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Seven Richmont Faculty Chosen to Present at CAPS National Conference

ATLANTA, GA AND CHATTANOOGA, TN – JANUARY 2016 – Seven core faculty members from Richmont Graduate University have been selected to present at the national conference of the Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS). Proposals are chosen via blind review of several readers. Out of the thousands of submissions from scholars across the world undergoing scrutiny from multiple leaders in the field, seven Richmont proposals received acceptance letters.

“Richmont is excited to pursue its goal of being a contributor to new knowledge in Christian counseling, not just a distributor of knowledge. To that end, we are blessed to have seven of our core faculty presenting at the premier Christian counseling and psychology conference in the world. This shows that the research being done here is having a national and international impact,” says Dr. Timothy Sisemore, Director of Research at Richmont.

The national conference will be held March 10-12 at the Hilton Pasadena Hotel in Pasadena, California. Several hundred attendees will experience workshops, trainings, and presentations within the framework of the 2016 theme: “Connect: The Healing Power of Relationship.” Sessions by Richmont faculty include Facing Death: Faith, Coping, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, by Dr. Timothy Sisemore; Commercially Sexually Exploited Children: Critical Levels of Community Intervention and Treatment, by Dr. Sonja Sutherland and Dr. Lorrie Slater; Encouraging Self-Care in Counselor Training: Advancing Healthy Practices of Student Interns, by Dr. Jama White, Dr. Mary Plisco, and Dr. Amanda Blackburn; Sexual Trauma Therapy and Sex Therapy: Complement or Conundrum?, by Dr. Vanessa Snyder and Dr. Debra Taylor; and Facing the Ethical Challenges of Being a Person of Faith in the Mental Health Professions: A Roundtable, featuring Dr. Timothy Sisemore and three colleagues.

President Bob Rodgers says, “We are thrilled for the work of our faculty members to receive recognition at this prestigious conference. Scholarship at Richmont is an aspect of stewardship; we use the intellectual capabilities the Lord has given us to discover how better to serve those in need and then share what we learn with others in our field.”

The mission of CAPS is to further psychological research in a Christian lens, always keeping the focus on those who are served and how to best reach them with the hope and love of Christ. CAPS members include a wide spectrum of professionals, including psychologists, counselor educators, psychiatrists, physicians, marriage and family therapists, social workers, counselors, researchers, pastors, chaplains, theologians, and students in related fields. The ideas shared at the national conference often become catalysts for new projects, thus creating an ever-increasing reach for Christians in the helping professions.

For a full schedule of events at the CAPS conference, visit

Richmont One Step Closer to CACREP Accreditation

ATLANTA, GA AND CHATTANOOGA, TN – JANUARY 2016 – Richmont Graduate University received word from the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) that a site visit will occur in the next 12-15 weeks. This is the final linchpin before a decision can be made regarding CACREP accreditation of Richmont’s Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

President Bob Rodgers says, “This is wonderful news for our university, and we are excited to continue God’s work in new ways as a result of this opportunity. I am so grateful for everyone that has played a part in this process. We look forward to hosting the CACREP team very soon.”

CACREP accredits universities based on the rigor of their standards, the quality of their content, and their balanced approach to counselor education. Counselors in training who graduate from CACREP-accredited programs routinely experience higher first-time pass rates on the National Counselor Exam (NCE), better brand recognition of their degree, and a streamlined process toward licensure in the field. By choosing a CACREP-accredited graduate program, students are certain they will receive high quality, well regarded content to prepare them for their new career in mental health work.

Dr. Stephen Bradshaw, Dean of the Schools of Counseling and Psychology, said in an announcement to Richmont students, “We anticipate the many ways in which this will strengthen Richmont’s reputation and better serve our students.”

CACREP accreditation is currently being sought for Richmont’s Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling; however, the Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy will undergo a similar process in the near future with the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).

