AHC National Awards
Call for Nominations

AHC is pleased to present awards to outstanding counselors and counselor educators at ACA and at our own AHC conference. It may be that many counselors, especially those whose ways of being align with humanistic approaches (e.g., upholding the unique strengths of others), may not also be naturally self-promoting. So, we are glad to facilitate the nomination of counselors or counselor educators whose work and way of being deserves recognition. 

As our nominations have greatly increased in recent years, we welcome repeat nominations from year to year and hope that nominators and nominees recognize the complement of even having been nominated and closely considered for a competitive national award. 

The open award categories are:

Outstanding Clinician: exemplifying humanistic approach, impacting community/clients

Outstanding Educator/Supervisor: member demonstrating humanistic philosophy in teaching/supervision, impacting the development of students/new professionals

Dissertation: recognizing outstanding dissertation with central and salient humanistic content, completed fall 2013 to 2014

Humanistic Advocacy and Social Justice Award: recognizing member who has served as significant advocate for social justice issues

Leadership: recognizing member with exemplary record of service-leadership

The Hollis Award: for publishing contributions relevant to humanistic counseling values

The Humanistic Impact Award: recognizing long-term and long-lasting impact on the counseling profession

See further info, requirements, and nomination guidance in our awards packet. See recent awardees below on this webpage.

Nominations due 01/15/2015. 

The Association for Humanistic Counseling is pleased to announce:

The 2015 Make A Difference Grant

We invite applications for our Make a Difference Research Grant. This grant supports graduate research with a humanistic philosophy, by students in a counseling program, which will make a difference for the population under study. The awarding of the grant is based on the humanistic characteristics and quality of the project as described in application.

Top rated applicant award includes:

  • $750 for research related expenses
  • certificate of recognition presented at the AHC Awards Presentations at the ACA 2015 Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida
  • acknowledgement of the research award on the AHC website, newsletter and other appropriate venues
  • invitation to speak about the research at the AHC Awards Presentations ACA 2015
  • invitation to prepare manuscript for consideration by Journal of Humanistic Counseling
  • invitation to propose presentation related to the research at the AHC Conference in Cleveland, Ohio in summer 2015.

Applications due: 1/15/2015. Requirements and guidance are on pages 18-21 of Awards Packet. 

Criteria, application guidance and form are in Awards Packet, pages 18-21. 

For further information, contact Awards and Grant Committee Co-Chairs: Jeff L. Cochran & Tracy Calley. Please send inquiries & applications to both of us at jcochr11@utk.edu and tkc23@txstate.edu 

2014 AHC Award & Make a Difference Grant Winners

Humanistic Dissertation Award

Michael Hannon, Penn State, Brooklyn College CUNY. In his study, Mike conducted in-depth interviews with each participant in order to build relationships allowing for deep, empathic understanding. Nominator, Richard Hazler explained, “Understanding how this unique underserved group makes meaning of their lives goes well beyond understanding numbers and data points.” Mike’s dissertation is, “Love him and everything else will fall into place”: An analysis of narratives of African-American fathers of children with autism spectrum disorders.

Humanistic Clinician Award

Paul Coleman (private practice, Orchard Park, NY). Paul’s nominator is able to speak directly of the effectiveness of his humanistic approach, highlighting Paul’s non-judgmental way of being as building “therapeutic relationships so strong that people trust him with pain that would be unspeakable to anyone else.”

Humanistic Advocacy & Social Justice Award

Amanda Thomas Evans, Auburn University, nominated by former teacher and supervisor, now colleague, Victoria Kress. Victoria informed us of Amanda’s passion for helping youth and families of rural, impoverished schools with interventions including career development and college readiness, and parent training - programs that inform Amanda’s teaching and scholarship, and inspires her students through their careers.

Humanistic Educator/Supervisor Award 

Victoria Kress, Youngstown State University, nominated by colleague, Paula Britton, with additional support from numerous former students! Paula provided examples evidencing Victoria’s belief that with compassion and encouragement, we achieve our full potential, and in doing so, we make the world a better place. Paula summarizes that from her 25+ years in the field, she finds “Dr. Kress to be one of the most humanistic, energetic, altruistic, enthusiastic, hardworking, and thoughtful educators and supervisors” she has ever known.

Past President Award

Mark Scholl, Wake Forrest University.

Joe and Lucille Hollis Award

James Hansen (Oakland University) for his book, Philosophical Issues in Counseling and Psychotherapy. The Hollis Award is often given for a seminal publication that moves our thought and practice in humanistic counseling and the broader counseling field forward. Nominator Mark Scholl explained that Philosophical Issues challenges our profession’s adoption of the medical model and even the categorization of counseling as a health care profession, returning to the philosophical roots of counseling to explore bedrock questions of counseling practice:
(1) What does it mean to know a client?; (2) What makes counseling effective?; (3) Are truths discovered or created in the counseling relationship?; and (4) Should counselors abandon the idea of truth?”
As Colette Dollarhide wrote, “This book is an intellectual and professional delight and will be on the required reading for all my theories classes.”


Humanistic Impact Award

Our highest honor, denoting a significant and long-lasting impact in the counseling profession upholding humanistic values, goes to Howard (Howie) Kirschenbaum (University of Rochester). Howie has maintained a multi-track career of scholarship, featuring:
The only biography that Carl Rogers participated in, and participated quite extensively; and culminating so far with the up-to-date book-end to that seminal work, The Life and Work of Carl Rogers.
And values clarification - helping counselors meet the whole person, seeking clients’ self-directed choices and passions through faith in innate human potential, culminating so far with his most recent book: Values Clarification in Counseling and Psychotherapy: Practical Strategies for Individual and Group Settings.

Make a Difference Grant

Katherine Purswell

When identifying a topic for my dissertation research, I became frustrated because I wanted to research something that mattered to me – the impact of the relationship in play therapy. I wanted to be able to say to the counseling world, “See, this matters. Focusing on the relationship is how we make a difference.” However, I struggled to find measures that assessed the relationship in humanistic terms. I decided to take a step back and attempt to fill a gap in the literature by creating a developmentally appropriate measure for children that was grounded in humanistic concepts.

The purpose of my research is to develop an instrument that will measure children’s perceptions of counselor congruence, unconditional positive regard, and empathic understanding in counseling outcome research. The instrument will be based on Barrett-Lennard’s relationship inventory (Barrett-Lennard, 1962).

The study will include approximately 110 participants (6 to 9 year-olds) who are currently receiving child-centered play therapy or who have a non-therapeutic relationship with an adult in a school setting. The purpose of including children in two types of relationships is to increase variability in item responses. I will develop a list of items for the instrument, ask children and adults for feedback on the initial items, and make modifications as suggested. Then I will administer the instrument to 100 children and conduct a factor analysis to determine the instrument’s validity.

I believe the development of this instrument promotes humanistic philosophy in counseling research because it promotes an appreciation for the dignity of the child client through an attempt to access the child’s phenomenological perspective. Furthermore, the use of a relationship measure in counseling research promotes a holistic rather than reductionistic view of counseling (Norcross, 2002). My hope is that the development of this instrument will help children’s voices be heard in counseling research.

Barrett-Lennard, G. T. (1962). Dimensions of the therapist response as causal factors in therapeutic change. Psychological Monographs: General and Applied, 76 (43, Whole Number 562).
Barrett-Lennard, G. (1998). Carl Rogers’ helping system: Journey and substance. London: Sage.
Norcross, J. C. (2002). Empirically supported relationships. In J. C. Norcross (Ed.), Psychotherapy relationships that work: Therapist contributions and responsiveness to patients (pp. 3-16). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

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