Newsletter Article

Honoring Robert (Bob) J. Kohlenberg’s Legacy with a Transformative Gift to UW Psychology

“My mission is to engage as fully and deeply as I can with the world—including  interpersonal, cultural and physical realms. This includes: 1) striving to love ever more deeply and increasing the scope and intensity of my attachment to, caring for and benefiting others; 2) increasing my concern and involvement with solving sociopolitical problems; 3) passionately playing with ideas that foster creativity and intellectually challenging myself and stimulating others to do the same: and 4) learning about, deepening my understanding, and having hands-on involvement and connection to the physical and technological features of the world in which I live.” Robert J. Kohlenberg (1937-2021)

The Department of Psychology is honored to announce the creation of the Robert J. Kohlenberg Memorial Fund, a transformative gift from the Kohlenberg family in honor of former faculty member Dr. Robert J. Kohlenberg. 

Dr. Kohlenberg was a beloved member of the Department for over fifty years, a prolific scholar,  impactful instructor and mentor. He co-conceptualized Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP) in the 1980s, a “contextual, behavioral, relational approach to psychotherapy in which therapists focus on what happens in session between the client and therapist to shape the interpersonal behaviors, emotional awareness, and self-expression necessary for clients to create and maintain close relationships and to live meaningful lives (Kohlenberg & Tsai, 1991; Tsai et al., 2009; Tsai, Callaghan & Kohlenberg, 2013).” This endowed fund honors the legacy of Dr. Kohlenberg’s pioneering work by continuing this spirit of inquiry. 

The Robert J. Kohlenberg Memorial Fund will support graduate student research focused on advancing their knowledge and expertise in evidence-based therapies, therapy-relationship work, and/or Functional Analytic Psychotherapy. We thank the Kohlenberg family for choosing to honor Bob by supporting the Department’s graduate students and to further the Department’s research related to evidence-based therapies and therapy-relationship work.

To learn more about Bob Kohlenberg’s life and legacy, we recommend reading the beautiful obituary published on Recompose.