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Richmont Achieves CACREP Accreditation

We are proud to announce that Richmont Graduate University has received CACREP accreditation.  The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP) has accredited the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. This accreditation is a significant milestone for our university and recognizes the commitment of our faculty, staff, and students to excellence in the field of counseling.

This accreditation is a result of the hard work of our dedicated and talented faculty and staff. The process of accreditation is lengthy and includes self-assessment, a comprehensive report, and peer evaluation. According to the CACREP website: “CACREP Accreditation provides recognition that the content and quality of the program has been evaluated and meets standards set by the profession. The student, as a consumer, can be assured that appropriate knowledge and skill areas are included and that the program is stable, professionally and financially” (www.cacrep.org). The CACREP accreditation is retroactive for eighteen months, meaning the classes of 2016 and 2015 are considered CACREP accredited.

Richmont has a long history of academic and clinical excellence, and this recognition is yet another accomplishment we can celebrate!

President Bob Rodgers Moves to New Post in Global Fight Against Human Trafficking

ATLANTA-CHATTANOOGA (July 14, 2016) – The Board of Trustees of Richmont Graduate University announced today its acceptance of President Bob Rodgers’ resignation to take on a new leadership challenge for a cause “close to the heart and mission of Richmont,” said Richmont Board Chairman Talley Clower of Chattanooga.

After first sharing his plans with the Board’s chairman, President Rodgers announced in the July 12 Board meeting his appointment as the new president and chief operating officer of Street Grace, a faith-driven organization working to end Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking in Metro Atlanta and throughout the United States. As president of Richmont Graduate University, Rodgers has worked on the issue of human trafficking globally through University counseling and ministry initiatives and through his role as founding chairman of the Freedom Coalition, a human trafficking initiative in partnership with Atlanta-based City of Refuge.

Rodgers has served as the fourth president of Richmont Graduate University, the oldest graduate school in the eastern U.S. with a program that integrates professional counseling with Christian worldview. With campuses in Atlanta, Chattanooga and online, Richmont provides a Christ-centered education and fully accredited graduate programs in Counseling, Ministry and Spiritual Formation.

Since 2010, Rodgers has led Richmont into an era of institutional and financial growth including spearheading the opening of a debt-free $2.3 milllion Atlanta campus, championing the addition of a new accredited master’s degree program in Ministry, adding successful online programs, doubling the University’s endowment, and increasing assets by more than 30%. Richmont’s 2016 Fall enrollment is slated to be the largest in the University’s history, while its growing student body continues to achieve academic excellence with 2015 graduates turning in a 100% pass rate on the National Counselor Examination and consistently ranking in the top 15% of nationwide test scores. Employment stats for 2015 Richmont graduates show 90% employment within 6 months for graduates of the School of Counseling and 100% employment for School of Ministry graduates within six months.

With a reputation for “giving back” to the community, Richmont has, under Rodger’s leadership, launched two university-sponsored trauma centers, one in Atlanta and the other in Chattanooga, the only trauma center in the region. In 2015, Richmont’s 10 community counseling centers in Atlanta and Chattanooga conducted some 24,000 one-on-one counseling sessions and are expected to exceed 25,000 sessions in 2016. On an annual basis, Richmont counseling and ministry students serve more than 90 non-profit and mental health facilities in the Atlanta and Chattanooga area.

“Employment of mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists is projected to grow 19% by 2020, much faster than the forecasted 7% average growth for all occupations*,” Rodgers said. “Simultaneously, the number of people seeking mental health treatment, skilled clinicians, and strong faith communities are growing at an unprecedented pace. I believe Richmont stands in a class of its own to equip the next generation of clinical counselors and ministry leaders to meet our nation’s growing need. It has been immeasurably rewarding to serve this distinguished faculty and dedicated, nurturing community of staff and students.”

“Bob’s leadership has been invaluable to the success of Richmont Graduate University. It has served as an incredible stabilizing influence and catalyst for growth. His vision and wisdom have contributed to the quality and expansion of academic and counseling programs, new advanced degree programs, on-line degree availability, and dynamic synergy among students,” said Atlanta’s Jan Linder, immediate past president of Richmont’s Board of Trustees and head of the search committee for Rodgers’ successor.

Rodgers will continue to serve in his role as president until a new president or interim is named.

Richmont Graduate University is a Christ-centered education and research institution committed to equipping graduates who function at the highest levels of clinical counseling and professional ministry. The University offers fully accredited graduate degree programs from its School of Counseling and School of Ministry. With campuses in Atlanta, Chattanooga and online, Richmont is known for its distinguished faculty and unparalleled in-field training, including serving some 25,000 clients annually through ten community counseling centers near its campuses. Richmont’s is the oldest integrated counseling program in the eastern U.S. and its graduates consistently rank among the top 15% nationwide in licensing test scores. The University enjoys a rich heritage beginning in 1935, with roots in Atlanta’s former Psychological Studies Institute (PSI) and the former Chattanooga Bible Institute.

