even faith is exempt from this; after all, here too we expect more from and for ourselves. The opening lecture unfolds this topic as a tension between responsibility, presumption and promise and thus introduces the conference topic.

Prof. Dr. Michael Herbst (born 1955) was a research associate in Erlangen. He was a research associate in Erlangen, a pastor in Münster, and a hospital chaplain (children's hospital) in Bielefeld-Bethel. From 1996 to 2022, he held the chair of practical theology and was the founding director of the Institute for Research on Evangelism and Church Development at the University of Greifswald. He lives with his wife near Bamberg and works as an author, speaker and podcaster on topics of church development, pastoral care and preaching. 

Congress band: "Mosaic" with Jan Feyerlein, Miriam Götzelmann, Mona Keilberth, Matthäus Krumrey and Tobias Spengler
We perceive ourselves as sons and daughters of God who love making music and love Jesus. Like a mosaic, we want to create a work of art together in our diversity for the glory of God.

Thursday – April 18, 2024

8:30 a.m.

Morning attunement: devotion and music

Devotional: Michael Rohde

Dr. theol. Michael Rohde (b. 1973) has been senior pastor of the Evangelical Free Church congregation of Hannover-Walderseestraße since 2015 and was professor of Old Testament at Elstal Theological College from 2007-2015. The Walderseestrasse congregation includes about 700 members, several diaconal institutions and a network of counseling and pastoral care. 

Congress band: "Mosaic" with Jan Feyerlein, Miriam Götzelmann, Mona Keilberth, Matthäus Krumrey and Tobias Spengler 
We perceive ourselves as sons and daughters of God who love making music and love Jesus. Like a mosaic, we want to create a work of art together in our diversity for the glory of God.

9:00 a.m.


9:15 a.m.

Thomas Fuchs

Can humans be improved? Artificial Intelligence, Transhumanism and Human Happiness

The lecture attempts a critique of currently held transhumanist positions in two steps: 

1) The demand for a fundamental improvement of human nature encounters typical optimization conflicts: namely, every supposed improvement unbalances the evolutionarily formed proportions of human capabilities, as will be shown in various examples of enhancement. 

2) The idea of redesigning the biological nature of man is also fundamentally self-contradictory. This is because the ideas of the good or "optimal" that this reshaping is ultimately intended to serve can no longer be meaningfully formulated without the embodied basis of nature.

Prof. Dr. Dr. Thomas Fuchs is Karl Jaspers Professor of Philosophical Foundations of Psychiatry at the University of Heidelberg. Head of the section Phenomenological Psychopathology and Psychotherapy, editor of the journal "Psychopathology", chairman of the German Society for Phenomenological Anthropology, Psychiatry and Psychotherapy (DGAP). Research interests: Phenomenological psychology, psychopathology and anthropology, theories of embodiment and neuroscience.

10:30 a.m.


11:00 a.m.

Welcome of the international guests

11:20 a.m.

Georg von Polier

Developmental challenges in childhood and adolescence

In the lecture, we will first present the regular development of children and adolescents against a neuroscientific background. We will then look at current challenges to the identity development of adolescents in the digital age, including demands for self-marketing and the main features of pathological development. Finally, we will highlight current findings on the resilience of children and adolescents, their opportunities and a possible contribution of adults to a positive development. 

Prof. Dr. med. Georg von Polier is Clinic Director of the Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics of Childhood and Adolescence, Leipzig University Hospital; research interests: Biomarker development for psychiatric diagnosis and treatment; developmental neuroscience, focus on externalizing behavior disorders.

12:30 a.m.

Lunch break

Separate professional group networking meetings of different professional groups will take place during the lunch break. Curious attendees are welcome to attend!
Please refer to the on-site conference folder for this information.

2:30 p.m.

Sandra Mai

"Being more" in illness and end of life. 

