Kirk Schneider - Leading Psychology in Existential Times
09.23.2020 - By Mad in America: Rethinking Mental Health
Kirk Schneider is currently running for President of the American Psychological Association (APA). He is a licensed psychologist and adjunct faculty at Saybrook University and Teachers College, Columbia University. He is well-known as the leading spokesperson for integrative, existential, and humanistic approaches to psychology, which emphasize the therapeutic relationship and the importance of confronting the deep paradoxes of being human, and the conflicts that arise from them, in psychotherapy. He has authored or co-authored thirteen books, including the Wiley World Handbook of Existential Therapy, The Spirituality of Awe: Challenges to the Robotic Revolution, The Polarized Mind: Why It's Killing Us and What We Can Do About It, and, most recently, The Depolarizing of America: A Guidebook for Social Healing. Many trainees in counseling and clinical psychology will recognize Schneider from the APA Psychotherapy Training video series featuring his therapy work. Schneider is campaigning to serve as President of APA to "to address the existential crises that are now flaring all about us." As he puts it: "We are in crisis racially, politically, and environmentally. We are in crisis with gender and sexual injustices, and we are in crisis with mental and physical health. In short, America is poised on the precipice, and if our profession fails to grasp this problem, we are in danger of inflaming it. In this interview, Schneider discusses his path into psychology, including his own struggles and growth, his approach to psychotherapy, and his scholarship on the psychology of awe and the polarized mind. Then we turn to his vision for psychology; a "whole-person" approach to healthcare, a "Psychologist General" of the United States, and the development of dialogue groups that address polarization and division.