Division 32 candidate statements

Meet the Division 32 candidates for the 2012 elections which include the positions president-elect, member-at-large and division representative to council
President-elect Candidate: Brent Dean Robbins, PhD

I am very honored to be nominated for president of the Society for Humanistic Psychology. Over the years, I have made the society my professional home, and have formed many wonderful friendships through my involvement in this organization. My commitment to the society is evident in the amount of time and effort I have put into volunteer work to help ensure the success of this organization.

I have served the society in many capacities: Currently I am secretary, and prior to that I served as member-at-large. Since the 2nd Annual Conference, I have served as conference chair and/or conference coordinator, and over time, the conference has become essential for the financial viability of the organization. The conference under my leadership has steadily grown in attendance with each annual event. It has also continued to make a sizeable profit each year. I edit the Society blog and help to manage the society’s Facebook page. I have also served as membership chair of the society, as well as a variety of other capacities. Most recently, along with David Elkins and Sarah Kamens, I helped to spearhead the very successful campaign to reform the DSM-5.

My professional accomplishments also qualify me for this respected leadership role. I am a recipient of the society’s Harmi Carari Early Career Award as well as the Jourard Student Award. I am director of the psychology program and associate professor of psychology at Point Park University, and editor-in-chief of Janus Head: Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature, Continental Philosophy, Phenomenological Psychology, and the Arts. I serve on the editorial board of a variety of humanistic-friendly journals including The Humanistic Psychologist, Journal of Humanistic Psychology, International Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology and International Journal of Existential Psychology and Psychotherapy. In addition, I have published dozens of peer-reviewed articles on humanistic and existential theory, qualitative research and mixed methods studies which explicitly aim to advance humanistic theory and practice. Most recently, with Sharna Olfman, I co-edited the volume, "Drugging Our Children: How Profiteers Are Pushing Antipsychotics on Our Children and What We Can Do to Stop It" (Praeger, 2012) and, forthcoming, "The Legacy of R.D. Laing" (Trivium, 2012).

As president of the Society for Humanistic Psychology, I will work to continue advancing the central theme of Louis Hoffman’s presidency, which will focus on increasing diversity in the society. To undergird this effort, my presidency will emphasize the social ethics and humanistic values which are the distinct, distinguishing characteristic of the humanistic vision of psychology. Thank you for your time and attention.

Division Representative to APA Council Candidate: Brent Potter, PhD

I am grateful to be nominated as your candidate.

I have been working as a clinician for the past 19 years with vulnerable and underserved populations. I have also served as an interlocutor between various organizations responsible for the development and implementation of policy informing quality of care. While I have experience in teaching and research, my primary orientation in humanistic psychology is working directly with people. I work towards promoting the psychological growth of individuals, families, organizations and communities through supporting their own innovative and self-motivated efforts. My work in these areas has classified me as a child mental health specialist and a multicultural mental health specialist for Native American and African American populations in Washington state. As an interlocutor, I have worked with people representing numerous organizations on how best to unite as a community to provide the highest level of quality care in mental health services. In doing so, I have helped diminish the hierarchy of “professional” and “patient,” cultivating a client-driven strength-based approach to partner with people in fostering recovery. 

I will use my passion about humanistic psychology, bringing it to my goals as I work to: (1) be the voice of Division 32 membership, representing you and your concerns to the APA; (2) represent APA back to Division 32, keeping you informed beyond impersonal publications, email lists, blogs, etc. I would be honored to serve as your council representative. Let us work together and continue to contribute to social responsibility, psychotherapy, education, research, organization and change.

Division Representative to APA Council Candidate: Scott Churchill, PhD

Background: Scott D. Churchill (PhD — Duquesne, 1984) serves as professor and graduate program director in psychology at the University of Dallas and has a 30-year history with the APA and with Division 32. He has held several positions on the executive board over the past 20 years: awards chair, membership chair, human science chair, Science Directorate liaison, Education Directorate liaison, convention program chair (2004, 2009, 2011), president (2004–2005), journal editor (since 2006) and council representative (since 2010). He was advanced to APA fellow status in 2002 and also currently serves on the Fellows Committee, the Early Career Awards Committee, the Program Committee and as chair of the Sydney Jourard Student Award Committee. Outside of Division 32, he is a fellow of Divisions 1, 5, 24 and 56 and is a current nominee for the APA's Committee on Division/APA Relations (CODAPAR). During the past decade, he has three times served as a substitute council representative for Divisions 24 and 32.

Candidate’s Statement: During my first term on council, I have developed relationships not only with other council members and APA presidents, but also with the executive director of the Science Directorate, with whom I've been able to promote the interests of humanistic science in an otherwise “STEM discipline” climate. Forging new alliances with members of the Board of Directors, APA staff and caucus leaders (in particular, the “Treatment and Practice” Caucus and the “LGBT” Caucus), as well as participating in the Divisions for Social Justice side-meetings, I have worked hard to collaborate with others on their agendas while encouraging them to lend a sympathetic ear to the concerns of the Society for Humanistic Psychology. Among the recent policy issues on which I have focused my attention are treatment guidelines, the PENS Report on torture and the current movement within the APA toward psychology being defined exclusively as a STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Math) discipline, which threatens the very existence of humanistic psychology.

I would like to continue this work for a second term as your council representative. If re-elected, I will build on the above-mentioned relationships to further the interests of humanistic psychology with the APA. Specifically, I will continue to (a) advocate for humanistic values in APA Council policy decisions; (b) advance epistemological diversity and promote support for qualitative inquiry within the APA; and (c) continue to network with other council members while serving as your voice and proxy when voting on policy. Building upon my long and nuanced history with Division 32, I feel confident that I can represent our shared values and lobby effectively for the best interests of the division within the greater APA.

