About Dr. Elizabeth Altmaier

Elizabeth (Betsy) Altmaier is a psychologist whose clinical and academic work focused on issues related to overcoming life-threatening and traumatic circumstances. Her research concerned persons experiencing interpersonal trauma, cancer patients after treatment, and persons with chronic pain. Her studies led to the conclusion that finding benefit from difficult experiences results in improved physical and psychological outcomes, including positive spiritual transformation. She also established that forgiveness and posttraumatic growth after interpersonal offenses may protect against spiritual decline.

As a researcher, therapist, educator, and clinical supervisor, Betsy was deeply influenced by her own life difficulties, as she herself experienced childhood sexual abuse. As an adult, she sought treatment. Finding meaning in her own transformation, she is passionate about the potential of interpersonal collaboration for growth after trauma. Her journey to wholeness in the grace of God is a testimony to the possibilities of healing in the presence of darkness.

Betsy states 1 Corinthians 13:12 (KJV) as her template. The Apostle Paul sets "knowing" in both present and future, and "face to face" in knowing oneself and being known by another.

Betsy has two forthcoming books.

  • Push Back the Dark: Companioning Adults after Childhood Sexual Abuse (published by Wipf and Stock). It is a call to engage the body of the Church in the ministry of companioning, coming alongside adult victims. The book provides tools for companions to assist them in creating healing collaborative relationships with victims, in a format to facilitate use in small group Bible Study. The book will be available in fall, 2016.
  • Reconstructing Meaning after Trauma (published by Elsevier Incorporated). The book will be available in fall 2016. Including chapters from experts in areas ranging from forgiveness to post-traumatic growth, and covering many specific populations, the book provides mental health providers and other interested persons with up-to-date and comprehensive treatment-focused content.

Betsy earned her B.A. degree from Wheaton College in Psychology, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Ohio State University. She taught in the University of Florida's Psychology Department from 1977 to 1980 and Counseling Psychology Program at the University of Iowa from 1980 to 2015. She is the author of over 100 books and articles and was the mentor and advisor for 55 students in her career. In 2015, she retired as Professor Emeritus from the university. She has been married to Michael for 38 years and is the mother of two grown children and grandmother of two grandchildren. She resides now in Des Moines, Iowa.

Dr. Elizabeth Altmaier

"For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then, I shall know, even as also I am known."

– 1 Corinthians 13:12 (KJV)