Mission and HistoryMission and History

Mission Statement

The CHTA is a local and international, interdisciplinary network, linking people from different professions who are dedicated to advancing the values of the humanistic, existential, transpersonal and somatic approaches to human experience, health and development. The CHTA is a voice for an integrative perspective in the political forum, supporting diversity of approaches in psychotherapy and wellness. The CHTA supports the integration of spiritual and humanistic values, holistic philosophy, energy therapies and traditional practices in the fields of ecopsychology and ecospirituality, sustainable living, social justice, civil society, transformational leadership and organizational development, holistic education, human sciences. This is a non-religious, non-partisan, non-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors and an Executive Committee, with an Advisory Board of distinguished professionals from a variety of fields.


The CHTA was founded by the Living Institute (www.livinginstitute.org) on Feb 1, 2009 in Toronto, based on the need to have a political forum to advocate for humanistic, existential, transpersonal and somatic modalities in the historic dialogue around the regulation of psychotherapy in Ontario, following passage of the Psychotherapy Act in 2007. For many people, psychotherapy has been the entry point for individual exploration of questions concerning identity, meaning, relationship, embodiment and spirituality.

While CHTA seeks to maintain these values in psychotherapy, it welcomes members from psychology, education, medicine, naturopathy, social services, community activists, organizational developers, coaches, students, artists, scientists, architects, politicians, spiritual leaders, business owners - anyone who shares humanistic and transpersonal values and wants to make a difference in a world where prosperity without responsibility or spiritual direction has resulted in a crisis of individual meaninglessness and devastating impact on the world economy and ecology.
Crystal Hawk, MEd, BA, co-founder of a Toronto chapter of the Association for Humanistic Psychology (AHP) from 1977-1988 was present at the founding meeting of CHTA. Paul Wong, PhD, and Lillian Wong, PhD, MA, BSc, of the International Network on Personal Meaning (INPM), and Sharon Cass Toole, MEd, BA, of the Canadian Association for Integrative and Energy Therapies (CAIET) were also present.

Since the inaugural meeting, several people have agreed to be on the CHTA Advisory Board. These are Thomas R. Verny, MD, DPsych., DHL, FRCPC, (psychiatrist, writer, lecturer, academic, faculty at Santa Barbara Graduate Institute, co-founder of the Association for Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Health), Paul Grof, MD, PhD, FRCP, (Professor of  Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Director of the Mood Disorders Clinic of Ottawa, author,  recipient of many awards), Mary Pearson, CMC, BA, (management consultant to business and government, author of the Financial Post online career column Workplace Shaman, international speaker), Crystal Hawk, Med, BA, (psychotherapist, EFT practitioner, educator, co-founder of Therapeutic Touch Network of Ontario), Dan Merkur, PhD, (psychoanalyst, author, research reader in the study of religion at University of Toronto).


As an organization, CHTA has foundationally received mentorship and inspiration from the Association for Humanistic Psychology (www.ahpweb.org), Association for Transpersonal Psychology (www.atpweb.org), International Transpersonal Association (www.itp.org), Division 32 Humanistic Psychology of the American Psychological Association (www.apa.org/divisions/div32/),  the International Network on Personal Meaning (www.meaning.ca) and the Living Institute (www.livinginstitute.org). 

The CHTA is in the process of becoming a local chapter, or 'energy centre', of the conjoined Association for Humanistic Psychology (AHP, www.ahpweb.org, formed in 1962, now with 24 related international organizations) and Association for Transpersonal Psychology (ATP, www.atpweb.org, formed in 1971, and now part of the International Transpersonal Association, ITA). The ITA (originally founded in 1978) was re-incorporated on May 27, 2008  as an umbrella group for the 28 international transpersonal associations, (see the ATP Guide the Transpersonal Internet at http://atpweb.org/IntlTranspOrgs.asp) modelled on Eurotas, which is a an umbrella organization for 18 European Transpersonal Associations (www.eurotas.org). David Lukoff, co-president of ATP, has created a Google Group for the International Associations of Transpersonal Psychology (http://atpweb.org/googlegroup). David Lukoff's account of the re-activation of the ITA (with the blessing of co-founders Stan and Christina Grof) at the ATP 2008 conference in Delhi was published in the AHP/ATP Perspective Newsletter, Dec & Jan 2009 issue (www.ahpweb.org, click on 'Perspective Archive'). 

