Psychology Department


Alan Tjeltveit, Ph.D. Email Alan Tjeltveit

Psychotherapy and Abnormal Psychology
Moyer Hall - Room 220
Fax: 484.664.5627


Spring 2015 Office Hours: 
Mondays, 8:00-9:00
Tuesdays, 10:00-11:00
Wednesdays, 4:30-5:30


B.A. summa cum laude, St. Olaf College, M.A., Ph.D., Fuller Theological Seminary

I teach Psychotherapy and Counseling, Abnormal Psychology, Introductory Psychology, History of Psychology, and Clinical Research.

I grew up in Red Lodge, Montana , a small town in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. I attended St. Olaf College, a small liberal arts college in Minnesota, where I double-majored in psychology and religion and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. I also studied in Egypt, India, Taiwan, and Japan. After spending a year working on a psychiatric unit, I moved to southern California to begin graduate school at a church-related university, Fuller Theological Seminary.

I studied both clinical psychology and theology, earning an M.A. in the latter and a Ph.D. in the former. After completing a clinical psychology internship at the University of Minnesota, I worked as a psychotherapist on psychiatric units, engaged in a private practice, and taught part-time at the college and university levels. For several years, I maintained a small clinical practice in a United-Way funded, sliding scale family counseling center in Allentown. I began teaching at Muhlenberg in 1989.

I am married to Maria. Our son, William David Tjeltveit, was born two days after graduation in 1998; our daughter, Anna Maria Tjeltveit, was born on Election Day, 2000 (no recount necessary!).


I like teaching psychology because people fascinate me. I find odd and unusual behavior particularly interesting and I like talking with students about it. Furthermore, I think it very important to help people. And so I think the practical applications of psychology — in psychotherapy, in education, and so forth — are very important.

I like teaching psychology at Muhlenberg because the students are interesting, bright hardworking, socially-skilled, and concerned about other people. I like teaching in a liberal arts college because the connections among disciplines fascinate me, and making those connections is what we are all about.

I regularly teach Introductory Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Psychotherapy and Counseling, History of Psychology, and Clinical Research. I have also taught the Psychology of Good and Evil, and often supervise Independent Student and Independent Research projects and serve as Faculty Sponsor for students engaged in practicum experiences in the community.

Research Interests

Psychotherapy fascinates me and so I study it. I am a member of the Society for Psychotherapy Research, the Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration, and the Division of Psychotherapy of the American Psychological Association. My work with students addresses values, ethics, mental health, religion, spirituality, and psychotherapy. Some of my students and I have presented research we conducted together at national and international meetings of professional associations. Two students and I published an article exploring the relationships among mental health values (values relevant to good psychological functioning ) and religious beliefs.

I am also interested in

  • the ethical dimensions of psychology, including values and ethics in psychotherapy;
  • professional ethics, including how psychologists can most effectively be educated to avoid ethical violations and to achieve ethical excellence;
  • the connections among psychology and philosophy, and especially the subfield of theoretical and philosophical psychology;
  • a variety of the many intersections among psychology and spirituality/religion; and
  • the psychology of love of God and love of neighbor, including caring, compassion, volunteering, community service, and grace.

