In This Issue

Report on SHP Annual Conference: Sofia University

Highlights from our Palo Alto conference

By Constance A. Kellogg, MS

The most recent Society for Humanistic Psychology, Div. 32, of the APA was a true success. From the venue in beautiful northern California to the enthusiasm of the student participants, this conference was like no other.

The conference was held at Sofia University in Palo Alto. This memorable city had many things to offer the conference attendees from fine dining, to beaches, hiking and a rich menu of universities and museums to visit. The weather was warm setting the stage for a fabulous conference.

Our keynote speakers included presenters from a variety of humanistic modalities. Dr. Ann Weiser Cornell kicked off the conference by speaking, appropriately, on focusing. Dr. Nathaniel Granger, Jr. spoke poignantly on the implications of slavery on modern day microaggressions. “The Problem with 3-year-olds” was the topic of noted philosopher, Dr. Shaun Gallagher. Dr. Ilene Serlin closed the conference with a thoughtful and experiential presentation of theory and movement.

Our invited speakers this year ranged in topics as well. Dr. Christine Brooks presented on expanding beyond binary gender models through an exploration of arts, pop culture and lived experience. Dr. Theopia Jackson presented on the topic of a humanistic modality/principles in an urban medical setting. Lastly, Dr. Art Bohart spoke about the therapy profession's disrespect of client's dignity: “Who really makes therapy work?”

As intriguing as these topics are and as engaging as our esteemed keynotes and invited speakers were, they were not to be outdone by other enthusiastic presenters, both professional and student alike. Together, all these presenters comprised four full days of intriguing topics, CE credits, and thought provoking exploration and conversation. This year the conference committee instituted a track system, by request, noting in the conference brochure an experiential track and a student track for those who are/were interested.

Another new addition to our annual conference was the introduction of “Special Events.” These events were added because of the overwhelming response the SHP received in our invitations to keynote and invited speakers. We had two special events, which included two panels. Our first panel of presenters were Dr.'s Harris Friedman (chair), Alicia Danforth, Frank Echenhofer, Jim Fadiman, Stanley Krippner and Phil Wolfson who spoke about using psychedelics for various types of healing, implementing human dignity and humanistic values. Our second panel included Drs. Ed Hersch (chair), Robert Stolorow, Tom Sheehan and Erik Craig who spoke on the existential-phenomenological reflections on love and loss.

A final big draw to our annual SHP conference was the student poster session. Like the previous year, the poster session was held in the evening at an event serving desserts and refreshments. Conference attendees leisurely meandered through the poster presentations and dialogued with the presenting students. This poster section of our conference has steadily grown over the past few years and we find it exciting to see the up and coming new faces of the humanistic movement. As an added bonus at the conference, Dr. Tom Greening spoke about his experiences through his close relationships with historical figures like Rollo May, Abraham Maslow and others.

These are but a few of the hundred plus presentations at this year's Annual Society for Humanistic Psychology (Div. 32) Conference. With an increasing number of conference attendees, reaching out to faculty and students across the country and the world, the excitement around the conference and the humanistic psychology it represents is growing. We hope to see you next year at our 2015 SHP Conference.