11th Biennial International Meaning Conference 2020

From Vulnerability to
Resilience & Well-being:
Advances in Existential & Positive Psychology (PP2.0)

July 30 to August 2, 2020
Location: Novotel, 3 Park Home Ave, Toronto North York, Ontario, Canada

Call for Papers

Submission and scholarship deadline: April 30, 2020

Our Meaning Conference once again rises to the challenge of the times with a world dangerously divided along ideological, economic and racial lines. The enormity and complexities of real-world problems, such as global warming, refugee crisis, growing income gap, and the alarming increases in depression, opioid-related deaths, and suicide, are beyond the scope of any school of psychology and demand a multidisciplinary solution. That’s why, now more than ever, the world needs INPM’s inclusive “Big Tent” approach.

We have chosen the conference theme, because at a time when our vulnerability is laid bare by the external threats and our collective existential crisis, we embrace it as an opportunity to explore and discover new pathways to resilience and well-being; this is the basic orientation of existential positive psychology or second wave positive psychology (PP2.0). PP2.0 may be defined as the scientific study of meaning, resilience, virtue, and well-being, as well as evidence-based applications to improve the life of individuals and society by embracing the dark side of human existence. We welcome researchers and practitioners from all disciplines and theoretical stripes to join us in tackling any of the following areas.

  1. The role of meaning in well-being.
  2. The contributions of cultural differences and indigenous psychology to global well-being.
  3. The need to confront human suffering as the foundation for well-being.
  4. The role of responsibility in personal, institutional, and global well-being.
  5. The transformation of shame, guilt, anxiety, and other negative emotions as a means of achieving sustainable happiness.
  6. The role of faith and spirituality in positive mental health.
  7. The positive psychology of sickness, death and dying.
  8. The effect of interactions between positive and negative emotions on well-being.
  9. A dialectical mindset in avoiding radicalism and achieving a balance.
  10. Humility and servant leadership in resolving conflicts.
  11. Moral courage in the face of dangers and risks.

The above is only a subset of the vast domain of PP2.0. All submissions are welcome in any areas related to the adaptive benefits of what is typically considered as undesirable or unprofitable for well-being.

Submission Guidelines

Submissions are not restricted to the above conference themes. We welcome submissions on a wide variety of topics related to the broad domains of meaning research and applications, such as resilience, grit, addiction recovery, positive education, life and death education, and psychotherapy. Both qualitative and quantitative presentations are welcome.

Please submit all abstracts to drpaulwong@gmail.com no later than 11:59 PM on April 30, 2020:

  • The email subject line should be “Meaning Conference 2020 Submission | [Author Name(s)]”
  • The attached file(s) should be .docx or .doc (or .rtf for those without Microsoft Word)
  • Minimum 1 and maximum 3 submissions per person
  • Text should be single-spaced, Times New Roman, 12-pt font
  • Include author name(s) and affiliation(s), submission title, presentation type, presentation length (if it is a workshop)
  • Please see the presentation types below for further instructions for each presentation type and CE credits

Notice of acceptance will be issued as soon as the review is completed, and no later than June 1, 2020.

Presentation Types


Symposia are 60-minute presentations by 3-5 individuals who address a common theme or topic. Ten minutes should be reserved for questions from the audience. Proposals for symposia should include a 300-word overview and abstracts from the individual participants of about 300 words.

Paper Sessions

Individual oral presentations should be no longer than 10 minutes and will be grouped with other presentations. Individual papers should include a 300-word abstract and an indication of which conference theme(s) apply to it. Your submission may be reviewed for a poster presentation if it cannot fit into a paper session. Please note that invited paper presentations will be 20 minutes.


Workshops may range from 1 to 2 hours. Typically, they involve interaction with participants with a focus on interventions. Workshop proposals should include a 500-word overview and a 250-word biography which includes the presenter’s education and professional experience.


