Invited Speakers 2014

April 14, 2014

Keynote Speakers

Jay S. EfranJay S. Efran, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Temple University. He is the recipient of the Pennsylvania Psychological Association’s 2009 award for “Distinguished Contributions to the Science and Profession of Psychology.” He was also awarded the Constructivist Psychology Network Lifetime Achievement Award. He has been president of the Academic Division of the Pennsylvania Psychological Association and of the Philadelphia Area Group Psychotherapy Society (the local affiliate of the American Group Psychotherapy Society). Dr. Efran is a past director of Temple’s Clinical Psychology Doctoral Training Program and also of their Psychological Services Center. A therapist for more than 50 years, he has published more than 100 articles and chapters on topics such as emotion, social phobia, temperament, addiction, constructivism, contextualism, and psychotherapy. His two co-authored books are Language, structure, and change: Frameworks of meaning in psychotherapy (W. W. Norton, 1990) and The tao of sobriety: Helping you recover from alcohol and drug addiction (St. Martin’s Press, 2002).

Dr. Efran will be presenting a keynote on Fixing vs. Creating: A Therapist’s Notebook. Click here to view the abstract and learning objectives.

StanStanley Krippnerley Krippner, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology and Integrative Inquiry at Saybrook University. He is past president of the International Association for the Study of Dreams and received that group’s career achievement award. He is co-author of Extraordinary Dreams and How to Work with Them, and co-editor of Perchance to Dream. He has also received lifetime achievement awards from the Society for Humanistic Psychology and the Parapsychological Association, as well as the American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Advancement of International Psychology.

Dr. Stanley Krippner will receive an INPM Lifetime Achievement Award at the congress for his groundbreaking ideas and research in such areas as parapsychology, dreams, and personal myth.

Dr. Krippner will be presenting a Keynote on Finding Meaning in Dreams: Major Theories and Methods and a Workshop on Finding Meaning in Dreams: Specific Practical Skills. Click here to view the abstracts & learning objectives.

Dr Alex PattakosDr. Alex Pattakos, Ph.D. is co-founder of The Meaning Group, based in Santa Fe, New Mexico USA.  He is the author of the international bestselling book, Prisoners of Our Thoughts: Viktor Frankl’s Principles for Discovering Meaning in Life and Work, which was written at the personal urging of Dr. Frankl.  Prisoners of Our Thoughts is currently available in 22 languages and is the inspiration for a movie in development.  He is also the co-author (with Elaine Dundon) of The OPA! Way: Finding Joy & Meaning in Everyday Life & Work, a book to be released in the fall, that is uniquely inspired by Greek philosophy and culture.  A former therapist and mental health administrator, Dr. Pattakos has worked closely with the White House under three U.S. Presidents and served as an adviser to the Commissioner of the U.S Food & Drug Administration.  A U.S. Army veteran, he also has been a full-time professor of public policy and management and was one of the initial faculty evaluators for the Innovations in American Government Awards Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Dr Pattakos will be presenting a Keynote on Tracing Meaning to the Greeks and a Workshop on Finding Meaning The OPA! Way. Click here to view the Keynote abstract and Workshop description and learning objectives.

Crystal ParkCrystal L. Park, Ph.D., is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Connecticut. Her research focuses on religious beliefs and religious coping, the phenomenon of stress-related growth, and the making of meaning in the context of traumatic events and life-threatening illnesses, particularly cancer and congestive heart failure.  She is currently conducting studies of yoga for stress-management and developing a research tool to assess the essential properties of yoga. She is Co-Author of the forthcoming Spirituality, Meaning and Trauma and Co-Editor of The Handbook of the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality and Medical Illness and Positive Life Change: Can Crisis Lead to Personal Transformation?

Dr. Park will be presenting a Keynote on Trauma and Recovery: A Meaning-Making Perspective. Click here to view the abstract and learning objectives.

