Candidate Statements for Division 32. Society for Humanistic Psychology

Please note that the submission of a candidate statement was voluntary, so not all candidates listed on the ballot will have a statement.

Candidate: Drake Spaeth, PsyD

Office: President-elect

Candidate Statement:

As President-Elect of the Society for Humanistic Psychology, I would bring to the position a sense of continuity with our contemporary embrace of diversity and social justice, as well as spirituality and the transpersonal dimensions of human experience. I am dedicated to fostering spiritual competencies in the humanistic training of students at Saybrook and elsewhere. I am also concerned about the problematic impact of (mis)appropriation and colonization of indigenous spiritual traditions around the world in European and American contexts. As a contemporary Pagan, I regard those of us of European descent who have psychospiritual concerns for the welfare of the planet and a passion for folklore, mythology, and history as the lorekeepers of the wisdom of our indigenous European ancestors-at least what remains in stories and art. As a bisexual man, I am also concerned with LGBTQ issues and competencies within psychotherapy contexts. Perhaps most significantly, as Chair of the Psychology programs at Saybrook, I am tasked with serving and stewarding the programs that represent the legacy of the Old Saybrook Conference-so key to the establishment and preservation of the humanistic psychology paradigm. I see myself as a bridge builder-between past and future, between individualism and collectivism, between individual freedom and social justice, between science and art, between traditional and non-traditional, and between teacher and administrator. I am passionate about preserving the flame of humanistic psychology against erosion by overly reductionistic agendas. I bring to the position prior experience as CE Chair and Board Member-at-Large.




Candidate: Roxanne Christensen, PsyD

Office: Member-at-Large

Candidate Statement:

I am grateful for the honor of being considered to serve the Division! I have been with the Society of Humanistic Psychology since I joined as a Student Affiliate while undertaking my doctorate studies at The Michigan School of Professional Psychology. and now as an Early Career Psychologist.

As a former Student Ambassador to my school we were able to build our engagement program for our students, and I had the opportunity to join the Division Board as one of the first elected Student Representatives where we continued that force supporting students in bringing forward their experiences as the future of Humanistic Psychology. In that experience with the Board I learned about our governance and goals of our Society, and am excited by our trajectory. I consider myself at-home in our Division, having presented at several Division Conferences and APA Hospitality Suites in panels and as a solo researcher sharing my dissertation study on the Survival of Political Imprisonment in Iran, and getting to know my fellow members personally and professionally. We are a brave Division, constantly growing, actualizing, and forever at-potential!

I am passionate about member engagement and professional ethics, and seek to elevate marginalized voices within psychology proper, connecting with our powerful student experiences and integrating diversity throughout our Division. I strongly believe in our Division and what it offers uniquely for psychology, and seek to dedicate my energy to protecting and promoting our great achievements together. Thank you for your consideration of my candidacy for Member-at-Large.




Candidate: La-Toya S. Gaines, PsyD

Office: Member-at-Large

Candidate Statement:

During my education and training at the Michigan School of Professional Psychology, I had the unique opportunity to receive academic and clinical training from Drs. Donna Rockwell, Shawn Rubin and Kevin Keenan. After graduating with my doctorate degree, I was invited back to the school to provide clinical supervision to master level students. I was excited for the opportunity to possibly mentor African American students like myself. Over time, and with support from administrators at the Michigan School of Professional Psychology, I was encouraged to take a more active role by becoming a core faculty member in the master’s program and assuming an active role on the admissions committee. I took great pride in being the only African American faculty member. As profound as these experiences are, there are two achievements that speak to my ability as a leader. In addition to serving as a core faculty member, I was also given the responsibility of creating a faculty orientation program for new core and adjunct faculty members as well as reviving the continuing education program at our school. I am proud to report, that last academic year we held our first faculty orientation for new faculty joining the school. I was also able to create a continuing education calendar for the year; our school went from hosting just a few continuing education seminars during the academic year to hosting a total of 10 continuing education seminars. I believe these experiences have prepared me for a leadership role.