Poster submissions should include a 300-word abstract. Posters will be displayed on 4’ x 3’ (121cm x 91cm) poster boards.

CE Credits

If you seek CE Credits, please include a 250-word biography for each presenter as well as the learning objectives of your submission.

Keynote Speakers

Robert A. Emmons, PhD

Dr Robert EmmonsDr. Emmons is Professor of Psychology at UC Davis (Davis, California). His research is in the field of personality psychology, emotion psychology, and psychology of religion. He has written or edited 6 books and over 100 articles for scientific journals. He is Editor-In-Chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology. Emmons’ research examines the psychology of gratitude and the psychology of individual goal setting and their connection with positive outcomes in a person’s life. He was involved in a $905,000 research grant from the Templeton Foundation during 2006-2009 evaluating the effect of Young Life (a Christian youth ministry) on teens’ spiritual fruits such as kindness, generosity, and selflessness, and has received other grants from them. Emmons is known for working on multiple research projects focused on gratitude. He addresses many ways to stay grateful in different situations and has found through his research that gratefulness inspires happiness. He is focused on finding ways to engender gratefulness in youth. He has found that practicing acts of gratitude such as journaling things for which one is grateful for can promote well-being.

Corey Lee M. Keyes, PhD

Dr Cory Keyes My areas of expertise include social psychology and mental health. My research centers on illuminating the “two continua” model of health and illness, showing how the absence of mental illness does not translate into the presence of mental health, and revealing that the causes of true health are often distinct processes from those now understood as the risks for mental illness. This work is being applied to better understanding resilience, prevention of mental illness, and informs the growing healthcare approach called “Predictive Health,” which monitors the presence of positive physical and mental health and to develop and apply responses to correct early losses of it to maintain health and limit disease and illness. I have and continue to work on healthcare transformation and public mental health with governmental agencies in Canada, Northern Ireland, Australia, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevent, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the American Association of Colleges and Universities.

Kirk J. Schneider, PhD

Dr Kirk SchneiderDr. Schneider is a psychologist and psychotherapist who has taken a leading role in the advancement of existential-humanistic therapy, and existential-integrative therapy. Schneider is also the current editor of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology. His major books are Existential-Humanistic Therapy (2010), Existential-Integrative Therapy (2008), The Handbook of Humanistic Psychology (with James Bugental and Fraser Pierson) (2001), The Psychology of Existence (with Rollo May) (1995), Rediscovery of Awe (2004), Awakening to Awe (2009), and “The Polarized Mind” (2013).

He worked closely with existential and humanistic psychology pioneer Rollo May, and in 2004, was himself the recipient of the Rollo May Award from Division 32 of the American Psychological Association for “outstanding and independent pursuit of new frontiers in humanistic psychology.” He has been integral in fostering global dialogs surrounding existential themes in psychology, and in April 2010, he delivered the opening keynote address at the First (East-West) International Existential Psychology Conference in NanjingChina. He is also a Fellow of three Divisions of the American Psychological Association (HumanisticClinical, and Independent Practice) and has published over 100 articles and chapters and has authored or edited eight books. He is currently vice-president of the Existential-Humanistic Institute (EHI), adjunct faculty at Saybrook University, Teachers College, Columbia University, and the California Institute of Integral Studies, and contributor to Psychology Today.

Tim Lomas, PhD

Dr Tim LomasDr Lomas is one of Europe’s leading experts on positive psychology and the programme leader at the University of East London’s MSc in Applied Positive Psychology (one of the most highly respected post-graduate courses in Europe). His research interests are ‘second wave’ positive psychology, his cross-cultural lexicography, and mindfulness/Buddhism. He has written for the Guardian and has published numerous academic papers in high-profile journals, including Psychology, Public Policy and Law, Mindfulness, Psychology and Health and the Journal of Happiness Studies. His first book The Positive Power of Negative Emotions was published in 2016. His current main area of research involves creating a lexicography of untranslatable words relating to wellbeing. Two books on the project are out in 2018: an academic analysis of the lexicography, entitled Translating Happiness: A Cross-Cultural Lexicon of Wellbeing, published by The MIT Press; and a general interest exploration of key words, entitled The Happiness Dictionary: Words from Around the World to Help Us Lead a Richer Life, published by Piatkus.

