In this Issue
By Donna Rockwell, PhD, and Kevin Keenan, PhD
An exciting part of Division 32 right now is watching its spectacular growth, perhaps partially due to its unique capacity to provide a humanistic-existential worldview as salve to a world in pain. In the recent past we may have been self-critical, seeing ourselves as humanistic scholars and psychotherapeutic practitioners who are part of a movement whose time has past. In contrast, however, our humanistic-existential worldview seems to be gaining a new following. Judging, among other evidence, from the dozens of daily requests from around the world to join our Facebook page, from inspired people old and young, we have one of the most successful Facebook pages of any APA division. A growing number of young people are being drawn to the Society for Humanistic Psychology (SHP), some of whom have and are serving to help SHP find its voice in the new social landscape, where the discourse about which we are so committed now takes place.
SHP is expanding and evolving in the world of media: from interfacing on Facebook (with each other and prospective members); in well-read, thought provoking blogs; in timely Twitter feeds; appearing on journalistic sites on social as well as traditional media; launching humanistically inspired publishing concerns; spearheading global outreach projects seeking a multicultural dialogue on alternative approaches to mental health diagnosis, committed to more humanistic treatment of human beings; by building bridges all over the world through organizing humanistic-existential conferences, international gatherings, and in fieldwork as close as our most troubled neighborhoods and as far away as China; and, by daring to question the status quo. It is heartening to see that our division's growth is rooted in core and foundational humanistic values, potentially helping to shape the growth-edge of our field.
In this spirit, we welcome our new SHP president, Brent Robbins, and his column describing in his words, “...what it means to be a humanistic psychologist … exploring our roots in determining human dignity and humanistic values.” We are fortunate to have Brent's energy and heartfelt determination lead the division this year. As Brent points out, “ While we need to embody the future through vision and forward thinking, we must also stay grounded in the roots of the Humanistic psychology movement. … Phenomenology is always engaged in a process of interrogating the meaning of constructs, tracing them back to their origins in life-world experience, and making sense of them within their social, historical, and linguistic context.”
Deep thanks to Immediate Past President, Louis Hoffman, for his steadfast work on behalf of the division this past year, modeling the true meaning of being a humanistic presence and leader in a world yearning for examples of humanistic unconditional regard, and focusing his energies on ensuring that a multicultural worldview is held as a core humanistic value. In this column, Louis takes a personal look at the Trayvon Martin case, and what it means to remain silent when the most mindful choice is to speak out.
Peter Kinderman, PhD, of the British Psychological Society, who has joined the division's efforts exploring diagnostic alternatives in mental health treatment writes about his experience at the APA Convention this year, what it was like speaking to a ballroom full of American psychologists, his sometimes controversial views on the DSM-5, and the potential for a seismic shift in humanizing mental health treatment, at the global level.
As noted in Dr. Robbins' column, part of Div. 32's outreach work on diagnostic alternatives, is a website, DxSummit.org: The Global Summit on Diagnostic Alternatives: An Online Platform for Rethinking Mental Health, which has been posted to foster multicultural and international dialogue on the topic. Please visit the website, follow on Twitter (@dx_summit), and consider submitting new writing or previously posted content of your own. Leading voices in the field of mental health treatment, diagnosis, and diagnostic alternatives, can be found debating the future of this important issue, here.
Ed Mendelowitz, PhD examines the worlds of the late Eugene Taylor and Viennese writer, Joseph Roth in his column, “Humanitas.” It is said that William James was a psychologist who wrote like a novelist and his brother Henry, a novelist who wrote like a psychologist. Ed remembers our own resident Jamesean, Eugene, amplifying his abiding preoccupations and themes with imaginative references to one of the belatedly recognized literary icons on the 20th century--the Viennese writer Joseph Roth.
Rich Bargdill, PhD is SHP's membership chair. Rich reviews the characteristics of our growing membership and, as always, suggests ways for increasing membership. Our size, and the apportionment of representation by our full members has given us two voices on APA's council. Rich also discusses the Student Ambassador Program that involves representative students from all the programs that have a humanistic presence among their faculties.
Please consider submitting written work on issues that matter to you to the SHP Newsletter. With a more diverse chorus of voices, our message and mission of humanistic-existential approaches to healing can grow in critically important, relevant, useful, and humanistically-inspired ways.