In this issue

President's Column

President Sara Bridges provides an update on the Board's activities on various issues, including the resolution of the APA/Hyatt controversy

By Sara K. Bridges
It’s been a busy time in the Society and I would like to take just a few minutes to update you on some of our activities and also invite your participation in a few key initiatives. The Executive Board of the Society returned to APA headquarters in Washington DC to hold our annual Mid-Winter meeting in January. In addition to all the necessary reports on governance, membership, finances, awards, nominations and communications, etc., there were several issues vital to our membership that deserved our attention and thoughtful consideration. These issues included the debate about empirically based treatment, the support of Proposition 8 in California by the owner of one of the official convention hotels in San Diego, and the Society’s use of technology and communication outlets. Let me briefly update you on each issues and tell you about two initiatives that need your help:
  1. A Psychotherapy Taskforce for the Society was created in the Fall to address the surge of attention being placed nationally on empirically based treatments and the publicity being given to APS on their position concerning scientific rigor in psychotherapy. Additionally the Taskforce was asked to explore ways of helping the professional and public communities understand and appreciate the unique role of Humanistic Psychology in psychotherapy. The task force members include (in alphabetical order): Sara Bridges, Art Bohart, David Elkins, Louis Hoffman, Heidi Levitt, Larry Leitner, Maureen O’Hara, Jon Raskin, and Brent Robbins. A symposium titled: Science and Politics of the APS Accreditation Initiative – A Cross-Divisional Response, was created through the task force and will be presented on Saturday at APA.
  2. For the annual convention in San Diego this August, APA contracted with the Manchester Hyatt as one of the main convention hotels. A bit of background in necessary to understand the issue concerning the use of the Manchester Grand Hyatt: Doug Manchester, the owner of the Manchester Grand Hyatt, personally donated $125,000 in support of Proposition 8 (the constitutional amendment passed in November 2008, repealing same-sex marriage in California). This donation has caused LGBT groups and unions to call for a 2 year boycott of the Manchester Hyatt and compelled APA to take a close look at the contract it has with the Manchester and consider how to address issues that are central to its membership. APA has decided against a full boycott of the Manchester, however APA’s Council of Representatives have voted to move their meetings out of the Grand Hyatt (see website for more information). For our own Society, the Executive Board voted to request that no Society programming, business meetings or social events are scheduled at the Manchester Grand Hyatt. Additionally, the Society was among a group of Divisions of APA that wrote formal letters to Dr. Goodheart, Dr. Anderson and the APA Board of Directors about our stance concerning this issue and to ask APA to more fully address the use of the Manchester Grand Hyatt for convention activities. The letter (PDF, 40KB) is published on our website. With some careful arranging, I am pleased to say that the staff in the convention office were able to accommodate our request and no official Society functions will be held at the Manchester, however we would like to encourage all of our members to make convention plans that best fit with your own personal values. Finally a taskforce on LGBT issues, led by Louis Hoffman was initiated to create position statements on Same Sex Marriage and Reorientation Therapies.
  3. A thorough discussion of technology and communication within the division was held. In particular the Board was concerned with how best to meet the varied needs of our membership. We have heard from some of our members about their likes and dislikes about technology and communication within the Society and a survey is being conducted to help inform our next discussion to be help at the Board meeting in San Diego. The survey takes about 5 minutes to complete and all of the responses will be anonymous. You can access the survey by following the link. Your help with the survey is greatly appreciated!
  • And finally, Gratitude: The Heroes of Humanity Project is up and running. In this project we are collecting stories and photos of ordinary everyday people who increase the humanity in the world by doing “small” things, acts that are not always recognized as heroic, but by themselves and also in combination humanize our often inhumane world. Most of the people being recognized and celebrated in the Project would never consider themselves heroes, however it is our goal to create a platform for showing gratitude to these very important “everyday heroes.” If you or anyone you know would be interested in submitting a story, please follow the website and please feel free to pass it on!

As you will read in this newsletter, we are planning a very active conference program this year and as always we will hold a Business meeting that all members are invited to attend. Additionally, we will have and an amazing Hospitality Suite program, so, please come by to share some food and thoughts with others dedicated to increasing the humanity of all people.

Looking forward to seeing you in San Diego!