Michael StegerMichael F. Steger, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology and Applied Social Psychology, and Director of Clinical Training and the Laboratory for the Study of Meaning and Quality of Life, at Colorado State University. He has spent more than a decade researching the factors that promote human flourishing and ameliorate psychological suffering. He developed the Meaning in Life Questionnaire, which has been translated into over 30 languages. His current research examines the role of meaning in people’s health, including their engagement in health-risking and health-promoting behaviors. He is author of Designing Positive Psychology and Purpose and Meaning in the Workplace.

Dr. Steger will be presenting a Keynote on A Review of the Past and a Look to the Future of Meaning Research: Emerging Research on the Relevance of Meaning to HealthClick here to view the abstract and learning objectives.

Spencer McWilliamsSpencer A. McWilliams, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology at California State University San Marcos, where he has twice received the psychology students’ Distinguished Professor of the Year Award.  He is the current President of the Constructivist Psychology Network (2012-2014), and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Constructivist Psychology.  Dr. McWilliams received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Rochester and is a past director of the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Training Program at the University of Arizona.  He has been an actively participant in the Personal Construct Psychology international community since 1979.  He is the author of more than 60 journal articles and chapters and has applied constructivist psychology to such topics as mindfulness and Buddhist psychology, pragmatism, human agency, semantics, comprehensive knowledge, liberal education, creative photography, and the use of political and religious metaphors such as idolatry and anarchy to appreciate our active role in creating knowledge.

Dr. McWilliams, President of the Constructivist Psychology Network (CPN), will be presenting a Presidential Address on Shaking the Very Foundation: The Seduction of Certainty vs. the Menace of Meaning-Making. Click here to view the abstract.

Paul T.P. WongPaul T. P. Wong, Ph.D., C.Psych is an internationally renowned author, counselling educator, and researcher in meaning therapy and positive psychology. He has more than 200 publications, and given keynote addresses and workshops around the world. He is the president of the International Network on Personal Meaning (, and the Meaning-Centered Counselling Institute Inc. (MCCI), and editor of the International Journal of Existential Psychology and Psychotherapy (IJEPP). An engaging and dynamic speaker, Dr. Wong inspires not only through his wisdom and intellect, but through his keen sense of humour and joy for life.

Dr. Wong, President of the International Network on Personal Meaning (INPM) will be presenting a Presidential Address on A Seeker’s Guide to Meaning in Life and a workshop on Meaning-Centered Assessments and Positive Meaning Interventions. Click here to view the Keynote abstract and Workshop description & learning objectives.


One-Day Professional Workshop Presenters

Robert NeimeyerRobert A. Neimeyer, Ph.D. – Professor of Psychology, University of Memphis, where he also maintains an active clinical practice. Neimeyer has published 27 books, including Techniques of Grief Therapy: Creative Practices for Counseling the Bereaved. He is author of over 400 articles and book chapters and a frequent workshop presenter, currently working to advance a more adequate theory of grieving as a meaning-making process. He serves as Editor of the journal Death Studies.

Dr. Robert Neimeyer will receive an INPM Lifetime Achievement Award at the congress for his influential research and applications in constructivist psychology in general and bereavement and grieving in particular.

Dr. Neimeyer will be presenting a Workshop on Mourning and Meaning:  The Quest for Significance in Loss. Click here to view the workshop description and learning objectives.

Brent Potter Head ShotBrent Potter, Ph.D. is a psychotherapist with 20 years of direct clinical service. He is the Director for the Society for Laingian Studies. Brent is the author of numerous articles whose topics include: innovative and effective mental healthcare models, analytical psychology, humanistic psychology, existential-phenomenology, psychoanalysis, the psychotic register of the mind, character and personality disorders, chemical dependency and child / adolescent mental health concerns. His first book, ‘Elements of Self-Destruction’ is out via Karnac Books and he has three forthcoming books.

Brent will be presenting a workshop on The Hallowed in the Hollow: Meaning in Self-Destructive Processes. You can view the abstract and learning objectives here.

Stefan SchulenbergStefan E. Schulenberg, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in the state of Mississippi, an Associate Professor in the University of Mississippi’s (UM) Psychology Department, and the Director of UM’s Clinical-Disaster Research Center (UM-CDRC). Through the UM-CDRC, Dr. Schulenberg emphasizes research and education in disaster mental health and positive psychology. He served as a consultant on a National Science Foundation research grant issued in response to Hurricane Katrina, and conducted evaluation research funded by the Mississippi Department of Mental Health relating to the effects of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Dr. Schulenberg’s research interests include clinical-disaster psychology, meaning in life, and positive psychology.

