conference was held in November 1964 at Old Saybrook, Connecticut.
For many, that conference marked the official birth of Humanistic Psychology.
It was a meeting-of-the minds which transformed psychology, challenged
a period, and helped regenerate a cultural landscape. Among those
present were A. H. Maslow, Carl Rogers, Rollo May, James F. T. Bugental,
Clark Moustakas, Henry Murray, S. I. Hayakawa and .
The Old Saybrook
II Project is named after that conference, both to celebrate the vision
of 1964 and to express our hope that the field of Humanistic-Existential-Transpersonal
Psychology is ready for a re-visioning of its insights and purposes as
we prepare for the 21st century. The Old Saybrook II Project is
an interactive process of generative conversations, actual and virtual
gatherings, and distributed texts, which together examine the history
and present state of the humanistic tradition in American psychology,
as well as the emerging challenges and opportunities which it faces.
At present, the
project consists of:
- This Web Page,
where interested parties can post position statements engage in conversation
and debate about the future of humanistic-existential-transpersonal
- Linkages to
the Web Pages of co-sponsoring organizations:
- The Consortium
for Diversified Psychology Programs (CDPP)
- The National
Psychology Advisory Assn. (NPAA)
- The Association
for Humanistic Psychology (AHP)
- The American
Psychological Assn. (APA), Division 32, Humanistic Psychology
- State University
of West Georgia
- Sonoma State
- A series of
events on the future of humanistic-existential-transpersonal psychology
organized by co-sponsoring organizations:
10th Anniversary Conference (Pacifica, CA, April 1998-past)
- Old Saybrook
II at AHP Midwest: A preconference institute and panel at
AHP Midwest 99 (Indianapolis, IN, March 19-21, 1999)
- Old Saybrook
II at West Georgia: An interorganizational convocation at
the State University of West Georgia (Carrollton, GA) in the spring
of 2000. This event will be an opportunity for organizations
associated with humanistic-existential-transpersonal psychology
to send intellectual and organizational representatives to Carrollton
to discuss intellectual and organizational issues of mutual interest.
It is planned that APA Division 32, and the Editorial Boards of
The Humanistic Psychologist and the Journal of Humanistic Psychology
will play a special role in defining the intellectual content of
The goals of the
Old Saybrook II Project include:
- To examine the
original Old Saybrook Conference as a historical event, to assess its
successes and its failures, to understand better its contribution to
American psychology then and now, and to retrieve insights from that
event which were ahead of their time.
- To look at the
polychromatic quilt of Humanistic Psychology today and to attempt to
reframe and reintegrate its themes into a new more complex and coherent
whole. This will be done with a view to arriving at a new iteration
of its basic epistemologies, moral positioning, and views of reality,
in terms that are relevant to the multiple cultural contexts of a new
- To develop a
manifesto and to outline a plan for future activities towards the continued
development of a reinvigorated Humanistic Psychology as a psychological
discourse with its own frames of reference, its own shared theoretical
domain and its own scope of praxis.
- To highlight
domains of human experience which are most pointedly addressed by humanistic
psychology, e.g., existential, feelings and emotions, creativity, values
and ethics, the spiritual transformative and to identify spheres of
human enterprise in which this new Humanistic Psychology can be
of service both as theory and as praxis. These may include education,
mental health practice, community action, business, religion, governance,
and the arts and media, as well as research in the human (behavioral
and social) sciences.
societies, individually and collectively, are well into a period of intense
cultural destabilization brought on by rapid advances in science and technology,
globalization of commerce and culture, the global spread of identity politics,
and major geopolitical realignments.
The principal purpose
of the Old Saybrook II Project is to revisit a set of ideas and humane
practices which in the early 1960s became known as Humanistic Psychology.
Humanistic Psychology held several basic tenets which were articulated
by conference attendee James F. T. Bugental, as follows:
These ideas took a
significant step towards consolidation into a distinct voice within
American psychology as an outcome of a conference convened at Old Saybrook,
Connecticut in November 1964, and supported by a grant from the Hazen Foundation.
The stated purpose of that conference was to pursue the interface between
psychology and the humanities in search of a person-centered psychology
which could address questions of meaning, morality, and values.
- Human beings,
as human, supersede the sum of their parts. They cannot be reduced
beings have their existence in a uniquely human context, as well as
in a cosmic ecology.
beings are aware and aware of being aware--i.e. they are conscious.
beings have some choice, and with that responsibility.
beings are intentional, aim at goals, and seek meaning and values.
This present Old
Saybrook II Project is designed to ask again some of the key questions
addressed at Old Saybrook, in light of the great cultural transformations
now upon us. In particular, it is to look again at the interface
between psychology, the humanities, spirituality, and the social sciences
at the end of the twentieth century, or era of modernity, and the
beginning of what many describe as an era of postmodernity or transmodernity.
A central question is:
How does the
vision of psychology of articulated at Old Saybrook, which boldly asserted
both the plenitude and subtleties of Human Being, now reaffirm itself
in an era of information and communication technology, which include
as its symptoms a globalizing economy, an acute awareness of environmental
crisis, managed healthcare, and the rampant industrialization of mental
health and human services?
The Old Saybrook
II Project will explore what aspects of Humanistic Psychology theory and
praxis need to be deconstructed and reconstructed in the light of new
social structures and cultural realities, and will ask what service a
reinvigorated and reframed person-centered psychology can offer to a world
in the process of reinventing itself. We hope to call forth the
creative spirit of Old Saybrook, which has been challenged by the grey
dust of social conformity and the complexities of explosive social change.
How can humanistic theory and praxis reframe and reinvigorate (de- and
re-construct) themselves so as to keenly and vitally serve the exigencies
of a rapidly self-reinventing world?
of the outcomes we hope to see develop out of this process include:
- Encourage public
policies and practices that promote institutional redesign according
to humane and democratic values and in the service of human emancipation.
- Enlarge the
scope of concern of Humanistic Psychology beyond the private sphere,
to embrace the task of institutional, community and cultural restructuring
so that a moral commitment to universal access to the basic necessities
for a satisfying individual, family, work and community life are
at the center of all our institutions.
the humanistic organization network by involving the younger generations
of scholars and professional practitioners, in the interest of joining
the well established themes of self actualization and human potential
to others, such as environmental sustainability and cultural pluralism,
the interests and objectives of which have always been heavily supported
by humanistic psychology, but whose relevance is becoming more widely
recognized in today's world.
- The practical
applications of these desired states can be stated as: "Making human
systems work for human beings." Some specific arenas in which
this focus is appropriate include:
- Making cities
- Making "work"
- Making the
health care system work
- Living a
spiritually meaningful human life in the 21st century
the relationship between a pluralistic epistemology and expanded states
of consciousness and the self-conscious evolution of human institutions.