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School of Counseling

Richmont Faculty Member Elected to Serve on National Executive Board

ATLANTA, GA – February 27, 2017 – The hallmark of a Richmont faculty member is the desire to serve the entire field oILT ACA picf counseling, whether through research, collaboration across disciplines, or serving in national organizations. The latter is true for Dr. Keith Myers, who has just been elected Director of the Executive Board of the Military & Government Counseling Association (MGCA), a division of the American Counseling Association (ACA).

Dr. Steve Bradshaw, Dean of the School of Counseling, says of Myers’s election, “We are never surprised, although always humbled, when Richmont faculty are granted positions of honor in prestigious organizations, such as the ACA. Dr. Myers’s contribution to the field is an important and impressive one.”

The Military & Government Counseling Association (MGCA) provides therapeutic counseling and educational programming to those associated with the armed services. Myers himself describes it this way: “As a division of the ACA, the MGCA focuses on the growth and development of counselors, counseling students, and counselor educators who work directly with the military population and their families. Given my work with veterans over the last six years in my practice and in the community, this role is a good fit for me, and I look forward to serving in this capacity.” Myers was nominated to the position by a fellow MGCA member and consequently voted in. He will serve a two-year term.

Dr. Vanessa Snyder, Richmont’s interim President, says, “Dr. Myers is an exceptional professional and clinician. His work with veterans’ issues is critical to military individuals as well as our communities and nation as a whole. Servicemen and their families have experienced healing and restoration due to Dr. Myers’s clinical work, and I am excited to see how God will use him in his tenure as Director of the MGCA Executive Board.”

Myers is an Assistant Professor of Counseling at Richmont and a licensed professional counselor (LPC). He has worked as a clinical mental health professional for over 13 years, specializing in trauma and veterans’ issues. Having grown up in a military family himself, Myers is well suited to the work and enjoys it. He says, “I get to sit with people within the midst of their darkness, in their pain, and I get to bear witness. There’s something in that bearing witness that I get to see observable changes in their lives.”

Read more about Myers and the MGCA here.

Three Richmont Faculty Members Published

CHATTANOOGA, TN & BROOKLINE, MA – January 23, 2017 – Richmont is nationally known for its quality scholarship and research, with its high acceptance rates of faculty presenters at international conferences, invitations to participate in national research projects, and partnerships with world-renowned organizations like the Green Cross Academy and the Gottman Institute. Just this month, three Richmont faculty members had titles released in two well-received mental health publications.

Jana Pressley, PsyD, Director of Education and Professional Development at the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute and adjunct professor at Richmont, conducted qualitative research regarding resilience from trauma exposure in low-income neighborhoods in Chicago for a number of years. The resulting article, “No Ordinary Life: Complex Narratives of Trauma and Resilience in Under-Resourced Communities,” reveals and explores Pressley’s data collection and has been published in the Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, and Trauma. Already online, a print version of the article will be available in the coming months.

Full-time clinical faculty members Lorrie Slater, PhD, and Jama White, PsyD, authored a chapter in Vol. I of Metaphors and Therapy: Enhancing Clinical Supervision and Education. The book resulted from the collaboration of 33 mental health specialists – supervisors, counselors, and educators alike – nationwide. It has already received endorsements from Dr. David Capuzzi, a former President of the American Counseling Association (ACA); Mike Dubi, President/CEO of the International Association of Trauma Professionals; and Dr. Lee Underwood, Director of the Center for Addictive and Offender Research at Regent University.

Richmont is proud of its outstanding faculty and the important work they contribute to the field of mental health counseling. Says interim President Dr. Vanessa Snyder, “Our faculty members are among the most committed, most impactful counselors and psychologists in the nation. Richmont is +grateful for their brilliance and compassion that allows them to excel with students, colleagues, and clients alike.”