Dr. Schulenberg will be presenting a Workshop on Disaster Mental Health and Positive Psychology: Meaning-Making and Resilience Following Traumatic Events. Click here to view the workshop description and learning objectives.

 Lilian C. J. Wong, Ph.D., was Associate Professor and School Counselling Coordinator of the MA Graduate Program in Counselling Psychology, Trinity Western University, B.C., and Associate Professor of Psychology at Tyndale University College, Toronto.

She is internationally recognized for her research in multicultural competencies in supervision, and ethical issues in cross-cultural counseling and psychological assessment. She has developed the meaning-centered approach to Play Therapy. She is co-editor of: The Handbook in Multicultural Perspectives on Stress and Coping (2006); The Positive Psychology of Meaning and Spirituality (2007); and The Positive Psychology of Meaning and Addiction Recovery (2013).

She is on the Steering Committee of the Ontario Alliance of Mental Health Practitioners, and Vice President of Meaning-Centered Counselling Institute Inc. (MCCI). She was co-chair (2011-2013) for the Supervision and Training Section of The Society of Counseling Psychology (Division 17) of The American Psychological Association (APA). Currently, she is teaching a popular course on the Safe and Effective Use of Self in Psychotherapy, as a requirement for the forthcoming College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO).

Dr. Lilian Wong will be presenting a Workshop on Safe and Effective Use of the Self in Psychotherapy. Click here to view the workshop description and learning objectives.

Other Workshop Presenters include Stanley Krippner and Paul T. P. Wong.


 Invited Speakers

Alexander Batthyany

Alexander Batthyány, Ph.D., holds the Viktor Frankl Chair for Philosophy and Psychology at the International Academy of Philosophy in the Principality of Liechtenstein. He teaches theory of Cognitive Science at Vienna University’s Cognitive Science Program and Logotherapy and Existential Analysis at the Department of Psychiatry at Vienna Medical School. Since 2012, Batthyany is Visiting Professor for Existential Psychotherapy at the Moscow University Institute of Psychoanalysis. He is director of the Viktor Frankl Institute and the Viktor Frankl Archives in Vienna and first editor of the 14-volume Edition of the Collected Works of Viktor Frankl. Batthyany has published several books and articles and lectures widely on philosophical and existential psychology, philosophy of mind, and theory of cognitive science.

Dr. Batthyány will be presenting  an invited lecture on Rediscovering Meaning: Logotherapy and the Reunification of Positive and Existential Psychology. Click here to view the abstract and learning objectives.

Elaine DundonElaine Dundon, CEO of The Meaning Group, began her career in business strategy, including brand management at Procter & Gamble. She authored the best-selling book, The Seeds of Innovation, as well as taught the ground-breaking Innovation Management course at the University of Toronto. Her work has been featured globally in numerous leading publications. Elaine has advised some of the world’s best businesses, government, and nonprofit organizations, including ADP, American Society for Quality, Astra-Zeneca, Citigroup, The Conference Board, Heart & Stroke Foundation, The Mayo Clinic, Ontario Public Service, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Singapore Civil Service College, and Vancity. As her work in Innovation Management evolved, her focus shifted to the “Human Side of Innovation” and specifically, Meaning, which her research has shown is the key to success. Now as a keynote speaker, advisor, and facilitator, Elaine is encouraging leaders to inspire meaningful engagement as well as encouraging all to live and work The OPA! Way®.

