OUR Clemson; Student Affairs

Birma Gainor named interim director of Counseling and Psychological Services


Dr. Birma Gainor — a member of the Student Health Services staff at Clemson University — has been appointed as the interim director of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). She assumed the position following the retirement of longtime director Raquel Contreras on February 28.

“This transition happening during a time of growth for Clemson University and Student Affairs allows for even more development for CAPS,” Gainor said. “I’ve been training and have been under good mentorship for a long time, so I’m excited to see what we can do. I have a rich tapestry to draw from as we move through this change.”

Gainor served as an assistant director for CAPS since 2015. During that time, she was a member of the University’s Behavioral Intervention Team, coordinated research services, monitored case management services and managed on-call counselor assignments. She also coordinated research services from 2013-15 as a staff psychologist, where she provided advanced psychotherapy services to students. Gainor’s initial post-collegiate experience with CAPS came as a staff counselor from 2003-06.

Dr. Birma Gainor has been named interim director of Counseling and Psychological Services at Clemson University.

“I am very pleased that Dr. Birma Gainor will be our interim director of CAPS,” said George Clay, executive director of Student Health Services. “Birma is an outstanding clinical psychologist with extensive experience serving college students. She is also highly respected among Redfern Health Center staff and other Clemson colleagues for her expertise, compassion and genuine concern for the well-being of students. We are indeed fortunate to have Dr. Gainor assume leadership of CAPS at this time.”

Gainor served as director of counseling services at Columbia College from 2010-12. She managed all aspects of Columbia’s Counseling Service Office, including the departmental budget, confidential student files, annual reports and policy development.

As a student, Gainor was exposed to a number of different opportunities in the counseling field. She was an intern for CAPS at Clemson in 2002-03 under the supervision of Dr. George L. Jones. She was also a graduate assistant at Clemson for both the Department of Counselor Education and Office of Health Education.

She also held roles as a graduate assistant at the University of Georgia in Counseling and Human Development Services and pre-doctoral intern with the Counseling and Human Development Center at the University of South Carolina.

Gainor earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Clemson in 1995 and added master’s degrees in professional communication in 2001 and counselor education in 2003. She earned a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia in 2010 in counseling psychology.