2022 Candidate for President of the American Psychological Association

Brief Summary of Platform Statement

Social crises are exploding today and we need to mobilize our discipline for action.  I propose that we develop a National Corps of Psychologists to facilitate “emotionally restorative relationships” throughout our country. These are relationships that help people to feel seen and heard and that get at the roots of their problems. Specifically, I call for this Corps to provide highly structured, healing dialogues to address the alarming cultural and political divides in our country. I also call for the Corps to provide equitable access to longer term, emotionally restorative psychotherapy. This framework moreover would be integrative, comprising, as appropriate, medical, cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic and existential dimensions of practice.   The Corps would also foster a wide range of services to enhance individual and public well-being.  For example, it could expand the availability of first responders to aid police dealing with mental health emergencies;  provide consulting services to organizations in impoverished communities, and bolster the time and quality of psychological services in schools, hospitals, prisons, governmental and diplomatic settings–wherever such services are in greatest need today.

To fund this National Corps of Psychologists I would use the platform of APA president to call on the support of government, private industry and others who care about the state of our profession and world.  Such funding in turn would generate the pilot studies, grants and other forms of support that would help to discern the viability and long-term sustainability of given Corps services. The superb resources of our research as well as applied and practice communities will be very much needed in this timely, broad-based effort.

Finally, to see my related proposals–such as a summit of APA Division leaders and a federal office of psychological advisors–by clicking on my full ‘Platform Statement and List of Supporters’ below.

Letter from the Past President of Division 46 (Society for Media Psychology and Technology) and Division 32 (Society for Humanistic Psychology):

Dear All,

On 9/15//22, you will be receiving a ballot for electing the President-Elect of the American Psychological Association. Please consider voting for our colleague Dr. Kirk Schneider who served as President of Division 32– Society for Humanistic Psychology and as Council Rep for Division 32 (now in his second term). Kirk is an internationally recognized scholar whose recent book The Depolarizing America has won wide acclaim in view of many recent events that highlight the continuing issues of systemic racism and political divisions in our country that APA needs to more fully address. In this light, Kirk’s focus is on supporting in depth “emotionally restorative relationships” across our society and world. As a highly experienced healthcare professional and a highly productive academic, he has the vision to address issues facing APA at many levels. Kirk has been influential in bringing about changes in the training of psychologists that has become increasingly manual-based, leaving out humanistic considerations in treating the symptoms and not the whole person. We need Kirk at the helm to make our Association more responsive to societal and divisional issues. I encourage you to look at his campaign material on this website to find out more about Kirk’s vision for APA.

–Krishna Kumar, Ph.D.

Recent Past President of Division 46
Past President Division 32
APA Fellow

Platform Statement and List of Supporters

Related Articles and Videos

New APA article ‘Healing the Political Divide’ to which I contributed

New article in USA Today to which I contributed–‘Close Presidential Election Deepens the Nation’s Divide’

2-Minute APA Video of My Platform Statement

In Depth, Personal Interview on my Vision for Psychology at this Critical Time

New Article in The Guardian on Healing Dialogue Groups to which I Contributed

New article in Vanity Fair by Monica Lewinsky supporting my call for a Psychologist General of the U.S.

My Commentary on Monica Lewinsky’s Article in Psychology Today

Latest Endorsements and Partial List of Supporters:

William Doherty, Ph.D., University of Minnesota and Co-founder of the Conflict Mediation Organization ‘Braver Angels.’

The Medical and Addictions Working Group of the COVID-19 Psychology Task Force
(Established by 14 divisions of the American Psychological Association)*
*This is not an official statement, endorsement or position of the American Psychological Association and does not reflect the views of its officers, leaders or members.

Internal Family Systems Institute
National Institute for Integrative Healthcare
Division 29, Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy, APA
Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration (SEPI)
Division 32: Society for Humanistic Psychology
PsiAN (the Psychotherapy Action Network)
The Rocky Mountain Humanistic Counseling & Psychological Association
The International Network on Personal Meaning

Partial List of Supporters:

Phillip Zimbardo
Nancy McWilliams
Bruce Wampold
John Norcross
Theopia Jackson
Susan Warshaw
Hanna Levenson
Frank Farley
Amy Taylor
Stanley Krippner
Judy Kuriansky
Paul Wong
Sara Nasserzadeh
Les Greenberg
Paul Wachtel
Gregg Enriques
Barry Wolfe
LInda Michaels
Stanley Messer
Louis Hoffman
Alberta Pos
Shawn Rubin
Donna Rockwell
Scott Barry Kaufman
Leilani Crane
Ilene Serln
Robert Buonfiglio
Gina Belton
Erik Craig
Jonathan Raskin
Todd Dubose
Barry Farber
David Feinstein
Maureen O’Reilly-Landry
Mary Beth Morrissey
Robert Gordon