Richmont Honors Human Trafficking Awareness Month

ATLANTA, GA AND CHATTANOOGA, TN – JANUARY 2016 – Richmont Graduate University in Atlanta, Georgia, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, is honoring Human Trafficking Awareness Month with a host of activities to draw attention to this important matter. Events include film screenings, panel discussions, chapel services, trainings, and lectures, all focused to raise awareness of the prevalence of sex trafficking and possibilities for the public to get involved.

Dr. Vanessa Snyder, Dean of Clinical Affairs, 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.”

The month-long focus begins on January 8 for the Unite – Wear White event at the Double Tree Hotel in downtown Chattanooga. Richmont and Second Life Chattanooga are teaming up to bring this event to the public free of charge to raise awareness of the prevalence of sex trafficking in Tennessee and ways to get involved in the community.

Another highlight from the month’s activities is a screening of the film Nefarious, Merchant of Souls on January 18 on both campuses. In Atlanta, this will be followed by a candlelight prayer vigil in the Richmont Chapel. (A full calendar of events follows this article.)

President Bob Rodgers states, “Human life is precious, and at Richmont we take seriously the evils that threaten it. We consider it an honor to spend this month educating the public and rallying support for the eradication of sex trafficking.”

All events on both campuses will be open to the public. We encourage all to attend and learn more about this critical issue. To learn more about Richmont’s Human Trafficking Awareness Month events, please contact Dr. Eniabitobi Kuyinu (

Schedule of Events

Friday, January 8: Unite – Wear White
Double Tree Hotel in downtown Chattanooga, 9:45 a.m.
Richmont is co-sponsoring this community event to raise awareness of Human Trafficking. Don’t forget to wear white!

Tuesday, January 12: Human Trafficking Awareness Month Informational Session
Richmont Graduate University, Chattanooga campus, 12:00 p.m.
Come learn about ways to get involved in the Chattanooga community to combat sex trafficking.

Monday, January 18: Film Screening
Richmont Graduate University, Atlanta campus, 5:00 p.m.
Richmont Graduate University, Chattanooga campus, 6:00 p.m.
Following the Atlanta screening of Nefarious, Merchant of Souls, a candlelight prayer vigil will be held in Linder Chapel at 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, January 19: Jerry Redman, Founder of Second Life Chattanooga
Richmont Graduate University, Chattanooga campus, 12:00 p.m.
Jerry Redman is the CEO of Second Life Chattanooga. He serves as Co-Chair of the Greater Chattanooga Coalition Against Human Trafficking Executive Committee.

Tuesday, January 19: Community Lecture
Richmont Graduate University, Atlanta campus, 12:00 p.m.
The lecture is entitled, “Secondary Prevention and the Fight Against Modern Day Slavery.”

Wednesday, January 20: Tracy Busse, LPC, ACS
Richmont Graduate University, Atlanta campus, 12:00 p.m.
Tracy Busse, former Clinical Director of Wellspring Living, will give a lecture entitled, “Best Practices in Working with Survivors of Sex Trafficking.”

Thursday, January 21: Film Screening
Richmont Graduate University, Atlanta campus, 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.
The film Fields of Mudan will be shown in Linder Chapel.

Friday, January 22: Training for Helpers
Richmont Graduate University, Atlanta campus, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
The Child Advocacy Center will provide a training entitled, “Stewards of Children: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention.” There is a $15 fee for the handbook and training.

Tuesday, January 26: Chapel Service
Richmont Graduate University, Chattanooga campus, 12:00 p.m.
A prayer service will be held in the Richmont Chapel in honor of human trafficking survivors and helpers in the community.

Richmont Professor Publishes Undergraduate Textbook

CHATTANOOGA – DECEMBER 2015 – This fall, Dr. Timothy A. Sisemore published his eighth book, entitled The Psychology of Religion and Spirituality: From the Inside Out. The textbook, destined for undergraduate courses in the ever-expanding field of the psychology of religion, has met with high praise from scholars in the discipline, including Kenneth I. Pargament and Mark R. McMinn.