The history, breadth and interconnections of the humanistic and transpersonal traditions, includes connections to the depth, existential and somatic traditions in psychology, and also to the broader fields of social justice, ecopsychology, ecospirituality and environmentalism, transformational leadership, human sciences, organizational development and others. There is a broad field of humanistic and transpersonal activity that is global. A directory listing of collegial contacts is being developed by CHTA, detailing some of the North American and international organizations, graduate schools and university psychology departments in the humanistic, transpersonal, existential, somatic and related traditions. Currently there are about 150 listed, with many of these in turn listing others. Read more. This is a work in progress. You can help by adding to the list. It does, however, already give a broad picture of the field, and information to enable you to connect to these groups.

Values: The CHTA values include:

  1. a holistic and ecological perspective on the evolving wellness of the individual;
  2. the importance of finding personal meaning and purpose;
  3. support for the transpersonal, spiritual and soulful orientations and modalities;
  4. encouraging dialogue between indigenous ways of knowing and healing with current integrative approaches to mind-body healing;
  5. an inclusive postmodern and multicultural approach to the search for holistic psychological and physical health;
  6. promotion of conscious, eco-spiritual perspectives that contribute to a sustainable evolution of the individual, society and nature;
  7. recognizing and promoting interconnectedness in various ways, including through the international network of humanistic, transpersonal, existential and somatic professional organizations and educational institutions.

Objectives and Activities:

The CHTA welcomes individual and organizational members who seek to:

  1. educate the public about the CHTA values, as they are relevant to applications within their fields and communities
  2. participate in research to promote humanistic, existential, transpersonal and somatic perspectives
  3. connect to the local grass-roots movement of people interested in exploring ways to promote health, development and peace through these shared values
  4. promote political awareness through communication and dialogue when social and political opportunities arise relevant to CHTA values
  5. to participate in the emerging global network of like-minded people and organizations
  6. to provide professional development programs

Why become a member?

  1. Connect with local and international like-minded people who may contribute to and promote your activities and projects.  Members will be able to circulate information about workshops, lectures, conferences and activities through a CHTA network email list.
  2. The CHTA seeks to become a recognized stakeholder in the current political definition of psychotherapy in Ontario. Without an organized political platform, the humanistic, existential, transpersonal and somatic values within the newly recognized profession of psychotherapy will not have a designated spokesperson.  It is possible that policies could be drafted to limit or forbid psychotherapeutic work within these modalities.*
  3. We will seek to provide a professional insurance carrier for psychotherapy members.
  4. Post your opinion pieces or research articles on the CHTA website.
  5. Become part of an international network of likeminded people.

* In 2007, the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care established The Psychotherapy Act, regulating psychotherapy as a profession in Ontario for the first time. A government-appointed Transitional Council is being set up to create the new College of Psychotherapy and Registered Mental Health Therapists of Ontario. This College will be responsible for interpreting the new controlled act of psychotherapy and the scope of practice, set entry standards and fitness to practice, define grand-parenting criteria for current practitioners, define professional obligations and ethical standards, establish a complaints, discipline and appeals procedure.

The Psychotherapy Act includes the power to 'prohibit the use of therapies other than the prescribed therapies in the course of the practise of psychotherapy'.

The government will consider input from the psychotherapy professional community within a two to three year window. After that, whatever has been established will be ratified, and will define the field of professional psychotherapy for many years to come.  We are very concerned that the modalities and values of humanistic, existential, transpersonal, and somatic psychology be respected and preserved within this political definition.

Establishing the CHTA will provide a political footprint at this important time.  We want to add the professional voice of an established tradition that speaks for eclectic depth and holism in the dialogue between the profession and the government.