Elaine will be co-presenting a workshop with Dr Alex Pattakos on Finding Meaning The OPA! Way. Click here for the Workshop description and learning objectives.

hicks3Joshua Hicks, Ph.D. earned his BA from San Francisco State University, MS from Villanova University, and PhD from the University of Missouri. He is currently an assistant professor in the psychology department at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. His research focuses on classic and applied questions related to social and personality psychology. Although the specific question has varied, these lines of investigation are unified by their aim to understand the dynamic interplay of individual differences, situational factors, and cognitive processes in important outcomes such as the experience of meaning in life, self-knowledge, substance abuse, and personality development.  Joshua has published numerous articles on meaning in life, and, with Clay Routledge, recently edited a book on the topic, The Experience of Meaning in Life: Classical Perspectives, Emerging Themes, and Controversies. Dr Hicks will be presenting an invited lecture. Click here to view the abstract.

Veronika Huta, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Ottawa. She has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from McGill University. She and her students conduct research on different ways in which people seek fulfillment in life, including eudaimonic pursuits (authenticity, meaning, excellence, growth) and hedonic pursuits (pleasure, enjoyment, comfort, absence of pain), and how these relate to well-being, health behaviors, prosocial and pro-environmental behavior, parenting predictors, abstract thinking, and time perspective. She also studies well-being experiences beyond Subjective Well-Being, most notably the feeling of meaning, as well as self-connectedness, and elevating experiences (awe, moral elevation, inspiration, and transcendence). She teaches courses in positive psychology and graduate statistics. She is a past president of the Royal Canadian Institute, a co-founder of the Canadian Positive Psychology Association, and has previously co-organized a conference on eudaimonia for both philosophers and psychologists.

Dr. Huta will be presenting two invited lectures on How is Meaning Different than Subjective Well-Being? and What is Meaning? Click here for the abstract and learning objectives.

G.T. Maurits Kwee, Ph.D. (Emeritus Hon. Prof.), Clinical Psychologist, is a Faculty Member of the Taos Institute (USA) – Tilburg University (Netherlands) Ph.D.-Program and Founder of the Institute for Relational Buddhism & Karma Transformation, Bentveld, Netherlands. A Chan Buddhist and mindfulness adept as from his early teens, Professor Kwee earned his doctorate in Medical Science at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and was a Visiting Professor and Research Fellow at Waseda University, Tokyo, and Honorary Professor at the University of Flores, Buenos Aires.

Formerly a clinical practitioner, researcher and supervisor, he was also co-organizer of a dozen international conventions and has guest-lectured all over the world as the Past President of the Transcultural Society for Clinical Meditation (Japan) and a Board Member of the Society for Constructivism in the Human Sciences (USA). Dr. Kwee promulgates a cutting-edge secular Psychology in Buddhism which moves beyond the traditional Buddhist denominations. His latest proficiency is the Pursuit of Happiness Amid Adversity as in Relational Buddhism: An integrative psychology of happiness amidst existential suffering (2013).

Presently, after retirement, he is dedicated to disseminate and revamp psychology which inheres in Buddhism and the wisdom traditions as a groundbreaking method for mental hygiene and stress-inoculation. Professor Kwee empowers and transforms audiences through procedures which promote sanity with business and other organization leaders, and change advocates – coaches, teachers, clinicians, trainers, managers – as well as with clients, students, employees and the public at large. His latest edited book (2010) is New Horizons in Buddhist Psychology: Relational Buddhism for Collaborative Practitioners and his latest monograph (2013) is Psychotherapy by Karma Transformation: Relational Buddhism and Rational Practice.

Dr. Kwee will be presenting an invited lecture on A Buddhist/Secular View on Personal Meaning by Karma Transformation and a workshop on Pristine Mindfulness – Integrating and Beyond. Click here to view the lecture abstract and workshop description.

Chi-Yun LinChi-Yun Lin, Ph.D., received her Doctorate degree in Sociology in 1993 at Tunghai University in Taiwan. Presently, she is a professor at the Department of Thanatology and Health Counseling and the dean of the College of Human Development and Health at National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences (NTUNHS). In addition to teaching, Dr. Lin holds a post of director and supervisor in various counseling-related Councils and Associations. She further founded “Taiwan Association for Caring and Counseling for Loss” in 2007.

