College of Natural Sciences Colorado State University Department of Psychology

Team LogoGreat Team Spring Photo

"The Past is Our Future"

The GREAT team consists of doctoral students in the Psychology Department at Colorado State University and Dr. Tammi Vacha-Haase. The team is dedicated to increasing the well-being of older adults through clinical practice and contributing to knowledge base through geriatric research. With a firm commitment to the scientist-practitioner model, team members continue to have their research inform their practice, and their clinical work inform their research.

Dr. Vacha-Haase and her students have been recognized nationally and received awards for their innovative work with an older adult population, including the “Many Faces of Counseling Psychology Award” presented at the 2008 International Conference of Counseling Psychology and for three consecutive years, the “Student Research Award” for Psychologists in Long-Term Care.  

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Tammi Vacha-Haase, Ph.D. - Dr. Vacha-Haase is a Professor in the Counseling Psychology doctoral program in the Psychology Department at Colorado State University and the current Director of the Aging Clinic of the Rockies. A licensed psychologist, she specializes in the area of older adults, which is the focus of her research, teaching, and clinical work. Dr. Vacha-Haase is the consulting psychologist for several local long-term care and assisted living facilities, where she provides direct client services and family support, as well as staff education. A key-note speaker at a number of regional and national conferences, Dr. Vacha-Haase has published numerous articles in professional journals, book chapters, and a book entitled, “Psychotherapy with Older Men.” She has held leadership positions in many national organizations, including the Society of Counseling Psychology, the Council for Counseling Psychology Training Programs, and the Council of Professional Geropsychology Training Programs. Dr. Vacha-Haase holds Fellow Status in the American Psychological Association and currently serves on the Commission on Accreditation.

Amanda Foster, BS – Amanda is currently a third year Counseling Psychology graduate student. She is completing her Master’s thesis, a qualitative analysis of geropsychologists’ experiences with client death. Other research interests include health psychology and ethnic diversity. Her clinical interests include working with adults in a variety of settings. Currently, Amanda is employed at the University Counseling Center at CSU and as a counselor in the Drugs, Alcohol, and You Program. She is also a staff therapist at the Psychological Services Center, working with a wide variety of clients from the local community. Her future goals include working at a multi-disciplinary health center as a generalist with an adult population.

Kirsten L. Graham, M.S.Ed.--Kirsten is a first year graduate student in the Counseling Psychology doctoral program. Her research interests include geropsychology and counselor development. She is currently completing a practicum at the CSU’s University Counseling Center and is working as a staff therapist at the Aging Clinic of the Rockies. Her future plans would ideally include a balance of clinical practice, research, mentorship, and outreach.

Weston Donaldson, B.S.--Weston is a third year graduate student in counseling psychology. He is currently working on a Master’s thesis examining the attitudes of heterosexual assisted living facility residents toward gay and lesbian peers. His research interests are focused on issues related to LGBTQ older adults, as well as other aspects of aging and multiculturalism. He enjoys teaching, particularly in the topics of gender and sexuality. Weston currently works as a staff therapist at the Psychological Services Center at CSU, where he works with a variety of client populations. In the future, he would like to focus on clinical work with adults, as well as teach part-time.

Jenny Aeling is currently a first year Counseling Psychology graduate student.  Her research interests include anything involving the older adult population, with special regard to emotional reaction to the diagnosis of disorders and long term care facility living.  Previous experiences include intense research on the neurological aspects of Parkinson’s Disease and long term care facility internships. She is a co-author on a chapter focusing on therapeutic interventions for older adults.  Her long term goals are to have an independent practice working with multiple long term care living facilities to help the older population as they age. 

Current Research ProjectsGreat Team Fall Photo

Counselor Development
LGBT/Older Adults and Peer Acceptance
Professional Issues for Clinical Geropsychologists
Later Life Choices of Older Lesbians
Long-Term Care

Recent Publications by GREAT Team Members

Vacha-Haase, T. (in press). Group counseling and psychotherapy with older adults.  In Handbook of group counseling and psychotherapy (2nd ed). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Vacha-Haase, T.  (in press).  Psychological assessment in geriatric settings.  In K. Geisinger (Ed.), Handbook of testing and assessment in psychology.  Washington, DC:  American Psychological Association.

Vacha-Haase, T., Donaldson, W., & Foster, A.  (in press). Race-ethnicity and gender in older adults.  In M. L. Miville and A. D. Ferguson (Eds.), The handbook of race-    ethnicity and gender in psychology. Spring Publications.

Asta, E. A., & Vacha-Haase, T.  (2013). Heterosexual ally development in counseling psychologists: Experiences, training, and advocacy.  The Counseling Psychologist, 41, 493-529.

Vacha-Haase, T. (2013).  The “We Care” program for long-term care:  Providing family members with support following the death of a loved one.  OMEGA: Journal of Death and Dying, 67(1-2), 221-226.