Sisemore’s text looks at psychological research regarding religious practices worldwide to reflect on the ways in which our belief systems shape our lives in both positive and negative ways. Topics discussed in the book range from the historical roots of the psychology of religion to the biological impact of faith and the psychological character of near-death experiences. The book does not stop with conventional faith systems and practices, however: even serpent-handling is examined. Other topics include conversion experiences, spiritual development across the lifespan, the relationship between religion and culture, and clinical application of the research of psychology of religion.

Sisemore takes a mixed methods approach in the textbook, offering a survey of the empirical literature but also integrating qualitative stories from persons of faith across the globe, including Africa, Lebanon, Iran, and China. This affords the text a unique and effective balance of data presentation and phenomenological experience. The textbook also features practical material, such as healthy and unhealthy ways to pray. For example, Sisemore explores the phenomenon of individuals attempting to use God for wish fulfillment.

While Sisemore’s stance is pro-faith, he refrains from slanting the text to the extent possible, which he considers one of his chief struggles during the text’s composition. “How do you stay neutral in a discussion of religion?” he asks. Responding his own question, Sisemore garnered stories from all major faith traditions, including atheism. While it is the author’s hope that the message of faith shines compellingly through The Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, his focus is squarely on his audience and showing respect to each faith system that will inevitably comprise it. Sisemore aims throughout the text to demonstrate the beauty of faith and its positive effect on most lives.

The title will be released on December 21, 2015.

“Up-to-date, comprehensive, informative, engaging, and easy to digest – this is the text of choice for undergraduate psychology of religion courses. Sisemore has done a wonderful job capturing the psychology of religion and spirituality in its richness and complexity. His approach is fair-minded and scholarly, yet always sensitive to the experience of religion and spirituality ‘from the inside out.’ A marvelous contribution to the field.”

Kenneth I. Pargament, Ph.D.

Bowling Green State University

Editor-in-Chief, APA Handbook of Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality (Vols. 1 and 2)

“In The Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, Dr. Sisemore has crafted a remarkable volume that is simultaneously concise, thorough, and accessible. I heartily recommend this book for undergraduate psychology of religion courses and expect it will be used in a number of postgraduate programs as well.”

Mark R. McMinn, Ph.D., ABPP

George Fox University

Former President of American Psychology Association’s Division 36,

Society for the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality

“Dr. Sisemore’s book is one of the most interesting I have ever read! He provides a clear survey of psychology of religion and spirituality, addressing a variety of issues – including controversial ones. Dr. Sisemore’s background in both psychology and theology gives him a unique perspective. Therefore, I highly recommend this great book for students in psychology and related disciplines, but also to researchers, colleagues, professionals, and all who have an interest in the topic.”

Mojtaba Dalir, Ph.D.

Licensed Psychologist

Lecturer at Islamic Azad University, Tehran Branch

Member Board of Directors, Iranian Association of Social Psychology

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Registration: click HERE

 This event is not sponsored by the alumni association and does not fall under the benefits of founding membership status.

When: January 4-5, 2016, 9:00am- 5:30pm (lunch on your own)

Where: Richmont Graduate University

                 1900 The Exchange SE, Building 100

                 Atlanta, GA 30339

Continuing Education: 15 NBCC-approved CE Clock hours Awarded. 15 approved CE Clock Hours Awarded to Psychologists. Partial attendance is not awarded.

Fee: $225.00

Presenter: Timothy A. Sisemore, Ph.D.

Timothy A. Sisemore, Ph.D., is Director of Research and Professor of Psychology and Counseling at Richmont Graduate University in Chattanooga and Atlanta.  He is also adjunct professor of psychology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  Dr. Sisemore’s research and practice focuses on anxiety disorders and the relationship of Christian faith and psychology.  His latest book is The Psychology of Religion and Spirituality: From the Inside Out. Dr. Sisemore has a forthcoming article on a Christian translation of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in the journal Christian Psychology.