Dignity Centered Therapy

The brief intervention Dignity Therapy was developed on the basis of the empirical dignity model of Harvey M. Chochinov, Canada. With Dignity-Centered Therapy, the focus is directed away from the illness and toward the person who is ill. The intervention aims to strengthen the sense of dignity of (palliative) patients and thus alleviate existential suffering at the end of life. The positive influence of Dignity-Centered Therapy on depression, anxiety, the sense of dignity and quality of life has been proven in numerous internationally high-ranking published studies since 2002. 

Sandra Mai is a graduate psychologist in the Interdisciplinary Department of Palliative Medicine at the University Medical Center Mainz, specialist psychologist in palliative care (BDP-DGP), 1st chairwoman of the German Dignity Society.

3:45 p.m.


4:30 p.m.

Evi Rodemann

Failure wanted - how challenges make us grow

None of us really desire failure, but how is growth possible without going through challenges in life and responsibility?

Many responsible people break down in their tasks, so the question is, how do we deal with the crises and moments of failure in life? What helps us to go through such phases well and come out the other end matured, grown and healthy? Together we think about possible stumbling blocks and how we can face them with God's help.

Evi Rodemann (born 1971) lives in the Hamburg area and works as a theologian and event manager. She is involved in the international work of the Lausanne Movement and the "Mission Commission" of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) as well as in her association "LeadNow". Her focus is the young generation of leaders. Websites:, www.leadnow.centerafterwardsEvening at leisure

Afterward free evening 

Offers to get to know our host city Würzburg: Guided city tours for all interested people

Like last time, we are organizing exciting city tours. Start at 6:30 pm at the CCW. They can be booked additionally at the online registration for 8.- Euro.

Friday – April 19, 2024

8:30 a.m.

Morning attunement: devotion and music

Devotional: Olaf Kormannshaus

Pastor and psychologist, supervisor (EKFuL); married, three adult children and six grandchildren. Professional activity: pastor of Buchholz i.d.N. congregation, national youth work, Elstal Theological College and Institute for Pastoral Care and Psychology (Federation of Evangelical Free Churches), retired since 2015.

Congress band: "Mosaic 

9:00 a.m.


9:15 a.m.

Seminar block A

10:45 a.m.


11:30 a.m.

Seminar block B

1:00 p.m.

Lunch break

2:30 p.m.

Seminar block C

4:00 p.m.


4:45 p.m.

Seminar block D

6:15 p.m.


8:00 p.m.

Concert reading

“Life is not black and white”

With Judy Bailey and Patrick Depuhl

"Life is not black and white." - An evening of songs and stories from the heart. Judy and Patrick sing, read and touch with humor, heart and brain. Their concert reading unfolds in a unique stage setting that amazes. Yet the artistic couple is not afraid to go where it hurts - nor are they afraid to spread hope. Not even when they tell of roots in slavery or secrets from the time of National Socialism. Extremely personal, genuine and empathetic. A moving dialogue with the heart: unexpectedly vulnerable. Amazingly courageous. Wonderfully empowering. Because most things God created, they're pretty sure, are amazingly colorful ...

Judy Bailey, born in London in 1968, is a singer, composer and musician. Her musical journey has taken her to over thirty countries and fourteen albums of her own. She has performed her songs for millionaires and ministers, pope and presidents, as well as for the homeless, prisoners and refugees. She grew up in Barbados, studied psychology at the University of London, and now lives in Germany with her husband Patrick Depuhl, to whom she has been married for 25 years, and their three sons. 

Patrick Depuhl, born in 1970, went to kindergarten in Duisburg and Dallas. He studied communications and, in addition to music and writing, is also active as a coach; he has been to China and Malaysia for Porsche, for example, or has spoken to Young Leaders in Nairobi. On the radio he tells God stories from life every now and then in "Kirche im WDR".

Saturday – April 20, 2024

8:30 a.m.

Morning attunement: devotion and music

Devotional: Anja Neu-Illg 

Pastor from and in Mecklenburg. Initially a bank clerk, after studying Protestant theology 10 years as a congregational pastor (BEFG) with a focus on young adults and spirituality in Hamburg. Spiritual guide, systemic organizational developer, author and speaker for church reports on NDR and Deutschlandfunk. Married, one daughter.

