Saybrook University Faculty Take Leading Roles in APA

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From creativity to the nature of consciousness, Saybrook is a small university with a big leadership presence at the American Psychological Association.

The American Psychology Association (APA) has elected Saybrook University faculty member Dr. Steven Pritzker president-elect of Division 10: the Society for the Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts.

APA division 10 studies creativity in the arts and life, and Pritzker is uniquely qualified to serve as its president, having spent two decades writing and producing television shows such as the Mary Tyler Moore Show before receiving his PhD in educational psychology with an emphasis in creativity.

Now, as director of Saybrook’s psychology MA and PhD programs specializing in Creativity, he offers one of the only such programs in the country.

“This is because we see our ’everyday creativity' and especially everyday creative process not as some optional extra but as the basis for human progress and even cultural evolution,” says Ruth Richards, a member of Saybrook’s psychology faculty and Member at Large for the APA’s division 10. “Plus, living this way is rich, open, and incredibly healthy. We focus on ‘originality of everyday life’ and our students are in clinical areas, education, social action, organizations and more.”

Pritzker ran for president of the division because he sees the damage inflicted on kids when they’re forced to fit in boxes in school and in life, treated cruelly because they’re different. He wants to get Saybrook University and the APA involved in the educational movement to nourish creativity in schools and make it a national priority.

"It's obvious the world's in a hell of a mess, and we have to find some new answers, not just to the little questions, but to the big questions," he says. "That means we have to stimulate people's creativity at every level, tap everyone's potential to come up with new answers. You can't do anything more important than inspiring the next generation to come up with new approaches to problems that we've failed to solve."

While it is a small university with only a few hundred graduate students, Saybrook was founded by some of 20th century’s leading psychologists and has traditionally been one of the best represented graduate schools in leadership positions at the APA.

Pritzker, who directs Saybrook’s Masters of Psychology program specializing in the study of Creativity, has served as a member at large of APA division 10 for three years.

Two Saybrook faculty members were also recently elected to leadership positions in APA division 32 - the Society for Humanistic Psychology. Dr. Louis Hoffman, who chairs Saybrook’s psychology program studying Consciousness and Spirituality, is the Division 32 President; Dr. Shawn Rubin, Saybrook’s Clinical Psychology program chair, is division 32’s member at large.

Dr. Eric Wilmarth, a core faculty member in Saybrook’s Graduate College of Mind-Body Medicine, is the chair-elect of the APA’s Coalition for Academic, Scientific, and Applied-Research Psychology, and a member of the APA’s Council of Representatives. He is also the past president of APA division 30, which studies the scientific applications of hypnosis.

Numerous other Saybrook faculty are past presidents of APA divisions, current members at large, and fellows in multiple APA divisions.

Pritzker is excited about Saybrook’s representation in APA leadership. “This says that we are a small school that plays a large part in the world -- not only talking about participation and change, but actually doing it.”

Pritzker will take office as president-elect this year, and take over for current Division 10 President Dr. Lisa F. Smith.

Located in San Francisco, California and Seattle, Washington, Saybrook University is the world’s premier institution for humanistic scholarship and research. Saybrook offers advanced degrees in psychology, mind-body medicine, organizational systems, leadership, and human science. For 40 years, Saybrook has empowered students to find their life’s work and achieve their full potential. Saybrook’s programs are deeply rooted in the humanistic tradition and a commitment to help students develop as whole people – mind, body, and spirit. Saybrook University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). It is also authorized by the Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board and meets the requirements and minimum educational standards established for degree-granting institutions under the Degree Authorization Act.

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Jessica Pearce