Dr. Jennifer Ripley
Psychology Program Director
- Marital Dynamics & Therapy
- Group Therapy & Psycho-Educational Groups
- The Effects of Cultural & Religious Values on Marriages
- Technology in Teaching Excellence
The most important things in graduate school are the relationships you create there. They are the basis for the relational activity of being a psychologist. For me, the best part about being a faculty is spending time with students in this life-changing experience of doctoral studies. Students change so much in the four years they’re on campus with us. I feel God has blessed me greatly to be a part of that and see God working in the lives of my students.
My faith I have strong family ties to evangelical Christianity, both in my family and my husband's family. I met my husband at church in junior high and we married after college. I attended Nyack College where I majored in psychology but greatly enjoyed street drama ministry and the multicultural flavors of the New York City area. I learned and grew a great deal at that time in my life as I began to see who I am in Christ relative to how I had grown up. In graduate school, I continued to develop as my husband and I attended a charismatic church with a vision towards discipleship and missions. That church was a key part of my preparation for faculty life at Regent - as it provided an unusually rich environment for spiritual growth. In the last decade my faith has grown through the birth and raising of our daughters. As I return to the things from my own childhood and pass them on to my children, I am challenged in the basics of the faith. At the same time the class devotionals and character-building opportunities of faculty life spur me on to keep my faith fresh and alive as I live it out in front of my students.
My training in psychology I began doctoral work at Virginia Commonwealth University in 1994 where I worked under Everett L. Worthington, Jr. Under his mentorship, I studied marriage (he was developing the hope-focused Christian approach to marriage counseling at that time) and forgiveness in marriage. I was also well-mentored towards a career as a professor, working on numerous research projects under Ev, through community-based research at Massey Cancer Center, clinical supervision experiences, and teaching five undergraduate courses. I finished my doctoral studies in an internship at Virginia Commonwealth University 's Counseling Center where I worked with a wide variety of clients in the traditional University and Medical School. I completed my residency in psychology in a Christian outpatient practice while also working as a new assistant professor at Regent.
Career paths. As I finished graduate studies, I interviewed at Regent University for an assistant professor position. The day I interviewed here there was a double-rainbow as I was driving home. When I arrived home my husband told me he believed God was leading us to Virginia Beach - and he was right. On difficult days I've often thought back on those two events as very encouraging of God's blessing on my role here at Regent. There is a plan for our lives, and His plans are good.
Since teaching at Regent I've enjoyed a variety of opportunities. I teach students Clinical Interviewing as their first clinical skills course in the program, Statistics, Marital Therapy, and Social Psychology. I've also taught practica sections and group therapy in the past. My research team has been involved in numerous projects involving both practical community-interventions and basic science studies of religion and marriage. The community-based projects coalesced in 2003 into the Marriage Ministry Assessment Training and Empowerment (MMATE) Center which I direct and is staffed by doctoral students. That center primarily is engaged in the Hope project at this time, a clinical trial research study of the Hope-focused approach to couples counseling where students are clinicians for the couples and researchers. We also have research studies led by students for their dissertation in community-based projects such as mentoring or basic science questions, such as the role of marriage in serious mental illness. The research we've engaged in has produced numerous articles and dozens of professional presentations at conferences around the world. At least a couple times a year we have the pleasure of taking a “road trip” to one of these conferences together which is both educational and just plain fun. We've been able to secure several small grants to support this research.
Outside of Regent, I am on the board of a journal and review for numerous journals. I've edited a special issue on Current Issues in Christian Marriage for the Journal of Psychology and Theology. I've been on the national and regional board for the Christian Association for Psychological Studies where I've held numerous committee roles and have served as hospitality suite chair and program chair for the Psychology of Religion division of the American Psychological Association. I also practice part-time through a local Christian practice where I focus on couples and women's issues and supervise residents in psychology or counseling.
Personal Interests. Outside of my career I am very involved in a local church, participating with my husband in leading a small group and other ministries. We continue in the tradition of our parents in the raising of the next generation in our two daughters. This root of faith across generations is an inspiration for the development of a career studying faith and family. I also love theater, jazz music, teaching Good News Club to children, and chocolate. And I’m on Facebook, come visit me there.