William D. Parham, Ph.D., ABPP is a Professor in the counseling program at LMU School of Education. He served as Interim Director of the doctoral program in Educational Leadership for Social Justice in 2020-21 and is a past president of the LMU Faculty Senate.
He has devoted his career to teaching, training, clinical, administrative, and organizational consultation venues. The interplay between sport psychology, multiculturalism/diversity and health psychology are the three areas of professional emphases with which he is most associated. He is a licensed psychologist, Board Certified in Counseling Psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) and Past-President of the Society of Counseling Psychology of the American Psychological Association where he also is recognized as a Fellow in Divisions 17 (Society of Counseling Psychology), 45 (Society for the Study of Culture, Ethnicity and Race) and 47(Exercise and Sport Psychology).
For most of his professional career, Dr. Parham has focused on working with athletes across organizations (e.g. National Basketball Association; National Football League; Major League Baseball; Unites States Olympic Committee; United States Tennis Association; Major League Soccer, UCLA, UC Irvine) across levels (e.g., professional elite, amateur, collegiate and youth) and across sports (e.g. basketball, football, gymnastics, softball, baseball, track and field, tennis, golf, swimming, volleyball, figure skating). He has also worked with performance artists in drama, theatre and music. Currently, Dr. Parham serves as the inaugural Director of the Mental Health and Wellness Program of the National Basketball Players Association.
Dr. Parham's emphasis on personal empowerment, discovering and cultivating innate talents and looking for opportunities in every situation are trademark foci. He is widely known through his scholarship and conversations with domestic and international audiences for his work on the interplay between sport psychology, multiculturalism/diversity, trauma, and health psychology. He participates on local, state and national boards, committees, task forces and governance adding to the visible ways in which he tries to make a difference.
Southern Illinois University-Carbondale: Ph.D., Counseling Psychology
University of California at Irvine: M.A. Social Ecology (Community Mental Health, Human Development)
University of California at Irvine: B.A. Social Ecology (Community and Mental Health, Human Development)
Areas of Expertise (7)
Foundations of Counseling
Trauma Counseling: Theories and Interventions
Interplay Between Sports Psychology
Multiculturalism & Diversity
Industry Expertise (5)
Mental Health Care
Health and Wellness
Training and Development
Trauma Counseling: Theories and Interventions
Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Functioning
Foundations of Counseling
Task Force on the World Conference Against Racism ReportAmerican Psychological Association
Sandra L. Shullman, PhD, Neil E. Altman, PhD, Joseph F. Aponte, PhD, Florence W. Kaslow, PhD, ABPP, Corann Okorodudu, EdD, William D. Parham, PhD, ABPP, Melba J. T. Vasquez, PhD, ABPP
Introductory Statement on the “UN World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance: Declaration and Programme of Action”
Sport psychology services to professional athletes: working through COVID-19International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Robert Schinke, Athanasios Papaioannou, Charles Maher, William D. Parham, Carsten Hvid Larsen, Richard Gordin & Stewart Cotterill
Fandom around the world yearns for sports entertainment. The contributors consider their recent and current approaches in active work with professional sport clients, following a sequence: (a) once professional sporting events stopped, (b) current approaches in their work with professional athletes, and (c) a brief, broader reflection.
