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Hovestadt receives national counseling award

Oct. 14, 2010

KALAMAZOO--A Western Michigan University faculty member has been nationally recognized for his outstanding contributions to the field of marriage and family therapy.

Photo of Dr. Alan Hovestadt, Western Michigan University.Dr. Alan Hovestadt, professor of counselor education and counseling psychology, received a 2010 Outstanding Contributions to Marriage and Family Therapy Award from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

The AAMFT is focused on research, theory development and education, and develops national standards for graduate education and training, clinical supervision, professional ethics, and clinical practice. Its award for outstanding contributions has been bestowed since 1991 to up to three of its members each year to honor career-long and exceptional accomplishments contributing to the development of the profession and practice of marriage and family therapy.

This year, the accolade was presented to Hovestadt and Dorothy S. Becvar, professor of social work at Saint Louis University, during the AAMFT annual conference Sept. 24 in Atlanta. Hovestadt was cited for his distinguished record in marriage and family therapy training, publications and scholarly work, and leadership within the profession.

During the last 35 years, he has built a prominent record of publications and presentations in the areas of intergenerational relationships and alexithymia, family of origin therapy, rural mental health care, and professional issues in family therapy.

Hovestadt is particularly noted for his scholarship related to intergenerational family therapy and family of origin therapy. He and his research team co-developed the Family of Origin Scale in 1985 and the Family of Origin Expressive Atmosphere Scale in 2000. These scales are important instruments for measuring perceptions of relational and emotional health within one's family of origin. Both instruments are used in research to predict various aspects of adult functioning.

A fellow of the AAMFT, Hovestadt has previously received two other major awards recognizing him for his contributions to the association. Those contributions include serving for four decades in such leadership roles as national president in 2005 and 2006, national board member and treasurer, and president of both the Texas and Michigan divisions. He also has served as president of the AAMFT Foundation, an endowed trust used to facilitate research in the profession. A longtime advocate for increased representation of racial and ethnic minorities in mental health care, he chairs the Fellowship Program Advisory Committee of the AAMFT Marriage and Family Therapy Minority Substance and Mental Health Services Administration.

Hovestadt came to WMU in 1985 as chair of the Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology and headed the department for the next 10 years. In addition to the AAMFT, of which he is a fellow, he is a member of the American Counseling Association, American Psychological Association, and Association for Counselor Education and Supervision.

In 2008, Hovestadt received the Presidential Award from the American Counseling Association in recognition of his more than three decades of distinguished service to his profession and others as a counselor educator, mentor and advocate for inter-professional collaboration.

A Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Hovestadt was a member of the State of Michigan Marriage and Family Therapy Licensing Board from 1996 to 2003 and served six of those years as chairperson. He has maintained a private practice that provides couple, family and individual therapy since 1998 and serves locally as a community-board member for Family and Children's Services. Prior to that board service, Hovestadt was a longtime board member of the Kalamazoo Consultation Center, a community-based counseling and psychological services agency serving Kalamazoo County.

He also has served as a longtime consultant to various local mental health groups, including Westside Medical Center Psychological Services, Barry County Community Mental Health and St. Joseph County Community Mental Health, focusing on community-based family-oriented treatment of children and adolescents versus hospitalization.

Before joining WMU's faculty, Hovestadt was professor of counseling and director of marriage and family therapy education at Texas A&M University-Commerce. He earned his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from Northern Illinois University.

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Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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