Statement from the Society for Humanistic Psychology (APA):

“The Society for Humanistic Psychology (Division 32 of APA) is excited to endorse Kirk Schneider in his campaign for president of the American Psychological Association. Kirk’s commitment to the whole person, combined with his groundbreaking work on the polarized mind, makes him the perfect candidate for the present historical moment-a moment requiring empathy, communication, and relational engagement with others to bridge the divides we currently face. Kirk will bring creative energy and a set of practical initiatives to the APA presidency, such as his call for the US to create a position of Psychologist General. Kirk will use psychology to help us heal and grow during these turbulent times. The Society is proud to endorse him.”

Informative Videos:

An Existential-Humanistic Reflection on the Pandemic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSqCJnK–y8

New Horizons in Existential-Integrative Therapy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHym5sJA8aY

A Personal Reflection on The Spirituality of Awe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHRD0LKy_oo




Now Available for Purchase. Visit University Professors Press for more information: https://universityprofessorspress.com/product/the-depolarizing-of-america/

Description of the Book:


In the wake of the coronavirus and George Floyd killing many of the issues dividing us as a nation–politics, race, class, gender, climate change, globalism, and religion have only been magnified and although the U.S. Surgeon general has called for an end to bickering and partisanship, it is unclear to what extent this will take effect. What is clear however is that safe, mindfully structured dialogues are imperative if we are to salvage our republic and the democratic principles on which it is built.

The Depolarizing of America is the culmination of years of effort to promote safe, mindfully structured dialogues in homes, offices, classrooms and community centers. It is an attempt to “give away” the time-tested skills with which the author, Kirk Schneider, has intimate experience, to a range of both laypersons and professionals; people who yearn to socially heal. The book begins with some personal observations about our polarized state, both within the United States (and by implication) the world. It follows up with a reflection on how the sense of awe toward life-issuing in part from America’s founding spirit–can serve as a counter to this polarized state. And it concludes with practical strategies centered on dialogue. These strategies translate awe-based sensibilities-humility and wonder toward life-to a rediscovery of one another, a rediscovery of our potential to shape and revitalize our times.

Advance Praise for The Depolarizing of America:

“With The Depolarizing of America, Kirk Schneider has created a remarkable process for helping to rebuild our democracy one relationship at a time, from the level of ordinary citizens to that of public leaders. The ‘Experiential Democracy Dialogue’ is a gift to a nation that badly needs healing.”

–William J. Doherty, Ph.D., is a professor of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota and co-founder of Braver Angels.

“Once again, Kirk Schneider has challenged us to claim our humanity or ignite our own self-imposed psychological and physical demise. It is extremely important to note that in the face of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, much of the United States has become more explicitly polarized. We debate our patriotism based on what states remain shelter in-home versus those who are re-opening for business. We condemn those African Americans and other communities of color who do not adhere to CDC guidelines as being responsible for the disproportionate prevalence of deaths; completely ignoring the pre-existing/persistent socio-economic-political contexts and health care disparities that would clearly predict such an outcome. We have leadership that waxes and wanes almost on a daily basis and outwardly projects onto others for his short-comings; fueling the us versus them spirit. The Depolarizing of America: A Guidebook for Social Healing provides relevant historical contexts that spawned much of the divisiveness of today, as well as a blueprint for optimal engagement in bridging those differences. I applaud Schneider’s clarity in centering the “fear” that divides us. I am reminded of the insightful quote from the character, ‘Fear,’ from Pixar’s moving 2015 film, Inside/Outside. “Alright, we did not die today! I’d call that an unqualified success.” However, should we not expect more in determining the “success” of humanity? Should we be so bold as to determine that the success of humanity is not just living yet how we live? Schneider’s timely work contributes to our capacity to raise up other emotions and ways of being that are necessary to balance “fear” in promoting civility and collective sanity. I, for one, am counting on the complex-simplicity of the experiential democracy dialogues that Schneider is inviting us to engage in for the sake of humanity; to do otherwise is a frightening thought!”

