Award for Distinguished Contributions to Teaching and Mentoring

2016 Award Recipient

Dr. Charles Gelso

Dr. Charles Gelso

Dr. Gelso received his doctoral degree from Ohio State University in 1970. After working at the University of Maryland counseling center for 12 years, he joined the Psychology Department as a fulltime professor in 1982 and became an Emeritus Professor in 2013. His theoretical, research, and clinical interests focus on the patient-therapist relationship in psychotherapy.   

Dr. Gelso states: “I have theorized that all therapeutic relationships consist of a working alliance, a personal or ‘real’ relationship, and a transference-countertransference configuration. Although these components all are rooted in psychoanalytic theory, my attempt has been to theorize about and empirically investigate their operations in diverse psychotherapies. I have empirically studied all of the elements of this tripartite model and my research program along with clinical experience has allowed me to write book-length treatments of two of the components: countertransference (Gelso & Hayes, 2007) and the real relationship (Gelso, 2011). I am now beginning a book on how the tripartite model operates in the practice of psychotherapy. My other main area of interest is research training in applied areas of psychology, particularly clinical and counseling psychology. Here I have developed a theory of the ingredients of training that, when present, facilitate graduate students’ interest in, self-efficacy about, and production of research during their graduate training and afterwards. The product of over three decades of research on this theory has been presented in a recent publication (Gelso, Baumann, Chui, & Savela, A., 2013). I have also conducted individual psychotherapy throughout my career, and I currently see patients through my private practice. My approach to treatment is psychodynamic, although I do integrate other theories as is indicated.”

Dr. Gelso has chaired 35 dissertation committees, chaired 27 thesis committees, and chaired seven undergraduate honors theses.  His teaching and research have influenced a generation of young psychologists.  

Along with many other awards and honors, recently Dr. Gelso has received the Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award, 2011-2012, Society for Counseling Psychology; the Lifetime Contribution Award for Psychotherapy Research, 2012, Society for Psychotherapy Research; and the James Cosse Distinguished Service Award, 2013, American Academy of Counseling Psychology; and the SAP Distinguished Psychologist Award, 2003.  Dr. Gelso has also served as the editor of the Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy’s peer-reviewed journal, Psychotherapy, and the Society has named one of its grant programs in his honor:  the Charles J. Gelso Psychotherapy Research Grant.

The Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy Award for Distinguished Contributions to Teaching and Mentoring


In 2007, the Division’s Board established the Division 29 Award for Distinguished Contributions to Teaching and Mentoring, with the first award presented in 2008.

The criteria for receipt of this award are as follows:

  • Membership in Division 29
  • Contribution to the field of psychotherapy through the education and training of the next generation of psychotherapists
  • Evidence that the individual exerted a significant impact on the development of students and/or early career psychologists in their careers as psychotherapists

Application materials should include:

  1. a letter of nomination (self or other nominations are welcome) describing the individual’s impact, role, and activities as a mentor;
  2. current Curriculum Vitae; and
  3. letters of reference for the mentor, written by students, former students, and/or  colleagues who are early career psychologists that describe the nature of the mentoring relationship (when, where, level of training), an explanation of the role played by the mentor in facilitating the student or colleague’s development as a psychotherapist, and attention to behaviors that characterize successful mentoring (helping students to select and work toward appropriate goals; providing critical feedback on individual work; providing support at all times, especially encouragement and assistance in the face of difficulties; assisting students in applying for awards, grants, and other funding; assisting students in building social network connections, both with individuals and within organizations that are important in the field; serving as a role model and leader for teaching, research, and academic and public service in psychology; offering general advice with respect to professional development (e.g., graduate school, postdoctoral study, faculty positions), awards, and publications; treating student/colleagues with respect, spending time with them, providing open communication lines, and gradually moving the student into the role of colleague).

Individuals who were nominated in previous years for the Teaching and Mentoring Award may carry over their complete application to a subsequent year by writing a letter to the Chair of the Professional Awards Committee requesting resubmission of the previous application.

Award recipients receive an honorarium of $500 and an award plaque from the Division at the Division’s Awards Ceremony at the APA Convention.

Deadline for nominations for this award are January 1 of each year.

All items must be sent electronically.  The letter of nomination must be emailed to the Chair of the Professional Awards Committee, Dr. Armand Cerbone at

Previous Recipients

2015 – no award given

2014 – Mark Hilsenroth

2013 – Laura Brown

2011 – Jeffrey E. Barnett

2010 – Louis Castonguay

2009 – Marvin Goldfried

2008 – Mathilda B. Canter