In writing this annual report, I realized with greater clarity than ever before why INPM matters for the 21st century. At this point in history, INPM is riding the crest of a wave, not because of its size or legacy, but because of its vision and mission.
INPM has reached a new watershed in more than one way. We are on the verge of electing a new Board of Directors and appointing a new President Elect. We will also soon appoint a new editor for our journal as well as our newsletter. Meanwhile, I want to briefly report three new developments that augur well for INPM:
- The John Templeton Foundation grant ($2.1 million US) for interdisciplinary research on Virtue, Happiness, and Meaning. I am pleased that I am part of the research group, with Dr. Candace Vogler as PI, that has just received this major grant. I will have the opportunities to present Viktor Frankl’s revolutionary concept of self-transcendence and INPM’s vision to philosophers and theologians on this research team.
In this connection, I am planning an interdisciplinary symposium on Self-transcendence in our Meaning Conference 2016. This will build on INPM’s past practice of inviting philosophers and theologians to speak at our Meaning Conferences and start a new chapter on interdisciplinary research as an extension of my vision a Decade of Meaning.
I am convinced more than ever that a humble science needs to embrace the arts if we want to achieve a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of meaning as the core of human existence and well-being.
- Collaborative research on the second wave positive psychology (PP2.0). In an earlier president’s report, I have already reported (hyperlink) this new development as a major growth area for INPM
Since 2000, INPM has been the driving force of the second wave of PP by integrating positive psychology with humanistic-existential psychology, as epitomized by existential positive psychology. Such effort has finally found traction as evidenced by the recent publication of Ivtzan et al.’s (2015) Second Wave Positive Psychology: Embracing the Dark Side of Life and Batthyany and Russo-Netzer (2014) Meaning in Positive and Existential Psychology. In addition, more books and journal articles are coming out in this exciting new development.
I am most pleased that several leading researchers in PP2.0 have agreed to attend our next Meaning Conference and get together to plan for the research agenda of PP2.0. This development will have far-reaching implications for many areas of applied positive psychology, from management to positive education.
We are actively seeking graduate students and young researchers to get involved in PP2.0. Stay tuned for an announcement of a major student competition in PP2.0 for scholarships to attend Meaning Conference 2016.
- Greater opportunities for training in meaning therapy. In my last issue of the newsletter, I stressed the importance of teaching health care professionals how to work with meaning in life issues. I am pleased that our recent Summer Institute held last month was a real success in terms of numbers and feedback. This was our first attempt to teach through podcasting.
A related development is that I have started teaching a meaning therapy course in the Ph.D. Clinical Psychology Program at Saybrook University. Thus, meaning therapy is now reaching more people than ever.
On September 9, I taught meaning therapy to a group of palliative care nurses from Tokyo. In previous years, I have been invited to speak to palliative and hospice care mental health professionals in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and Canada. All these suggest that meaning therapy has much to offer to end-of-life mental health care, and INPM can make an important contribution in this area in the future.
- Meaningful Living Meetup Groups. We conducted two more cycles of meaningful living meetup groups, teaching people how to apply the principles of meaningfulness to their daily lives. This is our way of giving positive psychology away. It is gratifying that these principles have been applied to addiction recovery and correctional services. Now, we are beginning to apply the same meaning-enhancing principles to help those who have suffered concussions and other injuries from sports.
Finally, I encourage all readers to join us. Please read the Membership Drive announcement in conjunction with the above new developments. I invite every reader of this newsletter to either become a new member or renew their membership so that together we can make a significant positive impact through the initiatives and activities of INPM.