Charles L. Spirrison

Charles L. Spirrison, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology and Chair, Department of Social Sciences

One University Boulevard

Bluffton, SC 29909

Hilton Head Gateway Campus




Charles L. Spirrison, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology and Chair of the Department of Social Science at USCB. His research and clinical interests involve the psychometric assessment of personality and psychopathology, impulse-control disorders, and the treatment of adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

Spirrison received a B.A. degree at North Texas State University in 1981. He earned both an M.A. degree in 1984 and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 1987 at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.

Prior to returning to academia, Dr. Spirrison served as Chief of Psychology Services at Boswell Regional Center. Boswell provides a wide array of mental health services to people with developmental disabilities. It is operated by the Mississippi Department of Mental Health.

In 1989, he joined the faculty at Mississippi State University in Starkville, rising to the rank of Professor of Psychology and being appointed Director of Clinical Training in the Department of Psychology. Dr. Spirrison devoted 19 years of his academic career to the university, retiring in 2008 as Professor Emeritus of Psychology.

Upon his retirement, Dr. Spirrison relocated to the Republic of Cyprus, where he was named Professor of Psychology and Head of the Department of Social Sciences at the University of Nicosia. He served in that capacity for two years.

He returned to the United States in 2010 to accept the post of Professor of Psychology and Department Chair at USCB.

Dr. Spirrison has authored more than 30 scholarly publications and delivered more than 35 conference presentations. He is a Fellow of the Society for Personality Assessment and has retained his position as Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Mississippi State University. In addition, he is a licensed psychologist in the state of Mississippi.

In addition to his administrative duties as Chair of the Department of Social Science, Dr. Spirrison is conducting research into the category of pathological behaviors known as impulse-control disorders, considered to be part of the comprehensively larger obsessive-compulsive order spectrum. Impulse-control disorders include trichotillomania, the recurrent pulling of hair; onychophagia, compulsive nail-biting; and dermatillomania, compulsive skin-picking. Some people engage in impulse-control behavior in order to redirect their attention. For instance, they may be thinking of something that is painful and, by engaging in this particular type of behavior, they can essentially redirect their attention.

Dr. Spirrison teaches a range of courses, including Abnormal Psychology, Positive Psychology and Personality Theory.