Member-at-Large Candidate: Shawn Rubin, PsyD

I am proud of my service as member-at-large of APA Division 32 over the past three years, and I am seeking another term to continue our efforts in helping the society — and humanistic psychology around the world — realize its great potential to heal the world.

My first term has given me the fulfilling opportunity to develop close working relationships with the outstanding leaders of our society. It has also allowed me to serve as a mentor to our early and midcareer members, and interact with the next generation of students in a variety of ways — at our annual conferences, as editor of the newsletter (2008–2011) and as chair of the hospitality suite program (2010 and 2011). I am also proud to have been a strong supporter of the society's LGBT position statements and DSM-5 campaign initiatives.

As chair of the PsyD program at Saybrook University, I am acutely aware of the issues and challenges facing Humanistic schools in the academic and training settings. In addition, my upcoming role as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology will enable me to illuminate many exciting areas of innovation within our movement and strengthen bonds with kindred spirits.   

I would very much like to sustain the momentum I have worked to build as member-at-large, strategizing responses to the political and economic challenges we face and against which we must take a stand.  

Thank you for your consideration.

Member-at-Large Candidate: Nathaniel Granger, Jr.,  PsyD

I, Nathaniel Granger, Jr., PsyD, am honored for the nomination within Division 32, the Society of Humanistic Psychology, as a member-at-large. In addition to serving on its Recruitment and Retention Task Force, it is with great enthusiasm that I am a member of Division 32 in that it supports a personal belief: "An assumption unusual in psychology today is that the subjective human being has an important value which is basic; that no matter how he may be labeled and evaluated he is a human person first of all, and most deeply" (Carl Rogers, 1962). It is on this premise that I serve Division 32, not only in theory, but practice. After all, humanistic psychology is a value orientation that holds a hopeful, constructive view of human beings and of their substantial capacity to be self-determining. This conviction leads to an effort to enhance such distinctly human qualities as choice, creativity, the interaction of the body, mind and spirit, and the capacity to become more aware, free, responsible, life-affirming and trustworthy. It is not simply another therapeutic modality, but a way of life.

Additionally, a personal embodiment and reenactment of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a Dream” speech has rendered me desired and sought after speaker for various forums relative to diversity and equal rights.

Again, it is with honor and humility I accept this nomination, and will continue to serve Division 32 with the tenacity it has served others. 

Member-at-Large Candidate: Maureen O'Hara, PhD

I ask for your support for election as member-at-large to the executive board of the Society for Humanistic Psychology. I have previously served the division with two terms as member-at-large, conference chair, member and chair of the Fellows Committee, and president. So why do I want to serve once more?

The job isn’t done. I have never lost my conviction that humanistic psychology has a role beyond clinical practice. In its methods, theories, epistemologies and ways of being, humanistic psychology offers a healing corrective to a world that has grown toxic and inimical to the life force. The driving spirit of our discipline is a deeply radical belief that psychology should be about humanization; creating the conditions whereby persons and their communities may move toward full expression of their humanity. While I think it is important that our division work inside APA to stave off the hegemonic efforts to reduce our field to a branch of behavioral medical science, I think we also need to move beyond the boundaries of clinical psychology into a wider role as cultural leaders. In my view, it is time to be better known for what we are not only for what we are not. We are living in a time when huge threats are looming—climate change, widening gap between haves and have-nots, injustice, political divisiveness, wars, attacks on women’s freedoms — you know the litany. The establishment response is ever more fear based — tighten borders, standardize testing, more precise diagnosis of “pathologies,” outcomes-based everything, defensive over regulation,  which in my view just make things worse. The humanistic response is to seek the creative edge, to trust human aspiration and to create the conditions where people can be authors of their own lives. Along with concern for practice, graduate education  and philosophy, I want our division to speak about the big issues to a wide public. If I am elected I will find ways to do that whenever and wherever I can.

Thank you for your consideration.

Member-at-Large Candidate: Richard Bargdill, PhD

This is a time of excitement and concern for humanistic psychology. There has been a great burst of excitement, youth and energy that I have witnessed within the society during my first term as member-at-large. During that short time, I have been able to help initiate the division’s Facebook page and the “student ambassadors” program. A student ambassador is a liaison between our division and graduate schools in humanistic psychology. Moreover, as membership chair, I have meet some wonderful people who are enjoying our great professional opportunities at the division’s annual conferences and participating in the activities at the Division 32 hospitality suite at the APA conventions. I’m thrilled about the activism that the Society has been re-engaged in. There is the extremely important DSM5 Open Letter/petition and the position statements on the PENS report and on LGBT issues. I have heard a number of members and students say this activism has really made them proud of our division. These are exciting, important, vital times, indeed. There are concerns out there too. Ones that we all need to be vigilant about: concerns about treatment guidelines the APA is developing — an attempt, possibly to standardize treatment in a way that might exclude many forms of humanistic-styled therapy; concerns about accreditation for graduate programs in the humanistic psychologies; and concerns about graduate students internships crisis. If I’m re-appointed to the board, I hope to continue to help address the above concerns as well as any others that members bring forth.

Member-at-Large Candidate: V. Krishna Kumar, PhD

I would be honored and privileged to continue to serve as a member-at-large of the executive committee of Division 32. I had the pleasure of serving as co-chair of division’s annual APA program in 2008 and again in 2010. I have truly enjoyed working with the members of the Division 32 Executive Committee and would welcome the opportunity to continue to work with them for advancing its goals and role within the APA and outside of APA. I have been a member of APA since 1976 and an elected fellow in Division 32 and six other divisions. I am a full professor in the Department of Psychology, West Chester University of Pennsylvania. I have been an active researcher over many years with over a hundred scholarly published works. Thank you for your consideration and support.