Athlete mental health in the Olympic/Paralympic quadrennium: a multi-societal consensus statementInternational Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Kristoffer Henriksen, Robert Schinke, Sean McCann, Natalie Durand-Bush, Karin Moesch, William D. Parham, Carsten Hvid Larsen, Karen Cogan, Amber Donaldsen, Artur Poczwardowski, Franco Noce & Jason Hunziker
This consensus statement is the product of the Second International Think Tank on Athlete Mental Health, held on the initiative of the International Society of Sport Psychology. The purposes of the Think Tank were to engage international sport psychology societies and organisations in a discussion about athlete mental health as embedded in an Olympic/Paralympic cycle, and to develop practical recommendations for sport organisations. An invited group of designated experts discussed applied experiences working with athletes within an Olympic and Paralympic environment. The Games and mental health are interrelated, because athletes committing whole-heartedly to an Olympic/Paralympic pursuit are at increased risk of disappointment, identity foreclosure, and high life stress. Dividing the quadrennial into three main phases (i.e., pre-, during-, and post-Games) participants discussed three topics for each phase: (1) the key opportunities and challenges; (2) the sport environment, and how it can nourish or malnourish athlete mental health; and (3) collaboration and communication within expert support teams. Each phase of the quadrennium presents specific challenges and opportunities, and mental health screening and support should be administered across all phases. However, the post-Games period is one of increased vulnerability, while at the same time, the returning staff is oftentimes exhausted and unavailable. Ideally, a specialised collaborative team should handle the post-Games mental health support. Initiatives are needed to (a) improve the psychological safety of pre-, during-, and post-Games high performance environments, (b) reduce unnecessary stress, (c) optimise recovery, (d) de-stigmatize mental health issues, and (e) increase help-seeking.
William D. Parham, Ph.D. ABPP
Many athletes are propelled by childhood trauma to succeed, but it’s a toxic myth that healing the wounds blunts the edge.
Can You See Me Now? Understanding Culture and Multicultural Phenomena as Essential to the Process of ConsultationIn C. A. Falender & E. P. Shafranske (Eds.) Consultation in Psychology: A Competency-Based Approach
William D. Parham, Ph.D. ABPP (2019)
Dr. Parham contributes chapter 6 to this compilation.
Hiding in plain sight: Discovering the promises of multicultural sport psychology.In M. H. Anshel, APA handbook of sport and exercise psychology (Vol. 1, pp. 489–508). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Parham, W. D. (2019)
Dr. Parham contributes chapter 25 to this 2-volume APA Handbook of Sport and Exercise Psychology which presents new areas of research and links theory with emerging practice to reflect the latest developments in this constantly changing field. The 77 chapters provide extensive coverage of conceptual frameworks and models, empirical findings, and practical interventions. Additionally, many chapters discuss topics not addressed in other publications, such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, sleep disorders, life-span engagement in sport and physical activity, and professional ethics and governance.
Consensus statement on improving the mental health of high performance athletesInternational Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Kristoffer Henriksen, Robert Schinke, Karin Moesch, Sean McCann, William D. Parham, Carsten Hvid Larsen & Peter Terry
This consensus statement is the product of an international Think Tank on Athlete Mental Health held at the University of Southern Denmark on the initiative of the International Society of Sport Psychology (ISSP), during September 2018. The Think Tank was a non-political and non-profit entity. We recognize that mental health is too complex a topic for any group of experts to grasp in its nuanced entirety during a two-day think tank. We also recognize that, as a result of procedures for selection and invitation, the inaugural Think Tank was gender biased and the participants mostly represented organized systems in modernized societies (of note, one female participant was a last minute cancellation). Future think tanks on the topic will recruit a broader diversity of global representation, culture and ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. Finally, we acknowledge that this consensus statement represents a snapshot in time and should be updated regularly to account for scientific and applied progress in relation to athlete mental health. The purpose of the Think Tank was to unify major sport psychology organisations in a discussion of the current status and future challenges of applied and research aspects of athlete mental health, and to develop recommendations for sport organisations and researchers. The statement represents consensus views of an invited group of designated experts in the areas of sport psychology and athlete mental health.
Stepping Out, Stepping Up, and Staying Strong: Using Vigilance as a Tool for Preserving Rights and Promoting Social JusticeJournal of Multicultural Counseling and Development
Parham, W.D. & Clauss-Ehlers, C.S.
