Sol Garfield, 86, professor emeritus in Arts & Sciences

Sol L. Garfield, Ph.D., professor emeritus of psychology in Arts & Sciences and director of the University’s clinical psychology training program from 1970-1986, died Saturday, Aug. 14, 2004, in Cleveland. He was 86.

Garfield earned a doctorate in clinical psychology from Northwestern University in 1942. He taught at Northwestern, the University of Connecticut, the University of Nebraska, Ohio State University and Columbia University.

He served as a clinical psychologist with the U.S. Army and several Veterans Administration hospitals. From 1979-1984, he served as editor of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. He contributed more than 150 journal articles or chapters to edited volumes.

Garfield became a clinical psychologist at the beginning of the movement and his career spanned the history of the field, from World War II until the present day.

His contributions earned numerous prestigious awards, including the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Distinguished Contribution to Knowledge Award, the APA Division of Clinical Psychology’s Distinguished Contribution to Clinical Psychology Award, the Society for Psychotherapy Research Distinguished Research Career Award, and the Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology 3rd Annual Award for Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Training.

Garfield is the author or editor of many books, notably the first four editions of the Handbook of Psychotherapy and Behavior Change and Psychotherapy: An Eclectic-Integrative Approach.

Garfield began a collaboration with A.E. Bergin during the six years that both worked together at Teachers College, Columbia University, where Garfield was director of the clinical psychology program. It was there that the team published the controversial first edition of its handbook on psychotherapy.

The handbook, Bergin said, was an attempt to bring order out of a bewildering array of claims and counterclaims in the field of psychotherapy.

“We decided that the clinical issues could best be addressed by establishing as clearly as possible the empirical status of each question,” Bergin explained. “We wanted to clarify how the field could advance by bringing it solidly within a research as opposed to a purely clinical framework.

Some professionals considered the goal controversial, but the results, Bergin said, far exceeded expectations.

“We have been surprised and pleased to find that the book became a standard text and reference in the U.S. and many parts of the world, as well as gaining acceptance among disciplines as diverse as social work, psychiatry, and school counseling,” Bergin said. “It clearly filled a need and apparently its empirical framework proved persuasive.”