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President's Column

It’s been a busy time in the Society and I would like to take just a few minutes to update you on some of our activities and also invite your participation in a few key initiatives. The Executive Board of the Society returned to APA headquarters in Washington DC to hold our annual Mid-Winter meeting in January. In addition to all the necessary reports on governance, membership, finances, awards, nominations and communications, etc., there were several issues vital to our membership that deserved our attention and thoughtful consideration. These issues included the debate about empirically based treatment, the support of Proposition 8 in California by the owner of one of the official convention hotels in San Diego, and the Society’s use of technology and communication outlets. Let me briefly update you on each issues and tell you about two initiatives that need your help:

1.    A Psychotherapy Taskforce for the Society was created in the Fall to address the surge of attention being placed nationally on empirically based treatments and the publicity being given to APS on their position concerning scientific rigor in psychotherapy. Additionally the Taskforce was asked to explore ways of helping the professional and public communities understand and appreciate the unique role of Humanistic Psychology in psychotherapy. The task force members include (in alphabetical order): Sara Bridges, Art Bohart, David Elkins, Louis Hoffman, Heidi Levitt, Larry Leitner, Maureen O’Hara, Jon Raskin, and Brent Robbins. A symposium titled: Science and Politics of the APS Accreditation Initiative – A Cross-Divisional Response, was created through the task force and will be presented on Saturday at APA.

2.    For the annual convention in San Diego this August, APA contracted with the Manchester Hyatt as one of the main convention hotels.  A bit of background in necessary to understand the issue concerning the use of the Manchester Grand Hyatt: Doug Manchester, the owner of the Manchester Grand Hyatt, personally donated $125,000 in support of Proposition 8 (the constitutional amendment passed in November 2008, repealing same-sex marriage in California).  This donation has caused LGBT groups and unions to call for a 2 year boycott of the Manchester Hyatt and compelled APA to take a close look at the contract it has with the Manchester and consider how to address issues that are central to its membership.  APA has decided against a full boycott of the Manchester, however APA’s Council of Representatives have voted to move their meetings out of the Grand Hyatt (see for more information). For our own Society, the Executive Board voted to request that no Society programming, business meetings or social events are scheduled at the Manchester Grand Hyatt.  Additionally, the Society was among a group of Divisions of APA that wrote formal letters to Dr. Goodheart, Dr. Anderson and the APA Board of Directors about our stance concerning this issue and to ask APA to more fully address the use of the Manchester Grand Hyatt for convention activities.  The letter is published on our website and can be accessed here: (need to put letter on the website and add link – the letter is at the end of this article.).  With some careful arranging, I am pleased to say that the staff in the convention office were able to accommodate our request and no official Society functions will be held at the Manchester, however we would like to encourage all of our members to make convention plans that best fit with your own personal values.  Finally a taskforce on LGBT issues, led by Louis Hoffman was initiated to create position statements on Same Sex Marriage and Reorientation Therapies. 

3.    A thorough discussion of technology and communication within the division was held.  In particular the Board was concerned with how best to meet the varied needs of our membership. We have heard from some of our members about their likes and dislikes about technology and communication within the Society and a survey is being conducted to help inform our next discussion to be help at the Board meeting in San Diego.  The survey takes about 5 minutes to complete and all of the responses will be anonymous. You can access the survey by following the link below:   Your help with the survey is greatly appreciated! 

4.    And finally, Gratitude: The Heroes of Humanity Project is up and running.  In this project we are collecting stories and photos of ordinary everyday people who increase the humanity in the world by doing “small” things, acts that are not always recognized as heroic, but by themselves and also in combination humanize our often inhumane world.  Most of the people being recognized and celebrated in the Project would never consider themselves heroes, however it is our goal to create a platform for showing gratitude to these very important “everyday heroes.” If you or anyone you know would be interested in submitting a story, please follow the link below and please feel free to pass it on!