Our distinguished guest for the 5th installment in this inaugural Hearing Our Elders series is Rod Kawakami, J.D. His reparations work during the 1980s on behalf of Gordon Hirabayashi, an American citizen of Japanese descent, for a civil rights violation alleged to have occurred 40 years earlier serves as the environmental backdrop for this compelling story of courage, commitment, and tenacity in the face of government collusion. The forthcoming narrative will highlight a slice of the life of Mr. Hirabayashi, a symbol of protest against anti-Japanese sentiments that surfaced after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. This interview captured 6 overarching themes: (a) courage in the face of harsh and antagonistic social, political, and cultural environments; (b) enough is enough; (c) serendipity plays a part in launching historical events; (d) engage in creative problem-solving strategies to address social injustice; (e) persevere until justice is served; and (f) follow one's commitment and passion.
On My Terms: Sharing a Story of Hypocrisy and TransformationJournal of Multicultural Counseling and Development
Clauss-Ehlers, C.S & Parham, W.D.
Our distinguished guest for the 4th installment in this inaugural Hearing Our Elders series is Mr. Bob Zellner. Mr. Zellner's experience growing up in the segregated South underscores a commitment to stand up to obstacles and societal norms, even when to do so was life threatening. His experiences remind us of a historical time not too long ago that, to hear, one might think could never happen. And yet, witnessing his experience in the context of modern-day struggles portrayed in the civil rights movement; the 2016 Tennessee denial of service law for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals; and the 2016 Orlando shooting outside a gay nightclub reminds us that the historical events of Mr. Zellner's past are not too distant from the present. The interview captures 6 themes: being nonconforming in the face of punitive measures, living a purposeful life, pushing beyond comfort zones, early experiences as resilience building, self-evaluation as a cornerstone for commitment, and giving meaning to grief.
Following Inspiration: A Conversation with First Lady Rosalynn CarterJournal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 44, 3, 156-175
Parham, W.D. & Clauss-Ehlers, C.S.
Our distinguished guest for the 3rd installment in this inaugural Hearing our Elders series is former First Lady Rosalynn Carter. Mrs. Carter is arguably among the most active former First Ladies since she and her husband, the 39th President of the United States, James Earl “Jimmy” Carter, left the White House in 1981. The zeitgeist of the mid-1950s through the 1970s provides the context that frames Mrs. Carter’s responses to questions about her involvement in the mental health movement that continues to the present day. The historical as well as contemporary social and political environments relative to understanding and appreciating mental health and wellness in the United States, then and now, are explored and illuminated in portions of the interview with Mrs. Carter. The interview revealed 6 critical themes: really listening with an empathic ear, resilience/persistence, and commitment across time, thinking like a global citizen, a quiet-storm leadership style, and self-discovery in service to others...
Now You See Me, Now You Don’t: Appreciating culture, race, ethnicity and other dimensions of athlete and consultant whole person identitiesIn R. Schinke, K. McGannon & B. Smith (eds.) Routledge International Handbook of Sport Psychology
William D. Parham, Ph.D. ABPP (2016)
Dr. Parham contributes chapter 25 to this 8 part handbook.
Given What I Know: Seeing the Past as a Portal to an Intentional FutureJournal of Multicultural Counseling and Development
Clauss-Ehlers, C.S. & Parham W.D.
Dr. Terrence Roberts is our second guest for the Hearing Our Elders series. Dr. Roberts is one of the Little Rock Nine, the first group of African American students to attend Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Interview segments are woven into the article, providing a historical and political context from which to understand the current national climate with regard to social justice and multicultural responsiveness. Dr. Roberts's interview revealed 6 critical themes: resilience, understanding context in the face of the status quo, reimagining language, choice as key to good mental health, use of the self as an intervention tool, and the importance of being historical in one's thinking. Intentionality is identified as a metatheme that asks the question of where one falls on the status quo versus change agent continuum...
Celebrating Our Elders Who Led Us Across the Bridge: A Call to Action for the AcademyJournal of Multicultural Counseling and Development
Parham, W.D. & Clauss-Ehlers, C.S.
