Clara  Gerhardt
Distinguished Beeson Professor
Orlean Beeson School of Education
Human Development and Family Science
Office: 127 Orlean Bullard Beeson Hall
Phone: 205-726-2151

Dr. Clara Gerhardt is a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage and family therapist and a certified family life educator. Her latest textbook "Families in Motion" concerns family dynamics, published by SAGE (2020). She coauthored a leading textbook on parenting, published by Pearson (2019). Other publications include an earlier book, three book chapters and over 140 articles in the popular press. She writes a regular column, for a publication of the National Council on Family Relations. She has also contributed a number of entries for the "Encyclopedia of Marriage and Divorce" (2020) and the "Encyclopedia of Family Studies" (2016). She has presented over 150 invited and peer-reviewed presentations nationally and internationally. She has held positions as department chair and served two terms as chair of a State Board of Examiners in Psychology. Dr. Gerhardt is the product of three continents, has professionally presented on six continents, has travelled extensively and speaks five languages fluently.

Degrees and Certifications

  • Ph.D. Psychology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
  • M.B.A. Business Administration, Samford University
  • D.T.E. Graduate Diploma of Tertiary Education: University of South Africa (UNISA)
  • M.A. Clinical Psychology, University of Pretoria
  • B.A. Triple Major: Psychology, French and German (Cum Laude), University of Pretoria
  • Licensed Psychologist (Clinical)
  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)
  • Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE)

Awards and Honors

  • National Council on Family Relations, Certified Family Life Educator National Award, 2013
  • Alabama Board of Examiners in Psychology: Recognition for Outstanding Service, 2013 and 2009
  • Orlean Beeson School of Education & Professional Studies: Outstanding Scholarship Award, 2012
  • Alabama Germany Partnership: Significant Educational and Cultural Contributions Award, 2007
  • Birmingham Urban League: Promoting Multicultural Understanding Award, 2005

Most Recent Publications

  • Gerhardt, Clara. 2020. Families in motion: Dynamics in diverse contexts. Thousand Oaks: SAGE.
  • Entries for the Encyclopedia on Marriage. 2020. In press. Topics include: Marriage and immigration, International marriages, Marriage and diversity, Parenting programs.
  • Bigner, J. & Gerhardt, Clara. 2019. Parent-Child relations: an introduction to parenting. 10th ed. Pearson.  USA and international editions, plus support material. 
  • Gerhardt, Clara. 2018. South Africa:  Family life as the mirror of a society. In: Robila, Mihaela & Taylor, Alan (Eds.) Global Perspectives of Family Life Education. Springer. 
  • Entries for the International Encyclopedia of Family Studies. 2016. Topics include: Only children, Family of procreation, Globalization and families, The family circumplex model and Intergenerational relationships. Wiley/Blackwell.
  • Contributing editor of Network: CFLE in Context, a publication by the National Council on Family Relations (2011 to present). Writes and edits a regular column: Perspectives. NCFR.


  • Presentations at over 150 invited and peer-reviewed presentations nationally and internationally.


  • Delta Phi Alpha
  • Phi Kappa Phi
  • Kappa Omicron Nu