–Theopia Jackson, Ph.D., Chair, Clinical Psychology Program, Saybrook University; President, Association of Black Psychologists

“Kirk Schneider succinctly describes healthy communication processes that effectively diffuse polarizing differences while inspiring intellectual curiosity, empathy, compassion, and hope for a better tomorrow. Through structured, safe, and mindful communication formats, readers will discover how participants can unpack differences, focus on commonalities, and relinquish fear and anger associated with personal and group stereotypes, identity politics, myths, and other important issues. This book lays out a cogent vision of virtuous dialogue possibilities that could be broadly used within divisive political processes, schools, religious settings, and other institutions, as well as a means to bridge the divides with historically marginalized communities. The author provides relevant examples, including one involving a police officer that provides a future framework for law enforcement agencies to participate with their most vocal critics. The Depolarizing of America plants the seeds to break down many of the differences separating people today.”

–Jason Jones, police professional and criminal justice educator based in Portland, Oregon.

“Kirk Schneider’s “Guidebook for Social Healing” provides a valuable tool in our quest to depolarize America, starting with ourselves. As someone who practices what he preaches by leading depolarization workshops, Dr Schneider is able to insightfully share with readers his awe-inspired approach to depolarization. During Braver Angels events, I have witnessed the way Dr. Schneider brings people together in the spirit of curiosity, and — as a member of Braver Angels — I hope to emulate his approach. His book is a great resource for doing that!”

–Ruth Littmann Ashkenazi, Member of Braver Angels

The Depolarizing of America offers a much-needed bridge to heal the many divides we see in the world today through a novel awe-based approach. Kirk Schneider is one of my favorite existential-humanistic psychologists, and when he offers spiritual and humanitarian guidance, I listen.”

–Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D., author of Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization, host of The Psychology Podcast.

“Drawing on his life’s work in healing divisions in the soul through awe-based therapy, Kirk Schneider offers crisp, practical guidelines for anyone who wants to use awe-based dialogue to bind the divisions polarizing our families, communities and politics. This gem of a book will help us learn how to heal our social wounds, and revitalize our collective soul.”

–Robert Kramer, PhD, author of The Birth of Relationship Therapy: Carl Rogers Meets Otto Rank, organizational consultant, visiting professor of social psychology at Corvinus University of Budapest


The Spirituality of Awe – Challenges to the Robotic Revolution

The robotic revolution is here and there’s no going back. From the way we raise our children, to our work settings, to our governments, and even our wars, the “quick fix-instant result” society is roiling our world. Yet what is lost in this delirium is depth, the awesomeness, not just of our machines, but of our flesh, our capacity to feel, and our capacity to dwell in the miracle of the unknown. This book dwells in the miracle of the unknown. It is an intimate trek into the evolving spirituality of awe–the humility and wonder; sense of adventure toward life. Can we preserve awe–the arguable “heart” of humanity–in spite of and even in light of our technologies? Or will we devolve into mechanically driven puppets, numb to our possibilities, blind to our servitude? There is no more critical problem for our age.


See my podcast on The Spirituality of Awe as well as feature article at Aeon called The Awe of Being Alive

Advance Praise for The Spirituality of Awe

“Schneider has produced a…work of passion, insight, advocacy, and public vision on perhaps the most important social topic of our time.”
—Dan Leichty, J. of Sociology & Social Welfare

“I am personally inspired by Schneider’s ethical approach to…maintaining one’s human heritage in the new society”
–Robert Firestone, Ph.D., author of Overcoming the Destructive Inner Voice.

“Create(s) a new vision of where we are heading and how we may change direction before it’s too late. Fascinating and essential reading…”
–Emmy van Duerzen, Ph.D., Principle, New School for Psychotherapy and Counseling, author of Existential Psychotherapy and Counseling in Practice.

“…a beautiful and important work.”
–Pninit Russo Netzer, Ph.D., Researcher and Lecturer, University of Haifa; co-editor of Meaning in Positive and Existential Psychology.

Buy from University Professors Press

About Kirk J. Schneider, Ph.D.

KIRK J. SCHNEIDER, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and leading spokesperson for contemporary existential-humanistic psychology. Dr. Schneider is past editor of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology, adjunct faculty at Saybrook University and Teachers College, Columbia University, and president of the Existential-Humanistic Institute (EHI), He is also a Fellow of Five APA Divisions (Humanistic, Clinical, Psychotherapy, Independent Practice, Philosophical and Theoretical) as well as a frequent speaker at conferences and in the media. He has authored or coauthored twelve books, including *The Paradoxical Self, Horror and the Holy, Existential-Integrative Psychotherapy, and Awakening to Awe*.


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