 

CONTACT:
Beth Bragg Henon  bbhenon@gmail.com 404.538.8590

Scottie Blackburn  sblackburn@richmont.edu 423.903.4808

 

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*Source: U.S. Dept of Labor Statistics

Richmont Sends Trauma Team to Aid Syrian Refugees

ATLANTA, GA AND CHATTANOOGA, TN – July 11, 2016 – Richmont is sending a team of therapists to work with refugees in Greece and Turkey next week. Dr. Vanessa Snyder will lead the trip, joined by Dr. Lorrie Slater, Richmont alumni Liz Norris and Nia Baker, Richmont student Mary Horton, and Horton’s husband Doug. Paramount in their mission is the training of humanitarian workers in compassion fatigue and trauma counseling and also providing counsel to to families at the detention camp in Lesbos.

“The Bible makes clear our call to attend to the hurting, the marginalized, and the oppressed. This team has answered that call, and we are inspired by their service,” says President Bob Rodgers.

The influx of refugees onto the Greek island of Lesbos in the past year has been staggering, up 40% from the previous twelve months. Many emigrants do not survive the voyage to Lesbos, and many more arrive at Greek shores only to be turned away or deported. Richmont’s team will work with those who are seeking political asylum, literally running for their lives from their home countries. Hungry, impoverished, and traumatized by their circumstances, this population relies entirely upon the work of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the United Nations, NGOs, and volunteers for their needs to be met. Richmont is proud to be an active part of the mission to serve the hurting in Greece.

Says Dr. Lorrie Slater, “I am so thankful for the opportunity to join with Conscience International and Richmont’s Institute of Traumatology to bring relief to humanitarian workers and refugees in Lesbos. It is a privilege to serve those in need of hope and healing during this time of crisis.”

The team will depart July 17 and return July 26. They request your prayers for safety and strength as they prepare to minister.

Dr. Vanessa Snyder to Present at Courage Worldwide Training

SACRAMENTO, CA – JUNE 2016 – Dr. Vanessa Snyder, Director of the Richmont Trauma Center in Atlanta, will present at a Courage Worldwide trauma training in Sacramento on June 28. Focusing on sex trafficking and its impact on survivors, the training is entitled, “Trauma and the Brain: Applications for Clinicians Working with the Spectrum of Trauma” and will serve clinicians and community members working with trauma-exposed populations and parents of trauma survivors. Snyder will be joined by two other leaders in the field of clinical trauma work, Dr. Angela Chanter and Jon Daily. The three mental health professionals will cover the manifold ways in which trauma neurologically reorders mental processes and behaviors.

“There are so many courageous helpers working with girls and women who have been rescued from trafficking,” says Dr. Snyder. “The uniqueness of this population demands all of us in the field of trauma to continue to study, research, equip those working tirelessly in this fight in order to see lives and families restored.”

Courage Worldwide, Inc. exists to bring hope, healing, and restoration to child victims of human trafficking. Its primary focus is building and operating Courage Houses, which are residential treatment facilities for those rescued from trafficking, and also providing trainings for those working with trauma survivors in various professional fields. Courage Worldwide reports that 100% of its constituents were drug-addicted and diagnosed with mental illnesses prior to treatment at a Courage House; after treatment, 78% of disorders were stabilized and 100% improved her GPA to over 3.0.

“Dr. Snyder is playing a vital role in the care of trauma survivors across the globe. Richmont stands behind what she is doing and looks forward to her continued service for those most in need of restoration,” says President Bob Rogers.

Dr. Snyder is part of Richmont’s own efforts to counteract sex trafficking in the greater Chattanooga and Atlanta areas. She holds a Ph.D. from Regent University and is a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and a Certified Sex Therapist. She specializes in sexual abuse, complex trauma, dissociative disorders, same-sex issues, and gender identity disorders. She serves as Dean of Clinical Affairs at Richmont and Director of the Richmont Trauma Center in Atlanta.

Richmont Alumni Provide Retreat for UTC Colleagues

CHATTANOOGA, TN – MAY 2016 – Last week, four Richmont alumni teamed up to serve the women on the University of Tennessee Cru staff. Beth Wayland’s ministry, called WITH, Inc., was invited to plan and direct the retreat, focusing on each woman’s personal journey, relationship with Christ, and personal soul care.

President Bob Rodgers says of the alumni, “At Richmont, we are honored to play a part in our students’ spiritual formation, acting as a conduit through which Jesus Christ works in their lives. Alumni like these women make us proud.”

The Cru staff is a college ministry focused on the spiritual guidance of students attending area universities. Their efforts include Bible studies, mission trips, conferences, weekly meetings, and more. Their website is www.chattanoogacru.com.