Congress volume: "Mosaic 

9:00 a.m.


9:15 a.m.

Young Professionals - Panel Talk

9:45 a.m.


10:00 a.m.

Franziska Eckert

At the limits - Ethics in medicine and research

Due to my work in the field of oncology, ethical decisions are also part of my daily work in medical extreme situations. This applies both to the care of patients in clinical practice (e.g., care of children with cancer, palliative medicine) and to clinical research in oncology and the handling of experimental therapies. As Christians, we try to make decisions based not only on ethical guidelines in medicine, but also on the standards of the Bible. But what if professional decisions exceed the guidelines of Christian morality? In this lecture, exceptional situations from the history of medicine as well as current challenges in medical ethics will be addressed with reference to self-reflection and the development of one's own ethical convictions (Professional Identity Formation).

Apl. Prof. Dr. Franziska Eckert studied human medicine in Tübingen and habilitated there in 2018 in the field of radiation oncology. She has been an associate professor since 2022. In 2022, she moved to the Medical University of Vienna, where she became deputy clinical director of the University Department of Radiation Oncology.
In addition to clinical work and translational scientific projects in the field of immuno-oncology, she has also been active in the field of medicine and the Holocaust for over 10 years. Starting from her own family history, she has initiated and played a major role in shaping the German Society for Radiation Oncology. As part of the international Medicine and Holocaust Network and also in cooperation with the "Lancet Commission on Medicine after the Holocaust", she deals with the underlying mechanisms that turn people and especially physicians and therapists into perpetrators and fellow travelers and how moral standards can be maintained in borderline ethical situations.

11:00 a.m.


11:45 a.m.

Thomas Maria Renz

"Being more" as a promise: From the image of God to fullness in Christ. 

Our daily experience of limitation, powerlessness and imperfection is countered by God's promise who created us in His image (Gen 1:27) to transform us more and more into Christ (Gal 2:20) and to make us perfect human beings in HIM (Eph 4:13). How can I live with this tension without breaking under its tension because the distance from one to the other seems too great?
The 'already and not yet' of our faith - already a child of God but not yet perfected, already redeemed but still sinful, already in grace but still tempted - should not demotivate me to reach out for what lies ahead (Phil 3:13-14). To discover the foreshadowing of the fulfillment of the promised already now and to see the world with God's eyes, that is the great adventure of faith to which God invites us!

Thomas Maria Renz is a Catholic auxiliary bishop in the diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, i.e. a close collaborator of the bishop in the management of the diocese with responsibility for religious orders and spiritual communities as well as for Catholic youth work in Württemberg. Member of the Episcopal Commission "Justitia et Pax" and the Commission "Education and School" of the German Bishops' Conference. Member of the ecumenical initiatives "Together for Europe", "Meeting of Responsible Persons" of spiritual communities and "Germany prays".

12:45 a.m.


13:00 a.m.

End of the congress

13.30 - 14.30 hrs. 

APS annual meeting of members

General Congress Information

Conference Place

is the Congress Centrum Würzburg CCW (Pleichertorstraße 5).

On the day of the seminar (Friday, April 19, 2024), the conference center Weingut Juliusspital (Koellikerstr. 4, hospital entrance) and the Kulturspeicher (Oskar-Laredo-Platz 1), both within a 10-minute walk from the CCW, are also included as locations. 

Online participation in German and English is possible

We also offer the 12th International APS Congress 2024 hybrid. The transmissions will be streamed in German as well as in English. If you decide to participate online, please register via the website and select "Online participation via stream" when registering. This will exclude the seminar selection on Friday. For our online participants, the opening lecture, morning devotions, all 6 keynote lectures, and on Friday the most selected seminars from blocks A, B, and C, as well as the cultural reading in the evening will be streamed. You will receive your access code for online participation by email shortly before the congress. The same fees apply for present and online participation. 


