The Society for Humanistic Psychology (SHP) endorses Kirk Schneider, PhD, as 2021 candidate for president of the American Psychological Association. Schneider says:
I intend to be a transformational leader of U.S. psychology at a time when transformational leadership is both urgent and necessary. My overarching goal is to shift psychology from a secondary to a national and international priority by:
- Addressing “emotionally impoverished relationships” across political, racial, and class divides. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, racial and economic disenfranchisement, technology, and other factors, this is our country’s number one psychosocial crisis in my view, and every one of my platforms pertains to it. In all frankness, I believe we need the equivalent of a Works Progress Administration-style approach to this problem, and I would call for that.
- Mobilizing psychologists to facilitate healing dialogues to address the alarming political and racial divides in our country and within our profession. See my book The Depolarizing of America and demonstrations of a healing dialogue format I developed and continue to facilitate called the Experiential Democracy Dialogue. Applications of this format to divides within our society and profession are available on my website.
- Developing a Relational Equity Task Force to further the work of APA’s current Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Framework, but with an emphasis on optimizing in-depth, emotionally-reparative mental healthcare and organizational functioning—particularly in underserved areas. This includes an APA-sponsored extension of waivers nationwide for cross state telehealth service until the PSYPACT legislation is complete. Right now, interjurisdictional practice is limited to the 27 states that have enacted the PSYPACT agreement, leaving 23 states, including New York and California, barred from providing services across state lines. In addition, one of the chief problems in our country is the inequitable provision of longer-term, relationally-centered facilitators to address the appalling deprivation of such opportunities in the culture at large, and we are paying the price for this deprivation with crushing rates of depression, isolation, anxiety, addiction, and crime. The elaboration of medical, vocational, legal, and other off-sets would also be key to this Task Force’s inquiry.
- Calling for a summit of leaders in all our specialties to investigate how we can holistically address the many psychosocial crises of our time. These include violence, racism, healthcare, political extremism, climate change, educational inequities, and domestic abuse, just to name a few—and the need to communicate our findings to media, the public, and the government.
- Calling for a Presidential Task Force to investigate the merit of urging the United States Congress to create an Office of Psychological Consultant(s) to the US. This office would be comprised of distinguished experts in psychosocial approaches to mental healthcare and organizational functioning, and would augment the excellent work of our current APA advocacy efforts by: 1) promoting innovative national programs, such as the healing dialogues movement and in-depth therapy in underserved communities; 2) being available 24/7 from within government to advise leaders from the executive branch to Congress to the U.S. public on the present crises we face; and 3) utilizing the large presence of a government office to boost our media presence and public voice.
To sum, I believe emotionally-impoverished relationships are America’s major psychosocial crisis, and that psychology should take the lead in addressing that crisis. Every one of my platforms—healing dialogues, relational equity, APA’s holistic application of its specialties, and a federal office of psychological consultants—is aimed at remedying emotionally-impoverished relationships. And to the extent we remedy these relationships, we revitalize life.
For more information on Kirk Schneider’s 2021 campaign and background, visit the campaign website and the APA President-Elect Candidacy portal. A PDF about Kirk Schneider's campaign (PDF, 159KB) and a social media image promoting Kirk Schneider's campaign (PNG, 803KB) are also available to share.