Dr. Christoph Leonhard, founder and first department chair of the Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Xavier, is the 2023 recipient of the Janet R. Matthews, Ph.D. Outstanding Psychology Mentor Award, announced by the Louisiana Psychological Association.
Spokesperson Dr. Amanda Raines, said, “This award recognizes and honors Dr. Janet R. Matthews for her lifetime of mentoring work and the impact she had on psychologists in Louisiana. This award is given to an individual who has made significant contributions in their mentoring of others in psychology. This year we
are recognizing Dr. Christoph Leonhard.
“Dr. Leonhard is a Professor of Clinical Psychological at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Xavier University,” Raines said. “In his current and previous roles, he has tirelessly mentored dozens of students and chaired numerous doctoral dissertations. Dr. Leonhard has also mentored faculty within the department to aid in their transition to academia. In sum, he consistently goes above and beyond to cultivate competent and diverse professionals.”
Dr. Leonhard told the Times that he is particularly grateful for his connection to Dr. Janet Matthews.
“My first feeling about the award was gratitude toward the late Dr. Janet Matthews, whom the award is named after. When I arrived in New Orleans about a dozen years ago with the idea to possibly start a PsyD program here, folks quickly directed me to Janet. Her mentorship and support were instrumental in helping get the program started,” Dr. Leonhard said.
This is a legacy award developed by Dr. Laurel Franklin, who was mentored by Dr. Janet Matthews. Dr. Janet Matthews passed away in 2019.
Margaret Smith, PsyD, the current Department Chair/Director of Clinical Training/Professor at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Xavier University of Louisiana, said, “Dr. Christoph Leonhard was the founder of our program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Xavier University. He worked tirelessly with our students ensuring that they would have opportunities to present posters at the Xavier Health Disparities conference as well as at the Louisiana Psychological Association annual conventions. He has mentored a number of our students to successfully publish articles and has provided guidance and mentorship to our adjunct and core faculty members over the years. He has also provided me with mentoring on administrative program responsibilities.”
Dr. Leonhard also said, “Additionally, I feel very honored that the LPA recognized me for the mentoring I do with our PsyD students. Working one-on-one with our students is the most rewarding part of my job. I feel very humbled by the award because the bulk of this honor really belongs to my mentees. The very essence of mentorship is the collaboration between the mentor and the mentee – with the heavy lifting being done by the mentee. Most of my mentoring centers around professional development with a focus on research and clinical skills. Doing research, writing proposals, dissertations, conference presentations, and publications is all done by the mentees with only sporadic input from me. Ditto for clinical skills development. I can mentor and guide all I want but ultimately, it’s the mentee who is attending that workshop, reading that book, or working in supervision to develop that new skill.”
What does he think are his most important achievements so far?
“Even if it is now unfortunately closing, my bringing a Chicago School clinical PsyD program to New Orleans in collaboration Xavier University is my proudest achievement,” he said. “We have been able to train a goodly number of much needed psychologists, many of whom represent historically marginalized populations. And we will graduate several more as the program is being taught out. Most of our graduates are now practicing locally and are bringing much needed mental health services to this underserved area,” Dr. Leonhard said.
“With the PsyD program closing, I am transitioning to focusing on my consultation practice. For the past three years, I’ve been writing about statistical and methodological problems with using neuropsychological tests to determine whether an examinee is malingering. There are huge social justice implications of this work that I plan to pursue in the future. As luck would have it, some of my
mentees are also interested in this work,” Dr. Leonhard said.
Dr. Leonhard has a Google Scholar Ranking at Institution: 10th most productive (1,323 Citations, h-index: 12), he was named the Chicago School of Professional Psychology: Distinguished Teaching Award for Diversity and International Psychology He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Cognitive and Behavioral Psychology, Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy: Honor Roll, and Illinois School of Professional Psychology: Faculty of the Year Award.
He has served as Visiting professor at University of Malta, Visiting professor at Beijing Normal University, and Instructor at the Institut für Verhaltenstherapie und Sexuologie.
His research positions include Research Consultant at Institut für Verhaltenstherapie und Sexuologie, Nuremberg, Germany, where he worked in designing, implementing, and publishing research on the topic of mindfulness-based Self-Practice/Self-Reflection in the advanced training of CBT therapists.
He also has served as Research Consultant at “RAI Ministries-Camp Restore”, a social justice program in New Orleans East. He has served as Program Evaluation Consultant at “The Way Back In,” a residential and outpatient clinic for patients with substance abuse problems.
Examples of his publications include:
Leonhard, C. & Leonhard, C. (in press). Neuropsychological Malingering Determinations: Science or Fiction of Lie Detection? Georgia Law Review, 58(2).
Leonhard, C. (2023) Quo Vadis Forensic Neuropsychological Malingering Determinations? Reply to Drs. Bush, Faust, and Jewsbury. Neuropsychology Review.
Leonhard., C. (2023). Review of Statistical and Methodological Issues in the Forensic Prediction of Malingering from Validity Tests: Part II: Methodological Issues. Paper accepted for publication in Neuropsychology Review.
He will be conducting a Forensic Grand Rounds organized by Alberta Hospital Edmonton and the University of Alberta via Zoom on October 11 at 10AM Central Time. The title of the presentations is Neuropsychological Determinations of Malingering: A Forensic Junk Science?. The event is free and open to all who are interested with prior registration required at