The Legacy of Dr. Leston Havens

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Conference Facilitator: Bob Childs, PsyD
Conference Faculty: Stephen Bergman, MD, Jennifer Havens, MD, Todd Griswold, MD, Elissa Kleinman, MD, Peter Kramer, MD, Thomas Lavin, PhD, Simon LeJeune, MD, Robert Michels, MD, Alex Sabo, MD

William James College is excited to announce the first day-long conference in the continuing lecture series that focuses on the current role of Humanistic Psychology in the context of the continually changing dynamics within the field of psychology and mental health practice. While evidence based treatments and behavioral protocols have come to prominence in recent years, humanistic psychology remains at the core of the human transaction and process that is psychotherapy. This lecture series aims to bring esteemed colleagues from around the country whose primary focus is on the humanistic perspective in psychotherapy to help articulate why this perspective remains so vital and necessary in contemporary clinical practice

Program Description

Occasionally a rare teacher comes along who can influence generations of clinicians. Through his writing, Grand Rounds, teaching seminars, public speaking, clinical work and supervision Dr. Leston Havens was one of those rare jewels. Having taught generations of Harvard Medical School students, Dr. Havens had a long career as a clinician, mentor and teacher to many through his work at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center and Cambridge Hospital as well as a professor emeritus at Harvard. Dr. Havens was known best for his ground-breaking use of clinical methods and language that were adapted to each patient he worked with. Heavily influenced by Existential Psychiatry and the work of Elvin Semrad, Harry Stack Sullivan, Philip Bromberg among others, Dr. Havens was able to shape an original body of work through his writing and teaching. This day will be dedicated to bringing that work to life and extending the many valuable contributions that Dr. Havens made to the field of Psychology for today‚Äôs clinicians. 

Learning Objectives

  1. Discuss the original contributions to the field of psychology by Dr. Leston Havens
  2. Examine the different ways that Dr. Havens used clinical language with patients
  3. Explore the elements of Existential Psychiatry incorporated into the work of Dr. Havens

Program Code: HP09
Credits: 6 CE Credits
Fees: $100 or $50 for No CE Credits


Dr Leston Havens was a beloved teacher and mentor to many clinicians in the Boston area in a long career that took him from the Massachusetts Mental Health Center to Harvard University, where he was the head of training in the Psychiatry residency program at Cambridge Hospital. He was innovative in his use of language with patients and taught his students how to really listen and connect with their patients without focusing on psychopathology. He authored 7 books including Making Contact: Uses of Language in Psychotherapy. Dr Havens died in 2011.


YouTube Channel

William James College Humanistic Psychology Lecture Series is NOW Online!

The William James College Humanistic Psychology Lecture Series now has its own YouTube Channel! Included are prior lectures by Drs. Irv Yalom, Lionel Corbett, Mark Epstein, Robbie Bosnak, Joseph Cambray and Bob Childs. We will continue to post all new lectures on the channel. We hope that you have fun exploring!

To view these lectures please go to YouTube and search for Humanistic Psychology Lecture Series, or click here.



  • When

  • Saturday, September 15, 2018
    9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Eastern Time

  • Where

  • Gutman Conference Center
    Harvard Graduate School of Education
    6 Appian Way
    Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138

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