Dr. Lin devotes herself to Thanatology, Life Education, Death Education, Grief Counseling, Suicide Prevention, and etc. She publishes scores of researches, discussions and books in relevant fields in Taiwan. Dr. Lin has been hosting annual international workshops for the past few decades, including several seminars and conferences regarding meaning reconstruction. Dr. Lin directed the planning of Healing Garden (namely Grief Healing Garden)” in 2004 at National Taipei College of Nursing (namely NTUNHS). In 2009, she founded Health and Grief Counseling Center at NTUNHS, and has begun to provide community services with her graduate students. Her pioneered work in education and counseling has significant influence on Taiwan and the Asian societies.

Dr. Chi-yun Lin will receive an INPM Lifetime Achievement Award at the congress for her contributions to thanatology and life and death education in Asia, as well as the creation of the Grief Healing Garden and the Health and Grief Counseling Center in Taiwan.

Dr. Lin will be presenting an invited lecture on Taiwan Experience: The Role of Meaning in Life Education and Counselling. Click here to view the abstract and learning objectives.

Sal picSalvatore Maddi, Ph.D.  became in 1959 an Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago. He taught and did research, counseling, and consulting there for 27 years, as he rose up through the ranks, becoming a Full Professor. Then, in 1986, he transferred to the University of California, Irvine, where he is still doing all these activities. He has won various awards at both Universities. In his career, he has published many articles and books. He is also a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, and several of its Divisions. In addition, he is a Fellow of the Society for Personology, the American Psychological Society, the Communitarian Network, the American Society of Bariatric Surgery, the American College of Forensic Examiners, and the International Network on Personal Meaning.

Early in his career, Maddi published a ground-breaking textbook: “Personality Theories: A Comparative Analysis.” This book, which has been translated into several foreign languages and is till in print (in its 6th Edition) after 44 years, and has influenced several generations of psychology students and teachers, and has had a major impact on the field of personality psychology.

Over the years, Maddi has also received many honors and awards. Among them are (1) being President of APA Divisions 1 and 10, (2) being a Fulbright Scholar in Brazil, (3) citation by the California Psychological Association as a major influence in its members’ development, (4) inclusion among the 630 memorable psychologists and psychiatrists in R.J. Corsini’s Encyclopedia of Psychology, (5) Distinguished Wellness Lectureship by University of California and HealthNet, (6) Diplomate, American Board of Forensic Examiners, (7) REHHR International Award for outstanding contributions to positive psychology, (8) hardiness featured on the APA website, (9) Henry A. Murray Award by APA Division of Personality and Social Psychology, (10) Disabilities Services Center Faculty Recognition Award, University of California, Irvine, and (11) the American Psychological Foundation’s 2012 Gold Medal Award for Lifetime Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest.

Salvatore Maddi will be presenting a talk on Personality Hardiness Leads to Resilience and Growth Under Stress and workshop on hardiness. Click here to see descriptions of his presentation and workshop.

Gordon MedlockGordon Medlock, Ph.D., background includes academic, clinical, educational and consulting experience in fields related to humanistic psychology. He has worked for over 20 years as a psychotherapist and educator with the Wright Institute and the Wright Graduate University, and concurrently as an organizational development consultant in the field of human capital management. His educational background includes a Ph.D. in philosophy from Yale University with a focus in humanistic and existential psychology. He currently serves on the faculties of the Wright Graduate University and the University of Chicago, Graham School of General Studies. Current research focuses on the study of personal authenticity, phenomenology and grounded theory methodology, and the creative process in the arts, sciences, and organizations.

Dr. Medlock will be presenting an invited lecture on The Phenomenology of Emotion and Constructing Personal Meaning. Click here to view the abstract and learning objectives.

