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Burton Giges

IN MEMORIAM: Dr. Burton Giges

It is with great sadness that we let AASP members know that Dr. Burton (Burt) Giges passed away on March 7 at the age of 97.

Burt was a renowned expert on sport psychology consulting and self-awareness, keynote presenter at professional meetings, author of the book My Work in Sport Psychology, and star of sport psychology consulting videos. He used his expertise as a practitioner and scholar to help athletes, students, and colleagues of all levels to pursue their goals and strive to reach their potential.
Burt attended City College of New York and was a member of the fencing team. He then attended New York University College of Medicine and graduated first in his class. Throughout his lifetime, Burt had three distinguished careers. First, he worked as a medical researcher. Next, he focused on mental health, studying psychiatry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and becoming Chief Resident and a faculty member. He also served as the director of community mental health services in Westchester, New York and was a distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Burt began his third career--in sport psychology--when he was in his 60s. Incorporating a strong theoretical foundation that included psychodynamic, humanistic, existential, cognitive-behavioral, and gestalt approaches into his work, he helped athlete-clients identify and address psychological barriers to goal attainment, with particular attention to the harmful effects of self-critical thoughts. Burt also began attending sport psychology conferences, meeting colleagues, and leading self-awareness workshops, which led to his being appointed Clinical Professor of Psychology at Springfield College, serving as president of AASP in 2007-2008, and receiving AASP’s Distinguished Professional Practice Award in 2018.  
Throughout his life, Burt proved himself to be an outstanding teacher, excellent advisor, in-demand professional speaker, and influential practitioner. Burt’s workshop presentations were a highlight of many conferences. In his workshops, Burt would typically invite a volunteer to the stage and would hold a live consulting session. During the session, he would periodically pause, turn to the audience, discuss his thought process, provide several possible directions for the session, and then explain the approach he was choosing to take. Burt would then return to the client to continue their conversation. His ability to share the “art” of sport psychology consulting is something that has been so appreciated that the “Burt Giges Workshop” (featuring other presenters in the interactive format in which Burt excelled) has continued to be a regular feature at AASP's Annual Conference.
During the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, Burt stayed engaged with students and colleagues. He taught by Zoom and held a Springfield College ID that was current through the last year of his life. When a colleague mentioned their impending retirement, Burt, age 97, said that he might retire in May 2022, too. Although Burt did not make it to his retirement, he spent his working life enjoying special relationships with his wife Ilka (who joined him at some of his teaching and conference gigs), his daughters Elinor and Julie, and their families. Burt had an unwavering belief in individual value and human potential. He will be sorely missed.
If you would like to make a donation in Burt’s memory, contributions may be made to The Dr. Burt Giges Scholarship in Athletic Counseling at Springfield College, 263 Alden Street, Springfield, MA 01106. Please make checks payable to Springfield College and write Burt Scholarship on the memo line. You may also make a gift online at or call the Office of Development at 800-622-6072.

Submitted by
Judy Van Raalte, Britt Brewer, and Al Petitpas