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

Dr. Clara Gerhardt is a clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage and family therapist and a certified family life educator. She coauthored a leading textbook on parenting, published by Pearson (2019), which is in its 10th edition. Other publications include an earlier book, three book chapters and over 120 articles in the popular press. She documented the history of family therapy in a book chapter. She writes Perspectives , 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 Family Studies, published by Wiley/Blackwell (2016). She has presented in over 150 invited and peer-reviewed presentations nationally and internationally. She has held positions as chair of the department of family studies and chair of a State Board of Examiners in Psychology. Dr. Gerhardt is the product of three continents, has professionally presented on six continents, has visited over 65 countries 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


  • Bigner, J. & Gerhardt, C. (2019). Parent-Child relations: an introduction to parenting. 10th ed. Upper Saddle River: Pearson. Two editions of this textbook: USA as well as international. Currently available.
  • A number of peer reviewed entries for the International Encyclopedia of Family Studies. Published in 2016 by Wiley/Blackwell Publishers. Topics include: Only Children, Family Of Procreation, Globalization and Families, The Family Circumplex Model and Intergenerational Relationships.
  • Contributing editor of Network: CFLE in Context, a publication by the National Council on Family Relations (2011 to present). Writes a regular column in this publication called, "Perspectives".
  • International editorial board: New Voices in Psychology : University of South Africa.
  • A previous book, two book chapters and over 120 articles in the popular press, including over a dozen peer reviewed academic publications.


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


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