Local Organizing Committee

Scientific Committee

  • Ana Margarida Veiga Simão (Faculty of Psychology, University of Lisbon)

  • Anne-Marie Fontaine (Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Porto)

  • Francisco Peixoto (Superior Institute of Applied Psychology)

  • Leandro Almeida (Institute of Education, University of Minho)

  • Madalena Melo (School of Social Sciences, University of Évora)

  • Manuel Joaquim Loureiro (Faculty of Human and Social Sciences, University of Beira Interior)

  • Maria Paula Paixão (Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Coimbra)

  • Sara Bahia Nogueira (Faculty of Psychology, University of Lisbon)


ISPA is a Non-Governmental Organization non-governmental nonprofit organization officially affiliated to UNESCO. Since its foundation, ISPA has successfully promoted the spread of school psychology, particularly in countries where the profession was not fully established. This process has been facilitated through the ISPA Colloquium, held each year in a different country. This gathering of professionals from around the world has an impact on the development of the profession in the host country as well as providing an important forum for professionals from around the world.

ISPA is strongly committed to improving healthy development and quality of life for children everywhere. ISPA has thus made children’s human rights a high priority in its international work during the last decade and will maintain this emphasis in the future. For this purpose, ISPA has initiated and collaborated with international endeavors that benefit children or hold a genuine promise to do so. The involvement of school psychology at the national level will significantly strengthen many of these projects.

The major aims of this Association are to:

  • Promote the use of sound psychological principles within the context of education all over the world;
  • Promote communication between professionals who are committed to the improvement of the mental health of children in the world’s schools;
  • Encourage the use of School Psychologists in countries where they are not currently being used;
  • Promote the psychological rights of all children all over the world;
  • Initiate and promote cooperation with other organizations working for purposes similar to those of ISPA in order to help children and families.

Overall, ISPA is based on the notion that School Psychology does make a difference. The ISPA constitution also condemns any discrimination of racial, religious, sexual nature and recommends its members to conduct their professional life in conformity with this non-discriminatory principle.

History of ISPA

In the early 1970s a group of school psychologists from different parts of the world, under the leadership of the late Calvin D. Catterall, came together to form an International School Psychology Committee in order to promote worldwide cooperation amongst school and educational psychologists.

The number of psychologists committed to this aim grew steadily until in 1982 the International School Psychology Association was founded with Anders Poulsen as its first President. Since that time, membership of ISPA has spread to all corners of the earth and the Association has become recognized by the United Nations as an important Non-Governmental Organization speaking on behalf of children and young people and their families.

There is growing demand for School Psychologists to broaden their spheres of influence. The valuable knowledge and experience we have accumulated in confronting the realities of modern life enables us to take a more active role in the community. We can now place these at the service of the national and local leadership of different countries, both political and educational, helping them to develop and implement programs designed to improve the quality of schools and the lives of children.

Presently ISPA is a leading international force in the field of School Psychology. Twenty five national professional associations are currently affiliated with ISPA. Assisted by a small and dedicated central office staff, association members contribute their time and expertise to the work of the Executive Committee, of four standing committees and many ad-hoc committees, task forces, and interest groups. Every year, ISPA members give thousands of hours toward the preparation of the annual colloquia, documents, publications, and projects aimed to further the profession worldwide.

ISPA - Support for the Profession Worldwide

ISPA colloquia are held in a different country each year. These annual meetings form a vital part of the activities of the Association as they provide opportunities for members to come together, share ideas and experiences, meet old friends, and make new ones.

During the five day annual colloquium, participants discuss practices that help parents raise healthy, resilient children, and that help teachers meet the needs of all students, including those with challenging learning and emotional problems. The colloquia focus on different themes each year.

The colloquia also serve to advance the profession in those regions in which they are held:

  • In 1993, ISPA’s presence in Slovakia helped lead to the passage of legislation establishing school psychologists as specialists in that country.
  • The 1994 colloquium in Brazil had a significant impact on establishing the profession in that country as well as other South American countries.
  • The 1998 colloquium in Latvia boosted the official recognition and rapid development of the profession not only in Latvia itself but also in the neighboring countries of the Baltic region in particular.
  • Similar benefits have occurred in many other countries where ISPA has held their annual summer meeting.

ISPA also has developed a definition and code of ethics of the profession and other documents that are useful internationally, including a set of core requirements for the training and education of School Psychologists.

Support for Schools and Teachers

ISPA members are resources in countless ways to teachers and to the schools where they work. Among the ways ISPA members provide this support are:

  • helping teachers understand child growth and development, social/emotional needs of children and how they learn
  • assessing learning and emotional problems and helping teachers develop strategies and interventions to help children be more successful in the classroom
  • providing counseling to children in need of emotional support
  • establishing or joining crisis response teams when schools experience trauma such as the illness or death of children, their family members or school staff, natural disasters, wars, terrorism
  • teaching peer mediation, conflict resolution and social skills to children to encourage alternatives to violence
  • designing programs for children at risk of school failure
  • implementing prevention programs to deal with issues such as violence, drug abuse, alcoholism, sexual molestation
  • consulting with school principals on ways to improve the social and emotional climate of the schools

Support for Children, Parents, and Families

School psychologists are often the primary link between homes and school, providing front-line support to families in times of crisis. Among the projects ISPA members have participated in are:

  • working with parents to manage learning and behavior problems in the home setting;
  • collaborating with community agencies to meet the broader social service needs of children and families;
  • offering psychological support to children in the Kosovo refugee camps and training the crisis relief staff;
  • responding to shootings in Columbine High School and other US schools;
  • providing relief services to the victims of the earthquake in Turkey and hurricanes and floods in South America;
  • training the professional relief staff in areas affected by crisis.