Vacha-Haase, T., Hill, W., & Bermingham, D.  (2012). Aging theory and research (pp. 491-505).  In N. A. Fouad (Ed.), APA handbook of counseling psychology.  Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Vacha-Haase, T.  (2012).  Clinical practice with older adults (pp. 497-513). In N. A. Fouad (Ed.), Handbook of counseling psychology.  Washington, DC:  American Psychological Association.

Vacha-Haase, T., & Duffy, M.  (2012). Counseling psychologists working with older adults (pp.
480-499). In E. M. Altmaier and J. C. Hansen (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of counseling psychology.  Oxford, NY:  Oxford University Press.

Byrne, Z. S., Felker, S. E., Vacha-Haase, T., & Rickard, K.M. (2011.) A comparison of responses on the Attitudes Toward Women Scale and Attitudes Toward Feminism Scale: Is there a difference between college-age and later-life adults with the original norms? Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 44, 248 - 264.

Bettencourt, K. E., Vacha-Haase, T., & Byrne, Z. S. (2011). Older and younger adults' attitudes toward  feminism: The influence of religiosity, political orientation, gender, education, and family.  Sex Roles, 64, 863-874.

Sharp, L. C., & Vacha-Haase, T.  (2011).  Physician attitudes regarding alcohol use screening in older adult patients.  Journal of Applied Gerontology, 30, 226-240.

Hinrichs, K. M. & Vacha-Haase, T.  (2010). Staff perceptions of same-gender sexual contacts in long-term care facilities.  Journal of Homosexuality, 57, 776-789.

Fitzpatrick, K., E., & Vacha-Haase, T. (2010). Marital satisfaction and resilience in caregivers of spouses with dementia. Clinical Gerontologist, 33, 165-180.

Vacha-Haase, T., Balhan, K. M., Brescian, N. B., Martin, K. L., & Fitzpatrick, K.  (2009). A current events group in long-term care: A comprehensive guide to facilitating a successful group. Journal for Specialist in Group Work, 34, 382-403.

Recent Presentations by GREAT Team Members

Donaldson, W., & Vacha-Haase, T. (2012, August). Attitudes of heterosexual assisted living residents toward gay and lesbian peers. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Orlando, FL.

Foster, A. & Vacha-Haase T. (2011, August). The impact of client death on clinical geropsychologists: A qualitative analysis. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Washington, D.C.

Sharp, L. C., & Vacha-Haase, T. (2011, August). Older adult patient-doctor communication regarding alcohol use: A qualitative study. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Washington, DC.

WestondDonaldson, W. (2011, April). Early Diagnosis of Frontal Variant Frontotemporal Dementia: Implications for Intervention and Research. Poster session presented at the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association conference, Salt Lake City, UT.

Donaldson, W., Jaramillo, M., & Schultz, K. (2011, March). Putting Skills Into Practice: The Adult Social Skills Group at PSC. Presentation at the Symposium on Autism Spectrum Disorders: “Transition and Transformation: Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders in the College Environment,” Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO.

Donaldson, W. (2011, January). Countertransference considerations for therapists working with gay and lesbian clients: Recommendations for research and practice. Poster session presented at the National Multicultural Summit, Seattle, WA.

Archibald, K. B., & Vacha-Haase, T. (2010, August). “It’s a whole new world”: Self-esteem and widowhood in older women in a retirement community. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, San Diego, CA.

Hinrichs, K. M., & Vacha-Haase, T. (2010, August). Psychological predictors of sexual satisfaction among married heterosexual older adults. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, San Diego, CA.

Brescian, N. E., & Vacha-Haase, T. (2009, August). Long-term care residents: The relationship between perceived justice and quality of life, satisfaction with staff, and psychological sense of community.  Poster session presented at the meeting of the American Psychological Association, Toronto, Canada.

AlumniGreat Team Fall Photo

Kate Martin Hinrichs, Ph.D.
Kate Fitzpatrick, Ph.D.
Jodi Coochise, M.S.
Natalie Brescian, Ph.D.
Krystle B. Archibald, Ph.D.
Lindsay Sharp, Ph.D.
Sydney Felker, Ph.D.
Liz Asta, Ph.D.
Michele Baranczyk, Ph.D.


2012 Student Research Award, Awarded by Psychologists in Long-Term Care
                        Weston Donaldson

2008 The Many Faces of Counseling Psychology Award, presented at the International Conference of Counseling Psychology.

2007 Student Research Award, Awarded by Division 17, Section for Lesbian, Gay. & Bisexual Awareness 
           Kate Martin & Michele Baranczyk

2007 Student Travel Grant Award, Awarded by National Multicultural Conference
            Kate Martin

2007 APA Poster Award, Division 42
            Krystle B. Archibald, Natalie Brescian, Kate Martin, & Kate Fitzpatrick

Summit 2007 Student Research Award, Awarded by Psychologists in Long-Term Care
            Natalie Brescian

Student Diversity Research Award 2007, Awarded by the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association
            Liz Asta

Summit 2006 Student Research Award, Awarded by Psychologists in Long-Term Care         
            Kate Martin


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