Humanizing Globalization
Our Responsibility and Response

by Myrtle Heery, Ph.D., M.F.T. Director IIHS

What are the "rights, responsibilities and privileges" associated with being a psychologist? At the International Institute for Humanistic Studies, we believe that the rights and privileges of being a psychotherapist in private practice, research or teaching bring a responsibility to make good use of the knowledge and skills we have each acquired. What does "good use" mean in today's world of 2005?

Our "good use" is joined by a long line of distinguished professors, researchers, and clinicians that have made excellent use of their knowledge and pursued their goals with passion for many decades. We are grateful for this foundation. Our psychology profession is gifted with the extraordinary ability to understand human beings and to communicate that understanding to others. We often make judgments without the comfort of stable rules and categories; and navigate in seas of uncertainty without a map - and with no guarantees. Yet we proceed with our passion for our work, moving forward through the unknown to the known and back again.

If you are a traditional psychotherapist reading this paper, we invite each of you to look close at the choices available to you, to think outside of the box as you reflect on the "good use" of your knowledge of humans and your knowledge of communication in today's world. We invite each of you to take off your glasses and see beyond the therapy room, the classroom, your research, to envision the intention of your work reaching out of the room of one on one psychotherapy or even from the classroom to the community in which you live and work, to the state in which you live, the nation you are citizen of, and the world in which each of us live.

We each have a choice about how to respond to challenges. Our invitation to you is the same we ask of our clients; look closely at how you usually hold and react to your world and embrace a new ways of being over and over in each challenge you face. Each time a challenge comes, begin to open to the choices and their consequences. This process of facing challenges by holding choices full of all the paradoxes of freedom and human limitations is the fundamental work of our institute, International Institute for Humanistic Studies (IIHS).

On an international, national and local level we are now experiencing a major crisis in our response to terrorism. This present response of pointing at the bad guy is continuing war and catastrophe. The question is whether we can use this crisis to develop new choices which reflect wisdom, or whether our choice polarizes the world, What can psychology have to offer in this continual crisis of who and what is the bad guy? And what if we chose to not use the language of the good or bad guy? Questions we often search deeply and naturally in our profession daily. If we as a profession are so adept at this searching process, how can this search inform our larger community? Is this a responsibility of our profession? And if so, how can you participate? Members of IIHS advisory board have responded by picking up the mantle of responsibility each reflecting their individual passions; hospice, proposing alternative global economic plans, application to work with the therapeutic population, aging and more.

Our training is ripe for cultivation in application beyond our profession. Clinicians are trained to listen to the good guy/bad guy conversation daily with their clients, patiently and perhaps with some not so patiently. My wife, husband, boss, or child can easily fill an hour of being the bad guy. The listening of the story is always interrupted at a moment that has a trained ear, eye and heart. We invite an inner search, a deeper awareness of the story, to the inner pain behind and underneath the concerns with care, hope, and commitment for something more. We hold hope for change, with certainty that the darkest part of an individual's painful story can be owned as one's own and will be transformed and used as a creative resource for wholeness, not separation from self and others.

In exploring the self, we need to look at the relationship not only with the therapist but the world in which the client lives. We must address integrating gains as important as making gains. The client finishes psychotherapy and returns to what and to whom? We need to be vigilant in communicating responsibly in the families and society in which the client lives. To be human means not only the care of self but the self in relation to the world in which he/she lives, to embody concern about our world and caring toward others. Globalization is not just the complex economic challenges but a deeply human process bringing forth all we are made of inwardly and outwardly. I am inviting each of us to find our common ground as helping professionals, as people serving each other for the full potential latent within ourselves. Let us celebrate this grand and glorious experiment of human potential with all of its paradoxes. To do so we must honor and fight vigilantly for the things that unite us not that which separates us.

Successful responsibility is the ability to respond to life within your own world where you live. It is in this deep trust of living that my concern as a psychotherapist has moved into the world with all that I have been trained. Forming the International Institute for Humanistic Studies is my and our ability to respond, to be responsible, to actualize our personal freedoms in the world in which we live. We support people in expressing their uniqueness to help them listen with compassion to themselves, others and the world with hope, compassion, courage, resilience, and tolerance. This invitation is not limited to psychotherapists and their clients but to people in many professions; ministers, doctors, teachers, politicians, everyone who is seeking wholeness and peace.

We believe that changes in individuals mean changes in small groups of people, which contribute, to major shifts in a society. We trust psychotherapy to enhance individual changes. From this perspective of personal and social interconnectedness, therapy is not only a tool for psychological help and change, but is also instrumental in bringing about social transformations. We are aware of our professional potential as well as our responsibility to participate in promoting a society that embodies humanistic values - hope, compassion, courage, resilience, and tolerance. These qualities are the foundation of our institute.

The growing edge for psychology is to step outside the walls of academia, the walls of the consultation room, to move in the market place by building bridges of communication among a large variety of professions putting our knowledge and skills to good use. Advocate, question, listen, inspire, the invitation is open-ended.

Our institute is now offering a two-year training program for a variety of health professionals including both individual and group trainings in in-depth communication with its roots in Existential-Humanistic psychology and psychotherapy as brought forth by James F. T. Bugental, Ph.D., A.B.P.P. with over fifty years of clinical, academic, and prolific written contributions to our field. Our trainings have been operating for three years and have included people of diversity: color, race, gender, and other helping professionals such as ministers. These trainings are known as Unearthing the Moment, Changing the emphases of psychotherapy in changing times. In addition, we are focusing on aging, the largest global concern facing the worlds' largest population, the baby boomers. We are offering workshops and discussions with care-givers and professionals attending to the deep issues around aging and support groups for individuals needing guidance to their present challenges in aging. Our work with aging broadens the construct of "helping" and "professional" to include everyone caring in the aging process. The professional and non-professional helpers sit side-by-side sharing and learning from each other. Our vision is of wholeness for the individual and the larger group of humanity in our two-year training programs and our focus on aging. We are answering the call of responsibility to each of our communities in developing and working with a variety of people, spreading hope, courage, compassion, resilience and tolerance as our responses to the world globalization process.

© 2002 by Myrtle Heery, Ph.D. All rights reserved