American Psychological Association honors Georgia State emeritus

1/12/2009 – Ann Claycombe

Luciano L’Abate, professor emeritus of psychology, has been honored by the American Psychological Association for his work designing interactive exercises for mental health patients. He will accept the 2009 Award for Distinguished Contributions to Applied Research at the association’s convention this August.

“I was surprised by the sudden phone call right before Christmas,” L’Abate said. “Of course, I am extremely proud.”

L’Abate’s interactive exercises are gathered into a series of workbooks that cover everything from normal life-cycle events – like a child’s shyness – to serious illnesses like psychopathy.

He developed the workbooks over the course of 15 years of clinical research. The exercises serve several different purposes, including: to help train beginning psychology graduate students; to help serve as a template for computer-mediated counseling; and to provide inexpensive resources for research. The workbooks are available to mental health professionals at L’Abate’s web site,, and will be published as a single volume titled Sourcebook of Interactive Exercises in Mental Health by Springer-Science in 2009.

“Georgia State had everything to do with preparing me for my research plan from the start of my tenure,” L’Abate said. At Georgia State, he built a first-of-its kind automated playroom for research into child development, and later two family enrichment and therapy rooms.

L’Abate taught at Georgia State from 1965 to 1990, and was instrumental in building the university’s resources for family psychology. His extensive scholarly record includes 42 books (as author and editor) in English and Italian; his work has also been translated into nine other languages. In 1983, he received the Georgia State Alumni Distinguished Professorship in the College of Arts and Sciences. Since his retirement, he continues to research and write full-time.