Dr. Jack Rainer recently won a bronze medal in the 2012 National Health Information Awards for his article â€œNeutralizing Stigma,â€ which was published in the July/August 2011 issue of the bi-monthly Arthritis Self-Management magazine. The announcement came five months after the 57-year-old Tifton native joined the Valdosta State University faculty as a professor of psychology and head of the Department of Psychology and Counseling.
â€œMy goal was to write a practical self-help article for people living with arthritis,â€ he said. â€œArthritis is often a hidden disease and one that is easily misunderstood. Many people think that it is easily managed, “just a part of getting older,â€Ÿ and a physical nuisance. Different forms of arthritis can seriously compromise a person’s quality of life. People living with the demands of arthritis often need help from others to man-age through the day and certainly are worthy of having the limits of their bodies understood and respect-ed.â€
Rainer left Atlanta in August 1997 and moved to Boiling Springs, N.C., entering the world of academia as an associate professor in the Department of Psy-chology at Gardner-Webb University. He also main-tained a part-time association with a group practice offering a full range of psychological services in a rural community. Five years later, he moved to South Georgia, where he worked as a psychologist at the Valdosta-based Midtown Psychological Associates.
In the summer of 2007, Rainer returned to Gardner-Webb University as a professor of psychology and dean of the Graduate School. He also began offering his services as a consulting psychologist. Two years later, he was named the director of clinical training and professor of psychology at Georgia Southern Uni-versity. He remained in Statesboro until he joined the VSU family in August 2012.
â€œProfessionally, the move to VSU offers me the colle-giality I seek as an academician and clinician,â€ said the board certified clinical psychologist, licensed health service provider psychologist, and licensed ap-plied psychologist. â€œPersonally, the move is a good one for me and my family and is a congruent fit for this time in my life.â€
â€œMy first semester at VSU has been an interesting one,â€ he added. â€œThe psychology department is lively and active. It is a large major. Stepping into the new role as department head has required a quick learning curve, definitive decision making, and reception of a great deal of help from my faculty peers and the university administration. People at the university have been remarkably good spirited and helpful in assisting me to get the “lay of the land” and to advocate for students and faculty in the various university structures. I’m happy to be here and look forward to continuing to settle into a more consistent rhythm.â€
In the past year, Rainer has co-authored two resource and reference works, Rural Mental Health: Issues, Policies, and Best Practices and Isolated and Alone: Therapeutic Interventions for Loneliness. His next book, Life and Loss: Counseling and Therapy for Grief and Bereavement,â€ will be published in the spring. He is a regular contributor to various professional journals and an experienced presenter.
â€œI am writing more and find that it is quite enjoyable,â€ he said. â€œOne of the more pleasant aspects of getting older is having the ability to step into the bully pulpit and speak my peace. The books, chapters, and articles have been well received, as evidenced by the award for the stigma article. They are ways to teach larger numbers of people who may find help in some-thing I’ve written, and that is important to me.â€
Rainer’s chosen areas of research include grief and bereavement, end-of-life care, quality of life enhancement, rural mental health, and psychotherapy processes. He is a member of the American Psychological Association, Kappa Kappa Psi, Journal of Healthcare Leadership Editorial Board, Georgia Psychological Association, Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy Editorial Board, Psi Chi Honor Society, Southeastern Psychological Association,Psychology Research and Behavior Management Editorial Board, Healthcare Financial Management Association, and more.
In his spare time, Dr. Rainer enjoys reading fiction and spending time with his wife of 34 years, Karen.