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Kate F. Hays


Kate F. Hays, Ph.D., C.Psych., CMPC-Emeritus, a pioneer in the field of Performance Psychology, passed away on April 1 after a courageous 3 ½ year battle with leukemia. She was a psychologist for over 40 years and maintained an independent practice, The Performing Edge, in Toronto, Canada. Her practice, research, writing, and teaching focused on: (1) performance enhancement training with athletes; (2) the application of sport psychology principles and techniques to other performance populations, especially performing artists and business executives; and (3) psychotherapy practice with emphasis on the mental benefits of physical activity.

Born and raised in New York City, Dr. Hays obtained her B.A. from the University of New Hampshire and her A.M. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Boston University. Following graduate training, she returned to New Hampshire, where she directed a community mental health center and subsequently developed an individual and group private practice. In 1997, she moved to Toronto, to expand the sport and performance aspects of her practice.

Dr. Hays taught numerous courses in sport and performance psychology in the U.S. and has given scholarly and applied presentations throughout North America, the U.K., and Australia. She is well known for her popular tele-consultation groups in sport and performance psychology. In 1999, she founded the Psyching Team for the Toronto Marathon. 

A prolific author of many peer reviewed articles and invited book chapters, Dr. Hays offered public education through her blog, “The Edge: Peak Performance Psychology” through Psychology Today. She authored five books including Working It Out: Using Exercise in Psychotherapy; Move Your Body, Tone Your Mood; You’re On! Consulting for Peak Performance; and edited Performance Psychology in Action and Integrating Exercise, Sports, Movement and Mind: Therapeutic Unity. 

A former president of American Psychological Association’s Division 47 (Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology), she was a recipient of its Bruce Ogilvie Award for Professional Practice. She also was instrumental in establishing a Section on Performance Psychology. A long time AASP member and Fellow, Dr. Hays delivered the Coleman Griffith Lecture at AASP’s 2013 conference in New Orleans (The Journey of an Independent Scholar-Practitioner) and was honored with the AASP Foundation’s Distinguished Mentor Award in 2018.

AASP sends our deepest condolences to her husband Jeff, family, friends and loved ones. Kate was a light to those who knew her, she made a tremendous impact in and outside of the field and her legacy will live on for years to come.

Donations can be made in Kate’s honor to the following organizations: The American Psychological Foundation (designate to APA Div 47), Orpheus Choir of TorontoThe Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Program at New York UniversityAASP FoundationOntario Psychological Association or The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation.