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2010 Plenary Sessions

Thursday Evening Opening Plenary
Presentation Title:    Unclean: The Psychology of Purity and Pollution

Summary: Despite the Biblical commands to be pure and holy, the psychology of purity is clinically, theologically and morally treacherous. Attributions of “unclean” are often implicated in ruined self- images, intergroup hostility and doctrinal conflict. How do we navigate the psychology of purity? Positive Psychology might lead the way.

Learning Objective 1: Recognize how disgust psychology can damage self-image, create intergroup hostility, and fuel conflict within religious groups.
Learning Objective 2: Summarize the Positive Psychology literature on transcendence and moral elevation.
Learning Objective 3: Create clinical and interpersonal interventions informed by Positive Psychology to address dysfunctions associated with disgust psychology

Speaker: Richard Beck, PhD is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. He is a very popular professor, and has received departmen- tal, college, and university “teacher of the year” awards. Dr. Beck is a contributing editor to the Journal of Psychology and Theology, and frequent publisher in it and the Journal of Psychology and Christianity.

Audience Level: Intermediate    (1 CE)


Friday Morning Plenary  
Presentation Title: The Paradox of Sacrifice

Summary: What are the secrets to contentment? People are more at risk than ever before of living stressed, isolated lives, with a focus on happiness that does not produce it. A growing body of marital research suggests both the power and paradox of sacrifice-producing insights for all important relationships.

Learning Objective 1: Attendees will learn about the growing mass of research that shows that people are more isolated than ever socially, and that this has consequences for marriage and family life.
Learning Objective 2: Attendees will learn how to discriminate healthy giving between partners and unhealthy sacrifice of the self, including the practical implications of numerous studies that show healthy sacrifice between spouses is strongly in the mix of what fuels strong and healthy marriages.
Learning Objective 3: Attendees will learn specific strategies that are empirically based for countering the trends in isolation that threaten the healthy of family life. Learning Objective 4: Attendees will learn simple strategies for helping clients be more giving than taking in their orientation to relationships.

Speaker: Scott Stanley, PhD is a Research Pro- fessor of Psychology and co-director of the Denver Center for Marital and Family Studies at the Uni- versity of Denver in Denver, Colorado. He serves as the President of Christian PREP, Inc. and is the senior advisor to the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative. Dr. Stanley is widely published and is a frequent speaker at international conferences. He is the re- cipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Smart Marriages Impact Award for research on marriage education, the 2005 Gary Collins Award of Excellence from the American Association of Christian Counselors, and the 2002 Colorado Book Award for Fighting for Your Marriage.

Audience Level: Introductory – Intermediate (1 CE)

Friday Luncheon Plenary  
Presentation Title: Strengths: Hope and Well-Being of College Students

Summary: Dr. Lopez will discuss the big picture of why personal strengths matter when adjusting to college and succeeding academically. He will be sharing the scientific foundation and latest studies that demonstrate the impact of strengths based development and education. He will also discuss some ways to integrate and apply strengths into your counseling work. Finally, links between strengths, hope, well-being and traditional college outcomes will be examined.

Learning Objective 1: Identify personal strengths by completing the Clifton StrengthsFinder.
Learning Objective 2: Learn to measure hope in youth and adults using brief psychometrically sound scales.
Learning Objective 3: Apply knowledge about strengths, hope and well-being to plans for college student development and counseling/psychological practice.

Speaker: Shane Lopez, PhD is the Research Di- rector of The Clifton Strengths Institute in Omaha, Nebraska, where he leads nationwide strength- based educational initiatives and conducts research on hope, well-being, and academic success. He
is also a Senior Scientist at the Gallop Organiza- tion, where he conducts research and organizes the International Positive Psychology Summit. Dr. Lopez was an Associate Professor in the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Kansas from 1998-2003, and received the Kansas Psycholo- gist Association’s “Outstanding Teaching Award” in 2003. Dr. Lopez is widely published and is in high demand as a conference speaker. He was honored with the Sage Publications Best New Book of 2006 award for Positive Psychology: Scientific and Practical Explorations of Human Strengths.

Audience Level: All levels (1 CE)

Saturday Morning Plenary   
Presentation Title:    The Virtue of Positive Psychology: A Philosophical and Theological Evaluation

Summary: Positive psychology, in promoting human strengths and virtues, represents an important complementary approach to psychologies that focus on remediation of pathology. Its slant on virtue generally, and several specific virtues, will be examined and contrasted with philosophical and theological approaches. It is suggested that positive psychology may be enriched through dialogue with these other disciplines.

Learning Objective 1: To evaluate the benefits positive psychology offers faith traditions, specifically Christianity, in the development of practical tools that promote specific virtues.
Learning Objective 2: To appraise the contributions philosophy and theology can make to positive psychology in terms of its construal of virtue/s.
Learning Objective 3: To demonstrate various critical perspectives on positive psychology and its conception of individual and collective flourishing.

Speaker: Liz Gulliford, MPhil is a research assistant for the Psychology and Religion Research Group, based at the Centre for Advanced Religious and Theological Studies, Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge University, England. Liz is a doctoral student and has published widely in the areas of positive psychology, gratitude, hope and forgive- ness, including co-authoring, with Dr. Fraser Watts, the 2004 book Forgiveness in Context: Theology and Psychology in Creative Dialogue. She received her BA degree (honors) in Theology from Trinity College, Oxford University.

Audience Level: Intermediate (1 CE)

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