Kiran Kumar SalagameKiran Kumar K. Salagame, Ph.D., is a Clinical Psychologist and a Professor of Psychology at the University of Mysore.  He is currently on a Senior Research Fellowship from Indian Council of Social Sciences Research, New Delhi examining the “Indian perspectives and approaches to Psychology”. He was a Fulbright Nehru Visiting Lecturer Fellow in 2011 and a Fulbright Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in 1990-91. He is also a Fellow of Indian Association of Clinical Psychologists and the Association presented Psycho-Award in 2006 for his distinguished contributions to the field of psychology.  Currently he is also an Honorary Professor, International Academy for Yoga Teacher Training, Belgrade, Serbia; Member, Scientific Board, International Society for Interdisciplinary Yoga Research, Belgrade, Serbia; and Member, Board of International Transpersonal Association, USA.  Kiran Kumar has been serving as the Associate Editor of Psychological Studies and is on the Editorial boards of many national and international journals.  Integrating Indian psychological concepts to mainstream psychology is his current focus. His research and publications relate to Indian concepts of health, happiness and well-being, self and identity; meditation & yoga, positive psychology, states of consciousness, and social cognition. He has authored The Psychology of Meditation: A contextual approach. He has contributed chapters to edited volumes published by Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Pearson, Springer, and Wiley-Blackwell.

Dr. Salagame will be presenting an invited lecture on Positive Psychology of Meaning in Life: Indian Perspectives and a workshop on Values and Meaning in Life – An Indian Perspective.Click here to view the abstract and learning objectives.

Rebecca Schlegel

Rebecca Schlegel, Ph.D. earned her BS from Kansas State University and PhD from the University of Missouri. She is currently an assistant professor in the psychology department at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. Her research examines the pervasive influence of self and identity on psychological functioning. In particular, Schlegel and her colleagues and have argued that the true self-concept serves a hub of meaning by exporting legitimacy, importance, and value to other aspects of life (e.g., relationships, behavior, goals, work), such that life endeavors that are concordant with the true self-concept are deemed valuable for that very reason.

Dr Schlegel will be presenting an invited address on The True Self-Concept as a Hub of Meaning. Click here to view the abstract and learning objectives.

Phil Shaver

Phillip R. Shaver, Ph.D., is Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Davis, where he arrived in 1992 after serving on the faculties of Columbia University, New York University, the University of Denver, and SUNY at Buffalo. He has received grants from NSF, NIMH, NIJ, and numerous foundations and has published over 300 scholarly articles and book chapters. He has coauthored and co-edited numerous books including In Search of Intimacy; Measures of Personality and Social Psychological Attitudes; Attachment in Adulthood; Handbook of Attachment; Prosocial Motives, Emotions, and Behavior; The Social Psychology of Morality: Exploring the Causes of Good and Evil; Meaning, Mortality, and Choice: The Social Psychology of Existential Concerns; Mechanisms of Social Connection: From Brain to Group; and four volumes of the APA’s Handbook series. His research deals with attachment theory, close relationships, human emotions, and Buddhist psychology. He is a member of the editorial boards of several journals and a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science. He has served as executive officer of the Society of Experimental Social Psychology (SESP) and president of the International Association for Relationship Research, from which he received a Distinguished Career Award in 2002 and an International Mentoring Award in 2010. He has received a Scientific Influence Award and a Distinguished Career Award from SESP, and a Distinguished Career Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. He lives in Davis, California, with his wife, Distinguished Professor Gail S. Goodman, and their two daughters.

Dr. Shaver will be presenting an invited lecture, co-authored by Dr. Mario Mikulincer, on Meaning and Other Existential Concerns: The View from Attachment Theory. Click here to view the learning objectives.

Geoff Thompson Geoffrey R. Thompson, Ph.D, is Program Director at the Sunshine Coast Health Center, a residential facility for men suffering from addiction and co-occurring disorders, such as ADD and PTSD. He implemented a meaning-centered model at the center, based largely on Paul T. P. Wong’s work.

Dr. Thompson earned his Ph.D in Psychology from Saybrook University. He has worked as an addictions therapist and researcher for more than a decade. His most recent study used a mixed method design to gain a more nuanced and sophisticated understanding of meaning therapy at the treatment center. Results will be published in The Journal of Humanistic Psychology.

Among his publications are A Long Night’s Journey into Day: A Psychobiography of Eugene O’Neill’s Recovery from Alcoholism, A Meaning-Centered Therapy for Addictions, and co-editing The Positive Psychology of Meaning and Addiction Recovery.

Dr. Thompson’s invited workshop on Meaning Therapy for Addictions will present video segments of therapy sessions and discuss narratives of actual clients. Click here to view the workshop learning objectives.