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Special Announcement: Task Force for the Advancement of Humanistic Research

Posted on 10 Jan | 2 comments
Special Announcement: Task Force for the Advancement of Humanistic Research

I am very pleased to take this opportunity to make an important announcement. As President of the Society for Humanistic Psychology—Division 32 of the American Psychological Association—I have commissioned a Task Force for the Advancement of Humanistic Research. The SHP Executive Board, at a Mid-Winter Meeting this past weekend, agreed unanimously to support the formation of this Task Force.

The purpose of this Task Force is four-fold:

  1. To create a research center or clearing house for all the assessment tools and methodologies that may be used for humanistic-existential researchers. (This will be similar to the one set up by Martin Seligman at the Positive Psychology Center). The purpose of this center is to make these tools both visible and available to researchers.
  2. To identify important research themes in humanistic-existential psychology and publish review articles documenting available empirical findings that support each theme.
  3. To identify potential research projects and identify those who are interested and committed to pursuing funding for those projects.
  4. To develop a website that facilitates discussion and sharing regarding activities of the Task Force.

Paul Wong, Ph.D., has agreed to Co-Chair this Task Force with me, and for that I am grateful. Dr. Wong has his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and he has held professional positions at various universities, including York University, University of Toronto, and Trent University. As the Founding Director of the Graduate Program in Counselling Psychology at Trinity Western University (TWU), he established an accredited and widely recognized graduate program. He has also served as the Division Chair of Psychology and Business Administration at Tyndale University College. Dr. Wong has published extensively with more than 120 scholarly journal articles, 60 invited chapters, and five books. He is internationally known for his research on meaning in life, death acceptance, successful aging, positive existential psychology, and meaning therapy. With more than 2,000 citations, his impact on the field is unparalleled among humanistic psychologists. He is a Fellow of both American Psychological Association and Canadian Psychological Association. He is the Founding President of the International Network on Personal Meaning, and the International Society for Existential Psychology and Psychotherapy.

Dr. Wong has demonstrated a persistent and often courageous commitment to humanistic and existential psychology, and brings to the table an appreciation for qualitative and mixed methods research with an outstanding record of quantitative research that has been published in top tier journals with high impact. Dr. Wong’s record and expertise will immediately bring to the Task Force the kind of respect, credibility, and impact it will need to make a difference in the larger field of psychology and beyond, both domestically and internationally.

Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA, will serve as the primary location for the research center, archives, and website that will house the initiatives of the Task Force.

While at this time members of the Task Force are in the process of being recruited, a number of individuals have agreed to serve on the Task Force at this time, including Sara Bridges, Louis Hoffman, Scott Churchill, Frank Farley, Krishna Kumar, Chloe Detrick, Lee Vance, and others.

In the past, humanistic psychology has sometimes been criticized for lacking a cumulative research base. However, Dr. Wong and I are fully aware that this is a misperception that can be easily dispelled through reviews of the literature that offer overwhelming support for many of the central constructs of humanistic psychology. In addition, through collaboration across institutions, using mixed methods approaches and state of the art methodologies and instruments, we can also help empower humanistic researchers to win grants and gain publication in the highest impact publications in the disciplines. This is essential if humanistic psychology is to continue to remain a viable, impactful perspective in the field of psychology.

-- Brent Dean Robbins

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Comments and Discussions

Congratulations! I’m newly

Congratulations! I’m newly matriculated at Saybrook and have not even begun my (second) career as a psychotherapist. But the field of humanistic psychology strikes me as one with great healing potential, especially the theories and modalities founded on existential concepts and positive outcomes. Best of luck!

What a great idea! As a

What a great idea! As a psychologist in a school setting, I am deeply concerned with the almost total emphasis on objectification and quantification of the child. Strict behavioral approaches, still anchored in Skinnerian psychology, are dominating more and more through the emphasis on evidence-based practice, the new push toward positive behavior supports, and IDEA's strict behavioral emphasis in their structure for working with special needs children. While I am not anti-behavioral, I am anti narrow disciplines controlling how school systems function. Humanistic and existential research related to schools are critical in creating more balance in working with the whole-child, not just functional behavioral sequences, or limited cognitive traits.

I am willing to engage others who work in schools to develop strategic planning toward achieving more humanistic oriented school-based settings.

Thank you for taking this initiative for the Task Force,

Dale

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