Editor's note

The editors provide an overview of the current issue and a recap of the recent fifth Annual Division 32 Conference

By Donna Rockwell, PsyD, and Kevin Keenan, PhD

The Society for Humanistic Psychology celebrated a successful annual conference at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, March 28-April 1, 2012, with over 200 in attendance. Person, Consciousness and Community: The Experiential Revolution in Humanistic, Existential, Constructivist and Transpersonal Theory and Practice attracted 85 students from many institutions of higher learning, including Point Park University, the Michigan School of Professional Psychology, Saybrook University, Pacifica Graduate Institute (the site of our next annual conference, February 28-March 3, 2013) and Duquesne University. Keynote speakers included Isaac Prilleltensky, PhD, Constance Fischer, PhD, and Robert Stolorow, PhD, who were warmly received in well-attended events.

In this newsletter, Division 32 President David Elkins provides the details of the conference’s success, and gives a rousing report of the divisions other outreach activities in the past several months on many fronts.

Bob McInerny provides a reflection on the fifth annual conference from the perspective of the conference co-chair. A quote from his article provides an eloquent summary of the conference: “the real beauty of this conference — that we tried to do it all and in that sweeping attempt of a hermeneutics of love (and with our hearts open and in the right place), we discovered the tensions and possibilities that will be our precious burden.”

Incoming President Louis Hoffman looks ahead to one of his key issues, authenticity in diversity, and multiculturalism in psychological practice and community building.

In his current Humanitas column, Ed Mendelowitz surveys the domain of current existential-humanistic psychology, critiquing what he perceives as our ethical and imaginative lapses and eloquently pointing the way toward a vision of what is possible. Like Nietzsche and May before him, Mendelowitz articulates a psychology immersed in the humanities and honoring the place of “turbulence” — the necessary encounter with one’s personal daemons out of which genuinely creative work is born. Like his predecessors, Mendelowitz inhabits the “New Land” he envisions through reflections upon his personal journey and the inclusion of an exquisitely rendered narrative of psychotherapy.

Experiential learning is a cornerstone in Humanistic psychology and psychotherapies, moving knowlege-building from the theoretical to the lived-world. Center for Humanistic Studies co-founder, Diane Blau, PhD, takes a look at how the humanistic notions of experiential teaching and experiential learning play out in the classroom.

Brent Robbins, PhD takes us inside his new book, "Drugging Our Children: How Profiteers Are Pushing Antipsychotics on Our Youngest, And What We Can Do to Stop It," co-edited with Sharna Olfman, PhD, revealing the overuse of dangerous psychiatric medications in the treatment of children and adolescents. A balanced approach to working with children in therapy needs to be kept in mind, encouraging the use of humanistic therapies of unconditional regard, self-responsibility and authenticity. In this self-inquiry, Brent asks and answers the pivotal questions fueling this important dialogue.

And a hearty congratulations to Shawn Rubin, PsyD, former editor of this newsletter who has been named editor-in-chief of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology, taking over from the able editorship of Kirk Schneider, PhD, who over the past eight years masterfully helped JHP continue to gain respect in the field, highlighting work that examines the human in Human Science. Thank you, Kirk, and break a leg, Shawn.

Division 32 Board candidate statements are also included in the newsletter. Read them and support the Board by voting!

Division membership is flourishing, and we encourage everyone to invited colleagues to join the Society for Humanistic Psychology, and be a part of the resurgence of our movement, focused as it is on the importance of the human element in clinical psychology. Membership chair Richard Bargdhill, PhD, shares current membership news.

And sadly, our condolences go to the family of Division 32 member Salvatore Palazzolo, a most beloved humanistic psychologist whose ready smile and engaging eyes were therapy enough. Robert McInerney, PhD, friend and colleague, writes a tribute to Sal who passed away this past April. Sal will be dearly missed.

The year 2011-2012 is turning out to be an active one within the division, and in our engagement with the greater world. With the annual conference behind us and the APA Convention ahead; with DSM-5 reform efforts continuing, in which we are seeking justice in mental health treatment for vulnerable populations and the general public from the medicalization of mental suffering; from humanistic-existential outreach to China creating a bridge connecting diverse peoples; to various conferences and programs, national and international, focusing on qualitative research and phenomenological inquiry; to spirituality; and to existential psychotherapy, our division continues to grow and actualize. And we all play a part.

Your editors,
Donna Rockwell & Kevin Keenan