As you will read in this newsletter, we are planning a very active conference program this year and as always we will hold a Business meeting that all members are invited to attend.  Additionally, we will have and an amazing Hospitality Suite program, so, please come by to share some food and thoughts with others dedicated to increasing the humanity of all people. 

Looking forward to seeing you in San Diego! 

February 2, 2010  

 Dear Dr. Goodheart, Dr.Anderson, & APA Board of Directors,  

We write on behalf of the Executive Committee of Division 32 (the Society for Humanistic Psychology), which voted unanimously to request that all of our division programming is not held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt during the 2010 APA Convention. We are writing to more fully describe our stance, and request that the APA take further action to reconcile more fully its stated values with the convention activities at the Manchester Hyatt Hotel.  

Division 32 is focused on research and action related to the full range of human experience. As clearly stated on our website and in our mission statement, our “longstanding interest in the well-being of all persons, and in the importance of living life with purpose and meaning” does now allow us to support entities or individuals who intentionally work to block the civil rights and potential of all people regardless of their race, gender, ethnicity, ability, age, or sexual orientation. 

A boycott of the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego is already underway and supported by a coalition of LGBT groups in California and labor rights supporters who back the rights of hotel workers. Division 32 cannot in good conscience ignore APA’s plans to use a facility whose owner actively supports discrimination. This is an important equal rights issue that goes against Division 32’s mission and is also inconsistent with APA values and policies.  

THEREFORE Division 32 commits that:  

  1. We will request that no Division 32 programming, business meetings or social events are scheduled at the Manchester Grand Hyatt.
  2. Our Division 32 hospitality suite will be at an alternative hotel.
  3. We support APA's plans to highlight scientific research and public debate about same-sex marriage at the Convention.
  4. We will inform the Division 32 membership of these decisions and the rationale behind them. We will encourage members to make plans that best fit with their own personal values.

We appreciate the work of the APA working group and understand the difficulties the APA faces in navigating the best course of action. However, we urge the APA to be guided primarily by the values of the field of psychology, and the recently affirmed policy statements that the “APA shall take a leadership role in opposing all discrimination in legal benefits, rights, and privileges against same-sex couples.”  


  1. Make clear what, if any, negotiations have taken place with the Manchester Grand Hyatt regarding contract modifications or cancellation.
  1. Aggressively pursue contract modifications with the Manchester Grant Hyatt. Given the concerns that have come to light, Division 32 believes that the APA has an obligation to its members and Divisions to continue to pursue possible legal solutions. We also believe that the APA will ultimately bring itself more credit, and stronger support of its membership and the public, by making good faith efforts to renegotiate the contract.
  1. Fully respect the decisions of all members and groups that choose not to attend or hold events at the Manchester Grand Hyatt. Specifically, Division 32 requests that APA refrain from scheduling any Division 32 Convention programming at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, including Division 32 sponsored and co-sponsored addresses, symposia, and poster sessions.
  1. Arrange an alternative site for Convention meetings of the APA Council of Representatives.
  1. Assiduously adhere to the provisions and spirit of its 2007 policy “Opposing Discriminatory Legislation & Initiatives Aimed at Lesbian, Gay, & Bisexual Persons” in all future conventions, meetings of APA governance groups (including Board of Directors), and other meetings it sponsors. Among other things, this policy commits APA to assume a leadership role in actively opposing discriminatory legislation and initiatives, to consider these factors in making decisions about meetings and contracts, and to promote the physical and psychological safety of its members and staff when holding meetings or engaging in other contractual agreements in states or jurisdictions with public policy that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation.

As an Executive Committee, we are keenly aware of our responsibility to align our actions with the guiding values of our field. We speak only for Division 27, but we are confident that many other

APA members and Divisions share these concerns.  


Sara K. Bridges, Division 32 Society for Humanistic Psychology President

Art Lyons, Division 32 Representative to APA Council

On behalf of the Division 32 – Society for Humanistic Psychology Executive Committee


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