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In Memoriam: Jon D. Carlson, Ed.D., Psy.D.

University News | 05.08.17

Jon Douglas Carlson, Ed.D., Psy.D.
Distinguished Professor of Adlerian Psychology
Educator-Scholar, Psychologist, Athlete, Husband, & Father

Jon Douglas Carlson was born in Elgin, Illinois on November 2, 1945. A proud, active father of five children who was married to the love of his life for 50 years, Jon excelled as a prolific scholar, educator, college professor, psychologist, competitive athlete, and advocate for helping others in the community. Sadly he passed away February 1, 2017 in Madison, Wisconsin. At the time of his passing, in addition to being Distinguished Professor of Adlerian Psychology at Adler University, Jon was a psychologist with the Wellness Clinic in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. He will be sorely missed by his family, his beloved dog, Huxley, and admired in the psychology field for many years to come.

Jon discovered his vocational passion and the love of his life, Laura Kathryn Twitchell, at University of Southern Illinois–Carbondale, where he completed undergraduate and master’s-level training. His earned his first doctorate, Ed.D., Counseling and Guidance, from Wayne State University in 1971, and his second doctorate, Psy.D., Clinical Psychology, from Adler University (formerly the Adler School of Professional Psychology) in 1990.

In a venerable career as an educator spanning over four decades, Jon held teaching positions at Wayne State University; Governors State University (Professor Emeritus); Nova Southeastern University; University of Hawaii; University of Wisconsin–Whitewater; and Adler University. At Adler, Jon was beloved by leadership, alumni, students, and his colleagues alike.

A well-respected professional psychologist, Jon was a Fellow and Distinguished Psychologist awardee of the American Psychological Association (APA); a Lifetime Contribution awardee of North American Society of Adlerian Psychology (NASAP); and a valued member of American Counseling Association (ACA), American Orthopsychiatric Association, International Academy of Family Psychology (IAFP), and Wisconsin Psychology Association (WPA). He received numerous awards for his professional work, and held leadership positions in both counseling and psychology at the national and state levels. He often was featured on television, radio, and in nationally circulated periodicals as a Couple and Family expert, including being resident relationship expert for WGN-TV. In 2004 ACA designated Jon as one of the five “Living Legends in Counseling.”

In his remarkable and adventurous life, Jon taught, conducted research and served as a health advocate on six continents; was a nationally recognized runner; and was the prolific author and creator of more than 60 books, more than 185 professional articles, and more than 300 professional training videos used in universities and training centers around the world. His life theme was to never stop learning, and to always grow beyond perceived boundaries. A person that rarely slept, Jon made the most of out of his time on Earth—and those with whom he came into contact greatly benefited. Young Jon Carlson would never have anticipated the wonderful 71 years of life that he lived.

Jon was one of the most preeminent Adlerian thinkers, writers, and practitioners in the world. Several of his books are among the main texts in Adlerian psychology, and his videos demonstrating Adlerian psychotherapy with individuals, couples, parents, and teachers are iconic. Dr. Carlson wanted to further the pioneering community psychology work of Alfred Adler, and was passionate about educating the next generation of socially responsible practitioners. If you wish to support his legacy and contributions in academia and practice, donations can be made to University of Wisconsin’s Center for Healthy Minds or Adler University’s Center for Adlerian Practice and Scholarship.


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