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McInerney and Robbins
Robert McInerney, Ph.D. (l) and Brent Robbins, Ph.D. (r) are co-chairs of Society for Humanistic Psychology's fifth annual conference, "Person, Consciousness and Community."

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:

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. For more information, email Brent Dean Robbins or Robert McInerney.

Photo credit: Martha Rial