Gordon L. Flett, PhD

Dr Gordon FlettDr. Flett is most recognized for his seminal contributions to research and theory on the role of perfectionism in psychopathology. His collaborative work with Dr. Paul Hewitt of the University of British Columbia on perfectionism has received widespread national and international attention and has been the subject of numerous media stories, including coverage on CTV, CNN, and the BBC. This work has been supported by major research grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Other current research interests include the study of feelings of mattering to others in health and well-being. Also, in keeping with his interest in adjustment across the lifespan, Dr. Flett is conducting programmatic research on the nature and correlates of suicidality in the elderly. Dr. Flett holds a Canada Research Chair in Personality & Health.

Louis Hoffman, PhD

Dr Louis Hoffman

Dr Hoffman is a widely recognized author, professor, scholar, therapist, and speaker. He is a psychologist in private practice in Colorado Springs, Colorado and the Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Humanistic Counseling and Psychological Association. Dr. Hoffman is a past president of the Society for Humanistic Psychology (Division 32 of the Society of Humanistic Psychology). An accomplished scholar, he serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Humanistic PsychologyThe Humanistic PsychologistJanus Head, and PsycCRITIQUES: APA Review of Books. He is a co-founder of the International Institute of Existential-Humanistic Psychology (IIEHP). Through the IIEHP and the China Institute of Psychotherapy, Dr. Hoffman provides training in certificate programs on humanistic and existential psychotherapy in China. In 2015, Dr. Hoffman was recognized as a fellow of the American Psychological Association, which is granted to individuals for “unusual and outstanding contribution or performance in the field of psychology.” He is also a fellow of three divisions of the American Psychological Association including the Society for Humanistic Psychology (APA Division 32), the Society for General Psychology (APA Division 1), Society for the Study of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts (APA Division 10), and Division 52 (International Psychology).



Honey Family FoundationThe concept of second wave positive psychology (PP 2.0) has been in the literature since Wong (2011). Recently, empirical support for the importance of integrating negatives and positives has been reported (Gruber, Mauss, & Tamir, 2011; Ivtzan, Lomas, Hefferon, & Worth, 2015; Lomas & Ivtzan, 2015; Kashdan & Biswas-Diener, 2014; Wong & Roy, 2018).

One of the main conference themes is to explore ways to transform the vulnerability for shame, guilt, and fear to resilience and well-being (Wong, 2019a). A related conference theme is that sustainable well-being is built on embracing one’s Shadow and the dark side of human existence. Other conference themes related to PP 2.0 include the following:

  • The contributions of cultural differences and indigenous psychology to global well-being.
  • The role of responsibility in personal, institutional, and global well-being.
  • The role of faith and spirituality in positive mental health.
  • The effect of interactions between positive and negative emotions on well-being.
  • A dialectical mindset in avoiding extremes and achieving a balanced life.

PP 2.0 incorporates existential positive psychology and indigenous psychology. This scholarship contest is to encourage graduate students to get involved in the exciting and ongoing development of positive psychology. All submissions need to be related to some aspects of PP 2.0 as defined in Wong (2019b); submissions may be based on empirical research, case studies, literature review, or theoretical analysis.


As judged by a panel of adjudicators consisting of Piers Worth, Ph.D., Roger Tweed, Ph.D., and Paul T. P. Wong, Ph.D., the winners will receive the following scholarships to present at the International Meaning Conference 2020 in Toronto, in addition to waived conference registration.

