The foundations of the Society for 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.
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.