Feature article

From the editors

The editors' swan song after four years of work on the division newsletter.
By Donna Rockwell, PsyD, and Kevin Keenan, PhD

It is a promising time for Div. 32, and our humanistic values. We find ourselves in the aftermath of the Hoffman report and APA's alleged involvement in the torture of imprisoned human beings in our country's charge. I (Donna) remember my initial days of activism, in 2005, joining forces with Div. 32 board members when President David Elkins was at the helm. I felt part of a meaningful team, along with now Past President Brent Robbins and graduate student Sarah Kamens, who were compelled to draw attention to the lack of scientific foundation in the DSM-V and brought together such unlikely allies as Dave and repentant DSM-IV chair, Allen Frances, all wanting to change the societal tide of pathologizing and medicalizing normal behavior grounded in the existential realities of life. Those were indeed heady times, founded in Div. 32's commitment to social justice and human dignity.

Additionally, we remember Dave Elkins as a lone voice for another of his pet projects, the PENS Task Force, and his forceful declaration that APA membership was not doing enough to get to the truth of alleged prisoner torture. Div. 32 APA Council Representative Scott Churchill was listening and heard Dave loud and clear. With the aplomb only a statesman could provide, Scott took the lead, along with the unerring support of his co-Council Rep. Frank Farley, representing humanistic ideals inherent in our division's mission. Scott worked tirelessly and painstakingly on the language of an anti-torture amendment that was ultimately adopted in the APA Council's emotional roll-call vote in Toronto on Friday morning, Aug. 7. Those present were aware of the historic moment they were witnessing, and were a part of, as APA membership took its organization back. We owe Scott a debt of gratitude for upholding Div. 32's philosophical and person-centered values for all the world to see.

In these ways and others, Div. 32 has been well represented in the governing body of the APA. We need to encourage continued and deepened involvement from all division members to make Div. 32's work, at the same time, our own personal missions, as well.

Over this past year, our division has been held steady by the adept leadership of now Past President Krishna Kumar. Krishna is a prince among us, and with his warm gaze and open heart, he helped the board and the division through a difficult year for the APA. We could not have foreseen that we had selected the perfect person for the job, someone able and wise, with integrity, and focused on the good of all. Thank you, Krishna, for leading us into a new era at APA.

We are so fortunate to have Kirk Schneider as our president this year. Ever able to describe the polarities that keep us away from our most existentially informed and humanistic selves, as individuals and as a society, Kirk's vision provides a foundation for the work of the division during his tenure, and beyond, highlighting the growing integration of humanistic psychology and psychotherapeutic approaches into mainstream ways of working with clients and patients, with groups, and the culture more generally. We are proud to be represented by Kirk and his humanistic and existentially optimistic worldview.

Our President-Elect Shawn Rubin is working on the themes of his presidential year, as well, planning his APA program committee, exploring options for the popular annual division conference, his ideas for student and youth-oriented outreach and his personal and professional dedication to diversity in applied humanistic psychology. Anyone interested in participating, please reach out to Shawn. Shawn is dedicated to a flourishing Div. 32, and his presence at our helm in 2016-17 will keep us current and invested in diverse ways of being-in-the-world for the benefit of all we serve. Shawn will help us promulgate our commitment to, above all else, “do no harm” protecting everyone and, most specifically, vulnerable populations.

Thank you all for your leadership and the time and effort you invest in Div. 32 and the legacy of the Society for Humanistic Psychology.

With this issue of the newsletter, we pass the baton to a new editorial team, the very able former Div. 32 student representatives, Justin Karter and Kevin Gallagher . With their leadership, the newsletter will be moving to an innovative Wordpress platform, which will enrich the reading and submitting experience allowing more room for articles of interest and import to our membership. Please welcome Justin and Kevin!

We have deeply appreciated the opportunity to serve as your SHP newsletter co-editors over the past four years.


Donna Rockwell and Kevin Keenan