Elson Bihm

Elson Bihm

Professor of Psychology


Mashburn 215

(501) 450-5417

What is your background in Counseling Psychology?

I received my PhD in counseling psychology from Texas Tech University in 1982. After graduating, I worked as a counseling psychologist at the Research and Training Center at TTU, the Acadiana Mental Health Center (Lafayette, LA), and the Conway Human Development Center (Conway, AR). In 1995, I won the Research Award from UCA for my work with persons with intellectual disability (mental retardation).

Please Describe Your Current Research Program.

My research interests have evolved over the years. On an abstract level, I am interested in improving the positive environments of individuals who often lack a “voice.” Two ways I have done this are: through prevention-science (particularly Social Emotional Skills) and Stimulus Preference Assessment (SPA) (below).


The science of prevention involves intervening before a problem develops or occurs. Along these lines, I published a recent article in a Russian journal on prevention and Social Emotional Learning (SEL). With Drs. Paul Nail and Joan Simon, in 2013 I received an NIH grant to study bullying and self-affirmation theory. Dr. Femina Varghese and I are currently exploring “indicated” prevention methods with juvenile offenders.

Positive Environments

Stimulus Preference Assessment (SPA) involves identifying the stimuli that might serve as reinforcers for persons with developmental disorders and for children. For example, with the assistance of graduate student Katelyn Coney, I am identifying the reinforcer preferences of clients at the CHDC.


I am also developing several lines of research that I tend to organize within the framework of the philosophy of pragmatism. This line of work involves collaboration with pragmatist-philosopher Dr. Tanya Jeffcoat.

Are You Accepting Any New Students into Your Lab/Workgroups?

Yes. Please contact me (by email, phone, or in person during my office hours) if you are interested in working in any of the above areas.  If you are interested in working with me and my students, you will need to register for independent studies/research or a problems course (but be sure and talk to me first).