Topic: This introductory seminar surveys the philosophical and empirical foundations of ACT, introduces the basic ACT hexaflex model, and presents basic techniques for each of the dimensions of the hexaflex: cognitive defusion, acceptance, being present, self-as-context, defining valued directions, and willingness. All which work toward the core skill of psychological flexibility. Some of the empirical support for ACT will be presented, and the model will be interpreted for use with Christian counselees.

Learning Objectives: As a result of attending this seminar, participants will be able to:

  • Articulate how an evidence based model of counseling can be “translated” for use with a specifically religious population.
  • Explain the context of the development of ACT as a “third generation” behavioral treatment.
  • Describe the role of relational frame theory in ACT.
  • Explain the role of suffering as understood from an ACT perspective.
  • Discuss with clients how acceptance can be helpful in therapy.
  • Help clients identify and pursue valued directions in life.
  • Explain what defusion is and how it improves psychological functioning.
  • Articulate how mindfulness is used in ACT and translated for use with Christians.
  • Identify how psychological inflexibility is a core problem in many disorders.
  • Utilize the hexaflex model to formulate counseling.
  • Cite sources for which empirical evidence supports utilizing ACT.
  • Utilize at least one therapeutic intervention for each of the 6 points of the hexaflex.

January 5

Tentative outline:

Overview of the core terms of ACT and a Christian Translation of them

Introduction to ACT

What is a Christian translation?

Central terms in its philosophy and methodology, and Christian translation of them

Functional contextualism

Relational Frame Theory


Psychological Flexibility

Self as Context


Committed Action

Introducing the Hexaflex



January 6

The therapeutic relationship in ACT

Case formulation in ACT

Introducing ACT to clients

Techniques for each point on the hexaflex



Contact with the Present Moment



Committed Action

A Case Example



Registration: Click HERE

Please direct your questions regarding registration to Autumn Stephenson at

Refunds must be requested prior to January 4, 2016

Richmont Graduate University has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 4534. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Richmont Graduate University is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs. 

Richmont Graduate University is approved by the American Psychologist Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Richmont Graduate University maintains responsibility for this program and its content.


NBCC Logo 2011                                                                                  APA Sponsor Low Res



Richmont Hosts Fundraising Event Featuring Coach Bobby Bowden

ATLANTA — AUGUST 2015 — On August 28, 2015, Richmont Graduate University will host the 2015 fundraising event for student scholarships. This Tailgate Party event will take place at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta and will feature Coach Bobby Bowden, one of the winningest coaches in college football history, as the main speaker.

Guests of the Tailgate Party will be supporting students seeking a graduate-level degree in Professional Counseling, Ministry or Psychology at Richmont. Funds will be raised through ticket sales, corporate and private sponsorships, and gifts. Richmont’s goal is to raise funds for five scholarships benefiting students on both the Atlanta and Chattanooga campuses.

Scholarships are an important part of how Richmont supports its students — in fact, more than 10 percent of the school’s students received some level of scholarship assistance during the 2014-2015 school year.

“No one should be prevented from following their passion, especially by financial barriers — that’s what we believe at Richmont, and that’s why this event is so important to us,” said Bob Rodgers, Richmont’s president. “We want to support our students in any way we can. We are so appreciative of our generous donors, partners and sponsors who help us do just that.”

In addition to the dinner and program, event attendees will have a chance to tour the College Football Hall of Fame and participate in the Chick-Fil-A Fan Experience. Additionally, sponsorships and table sales valued at $2,500 and more will include entrance to a meet and greet with Coach Bowden.

For more information, including pricing or purchasing of tickets, tables or sponsorships, visit

Richmont Hosts Trauma Informed Care Conference Series

Conference Educates Attendees on Trauma Experienced by Human Trafficking Victims

ATLANTA — JUNE 2015 — On June 14-17, 2015, approximately 100 people gathered in Atlanta for Trauma Informed Care, a series of conference workshops addressing trauma concerns as presented with victims of human trafficking. The event was hosted by Richmont Graduate University, who partnered with the International Christian Alliance on Prostitution (ICAP) and NightLight to put on the event.

