Dr. Janet E. Helms


Integration of race, culture and assessment; racial identity theory, research and practice; racial and cultural factors in education; test fairness in educational and occupational testing; race, culture and trauma and health outcomes; intersectional invisibility theory and racism


Janet E. Helms is the Augustus Long Professor in the Department of Counseling, Developmental, and Educational Psychology and Director of the Institute for the Study and Promotion of Race and Culture at Boston College.  She is past president of the Society of Counseling Psychology (Division 17 of the American Psychological Association [APA]).  Dr. Helms is a Fellow in Division 17 (Counseling Psychology), Division 45 (Ethnic Diversity), and Division 35 (Psychology of Women) of the APA.  In addition, she is a member of the Association of Black Psychologists, the American Psychological Society, and the American Educational Research Association.

Dr. Helms has served on the Commission for the Recognition of Specialties and Subspecialties, the Joint Committee on Testing Practices, and the APA Committee on Psychological Tests and Assessments, and she provided expert testimony to the Supreme Court in the case of Ricci v Destefano.  Her service on editorial boards include the Psychological Assessment Journal and the Journal of Counseling Psychology.  She has written over seventy empirical and theoretical articles and books on the topics of racial identity and cultural influences on assessment and counseling practice.

Her books include A Race Is a Nice Thing to Have, 3rd Edition (Cognella Press) and (with Donelda Cook) Using Race and Culture in Counseling Psychotherapy: Theory and Process (MA: Allyn & Bacon).

Dr. Helms’s work has been acknowledged with awards that include the national Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award for mentoring students, an engraved brick in Iowa State University’s Plaza of Heroines, and the “Distinguished Career Contributions to Research” Award from the Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues (Division 45), the American Psychological Association’s Awards for “Distinguished Contributions to Education and Training in Psychology” (2006) and the Award for “Distinguished Contributions to Research in Public Policy” (2008).  She was a recipient of the Association of Black Psychologists’ 2007 Award for Distinguished Psychologist.  In 1991, she was the first annual recipient of the “Janet E. Helms Award for Mentoring and Scholarship in Professional Psychology.”  This award was inaugurated in her honor by Columbia University Teachers College.  Dr. Helms was the recipient of the 2002 Leona Tyler Award awarded by Division 17 in recognition of an outstanding research career.

More recently, Dr. Helms was the recipient of the 2017-2018 Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award from the Society of Counseling Psychology (Division 17, of the American Psychological Association), the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award from APA's Society for the Psychological Study of Culture Ethnicity, and Race, and the APA/APF Gold Medal Award for Life Achievement in the Public Interest.  Additionally, she delivered the American Psychological Foundation's 2019 Arthur W. Staats Lecture on Unifying Psychology.

Janet Helms

  Janet E. Helms, Ph.D.
Augustus Long Professor
Institute Director

Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Helms is not currently accepting Ph.D. students.