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Gerard Lawson

Gerard Lawson, Professor of Counselor Education

Gerard Lawson, Associate Professor
Gerard Lawson, Professor of Counselor Education

School of Education
1750 Kraft Drive, Room 2003
Blacksburg, VA 24061
540-231-9703 |

Dr. Gerard Lawson is a Professor in the School of Education at Virginia Tech, and was the 66th President of the American Counseling Association, having served in that office from July 2017-June 2018.  Gerard is also past-president of the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES) and past-president of the Virginia Counselors Association. In July of 2021, he was named to Governor Northram's administration, serving on the Board of Counseling in the Office of the Secretariat of the Commonwealth.

Since joining the faculty at Virginia Tech, Dr. Lawson has published his research in prestigious journals including the Journal of Counseling and Development, Counselor Education and Supervision, and The Clinical Supervisor. He has presented at national and international conferences on a range of topics including counselor wellness, crisis response and resilience, and clinical supervision. Gerard is the Principle Investigator on $1.6 million in grants from the National Institute of Justice, to explore influences on the School to Prison Pipeline. He has been involved in training and consulting across the country to help keep kids in the classroom, and out of the courtroom.

Gerard has been a disaster mental health volunteer with the American Red Cross since 2001, and has supported numerous national, state, and local disasters. He was instrumental in helping to coordinate the counseling response to the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007, and he is the author of Virginia Tech’s Disaster Behavioral Health Plan. He has helped many institutions prepare for crisis response, and works frequently with counselors who have responded, providing debriefing and supportive services. His focus is on building resilience in the individuals (including counselors) and communities that are affected by disasters. His published work includes articles exploring the experiences of professional counselors and clinicians in the aftermath of natural disasters such as the Gulf Coast hurricanes Katrina and Rita and traumatic events such as the shootings at Virginia Tech. He was the chair of the ACA Taskforce on Crisis Response Planning and has authored several articles on counselor wellness and resilience, particularly when working in disaster mental health.

He is a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Licensed Substance Abuse Treatment Practitioner, a National Certified Counselor, and an Approved Clinical Supervisor.

  • Clinical Supervision
  • Crisis Preparedness and Response
  • Counselor Wellness and Resilience
  • School Discipline Disparities
  • PhD, College of William & Mary
  • MS, Longwood College
  • BS, Virginia Tech
  • Editorial Board – Journal of Counseling and Development
  • Education Committee – SAIGE Membership
  • American Counseling Association
  • Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES)
  • Association for Assessment and Research in Counseling (AARC)
  • Association Humanistic Counseling
  • Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development
  • Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES) Legacy Award Recipient – 2019
  • American Counseling Association Fellow – 2019
  • Niles Land Grant Scholar Award – 2017
  • Chi Sigma Iota Journal of Counselor Leadership and Advocacy (JCLA) Outstanding Article Award - 2017
  • Martin Ritchie Award for Excellence in Advocacy (inaugural award, 2015)

Select Journal Articles

Lawson, G., *Asadi, G., Welfare, L., Miyazaki, Y. & *Hori, K. (2021). Integrating large datasets in     outcome research: A case example. Counseling Outcome Research and Evaluation, DOI: 10.1080/21501378.2020.1866433

Welfare, L. E., Grimes, T. O., Lawson, G., *Hori, K., & *Asadi, G. (2020). The school to prison pipeline: Quantitative evidence to guide school counselor advocacy. Journal of Counselor        Leadership and Advocacy. doi:10.1080/2326716X.2020.1861490

Fullen, M.C., Lawson, G. and Sharma, J. (2020), Analyzing the Impact of the Medicare Coverage Gap on Counseling Professionals: Results of a National Study. Journal of Counseling & Development, 98: 207-219. doi:10.1002/jcad.12315

Lawson, G., Trepal, H., Lee, R.W., & Kress, V. (2017). Educational standards in counselor licensure laws: Application of a grassroots advocacy model for the future of the counseling profession. Counselor Education and Supervision, 56(3), 162-176. doi: 10.1002/ceas.12070

*Day, K., Lawson, G., & Burge, P. (2017). Clinicians’ experiences of shared trauma after the shootings at Virginia Tech. Journal of Counseling and Development, 95(3), 269–278. doi:10.1002/jcad.12141

Lawson, G. (2016). On being a profession: A historical perspective on counselor licensure and accreditation. Journal of Counselor Leadership and Advocacy, 3(2), 71-84.    

  • Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) -CoPI with David Kniola on a $197,847, one-year grant to support the administration and analysis of the Virginia School Climate Survey.
  • Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) - Co-PI with Dr. Laura Welfare (PI) on a $100,000, one-year investigation of School Disciplinary Outcomes for Students with Disabilities.
  • National Institutes of Justice (NIJ) - Comprehensive School Safety Initiative. Principal investigator (with Patrizio [Co-PI] and Welfare [Co-PI]) for a $689,416 two-year Investigation of School Resource and Safety Programs Policy and Practice in Virginia.
  • National Institutes of Justice — Comprehensive School Safety Initiative. Principal investigator for a $914,000 two-year study of the school-to-prison pipeline in Virginia.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) - Screening Brief Intervention and Referral for Treatment (SBIRT) grant. Co-Principal Investigator and Associate Project Director for a $945,000 three-year investigation of SBIRT training.

Featured Books

Select Media Mentions