Richmont Community Counseling Center Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary

CHATTANOOGA, TN – APRIL 2016 – This spring, the Richmont Community Counseling Center (RCCC) will celebrate ten years of operation. In 2006 with Dr. Jana Pressley at the helm, the RCCC opened its doors with the goal of bringing subsidized mental healthcare services to underserved populations in our city. Michelle Shelley, who became the Director of the RCCC after Pressley moved out of state, has continued and expanded the vision. The RCCC is now the foremost provider of reduced-fee, bilingual services in the region.

“Richmont takes seriously the call of Christ to serve the hurting and bring them hope. The RCCC has been a major part of our work in this arena, and we are grateful to the therapists and interns that serve clients in need,” says President Bob Rodgers.

Last year the RCCC provided 1,786 counseling sessions, more than half of which served uninsured clients, with the others reaching clients with an annual household income of under $15,000. Furthermore, a full 13% of clients specify English as their second language, giving rise to the need for bilingual counseling. The RCCC is positioned to meet this need with a full-time, licensed bilingual therapist.

“It remains an immense privilege for Richmont to offer access to services that many people could otherwise not afford. Thanks to many individual donors, clients are regularly surprised at how the RCCC is able to extend grace regarding payments for services,” says Director Michelle Shelley, LMFT.

One of the highlights of the past year was the RCCC’s training of its interns in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, an evidence-based practice designed to improve the health of children ages 2-7 by addressing the relationship between parent and child. This was the second year in which RCCC therapists were able to train interns in this model, and they look forward to continuing the practice in the future. Additionally, the RCCC’s bilingual therapist, Rebeca Durand, built and strengthened a number of partnerships around the metro Chattanooga area to better serve the Latino population. Notable community partners now include Clínica Médicos, La Paz, and a number of area Catholic churches.

The RCCC anticipates a second decade of growing, expanding, and loving Chattanoogans who need a hand up as they confront the challenges of life.

Grand Opening of the Richmont Trauma Center in Chattanooga

CHATTANOOGA, TN – MARCH 2016 – On March 10 at noon on Richmont Graduate University’s Chattanooga campus, the new Richmont Trauma Center (RTC) will host an Open House to introduce itself to the community. Anyone in the public is welcome to participate in the Meet and Greet with trauma therapists and hear about the mission and goals of the Center. The RTC will officially open for counseling services on March 14 and is currently accepting referrals and inquiries.

“Many individuals who have experienced trauma in their lives continue to experience the fallout of the painful experiences for many years,” says RTC Director Dr. Jeff Eckert. “The Richmont Trauma Center has been developed to provide intentional services for those who may feel hopeless and as if they have nowhere to turn to find healing.”

The clinic will exist under the broader umbrella of Richmont Graduate University. In addition to Dr. Eckert, RTC staff will include Kelli Currin, Dr. Rebecca Green, Dr. Bill McGee, Dr. Erica Skidmore, Dr. Jay Spalding, Meaghan Warnock, and Michael Williams. Individual, marital, and family outpatient trauma services will be provided with a treatment-team approach to dealing with a variety of trauma-related issues and clients. Therapeutic groups will also be available, as will monthly trainings for community therapists.

“We are humbled and grateful to be able to open the only trauma center of its kind in a 50-mile radius,” says Richmont President Bob Rodgers. “The wounds caused by trauma have far-reaching consequences that are not always readily visible. At the Richmont Trauma Center, we aim to bring healing and relief to those who struggle daily with trauma-inflicted pain.”

“Complex trauma,” often the most difficult to overcome, refers to prolonged abuse or neglect occurring during developmentally vulnerable times and resulting in severe mental and/or physical illness. Untreated complex trauma has been linked to lifelong impairment; criminality; adoption of high-risk behaviors, such as drug use and multiple sexual partners; heart disease; homelessness; joblessness; suicide; divorce; violence; living in poverty; and higher probability of early death (www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy). These are just a few of the aspects of “fallout” to which Dr. Eckert referred. At the RTC, healing, restoration, and transformation will be accessible, no matter a person’s past.

Richmont CPCE Scores Outshine National Mean Fourth Year in a Row

ATLANTA, GA AND CHATTANOOGA, TN – FEBRUARY 2016 – In January, Richmont’s 68 graduating students took the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE) and substantially exceeded the national mean of 83.86 for the fourth year in a row. On Richmont’s Chattanooga campus, students garnered a mean score of 98.73, while Richmont’s Atlanta students achieved an equally impressive mean score of 92.55.

“The Board of Trustees and I simply could not be prouder of Richmont’s faculty and students; the scores of the CPCE exam give a clear picture why. These nationally impressive numbers reflect each person’s dedication to excellence in the field of helping others,” said President Bob Rodgers.

