As a University of Pittsburgh graduate student, Nadine J. Kaslow, PhD, hit a roadblock: She dreamed of researching depression in children, but none of her professors worked in that area. Luckily, she met Lynn P. Rhem, PhD, who agreed to be her adviser, even though his research focused on depression in adult women.
"He followed his students' interests and let us teach him, even as he taught us," Kaslow says.
Rehm's influence on Kaslow was so profound that she left her graduate program to follow him to Texas when he accepted a position at the University of Houston in 1979.
That dedication to his students and his groundbreaking research on depression were among the many reasons Rehm's collegues held a festschrift in his honor March 6–7 at the University of Houston. The event featured presentations and roundtable discussions on maternal depression, the etiology of depression, depression assessment and treatment, and suicide, as well as a symposium on his professional contributions at the local and national levels.
Rehm has always been highly regarded for his nurturing attention to students, the way he involves them in his own research and his encouragement to let them to publish as co-authors, and in many cases, first authors.
"Just by looking at his curriculum vitae, it was easy to tell that he really supported students' careers," says Alice S. Carter, PhD, a University of Massachusetts, Boston, psychology professor and former Rehm mentee.
The number of Rehm's students who entered academia hovers near 50 percent—surprisingly high for a clinical professor, says University of Houston psychology professor Gordon L. Paul, PhD, who has been one of Rehm's colleagues for 29 years.
Rehm's scholarly contributions include assessing and treating mood disorders, especially those related to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder. With funding from NIMH and the Hogg Foundation, he developed and tested self-control and self-management therapy for depression and enhanced the understanding of cognitive models of memory in depressed people, especially women and girls.
The festschrift also recognized Rehm's commitment to psychological associations. He has served as president of the Houston Psychological Association, the Texas Psychological Association and Div. 12 (Society of Clinical Psychology). He has held leadership positions on APA's Commission for the Recognition of Specialties and Proficiencies in Professional Psychology and the Board of Educational Affairs.
In addition, Rehm's research and teaching have earned him numerous awards including the Houston Psychological Association's Psychologist of the Year award, the Texas Psychological Association's Award for Professional Contributions to Clinical Psychology and the Div. 12 Florence Halpern Award for Professional Contributions to Clinical Psychology.
Rehm's commitment to national and local associations never hindered him in his role as a mentor, though, says Kaslow, who continued to request guidance from Rehm even after she received tenure. In fact, after she got word of her tenure, she says, "Lynn was the first person I called after I called my family, and one of the first questions he asked was, 'What kind of raise are you going to get?'" When Kaslow explained she wasn't getting one, he told her to find the average raise of the other people who were promoted and ask for that amount. "Sure enough, it worked," says Kaslow, "which just goes to show, once a mentor, always a mentor."