Simply put, the Spirituality/Meaning Division aims to advance the science and practice of spirituality and meaning.
The Division catalyzes, aggregates, and communicates on the science of spirituality & meaning, and in turn, shares and explores evidence-based practices therein for the benefit of individuals, groups, and society. It brings spirituality more strongly into the fold within positive psychology and emphasizes connections across backgrounds (e.g., ethnic, racial, gender, spiritual, religious) and across professional disciplines, within the Division, among other IPPA Divisions, and with related groups outside the Division. While psychology and positive psychology are often subjective – and spirituality even moreso – we turn to the science to inform the education and practice. Science is the default.
Dual-path benefits: Spirituality and meaning are associated with a myriad of benefits for both
psychosocial and physical well-being and for managing adversity in life. Well-being and adversity
represent very broad, wide-reaching streams by which individuals and communities can benefit.
Science: This is the #1 priority of the Division. We provide review/share the basic and applied science
behind spirituality and meaning – offering a strong knowledge base relating to those topics. This
includes the science relating to spiritual experiences, rituals, practices, and communities. The aim is not
only to share these findings but also to distill them into tangible forms for recipients across disciplines.
Practice: From the science, evidence-based practices emerge. These flow from the fountain of basic and
applied research on spirituality and have streams not only in the form of spiritual experience, rituals,
and practices but also in meaning-making, character strengths, mindfulness, yoga, and a myriad of other
practices. This is critical as personal transformation that professionals and their clients seek, requires
practical change. Therefore, activities, exercises, and other tools to enable growth through spirituality
and meaning will be offered.
Correcting misconceptions: There’s no doubt spirituality in particular has suffered from misconceptions
and inaccurate stereotypes in the field of psychology over the decades and to some degree in the field
of positive psychology. It has been viewed as unscientific, not psychologically-relevant, as navel-gazing
or pie-in-the-sky gazing, as only for the deeply religious or the yogi masters, or all about healing with
crystals. Such misconceptions are destructive to the science of spirituality/meaning and do a disservice
to the hundreds of scientists who have ventured into such territory. The experiences and learning
opportunities provided by this Division will not only correct such misconceptions but will demonstrate
the pivotal role of this work for people’s lives.
Community: This Division is a place for IPPA members to come together and grow, to build connections,
and to network across professions and Divisions. Many practitioners, researchers, students, and
educators, who work in this field, dabble with it, or hope/plan to someday, will want to call this Division
– this community – their “positive psychology home.” Some people find it uncomfortable to research,
discuss, or give presentations on these topics. This Division will be a safe and empowering place for
Diversity: Building from the last point, spirituality and meaning are universal. If we view spirituality from
the lens of its scientific definition – the pursuit or communing with the sacred to provide meaning – then
this topic is relevant for every human being. This Division is inclusive of all people regardless of
nationality, ethnicity/race/gender, spiritual perspective, religious belief/lack of religious belief, age, and
background. We aim to create a space that is accessible and inclusive for everyone and is tolerant and
understanding of different beliefs. It’s a “place” for not only personal growth and healthy
communication among people, but is a place for deep learning to occur.
Join the Division:
To view and update your IPPA professional division membership, please log in to your IPPA profile. Click “Custom” then click the drop down arrow under “Spirituality & Meaning Division” on the right side of the page and click “Yes.” Last, click “Update” at the bottom of the page.