  • First Prize: CAD $1,000
  • Second Prize: CAD $800
  • Third Prize: CAD $500

As well, three honourable mentions will receive waived conference registration for the all-inclusive package (valued at over CAD $500 for students). All six winners will have the opportunity for oral presentations at the conference and subsequent publication in our journal or proceedings.

Winners must become Student Members of the INPM in order to receive the prize at the conference. Click here for membership registration.

Winners will be notified before May 20, 2020.


All graduate students are invited to submit their papers to drpaulwong@gmail.com no later than 11:59 PM on April 30, 2020:

  1. The email subject line should be “Meaning Conference 2020 Scholarship | Author Name(s)”
  2. The attached file(s) should be .docx or .doc (or .rtf for those without Microsoft Word)
  3. Text should be single-spaced, Times New Roman, 12-pt font
  4. The paper should be 1,000 words with a 200-word abstract
  5. The submission should be authored by either (a) one graduate student OR (b) one graduate student as the first author and a supervisor as the second author


Gruber, J., Mauss, I. B., & Tamir, M. (2011). A dark side of happiness? How, when, and why happiness is not always good. Perspectives on Psychological Science6(3), 222-233. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691611406927

Ivtzan, I., Lomas, T., Hefferon, K., & Worth, P. (2015). Second wave positive psychology: Embracing the dark side of life. New York, NY: Routledge.

Kashdan, T., & Biswas-Diener, R. (2014). The upside of your dark side. New York, NY: Plume.

Lomas, T., & Ivtzan, I. (2015). Second wave positive psychology: Exploring the positive-negative dialectics of wellbeingJournal of Happiness Studies. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-015-9668-y

Wong, P. T. P. (2011). Positive psychology 2.0: Towards a balanced interactive model of the good lifeCanadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 52(2), 69. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0022511

Wong, P. T. P. (2019a, March 23). Let your vulnerability be your strength. Positive Living in Difficult Times. Retrieved from https://www.meaning.ca/article/let-your-vulnerability-be-your-strength/

Wong, P. T. P. (2019b, July 31). Second wave positive psychology’s (PP. 2.0) contribution to counselling psychology. Retrieved from http://www.drpaulwong.com/second-wave-positive-psychologys-contribution-to-counselling-psychology/

Wong, P. T. P., & Roy, S. (2018). Critique of positive psychology and positive interventions. In N. J. L. Brown, T. Lomas, & F. J. Eiroa-Orosa (Eds.), The Routledge international handbook of critical positive psychology. London, England: Routledge.


It was truly a pleasure finally meeting you both… The presentation was well done and informative – kudos to both of you! … Thank you so much for your time and for allowing me the opportunity to experience firsthand your wisdom and kindness.
Don Laird, M.S., NCC, LPC
Psychotherapist & Owner, Pittsburgh Psychotherapy Associates

Thank you SO MUCH for allowing me to participate in this wonderful weekend-long journey into meaning. I learned so much and plan on continuing to develop my coaching niche around the concepts and models you taught this weekend. With profound gratitude!
Karen Henry, M.A.
Owner, Henry Healing

Thank you for the great learning and sharing during this weekend.
Zheni Nasi, B.A.
Recent Graduate, York University

It was fantastic … there was still so much rich content. … I so appreciate the holistic approach you and Lilian bring, acknowledging, encompassing, and embracing both tragedies and triumph. And what I am also grateful for, what possibly some of the other participants don’t know, is that this is not mere theory, but values that both you and Lilian live out. I am a witness and beneficiary of your kindness and gracious hope.
Dean Davey, Ph.D. Candidate
Vice President for Student Development, Pacific Life Bible College

Thanks again for hosting such a great weekend to explore MiL and MT at your Summer Institute. You are both very inspirational to us on many levels.
Scott McCready
Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Mobile Health Network

Thank you for a terrific and re-affirming conference!
Ronald Seletsky, M.Ed., LSW, LMHC
Associate Director of Mental Health Services, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Tewksbury Hospital