Congress fees for payment

until 31.12.2023

from 01.01.2024 


248,- Euro

298,- Euro

Students and job applicants

69,- Euro

89,- Euro

For members of the APS there is a 20,- Euro discount on all rates.

After registration you will receive a confirmation of registration including the selected seminars. Your registration becomes valid after payment. This is best done online via PayPal, otherwise please after your registration by bank transfer. Cash payment at the congress is only possible for day guests!


Day guests

On Thursday, April 18, Friday, April 19 and Saturday, April 20, 2024 there is the possibility to attend the congress as a day guest. The day tickets are available for 140,- Euro and on Saturday for 70,- Euro with cash payment at the ticket office. No prior registration is necessary for participation as a day guest.

Attendance at the concert reading on Friday, April 19, 2024 at 8:00 pm costs 12,- Euro in advance and 15,- Euro at the box office. Students pay 8,- Euro in advance and 10,- Euro at the ticket office. External visitors are welcome.


Participation in all four seminar sessions is included in the congress fee.

In the case of seminars with limited participants, places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Your registration will be considered in the seminar distribution as soon as the congress fees have been received in our account.

Registration and hotel booking

  • A separate registration form must be completed online for each person attending.
  • With the registration confirmation you will receive all further information for the payment of the congress fees.
  • Please transfer the congress fee at the same time via PayPal or to the account of the APS: Evangelische Bank eG Kassel, IBAN: DE46 5206 0410 0000 0088 77, BIC: GENODEF1EK1. Keyword: APS Congress, last name, first name, place of residence, and in case of online booking also the received participant ID.

Accommodation: Do not forget to book your room in Würzburg! The earlier, the more choice there is.

Directly integrated in the CCW is the Maritim-Hotel, from there you have the shortest ways. Tel. +49 (0) 931 3053-830,

Lunch and dinner

You will find plenty of opportunities in numerous nice restaurants on the neighboring banks of the Main and in the nearby city center.


Societies, associations and institutions from the fields of psychotherapy and pastoral care are cordially invited to present themselves with a booth in the large foyer of the Congress Center. We charge a booth fee of 696,- Euro. This includes a stand area of 2 x 3 m and two exhibitor tickets.

If you are interested, please be sure to contact our congress manager early, where you will receive further information.


A bookstand with books by our speakers will be available throughout the congress.


If you need to cancel your registration, a processing fee of 50,- Euro will be charged until March 15, 2024. Cancellations received later will not be eligible for a fee refund. 

If, contrary to expectations, the congress cannot take place, there is a right to a full refund of paid congress fees. Beyond that, no costs can be covered.

Press Accreditation

The APS offers designated journalists the opportunity to receive free accreditation for the APS Congress 2024 for the purpose of reporting. Please contact the congress management for details.

Photo advice for congress participants

Photos will be taken throughout the APS Congress for public relations purposes (website, newsletter, printed materials, social media). If you do not wish to be photographed, our public relations team will not publish a photo of you. In this case, please contact the photographer directly, who will be identified by a name badge.


We do not offer childcare, as it was hardly used at previous congresses.

Conference office and congress telephone

During the entire congress, our congress office will be open for you in the lower foyer of the congress center. You can reach us by telephone during this time at: 0931 3053 750, outside the congress as usual via our secretariat.

Arrival by train

From the main train station you can reach the Congress Centrum either by streetcar (line 2, direction Zellerau, stop Congress Centrum), by cab (approx. 1 km) or on foot (through the Ringpark, approx. 10 minutes walk).

Arrival by car

Address for the navigation system: Würzburg, Pleichertorstraße 5.

Parking facilities:

- Underground car parking CCW, Pleichertorstraße (230 parking spaces), fee required

- Parking lot CCW, Kranenkai (100 parking spaces), fee required

- Parking Talavera (1080 parking spaces), 2 hours free of charge, 5 minutes on foot

- Parking lot Friedensbrücke, Dreikronenstraße (115 parking spaces) fee required, 5 minutes walk

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