The foundations of humanistic psychology were forged within a community that had 

great interest in transforming the world into a much more loving and just place. 

Humanistic psychology can be said to have prized the beautiful and unique worlds of 

individuals and groups of people from its very beginning, although the tradition also had 

trouble finding ways to fully embody this ethos in action and commitment (Hoffman, 

Cleare-Hoffman, & Jackson, 2014).  

Recent endorsements, however, by the Society for Humanistic Psychology have further 

anchored our tradition within the context of social justice. We can see evidence of a 

growing zeitgeist within humanistic psychology to make it more explicitly loving and 

helpful to the aims of social justice movements. 

Humanistic psychology has also been concerned with appreciating the contemplative 

practices and methods that cultures have developed over millennia to nurture the love 

and wisdom innate to all human beings, subsequently implemented in Humanistic ways 

of being-with clients in therapy. Contemplative practices can be seen as ways to 

encourage this innate human capacity (Wickramasekera II, 2016). Humanistic 

psychologists such as Stanley Krippner, Shauna Shapiro, Charles Tart, and Roger 

Walsh have spent decades exploring how contemplative methods like meditation can 

encourage an understanding of the nature of the ‘self’, while also enhancing our 

embodiment of love and wisdom. These humanistic researchers, and others, led the 

way for an explosion of research on mindfulness meditation which demonstrated the 

power of contemplative methods to help heal the body, mind, and spirit of people with 

physical, psychological, and spiritual challenges (Walsh & Shapiro, 2006).   

But what can contemplative practices do to further encourage embodied wisdom in the 

context of social justice? Recently, new contemplative methods have been designed to 

join social justice perspectives with humanistic ideas about the self (Manuel, 2015; 

Williams, Owens, & Syedullah, 2016). Our conference this year will celebrate these 

ideas and practices, examining how humanistic psychology and contemplative traditions 

can inform global viewpoints of social justice, humanistic psychotherapies, and love.