This issue of the Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development launches an inaugural series, Hearing Our Elders, and introduces the Honorable Congressman John Lewis as the series' 1st guest. The social, environmental, and political contexts within which the civil rights and multicultural counseling movements were shaped and unfolded are highlighted as are the incredible contributions by this history-making icon to these 2 momentous and consequential social reform campaigns. The article, with excerpts from an interview with Congressman Lewis, illuminates central and overlapping themes of both movements that, in turn, represent cornerstones of the Hearing Our Elders series. The authors conclude with an invitation to guess the name of the next historic hero to be featured in the Hearing Our Elders series...
Cultural Diversity Within Group Dynamics in SportsIn M.R. Beauchamp and M. A. Eyes (Eds.) Group Dynamics in Exercise and Sport Psychology
Robert J. Schinke, Amy T. Blodgett, Kerry R. McGannon, and William D. Parham, Ph.D. ABPP (2014)
Dr. Parham contributes to chapter 18.
Landscape of Diversity in Higher Education: Linking Demographic Shifts to Contemporary University and College Counseling Center PracticesJournal of Multicultural Counseling and Development
American institutions of higher education are increasingly called upon to respond to demographic changes. Current and future shifts in the environmental, academic, social, and emotional climate of campuses are likely to spawn both concerns and opportunities for academic and student services personnel and students. There are inherent challenges facing campus stakeholders seeking to navigate an ever-evolving higher education landscape, which require campus mental health professionals to understand person-in-environment variables as best practices relative to service delivery are continually refined...
The Bridge Goes Both Ways: Lessons learned from athletes searching for direction and meaning.In Schinke R. J. & Lidor, R. (Eds.) (2013 ) Case Studies in Sport Development: Contemporary Stories Promoting Health, Peace and Social Justice
William D. Parham, Ph.D. ABPP
Dr. Parham contributes chapter 3 to this 17 chapter look at how experiences from across our global community have served as the conduit to harmony within and among people.
A Call to Action: Responding to Large-Scale Disasters, Catastrophes, and TraumasThe Counseling Psychologist
The ascendance of large-scale disasters, catastrophes, and traumas as a concentrated focus of academic inquiry in counseling psychology is timely, and this special issue and subsequent investigations represent welcome areas of scholarship. The observations and comments herein salute the authors for responding to a post-Katrina discovery by counseling psychology of the heretofore localized and less than systematic responses to large-scale disasters, catastrophes, and traumas...
Toward Cultural Praxis and Cultural Sensitivity: Strategies for Self-Reflexive Sport Psychology PracticeQuest -Illinois- National Association for Physical Education in Higher Education
Sport psychology researchers have recently focused their attention onto the topic of culture. Their recent findings have begun to be utilized by sport psychology practitioners to increase cross-cultural understandings and deliver culturally sensitized sport services. However, such practices are on the fringes of applied sport psychology. Our intent is to show how reflective practices and self-reflexivity (i.e., forms of introspection) of sport psychology consultants can contribute toward understanding cultural diversity issues in sport. An example in the form of a confessional tale from one of the author’s consulting experiences with an Indigenous athlete will then be presented to illustrate non-reflective vs. reflective practices, and how each constrains vs. augments cultural sensitivity.We conclude with future considerations for sport psychology consultants...
Research vs. me-search: thinking more of thee and less of me when working within the context of culture.Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology
The ascendance of cultural sport psychology as a concentrated focus of academic inquiry is timely, and emergent investigations therein represent welcome areas of scholarship. The invitation embedded in this forthcoming discussion to sport psychology researchers and practitioners to stretch beyond their comfort zones is being extended with a request to consider pursuing sport psychology research and practice with a "more of thee and less of me" mindset...
Ethical Dilemmas in Sport Psychology: A Dialogue on the Unique Aspects Impacting PracticeProfessional Psychology Research and Practice
The multidisciplinary field of applied sport psychology, a specialty area of psychology practice, has been acknowledged as a proficiency area by the American Psychological Association (APA, 2007). This unique discipline often requires the psychologist to work outside the realm of traditional practice. In doing so, sport psychologists frequently encounter unique ethical dilemmas...