In this Issue

Visioning my presidential year

President-elect Kirk Schneider welcomes his role on the Div. 32 board, as he works to further his mission of healing the polarized mind.

By Kirk J. Schneider

I am honored to have been elected president of our society starting in August, 2015. I look forward to serving our society and helping to advance the cause of humanistic psychology in our profession and world at large. In this light, I have several ideas about what I think will help bolster our influence both within APA and the field at large. Two ideas in particular stand out for me as both highly relevant to our perspective and timely for our communities.

These involve both the humanization of graduate training in psychotherapy and the application of humanistic therapeutic principles to governmental and ethical deliberation. Regarding the former, there is currently a dearth of humanistic and psychoanalytic faculty representation at APA-approved training sites; and fully 80 percent are dominated by faculty specializing in cognitive-behavioral therapy. This state of affairs makes it increasingly difficult for humanistically and psychodynamically oriented training programs to attain APA approval for their graduates. But equally important, the present situation stands in direct contrast with the findings of mainstream psychotherapy outcome research, which upholds humanistic-relational factors as most therapeutically salient. In this light, I would like to pursue an initiative—probably a task force—dedicated to addressing this problem. I am already in discussions about this idea with the leadership of Div. 39 (Psychoanalysis).

A second initiative I would like to pursue is based on a legislative procedure I've been developing tentatively called the “experiential democracy project.” This project is inspired by existential-humanistic principles of person-centered practice and would be applied to local or perhaps national deliberative bodies to enhance their capacities to arrive at substantive, morally attuned legislation. For more information on this initiative, and the implications it might have for our humanistic community, please see my blog entry at the Psychologists for Social Responsibility website entitled “Applying Therapeutic Methods to Legislative Deliberations: A Proposal.”

In sum, and beyond the aforementioned proposals, I would like to underscore my appreciation to have the opportunity to provide stewardship for our society at this critical juncture. I am also appreciative of the leadership that has come before me and upon whose shoulders I stand. We are at a pivotal period—not only in terms of the humanization of therapy, diagnoses, societal and multicultural relations, and the question of everyday well being, but also in regard to what it means to be fully, experientially human in the machine-mediated age. We need humanistic psychologists and philosophers like never before because of these challenges and our society is key to their mobilization.