Humanistic Psychology Landmark Site up for Sale

In 1964, the American Humanistic Association of Psychology (AHAP) held its first invitational conference on in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. The conference, popularly known as the “Old Saybrook conference,” was crucial in developing the character of Humanistic Psychology in America. Now the venue for this historical meeting, The Castle Inn, has been listed for sale.

According to the Association for Humanistic Psychology (the current incarnation of AHAP), the 1964 conference was,

an historic gathering that did much to establish the character of the new movement. Attendees included psychologists, among whom were Gordon Allport, J.F.T. Bugental, Charlotte Buhler, Abraham Maslow, Rollo May, Gardner Murphy, Henry Murray and Carl Rogers, as well as humanists from other disciplines, such as Jacques Barzun, Rene Dubos and Floyd Matson.

The conferees questioned why the two dominant versions of psychology did not deal with human beings as uniquely human nor with many of the real problems of human life. They agreed that if psychology were to become more than a narrow academic discipline limited by the biases of behaviorism, and if it were to study human attributes such as values and self-consciousness that the depth psychologists had chosen to de-emphasize, their “Third Force” would have to offer a fuller concept and experience of what it means to be human.

The Castle Inn is not only notable for having hosted the Humanistic Psychology conference. Built in 1906, the Inn accommodated many prominent individuals over the years, including, Howard Hughes, the Rockefellers, actors Ethel Barrymore, Charlie Butterworth, Helen Hayes and Charlie Chaplin. For only $5.4 million, this spectacular landmark property can be yours.

For more information on the 1964 Humanistic Psychology conference see volume 2 of The Journal of Humanistic Psychology for 1965, in which a number of papers from the conference were published. These papers include:

Bugental, J. F. T. (1965). First Invitational Conference on Humanistic Psychology: The American Association for Humanistic Psychology. The Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 2, 180-181.

Rogers, C. R. (1965). Some thoughts regarding the current philosophy of the behaviorial sciences. The Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 2,182-194.

Kelly, G. A. (1965). The threat of aggression. The Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 2, 15-201.

May, R. (1965). Intentionality, the heart of human will. The Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 2, 202-209.

Shoben, E. J., Jr. (1965). Psychology: Natural science or humanistic discipline? The Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 2, 210-218.

Maslow, A. H. (1965). Humanistic science and transcendent experiences. The Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 2, 219-227.

A thank you to York University doctoral student Kristian Weihs, who brought this story to AHP’s attention and whose archival research indicates that The Castle Inn was the location of the 1964 Humanistic Psychology conference.

About Jacy Young

Jacy Young is a professor at Quest University Canada. A critical feminist psychologist and historian of psychology, she is committed to critical pedagogy and public engagement with feminist psychology and the history of the discipline.

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