Point Park University in Pittsburgh Hosts Society for Humanistic Psychology National Conference March 29-April 1

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Early career psychologists and scholars are expected in record numbers for the Society for Humanistic Psychology’s conference at Point Park Univ. in Pittsburgh. Symposiums consider DSM-5 and emphasize the theme of community and the importance of healing relationships in the lives of individuals and in therapeutic environments.

“There’s a ‘renaissance’ in humanistic and existential psychology going on, and the conference reflects this. There will be youthful energy and new voices as young professionals come and present their work.”

Point Park University will host the Society for Humanistic Psychology’s fifth annual conference in Pittsburgh March 29–April 1, 2012. “Person, Consciousness and Community” will bring together members of the Society, a division of the American Psychological Association, to discuss theoretical and practical applications of considering the person in the context of community. The public is invited to select panel discussions and events.

Early career psychologists and young faculty members and scholars are expected in record numbers, as the Society for Humanistic Psychology continues to see increasing interest from professionals early in their professions.

“Young practitioners are starting with a humanistic understanding of the person,” says Brent Dean Robbins, Ph.D., coordinator of Point Park University’s psychology program, and co-chair of the conference with Robert McInerney, Ph.D.

“There’s a ‘renaissance’ in humanistic and existential psychology going on, and the annual conference reflects this. There will be much youthful energy and new voices being heard as young professionals come and present their work.”

The conference’s keynote speakers will be:

  •     Isaac Prilleltensky, Ph.D.
  •     Constance Fischer, Ph.D.
  •     Robert Stolorow, Ph.D.

A number of the symposiums and panel discussions will be open to the public, including these being held in the GRW Theatre on Point Park’s downtown Pittsburgh campus:

  •     Drugging our Children: How Profiteers are Pushing Antipsychotics on our Youngest, and What We Can Do to Stop It (Thurs., March 29, 4 p.m.)
  •     How and Why to Treat Patients Without Psychiatric Drugs (Fri., March 30, 10 a.m.)
  •     The Legacy of R.D. Laing (Fri., March 30, 1 p.m.)
  •     A Most Dangerous Manual: Division 32 Presidential Symposium (Fri., March 30, 5 p.m.)
  •     Celebrating the Women of Humanistic Psychology (Sat., March 31, 9 a.m.)
  •     Martin Luther King's Vision of the Beloved Community and Humanistic Psychology: Common Ground (Sat., March 31)

All sessions emphasize the theme of community and the importance of healing relationships in the lives of individuals and in therapeutic environments.

“The emphasis on community is a natural extension of humanistic psychology because of its strength-based, prevention-focused emphasis on the well-being and thriving of persons,” says Robbins.

The Point Park psychology professor co-authored the Society for Humanistic Psychology’s open letter about proposed revisions to the “bible” of American psychiatry, the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The letter and online petition outlines concerns that the revisions could result in an increasing number of individuals being labeled as having mental health disorders, and given powerful psychiatric drugs, for behaviors that are within normal ranges. The proposed revisions are the subject of A Most Dangerous Manual: Division 32 Presidential Symposium during the conference.

A select number of students in Point Park University’s psychology program and Confluence Psychology Alliance will present posters at the conference.

The complete schedule for “Person, Consciousness and Community” is available on the conference website.

About Point Park University
Point Park] is a comprehensive, master's-level university with a strong liberal arts tradition, and is located in the heart of Downtown Pittsburgh. Point Park currently enrolls 3,920 full- and part-time students in 87 undergraduate programs and 13 graduate programs offered through its School of Arts and Sciences, School of Business, School of Communication and the Conservatory of Performing Arts.

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Colleen Derda
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