“Part of our mission at Richmont is to advance God’s work of healing and restoration in communities,” said Bob Rodgers, the president of Richmont. “That’s why we are honored to have the opportunity to host events like this one. It allows us to shed light on issues like human trafficking that often seem far away — but are actually happening in our own city.”

Throughout the three-day conference, attendees heard from Dr. Dan Sartor, whom Richmont brought in to present at the event. Dr. Sartor currently serves as the Director of Trinity Counseling Services and Associate Professor of Psychology at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois, and as an adjunct faculty member at Richmont in Atlanta.

“The need for awareness [of human trafficking] at all levels of our society, from grassroots intervention to wisdom-infused political policy, has never been greater,” said Dr. Sartor. “I’m so grateful for organizations like ICAP and Richmont Graduate University that seek to equip and serve those in front line positions, stemming the tide of modern day slavery and sex trafficking through informed, strategic partnerships.”

Richmont also provided attendees with the opportunity to gain up to 7.5 Continuing Education credit hours by participating in specified portions of the conference. Richmont Graduate University is approved by National Board for Certified Counselors as an Approved Continuing Education Provider and by the American Psychologist Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists.

Through the lens of working with human trafficking victims, attendees of the conference learned many aspects of the treatment of trauma, including the impact it has on health, spirituality and worldview. Attendees also left the conference with skills like how to recognize the signs of trauma, address the various aspects of recovery, describe biopsychosocial dimensions of health according to Interpersonal Neurobiology and Attachment Theory, and more.

Richmont partnered with ICAP and NightLight to bring the Trauma Informed Care conference series to Atlanta. NightLight Atlanta is a movement that works through prevention, intervention, restoration and education to address the issues of sex tourism and trafficking. ICAP is a network of Christian practitioners who offer freedom and bring healing to those who have been sexually exploited through prostitution and sex trafficking.

“I’m honored to partner with ICAP and Richmont Graduate University in their proactive, compassionate and holistic approach to understanding and caring for the victims of sex trafficking,” said Dr. Sarter. “In so doing, they are lights shining in the darkness, embodying the healing love of Christ within a world of trauma and brokenness.”

The Trauma Informed Care conference took place at Grace Midtown, 1095 State Street, Atlanta, Georgia 30318. More information about the conference can be found at

Richmont Graduate University Named a Top Graduate School by Charisma’s Best

ATLANTA — JUNE 2015 — Richmont Graduate University in Atlanta, Georgia, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, was featured in the May 2015 edition of Charisma’s Best Graduate Schools and Seminaries, a publication that aims to educate potential students about opportunities to continue their education at a Christian institution. Out of the 200-plus schools featured, Richmont was one of the few to be highlighted as “Charisma’s Best.”

“Through providing excellent, Christ-centered education, we aim to pave a way to for our students to follow their passions and find their paths to successful careers,” said Bob Rodgers, Richmont’s president. “For Richmont to be named one of Charisma’s Best Graduate Schools is an honor and further evidence that we are reaching that goal. We will continue to strive to provide our students with guidance and the tools to become all they are called to be.”

Richmont Graduate University offers master’s degrees in Professional Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy, Christian Psychological Studies and Ministry. Charisma’s Best specifically highlighted the Professional Counseling program as the third-oldest fully accredited integrated program in the nation.

Charisma’s Best featured Richmont’s degree specialization options as a testament to the uniqueness of the school’s academic programming. Students are able to specialize in addictions, child and adolescent therapy, sex therapy, spirituality and counseling, spiritual formation and trauma counseling. The publication also highlighted that unlike most other schools, Richmont’s large, 37-year-old network of Community Counseling Centers and partnerships with more than 60 nonprofit organizations are tools to help students transition from the classroom into a real-world setting where they learn to see clients under licensed supervision.

Rodgers wrote an article for the online version of Charisma’s Best Graduate Schools and Seminaries, where he discussed “why advancing your education isn’t just about traditional ROI.” In the piece, Rodgers cites that while time and money are highly important variables to weigh when considering graduate school, one should use a “comprehensive, wisdom-based formula that factors in the Spirit’s discernment, unique skills and support you need to answer God’s call for your life.” Read more here.

