Joseph Trimble

Joseph E. Trimble is a pioneer and distinguished psychologist widely known for his work in cultural diversity, multicultural counseling, and issues related to culture and psychology. He has published extensively in peer review journals, books, and technical reports and has an extensive list of presentations at professional conferences. His contributions to service are extensive, and he is heavily sought out for his expertise and eloquence as a speaker. He has received numerous awards and citations for his career achievements and contributions.

Trimble is a social psychologist who is located at the Center for Cross-Cultural Research, Department of Psychology, at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. He is also a research associate at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and the National Center for American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research. He is a scholar and adjunct professor of psychology at the Tri-Ethnic Center for Prevention Research at Colorado State University. Trimble received his B.A. degree from Waynesburg College in 1961, with concentrations in psychology, natural science, English literature, and French. He obtained an M.A. in general psychology from the University of New Hampshire in 1965, and in 1969, he received his Ph.D. in social psychology at the University of Oklahoma. His concentration was in interdisciplinary studies in psychology and sociology at the Institute of Group Relations.

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Trimble’s extensive list of awards, honors, and fellowships include the Allen L. Edwards Lecturer Fellowship at the University of Washington; Radcliffe Fellow at Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University; Peace and Social Justice Award given by the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Division of Peace Psychology; Distinguished Psychologist Award in 2002, awarded by the Washington State Psychological Association; Janet E. Helms Award for Mentoring and Scholarship in Professional Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University; Paul J. Olscamp Outstanding Faculty Research Award, Western Washington University; Lifetime Achievement Award from Division 45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues) of the APA; Excellence in Teaching Award from the Western Washington University; election to Fellow status from the APA; and Fellow of the National Science Foundation. These awards were based on Trimble’s scholarly contributions together with his extensive service contributions within psychological associations, university settings, and committees that set policy in, and direction for, the field of psychology.


Among his numerous service contributions, Trimble served as president of Division 45 of the APA; chaired the Committee on Ethnic Minority Recruitment, Retention and Training Task Force Textbook Guidelines Initiative of the APA; served as a member of the APA Council of Representatives; and chaired numerous committees of the APA related to ethnic minority issues and Native Americans. As a university professor, Trimble has served on various committees of governance and issues related to ethnic minorities, and he has taught courses in psychology, human services, and occasionally in curriculum theory and instruction. To date, he has chaired over 30 master’s theses and several doctoral dissertations, and he has served on more than 30 additional master’s-level thesis and doctoral-level dissertation committees.


Trimble has written 91 peer-reviewed journal articles, chapters, and monographs; 15 authored or coauthored books; and 75 technical reports. He has given more than 130 professional presentations. He has been associated with 23 different journals throughout his career as an associate editor, editorial board member, reviewer, and consulting editor. Besides his professional contributions, Trimble’s personal journey in achieving these accomplishments has shaped his thinking and perspectives.

Personal Journey

Trimble’s formal training, career achievements, and significant contributions did not let Trimble sway from understanding and appreciating his cultural, ethnic, and familial roots. In a chapter he wrote for the second edition of the Handbook of Multicultural Counseling, he describes his personal journey as a psychologist in training and in the profession. The struggle of managing two or more cultures with polarizing perspectives is similar to that of many minority psychologists of that time and even today. On the one hand he was raised with a perspective about life that is seen as more holistic, that emphasizes cooperation and collaboration, and that integrates the interrelationships, commonalities, and interconnectedness of all factors that influence behavior. On the other hand, the field of the social sciences and the mainstream U.S. culture tend to emphasize competition over coopera-tion, to prefer methods of thinking that reduce factors to a few variables of importance over the interrelated-ness of factors, and to view unexplainable phenomena, such as culture and social influences, as extraneous factors of minimal importance.

The opposing perspectives in psychology generated a determination to seek out others who had similar concerns about linking culture and psychology. With the support of an Arapaho elder and his grandfather, these conflicts only motivated him to provide the scholarship and research that was missing in the field demonstrating the connection and the importance of examining context that includes culture and ethnicity. As a true pioneer, Trimble has paved the way for others to join and build the body of knowledge, while at the same time advocate for the perspectives of appreciating diversity and integrating culture and ethnicity within the field of psychology.


  1. Bernal, G., Trimble, J., Burlew, K., & Leong, F. (Eds.). (2002). Handbook of racial and ethnic minority psychology. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  2. Pedersen, P., Draguns, J., Lonner, W., & Trimble, J. E. (Eds.). (2002). Counseling across cultures (5th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  3. Trimble, J. E. (2001). A quest for discovering ethnocultural themes in psychology. In J. G. Ponterotto, J. M. Casas, L. A. Suzaki, & C. M. Alexander (Eds.), Handbook of multicultural counseling (2nd ed., pp. 3-21). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  4. Trimble, J. E., & Fisher, C. (2006). Handbook of ethical considerations in conducting research with ethnocultural populations and communities. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  5. Trimble, J. E., Stevenson, M. R., & Worell, J. P. (2003). Toward an inclusive psychology: Infusing the introductory psychology textbook with diversity content. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

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