According to the website for the Center for Credentialing & Education, the CPCE is used by more than 400 universities across the United States and “provides a…comprehensive exam that meets high psychometric standards” that “compare a program’s results to national data” and “gives students comparative strength and weakness feedback” (www.cce-global.org). The 160-question exam evaluates students on eight subject areas and allows universities to receive an objective view of student’s level of knowledge.

“We are tremendously proud of our students and their commitment to becoming excellent clinicians,” said Dr. Stephen Bradshaw, Dean of the Schools of Counseling and Psychology. “Their strong performance on the CPCE reveals both their personal diligence and the exceptional quality of the counseling program at Richmont. We are exceptionally proud that as outstanding as these scores are, they don’t even address the integrative part of the curriculum – that aspect of a Richmont education that highlights sensitivity to the work of faith-based issues in the counseling room.”

Performance on the CPCE is considered an indicator of how students will perform on the National Counselor Examination (NCE), which is required for licensure as a professional counselor in most states. Richmont’s 2016 CPCE scores match students’ most recent performance on the NCE. Our students pursuing a degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling attained a 100% passing rate with a mean score of 118.5, compared to the national mean score of 109.71 for students in CACREP-accredited programs.

Richmont Introduces the Institute of Traumatology

ATLANTA, GA AND CHATTANOOGA, TN – FEBRUARY 2016 – Richmont is partnering with the Green Cross Academy of Traumatology (GCAT) to offer certification through the Richmont Institute of Traumatology (RIT). Individuals completing the course of study are granted Green Cross recognition as Field and Certified Traumatologists. Growing out of a desire to bring hope and healing to those who suffer from trauma, RIT operates in a three-tiered approach: (1) Educate students in trauma treatment through theory and clinical work, (2) Treat those who have suffered trauma through the establishment of trauma centers, and (3) Train professionals to help people in crisis following traumatic events.

President Bob Rodgers says, “The focus of the Gospel is to reach out to those who are hurting. The Richmont Institute of Traumatology will allow us to do this more effectively as an organization and to train others to do so as well.”

The next opportunity available from the Richmont Institute of Traumatology is a training in Disaster, Stress, and Field Traumatology, which will occur on the Atlanta campus (1900 The Exchange SE, Atlanta) on April 29 and 30. This event fulfills a partial training requirement for the Green Cross as a Field and Certified Traumatologist.

Dr. Vanessa Snyder, a professor of counseling and traumatology at Richmont, says, “We are proud to be a university that is connected to the organizations doing this kind of work. We are bringing holistic help to traumatized individuals. Clothes and money alone are not enough.”

The Green Cross Academy of Traumatology (GCAT) is an international organization that provides humanitarian relief in the form of trained service providers and traumatologists, most of whom are licensed mental health caregivers. When traumatic events occur anywhere in the world, GCAT is pleased to respond to requests for assistance from individuals and organizations. Richmont is excited to be a part of such a vital mission.

For more information, contact Vanessa Snyder (vsnyder@richmont.edu) or visit www.greencross.org.

Richmont to Participate in National Research Project

ATLANTA, GA AND CHATTANOOGA, TN – FEBRUARY 2016 – Richmont has been invited to participate in Project Amazing Grace, a prestigious national research project jointly spearheaded by Biola University and the University of California at Davis, sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation. The research initiative will investigate the nature, impact, and influence of understanding God’s grace. To that end, the project’s foundational question states, “How and in what ways is grace fundamental to human existence and wellbeing?”

Dr. Timothy Sisemore, Director of Research, says, “Richmont is pleased to see its research initiatives noticed and enhanced by participation in these important meetings.”

In January, Sisemore presented to Project Amazing Grace’s Core Research Team the story of the Richmont Grace Scale and its evolution into the Dimensions of Grace Scale, which is to be published shortly in the journal Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. Future directions of the scale include planned theses for two Richmont students.

Sisemore was further invited to participate in Biola University/Rosemead School of Psychology’s annual Institute for Research on Psychology and Spirituality, a select gathering of top researchers in the field in which participants learn of others’ research projects and exchange ideas. Sisemore presented Richmont’s Psychotherapy Outcomes Project (RPOP) to the group as a model for training and data gathering.

President Bob Rodgers says, “Richmont is honored to be included in this important research project. Understanding the grace offered to us by God transforms the way we live. As such, Richmont is committed to studying the application of grace in the field of psychology to reshape clients’ lives for years to come.”

Project Amazing Grace’s primary empirical goal as stated on the project’s website is, “to investigate how humanly experienced divine grace has the capacity to profoundly enhance and elevate human flourishing.” For more information, please consult Project Amazing Grace’s online presence at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Project-Amazing-Grace/696913600428471?hc_location=ufi.