Charisma’s Best Graduate Schools and Seminaries is published under its flagship magazine Charisma. Both publications aim to reach their primary audience of the Pentecostal/charismatic community, but also serve the wider evangelical community. Charisma’s Best is published annually to serve as a comprehensive database for potential students to help them determine which graduate program would be the best fit for them.

To read the May 2015 issue of Charisma’s Best Graduate Schools and Seminaries, check out the digital edition here. Richmont is featured on pages 17-18, 28, 38, and in an advertisement on page 19.

Richmont Appoints New Dean of Clinical Affairs

ATLANTA, GA – (April 27, 2015)

Earlier this year, Dr. Evalin Rhodes Hanshew announced her plans to retire at the end of this fiscal year. This week it was announced at Richmont that a decision has been made regarding the Dean of Clinical Affairs position moving forward.

“After considering candidates and referrals one name in particular kept coming up. We were asked several times, what about Vanessa Snyder, have you thought about her? Well, yes, we had” – President Bob Rodgers. After much prayer, and meeting with Dr. Snyder on several occasions to talk more and learn about her interests, desires and vision for the role, the Administrative Council met and had unanimous consent.

Vanessa Snyder (2)Richmont is pleased to announce that Dr. Snyder has accepted the offer and effective July 1, 2015 will be the new Dean of Clinical Affairs for Richmont Graduate University! We could not be more pleased with this transition and we hope that you will take the time to congratulate both Dr. Hanshew and Dr. Snyder on this significant accomplishment. A couple of faculty had great words to say about this transition:

“I am very pleased that Vanessa Snyder has been selected to be my successor. She is, in my opinion, a wonderful fit for the position. Licensed as a professional counselor and as a marriage and family therapist, she is knowledgeable about both fields, and having obtained a doctorate in counselor education and supervision, she brings that expertise to academia, which is timely for Richmont. She is a warm, friendly person who will connect well with students and supervisors. I welcome her!” – Dr. Evalin Rhodes Hanshew

“We are all thrilled Dr. Snyder has agreed to take on this responsibility for Richmont. Vanessa is the perfect fit for this job and will do brilliant things for the betterment of Richmont. We have the utmost confidence in her and her ability.” – Dr. Keny Felix

Please join Richmont in celebrating this milestone and wholeheartedly thanking Evalin for her deep commitment and excellent service to Richmont and also Vanessa on this exciting step in her journey with Richmont!

Dr. Evalin Rhodes Hanshew to Retire after Three Decades at Richmont

For nearly three decades, we have been blessed to have Dr. Evalin Rhodes Hanshew directing the university’s clinical affairs, encouraging students, managing professional supervisors, leading the Hope Center initiatives, and so much more. After prayerful thought, she has decided it is time to leave behind her 45 mile (one way) commute and transition into retirement.

Evalin - Save the Date

Some of the words and phrases that several of her colleagues and various alumni used to describe Evalin recently include:

  •  She is an integral part of Richmont’s fiber.
  • She has epitomized the ideals that have made RGU a leader in training and equipping clinical therapists.
  • She is passionate about building the whole person.
  • She personifies our deepest desire for excellence.
  • She carries with her a quiet and steady peace everywhere she goes, regardless of surrounding circumstances.
  • She has inspired us to be all that we are in Christ.
  • Her patience is calming, her dedication is encouraging, and her trust is inspiring.
  • Without saying a word she makes us want to be better people.
  • She will greatly be missed, but her legacy will certainly remain.

Please join Richmont’s faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends on April 19 for a reception celebrating this milestone and wholeheartedly thanking Evalin for her deep commitment and excellent service to Richmont. Beginning at 5:00 p.m. we will have a heavy hors d’oeuvres reception and a time of thanks and celebration at 6:00 p.m.

Thank you in advance for sending your RSVP to Zach Brooks: / 404-835-6138. We look forward to having you with us!