Selected Publications and Presentations

  • Tjeltveit, A. C. (2014). Appropriately addressing psychological scientists’ inescapable cognitive and moral values. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, doi:10.1037/a0037909
  • Tjeltveit, A. C., & Gottlieb, M. C. (2012, April). Avoiding ethical missteps. APA Monitor, 43, 68–74.
  • Tjeltveit, A. C. (2012). What (if anything) can theologies contribute to psychologies of love? An introduction to the special issue. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 31, 99–104.
  • Tjeltveit, A. C. (2011). Religion, spirituality, and mental health. In S. Knapp (Ed.), APA handbook of ethics in psychology (Vol. 1, pp. 279–294). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  • Tjeltveit, A. C. (2011). Understanding the psychological dimensions of love for God and neighbor-as-self: Science, scripture, cross [discussion article]. Edification, 5, 84–99.
  • Tjeltveit, A. C. (2008). God’s love encountering human love: Psychological perspectives informing (and informed by) theology. In C. A. Boyd (Ed.), Visions of agapé: Problems and possibilities in human and divine love (pp. 103–121). Aldershot, England: Ashgate.
  • Tjeltveit, A. C. (2006). To what ends? Psychotherapy goals and outcomes, the good life, and the principle of beneficence. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 43, 186-200.
  • Knapp, S., & Tjeltveit, A. C. (2005). A review and critical analysis of philosophical counseling. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 36, 558–565.
  • Tjeltveit, A. C. (2004). Understanding human beings in the light of grace: The possibility and promise of theology-informed psychologies. Consensus: A Canadian Lutheran Journal of Theology, 29, 99–122.
  • Tjeltveit, A. C. (2004). The good, the bad, the obligatory, and the virtuous: The ethical contexts of psychotherapy. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 14, 149–167.
  • Tjeltveit, A. C., & Fowers, B. F. (Eds.). (2003). Explorations of human excellence in behavioral science: Rediscovering virtue in scholarship, teaching, and practice [Special issue]. American Behavioral Scientist, 47 (4).
  • Tjeltveit, A. C. (2000). There's more to ethics than codes of professional ethics. Social ethics, theoretical ethics, and managed care. The Counseling Psychologist, 28, 242-252.
  • Tjeltveit, A. C. (1999). Ethics and Values in Psychotherapy. London: Routledge.
  • Tjeltveit, A. C., Fiordalisi, A. M., & Smith, C. (1996). Relationships among mental health values and various dimensions of religiousness. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 15, 364-377. (Muhlenberg student co-authors)
  • Tjeltveit, A. C. (1986). The ethics of value conversion in psychotherapy: Appropriate and inappropriate therapist influence on client values. Clinical Psychology Review, 6, 515-537.
  • Tjeltveit, A. C. (2014, August). Theories of moral perception: When “neutrality” blinds, but moral convictions illumine. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Washington, DC.
  • Helminiak, D. A., Osbeck, L. M., & Tjeltveit, A. C. (2012, March). The values of scientific practice. Presentation at the mid-winter meeting of the Society for Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology (Division 24 of the American Psychological Association), Austin, TX.
  • Tjeltveit, A. C. (2011, August). Appropriately addressing scientists’ inescapable (cognitive and moral) values: Epistemology, methodology, ethics, wisdom. Paper presented as part of Practical philosophies of science that acknowledge the personal: Addressing emotional, cognitive, ethical, and financial biases and contributions (A. C. Tjeltveit & A. S. Mundis, Chairs), at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Washington, DC.
  • Tjeltveit, A. C. The merits of moral perception and philosophies of science that take moral values seriously. Paper presented as part of Tjeltveit, A. C., & Osbeck, L. M., Re-evaluating science: Finding a proper role for emotions and ethical convictions in science practice, at the mid-winter meeting of the Society for Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology (Division 24 of the American Psychological Association), Miami, FL, February, 2010.
  • Tjeltveit, A. C. Ethics-informed psychologies: Problems and promise. Paper presented as part of The proper role of ethical convictions in psychological inquiry: A symposium and discussion (A. C. Tjeltveit, Chair), at the mid-winter meeting of the Society for Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology (Division 24 of the American Psychological Association), Miami, FL, February, 2008.
  • Heller, C. A., & Tjeltveit, A. C. Asperger’s versus Autistic Disorder? Clinician and student diagnosis and attitudes. Presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, San Francisco, CA, August, 2007. (Muhlenberg student co-author)
  • Tjeltveit, A. C. Caring and compassion in the clinic: Dangerous, essential dimensions of ethical practice. Invited "Distinguished Lecture" presented at Widener University, Chester, PA, March 22, 2005.
  • Tjeltveit, A. C. Variegated values: The origins of "values" as term of science, ethics, deconstruction, autonomy, and authenticity. Paper presented at the 35th annual meeting of Cheiron: The International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Durham, NH, June 19, 2003.
  • Tjeltveit, A. C., Myers, B., Lanham, J., & Kelly, T. A. Measuring values relevant to mental health: Psychometric investigations of the Kelly Values Questionnaire. Presentation at the annual meeting of the Society for Psychotherapy Research, Geilo, Norway, June, 1997. (2nd & 3rd co-authors: Muhlenberg students)
  • Vera, T. Y., & Tjeltveit, A. C. The importance of gender and ethnic identity in Latinas. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Applied and Preventive Psychology. New York, New York, July, 1995. (Muhlenberg student co-author)