Candidate: Justin J. Underwood, PsyD

Office: Member-at-Large

Candidate Statement:

It is an honor to be a candidate and to be considered a colleague of people whom I respect so highly. Division 32 became my home within the APA shortly after I began my graduate training. There, I found other psychologists and scholars who prized dignity, the full human experience, and emphasized holistic health in ways that I was familiar with yet seemed estranged within the field of psychology at large. I was an early advocate of humanistic psychologies in a graduate program and at training sites that had little to no humanistic representation. I continue to do so, now in my early career.

Humanistic Psychology’s distinguished past is more relevant today than ever before and I am committed to saturating our culture with humanistic principles. However, this tradition has also neglected its stated principles and, at times, conformed to the dominant culture, resulting in contributing to the oppression groups of humans. This is an exciting time to be in humanistic psychology as it is taking steps to hold itself accountable for these grave errors in the past while also contributing its much-needed insights in these tumultuous times. Division 32 is a natural leader in holding psychology accountable as evidenced by its recent leadership in opposing human reduction in the DSM-5 and its stand against torture. It is now holding itself accountable. Its leaders once had a loud voice in a popular culture that desperately needed it. It’s time for that again. I think I can help.




Candidate: Scott D. Churchill, PhD

Office: Council Representative

Candidate Statement:

I am asking for your vote so that I can complete my second term as your Council Representative.
(1) At the top of my list of concerns is a New Business Item that aims to bring military psychologists back into black sites for the “treatment” of detainees. I believe that as the principal mover of APA’s 2015 Policy Resolution to remove psychologists from illegal detention sites, I could add substantively to these deliberations.
(2) Treatment Guidelines currently exclude treatment modalities that do not lend themselves to the RCT model of efficacy research, resulting in CBT being singled out for treating a wide range of disorders. I am currently a co-signature on a New Business Item to reframe those guidelines in such a way as to allow humanistic psychologists to continue to practice their “best treatments.”
(3) Another item of grave concern is the removal of psychologists from their status as “physicians” under Medicare. I have initiated contact with the APA Practice Directorate to work toward re-establishing the recognition of psychologists as independent professionals.
(4) While the number of masters-level psychologists seeking licensure has mushroomed in recent years, the ACA issued a 2017 position statement that no longer recognizes psychologists as belonging to the same profession as “counselors.” Council will soon deliberate on alternative credentialing for the countless graduates from psychology masters programs who will be stranded once the ACA sunsets its current policies. These are among the items for which I am prepared to go to bat for Div 32.




Candidate: Kirk Schneider, PhD

Office: Council Representative

Candidate Statement:

I am honored to be nominated as a candidate for Council Representative of our Society for Humanistic Psychology. As some of you know, I have very deep roots In the humanistic movement, beginning 40 years ago with my graduate study at both the University of West Georgia and Saybrook University. I’ve also had the great privilege to work with founding figures of our movement, such as Mike Arons and Donadrian Rice at West Georgia, and Stan Krippner, James Bugental, Tom Greening and Rollo May at Saybrook and have attempted through many writings and talks to do honor to this august lineage. Further, as a long-time member of our governing board both as Member-At-Large and most recently President of our Society, I am intimately familiar with the concerns of humanistic psychology within the broader APA. As a Member-at-Large in the mid-nineties, for example, I was instrumental, along with the invaluable guidance of then Council Rep Mark Stern, in pushing through a Council resolution that virtually halted the attempt to implement the so called “Template” for the treatment of psychological disorders. Because this Template privileged randomized controlled trials as its “gold standard” it would have effectively eradicated the legitimacy (as well as accumulating validity) of humanistic practices. Given this background I plan to focus particularly on bringing humanistic-relational reform to APA approved graduate training and, equally importantly, to represent our interest in promoting social justice--the riches of our rapidly diversifying humanistic paradigm--to both our profession and world.