Gina M. Brelsford, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology, School of Behavioral Sciences and Education
Professor-in-Charge, Master of Arts in Applied Clinical Psychology
Assistant Director of Honors Program
Office Phone
Office Location
Olmsted Building, W311

    Dr. Brelsford is a Professor of Psychology at Penn State Harrisburg and is a licensed clinical psychologist with a specialization in working with children and families. She has an active research agenda related to the psychology of religion and spirituality in interpersonal relationships, particularly within the family and most recently in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She also had funded research projects aimed at understanding how secular and religious coping relates to interpersonal and intrapersonal functioning in community and clinical settings. Further, her research is also focused on positive psychology concepts, such as gratitude, satisfaction in life and meaning making, which blends with her work related to cognitive-behavioral therapy in children and adolescents.


    Research Interests

    Psychology of Religion and Spirituality in Families, Couples, and for Individuals (Interpersonal Spirituality and Intrapersonal Spirituality)

    Parent-Child Relationships and Relationship Quality

    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with Children and Adolescents

    Positive Psychology (Well-being, Meaning, Resiliency) and Intrapersonal Outcomes


    Brelsford, G., & Doheny, K. K. (2020). Parents’ spiritual struggles and stress: Associations with mental health and cognitive well-being following a neonatal intensive care unit experience. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, Advanced online publication.

    Wadsworth, M., McDonald, A., Joos, C., Perzow, S., Ahlkvist, J. A., Tilghman-Osborne, E., Creavey, K., & Brelsford, G. (2020). Reducing the biological and psychological toxicity of poverty-related stress: Initial efficacy of the BaSiCS intervention for preadolescents. American Journal of Community Psychology, 65(3-4), 305-319.

    Brelsford, G., Underwood, L. G., & Wright, B. R.E. (2019). Love in the midst of stressors: The role of daily spiritual experiences. Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, 30, 25-43.

    Brelsford, G., Doheny, K. K., & Nestler, L. (2020). Parents’ post-traumatic growth and spirituality post neonatal intensive care unit discharge. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 48(1), 34-43.

    Broderick, A. V., Brelsford, G., & Wadsworth, M. E. (2019). Interparental relationships among low income, ethnically diverse, two-parent cohabiting families. Journal of Child and Family Studies, Online First Publication.

    Winkeljohn Black, S. M., Brelsford, G., Worthington, E., Garthe, R., Davis, D., Hook, J., Van Tongeren, D., & Griffiths, B. (2019). How do humility prototypes affect the association between perceptions of spouse’s humility and depressive symptoms and couple conflict? The Journal of Positive Psychology, 14(6), 836-844.

    Berivan Ozmen, C., Brelsford, G., & Danieu, C. (2018). Political affiliation, spirituality, and religiosity: Links to emerging adults’ life satisfaction and optimism. Journal of Religion and Health, 57(2), 622-635.

    Tudder, A., Buettner, K., & Brelsford, G. (2017). Spiritual well-being and gratitude: The role of positive affect and affect intensity. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 36(2), 121-130.

    Brelsford, G., Ramirez, J. E., Veneman, K., & Doheny, K. K. (2016). Sacred spaces: Religious and secular coping and family relationships in the neonatal intensive care unit. Advances in Neonatal Care, 16(4), 315-322.

    Brelsford, G., & Doheny, K. K. (2016). Religious and spiritual journeys: Brief reflections from mothers and fathers in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Pastoral Psychology, 65(1), 79-87.

    Brelsford, G., & Righi, S. E. (2015). Grateful and sanctified exploring the parent–child context. Journal of Family Issues, 36(12), 1575-1594.

    Luquis, R., Brelsford, G., & Pérez, M. A. (2015). Exploring Latino college students’ sexual behaviors in relation to their sexual attitudes, religiousness, and spirituality. Journal of Religion and Health, 54(4), 1345-1357.

    Brelsford, G., Raldiris, T., Mondell, L. A., & Ramirez, J. (2015). Stress and negative religious coping in a community sample. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 34(2), 141-155.

    Brelsford, G., Fulmer, M. E., Harrison, M., & Xu, X. (2014). Religious coping and gratitude in emerging adulthood. Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, 25(1), 32-52.

    Brelsford, G. (2013). Sanctification and spiritual disclosure in parent-child relationships: Implications for family relationship quality. Journal of Family Psychology, 27(4), 639-649.

    Friedberg, R. D., & Brelsford, G. (2013). Training methods in cognitive behavioral therapy: Tradition and invention. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 27(1), 19-29.

    Brelsford, G., & Ciarrocchi, J. W. (2013). Spiritual disclosure and ego-resiliency: Validating spiritual competencies. Counseling and Values, 58(2), 130-141.

    Luquis, R., Brelsford, G., & Rojas-Guyler, L. (2012). Religiosity, spirituality, sexual attitudes, and sexual behaviors among college students. Journal of Religion and Health, 51(3), 601-614.

    Friedberg, R. D., & Brelsford, G. (2011). Caring for those who serve in the stormy present: Introduction to the special issue on treating military personnel and their dependents. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, 41(4), 199–200.

    Brelsford, G., Luquis, R., & Murray-Swank, N. A. (2011). College students’ permissive sexual attitudes: Links to religiousness and spirituality. The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 21(2), 127–136.

    Friedberg, R. D., & Brelsford, G. (2011). Core principles in cognitive therapy with youth. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 20(2), 369–378.

    Brelsford, G. (2011). Divine alliances to handle family conflict: Theistic mediation and triangulation in father–child relationships. Psychology of religion and spirituality, 3(4), 285-297.

    Brelsford, G., & Friedberg, R. D. (2011). Religious and spiritual issues: Family therapy approaches with military families coping with deployment. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, 41(4), 255–262.

    Friedberg, R. D., & Brelsford, G. (2011). Using cognitive behavioral interventions to help children cope with parental military deployments. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, 41(4), 229–236.

    Brelsford, G. (2010). Interpersonal spirituality between college students and fathers. Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, 21, 27–48.

    Brelsford, G., Marinelli, S., Ciarrochi, J. W., & Dy-Liacco, G. S. (2009). Generativity and spiritual disclosure in close relationships. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 1(3), 150-161.

    Brelsford, G., & Mahoney, A. (2009). Relying on God to resolve conflict: Theistic mediation and triangulation in relationships between college students and mothers. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 28(4), 291-301.

    Ciarrocchi, J. W., & Brelsford, G. (2009). Spirituality, religion, and substance coping as regulators of emotions and meaning making: Different effects on pain and joy. Journal of Addictions & Offender Counseling, 30(1), 24-36.

    Brelsford, G., & Mahoney, A. (2008). Spiritual disclosure between older adolescents and their mothers. Journal of Family Psychology, 22(1), 62-70.

    Ciarrocchi, J. W., & Brelsford, G. (2007). Introduction to special section on positive psychology. Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, 18, 97.


    Bowling Green State University, Ph.D. Clinical Psychology

    Bowling Green State University, M.A. Clinical Psychology

    Penn State University, B.A. Psychology

    Course Schedule
    PSYC 500
    PSYC 510
    PSYC 517
    PSYC 518
    PSYC 519
    PSYC 540
    PSYC 895A
    PSYC 895B
    PSYCH 243
    PSYCH 410