Sex Trafficking Awareness Week Honored at Richmont

ATLANTA, GA & CHATTANOOGA, TN – JANUARY 20, 2017 – Seven years ago, recognizing the sex trade as the “fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world,”1 President Obama proclaimed January to be National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. In response, Richmont has joined the cause of trafficked individuals by providing subsidized counseling through the Richmont Trauma Center to those rescued from the trade, partnering with community organizations working to end slavery, and inviting a number of speakers to raise awareness of this putrid crime and to provide ways to get involved.

Dr. Vanessa Snyder, interim Richmont President, psychologist, and clinical expert in the field of human trafficking, explains, “Sex trafficking survivors need holistic help, not just clothes and money. We are a university that is committed to bringing healing to this demographic.”

This coming week, January 23 – 27, sex trafficking is particularly on Richmont’s radar with a number of events designed to raise awareness and bring others into the important work of ending slavery. Trainings, lectures, and panel discussions are included in the schedule of events, as well as opportunities to interact with local professionals currently working on behalf of the trafficked. To learn more about the week’s events, please contact Amanda Blackburn (ablackburn@richmont.edu). A full calendar of events is listed below.

What Is Wellspring Living?
Monday, January 23 / 12:00-1:00 p.m. / Atlanta Campus
Jennifer Frisco Bartl, LMFT, CACII, CCS (Director, Wellspring Living)
Learn about Wellspring Living services, internship opportunities, and employment opportunities. Lunch provided.

Operation Liberate
Tuesday, January 24 / 12:00-1:00 p.m. / Atlanta Campus
Victim Outreach Opportunities
Operation Liberate exists to locate and free those victims who can’t reach out. Snacks provided.

Epic Girl
Tuesday, January 24 / 12:00-1:00 p.m. / Chattanooga Campus
Stacia Freeman, Founder of Epic Girl
Come learn ways to take action against Tennessee’s sex trafficking industry. Lunch provided.

Anti-Trafficking Discussion
Wednesday, January 25 / 12:00-1:00 p.m. / Atlanta Campus
Human Trafficking Awareness Team
Hear about and discuss anti-trafficking efforts with Human Trafficking Awareness Team.

Meet & Greet
Thursday, January 26 / 12:00-1:00 p.m. / Atlanta Campus
Human Trafficking Awareness Team
Come meet the Human Trafficking Awareness Team and learn about their goals. Learn how you can become involved.

Darkness to Light Stewardship of Children Training
Friday, January 27 / 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. / Atlanta Campus / Cost: $15
Darkness to Light
Darkness to Light is a national nonprofit organization that seeks to empower adults to prevent child sexual abuse. Their programs raise awareness and educate adults how to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. Register here.

Second Life Chattanooga
Tuesday, January 31 / 12:00-1:00 p.m. / Chattanooga Campus
Eryn Hawks, Second Life
Come hear from Eryn about the impact the sex trafficking industry has in Tennessee and ways you can get involved to help bring restoration and healing.

Exciting Faculty Changes at Richmont

ATLANTA, GA & CHATTANOOGA, TN – JANUARY 19, 2017 – What an exciting time to be a member of the Richmont family! From CACREP accreditation to a new president, God is leading us forward in his work and bringing us new people to join the cause.

Along these lines, we are pleased to announce Dr. Mary Plisco will be the new Director of Research at Richmont starting in July. She replaces Dr. Tim Sisemore, who is stepping away from teaching responsibilities in order to focus on his practice. The thesis program at Richmont excites Plisco, and she looks forward to engaging with students and faculty who take on research projects to advance Kingdom work in the field of counseling. Says Plisco, “I’m thrilled to accept this role, to work with everyone in the Richmont family who is enthusiastic about research. I aim to serve as an approachable mentor and consultant who can help our students and faculty refine their ideas into effective research that will inform the counseling community.” Plisco invites students to visit or email her with any thoughts or questions that come to mind as they consider the role of research in their academic and professional careers.

