The Association For 
                Humanistic Counseling
AHC Awards

At ACA in 2013 we were very pleased to present 11 awards to impressively well-qualified nominees. Since expanding AHC’s awards program a few years back, the numbers of persons nominated each year has continued to grow.
Most nominations come from friends, colleagues, or former students. In each case the nominators are taking the opportunity to recognize the accomplishments and hard work of someone they admire and wish to hold up as an example. Underlying the recognitions of accomplishment and hard work, the nominations convey a deep valuing of the person of each nominee.
Open award categories include: Humanistic Clinician, Humanistic Dissertation, Humanistic Advocacy & Social Justice, Humanistic Educator/Supervisor, Humanistic Leadership, Humanistic Impact (our award for a long-standing, influential and exemplary humanistic body of work in the counseling field), and the Joe & Lucille Hollis Publication Award.

Make A Difference Grant

AHC supports new ideas and programs. The Make a Difference Grant provides funding for research projects in the area of humanistic counseling and education.
AHC funds one research grant per year in the amount of $500.00.

For more information, about the Make a Difference Grant contact the AHC Awards Committee Co-Chairs, Jeff L. Cochran & Marianne Woodside

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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