UW-Madison - Department of Counseling Psychology - History

Medical imaging Carillon Tower Glass blowing Laptop and lecture A smiling student Sunrise over the Education Building Chairs on the Memorial Union Terrace Bascom hall staircase Graduating students in silhouette Crowd of people on Bascom Hill A student tutoring Student with diploma Dance Department performance Night view of Bascom in the winter Memorial Union Terrace in autumn Memorial Union Terrace chairs Dance department performance Bucky Badger in front of a parade float Bascom Hall in the summertime Lincoln statue Students walking in the snow University of Wisconsin - Madison Crest Lincoln statue in the snow Forward Logo Student at graduation Bicycle in the snow Rathskellar Fireplace Sailboat with Capitol Building in the background A sailboat at the Memorial Union Bascom Hill in Autumn Bucky Badger studying with a student. Students among blooming trees at UW-Madison Bucky reading a book University flag on Bascom Hill Video camera view screen Student on a frozen lake Lincoln Statue on Bascom Hill Bascom Hill in winter Students collaborating Memorial Union Terrace chairs in the snow Kohl Center logo Graduates with diplomas A hands-on project Stacked, illuminated figures View from the top of Van Hise


Main Office

Department of
Counseling Psychology

School of Education
335 Education Building
1000 Bascom Mall
MadisonWI  53706-1326

Tel: 608/262-4807
Fax: 608/265-4174

Email: counpsych@education.wisc.edu
or by contact form


The areas of study known as counseling and guidance, counselor education and counseling psychology have a lengthy history at the University of Wisconsin.  In the 1920s, Dr. Alanson Edgerton developed the first courses in counseling and guidance that focused predominantly on career exploration and decision-making.  The breadth and depth of these initial courses were expanded through the 1940s by Dr. John W. M. Rothney.  With the passage of the National Defense Education Act in 1958, federal resources were brought to bear to provide for the expansion of programs designed to train and educate professional counselors.  At this time there was also a rapid expansion of employment opportunities for doctoral-level counselors in social service organizations, government agencies (especially the Veteran’s Administration) as well as business and industry.

In 1964 the Department of Counseling and Behavioral Studies was created, with Dr. Gail F. Farwell as chair.  Areas of study offered in this new department included counseling and guidance, rehabilitation counseling, and special education.  1968 brought additional administrative changes that resulted in the creation of the Department of Counseling and Guidance, chaired by Dr. R. Wray Strowig.  These changes separated the new department from the Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education departments and refined the focus of the department’s research and training.

The 70s, 80s, and 90s were marked by the constant production of significant research and the recruitment of nationally recognized and established faculty members.  The doctoral program received provisional accreditation in 1985 from the American Psychological association, followed by full accreditation in 1988.  Then, after the APA had approved a Counseling Psychology doctoral program in 1993, the department became known as the Department of Counseling Psychology.  As the field of counseling psychology began to acknowledge the importance of diversity issues and cultural background in the provision of mental health services, the department began to embrace and pioneer the development of this area.  The department is still recognized as a national leader in multicultural training and research. 

In 2007 the department opened an independent counseling psychology training clinic that offers low-cost and multilingual therapy services to individuals and families in need.  This clinic, outfitted with the latest in digital recording equipment provides unparalleled training and practice opportunities for graduate students in the department and enables the department to reach out to underserved populations.

In 2010 the department returned to the newly remodeled Education Building on historic Bascom Hill.  The new facility provides substantially enhanced technology capabilities, creature comforts and research opportunities for faculty and students alike while preserving our landmark building. 

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