Additionally, two prospective faculty members will visit the Richmont’s campuses in the coming days. The first is Paul Swindle, ABD, who will join Dr. Sutherland’s Social and Cultural Issues class on Tuesday, January 24, for a sample lecture. Swindle anticipates graduating from her doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision in May 2017, having completed a dissertation on spiritual abuse. The second potential faculty member is Tyler Rogers, PhD. Those in Dr. Slater’s Psychopathology course will hear a sample lecture from Rogers on February 7. His Marriage & Family Therapy degree is from Reformed Theological Seminary, and he graduated from the University of Mississippi in 2013 with a doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision. We invite everyone to visit these classes and experience the teaching styles of these two candidates.

Finally, it is with deep regret that we announce the resignation of Dr. Ryan Thompson as clinical faculty member and therapist at Henegar Counseling Center. Richmont is a stronger place thanks to Thompson’s investment in the lives of his students and clients. He was instrumental in bringing Parent Child Interaction Training (PCIT) to the Richmont community and to the Child and Adolescent Certificate Program. We wish him well in his new teaching venture at Eastern Mennonite University. Thompson states, “Richmont has been foundational for me as a former PSI student and currently as a professor and clinician. The students here are compassionate, hopeful, and diligent, and working with the faculty has been deeply meaningful to me. Henegar also has been an amazing place to learn from gifted colleagues, to serve the local community, and to develop incredible friendships.” Thompson’s resignation from the faculty will take effect after the spring 2017 semester, and his practice at Henegar will conclude on July 28, 2017. “My prayers for Richmont and Henegar will continue, as Richmont is a special place to me. I will always be grateful to have been part of this team.”

Board of Trustees Appoints Interim President

Dr. Vanessa Snyder Appointed Interim President at Richmont

After extensive prayer and careful consideration, the Board of Trustees of Richmont Graduate University is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Vanessa Snyder as Interim President of the University. As a Richmont alumnus, experienced counselor, and accomplished professor, Dr. Snyder brings a wealth of experience and passion to this important post.

 Dr. Snyder will begin transitioning to the position immediately and will officially take over the role January 3, 2017.  Our current president, Bob Rodgers, has committed to work together with Dr. Snyder over the next several weeks to ensure a smooth transition.

 The Board of Trustees will continue the search for the next president of Richmont with the goal of naming a new president by fall of 2017.  Interim positions will be announced soon for filling Dr. Snyder’s current role as Dean of Clinical Affairs, as she will return to this position once a new president is named.  During this time of transition, Bob and Vanessa will be available for any questions or concerns you may have.

 The Board is excited about the recent growth and impact of Richmont Graduate University. We are committed to ensuring the University remains a leader in the education and training of professional counselors and ministers and to maintaining the unique Richmont environment as a place of healing, restoration, and transformation.

For a full biography of Dr. Snyder, visit: http://www.richmont.edu/dr-vanessa-snyder/

Richmont Celebrates Highest Enrollment in University History

On the heels of three giant announcements this summer – our President’s transition, our work with refugees in Greece, and our CACREP accreditation – comes yet another incredible piece of news. Fall 2016 has brought our highest enrollment in Richmont history! At our Orientation Days last week, we welcomed 79 new students into our University’s community. That’s a full 55% increase over the last year!

From a practical standpoint, it’s a wonderful time to join the counseling profession. The most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor shows the fields of Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Marriage & Family Therapy growing by 19% in the next decade. Labeling this as “Much Faster Than Average,” the U.S. Bureau of Labor predicts a particularly swift increase in demand for the services these professionals provide.

Of course, most future counselors engage in degree programs like Richmont’s because they are far more concerned about individuals’ ability to live fulfilling, productive lives than they are about the current job outlook. The same goes for our School of Ministry students. Richmont is a wonderful place to begin a career in either field, offering fully accredited graduate degrees in counseling and ministry, six certificates, and online options for ministry students.

On behalf of all our incoming students, we are praying for the Lord’s wisdom and joy to cover their academic and spiritual journeys at Richmont over the next 2-3 years. We are grateful that He has entrusted them to us for this season of their professional lives and look forward excitedly to what we know He will accomplish through them in the decades to come. From admission to graduation, we love to support our students in every way possible. Please join us in welcoming all the new faces and sending prayers to heaven for their spiritual and professional formation as they become counselors and ministers for Christ!

