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The Eleanor Criswell Hanna Award Celebrating Women in Humanistic Psychology

APA Division 32 President, Ilene Serlin, Ph.D., Award Presenter:

     Eleanor Criswell Hanna, Ed.D., represents a person of courage who took a novel position in the field of psychology by emphasizing the somatic wisdom of the body to help heal the whole person. Eleanor Criswell Hanna was the Founding Director of the Humanistic Psychology Institute in 1971, which later became Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center, the educational heart of Humanistic Psychology education in the United States. She is founder and owner of the Novato Institute for Somatic Research and Training established in 1975 by Dr. Criswell Hanna and her husband, Thomas Hanna. She is also professor of psychology, emeritus at the Sonoma State University.

     Her life work focuses on somatics, yoga, embodiment, and ways to awaken human potential through somatic awareness, theory, practice and research. As stated on the Novato Institute for Somatic Research and Training website, "Somatics is a method for reawakening the mind's control of movement, flexibility, and health, committed to the actualization of the full human potential for all people within a healthy environmental context...".

     In a speech at the Saybrook Graduate School commencement ceremony in 1978, Dr. Criswell Hanna's vision and innovation were apparent. "In December of 1969," she said, "I conceived of the idea for the Humanistic Psychology Institute. My idea was to create a graduate institute devoted to the study of humanistic psychology and to the conduct of human research." Thus Saybrook University was born. Sharing her philosophical worldview, Criswell Hanna shared with the graduates that, "As a humanistic psychologist I have concern for all persons and their basic right to be treated as individuals with worth and dignity; the right to primacy of their experiences; the right to holistic development of their various talents and capacities, as well as the rights of the society to the contributions of all individuals toward the cultural evolution of mankind... The humanistic tradition has always been concerned with the full development of the person."

     Eleanor Criswell Hanna's vision for Humanistic Psychology still comprises the core of humanistic psychologies today.


Link to Eleanor Criswell Hanna, Ed.D. - Acceptance speech upon receipt of The Eleanor Criswell Hanna Award Celebrating Women in Humanistic Psychology:  https://youtu.be/XKj9qLLL3nQ