Richmont Welcomes Two New Faculty Members

drcaracochranATLANTA AND CHATTANOOGA (August 11, 2016) – Marriage and Family Therapy students, it’s time to celebrate! Richmont has hired a new AAMFT Clinical Fellow and Approved Supervisor to support your efforts. A familiar face at Richmont, Dr. Cara Cochran, will be returning as a part-time faculty member on the Chattanooga campus during the 2016-2017 academic year. She has been affiliated with the University since January 2004, at which point she became an instructor and Assistant to the Academic Dean. Upon completion of her doctorate the next year, she was promoted to Assistant Professor and Assistant Academic Dean, and four years later she became an Associate Professor. Beginning in 2011, Dr. Cochran focused on building a private practice and working in prestigious posts at Tennessee Temple University, which has since merged with Piedmont International University. We are so pleased to have her back with us as a part-time faculty member this academic year.

ILT ACA picKeith Myers, who has served as a clinical supervisor for Richmont since 2015 and will serve the institution as an adjunct faculty member in the fall, has accepted a full-time faculty position on the Atlanta campus in January 2017. With a targeted dissertation defense date of December 2016, he plans to hold a Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision with specialized clinical practice in facilitating trauma therapy and advocacy work with veterans. Myers recently served as Co-Chair on the American Counseling Association (ACA) Ethics Committee while serving on that committee from 2013-2016. He currently works as an adjunct faculty member for both Mercer University and Argosy University. His background encompasses extensive work in trauma, ethics, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). On a personal note, he is married to one of our own: Richmont alumna Lavinia Myers.

Welcome to both of our new hires! We are excited for you to join our community and look forward to our students’ and faculty’s lives being blessed by your presence on our campuses. All the best in the new academic year!

 

Richmont Graduate University is a Christ-centered education and research institution committed to equipping graduates who function at the highest professional levels of clinical counseling and vocational ministry. The University offers fully accredited graduate degree programs from its School of Counseling and School of Ministry with the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling holding the highest accreditation available in its field (CACREP). 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 faith-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 the former Psychological Studies Institute in Atlanta and the former Chattanooga Bible Institute.

Richmont Receives Highest Form of Accreditation Available to Counseling Programs Nationwide

ATLANTA AND CHATTANOOGA (August 9, 2016) – In a time when U.S. suicide rates are steadily climbing and mental illness is at an all-time high*, Richmont continues to excel in training licensed counselors. The University has again proven its excellence by garnering accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), the preeminent accrediting body for counselor education. CACREP is the highest form of accreditation to counseling programs, denoting excellence in academic and clinical performance.

A SACS-accredited university since 2003, Richmont received news of the additional accreditation last month after 3 years of extensive evaluation of its academic and clinical training programs. Richmont President Bob Rodgers says, “Richmont is proud to have its unique blend of professional excellence with Christian service approved by CACREP. This accreditation lends additional credibility to Richmont’s already outstanding reputation in the clinical counseling field.”

CACREP is specialized within the world of accreditation to assess graduate programs in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, signaling that the program’s content and quality have been evaluated to meet strict standards set by the profession. Choosing a CACREP-accredited school assures students they will gain the knowledge and experience necessary for licensure and clinical success in most states. Degrees granted by universities with CACREP accreditation lead to a smoother path toward licensure for new therapists all over the country.

“With the job market for mental health counselors projected to grow at more than twice the pace of the average growth for all occupations in the U.S.,** quality education for professional counselors has never been more important,” says Dr. Vanessa Snyder, Dean of Clinical Affairs. Dr. Snyder recently returned from leading a Trauma Team from Richmont to assist Syrian refugees and relief workers in camps in Greece.

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 is the oldest faith-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.

*Source: http://www.nami.org
** Source: U.S. Dept of Labor, Health Guide USA

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!

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.