Imagery of Regent people and campus

Conference Engages Students, Mental Health Professionals

By Rachel Judy | March 29, 2012

Major Ryan Trumbo '05 (Psychology & Counseling)
Photo by Heidi Cece

One hundred and fifty-five mental health professionals and students from the Hampton Roads, Va., area recently gathered at the Practitioner-Scholar Conference hosted by Regent University.

Held on Saturday, March 24, the conference was the brainchild of School of Psychology & Counseling Doctoral in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) students Ryan Calhoun, Ryan Adams and Trevor Olson. The idea for the conference came after the three students presented their research at another conference and saw the need for something similar in Hampton Roads.

"While there are five graduate programs in mental health, and hundreds, if not thousands of professionals in the [Hampton Roads] area, there has not been a single concerted attempt made to bring this talented group of people together," Olson explained. "This is the first of what we hope will be an annual showcase of the quality work being done in Hampton Roads, with Regent students at the helm."

The conference highlighted clinical and applied work in the local mental health community. Breakout sessions included "Topics in Positive Psychology," "Feminist Psychology," "Biofeedback Therapy," "Art Therapy," "Careers in Military Psychology" and more. The day concluded with time for poster presentations and networking.

"These events are vital to the facilitation of a culture of life-long learning that is expected for mental health professionals such as psychologists and counselors," explained Dr. Bill Hathaway, dean of the School of Psychology & Counseling. "Just as we would not want to a go to a physician who stopped learning medicine when they graduated years earlier in medical school, so we want our mental health professionals to continue to update their knowledge and skills."

"One of the unique aspects of the conference was that it was not focused on simply sharing scientific research, but on applying that research to our field," Calhoun explained.

A number of attendees represented local universities, including Old Dominion University, Norfolk State University, Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS), the Tidewater Clinical Consortium, Christopher Newport University, Hampton University, Argosy University, Capella University, the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Regent, and Tidewater Community College. Beyond the academic community, other attendees were professionals active in the local mental health community, including a number of Regent alumni.

One of those alumni was keynote speaker Major Ryan Trumbo '05 (Psychology & Counseling). Two years after earning his Psy.D. from Regent, Trumbo is a psychologist assigned to work with a Special Forces group. He has deployed five times to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan.

The event also featured keynote addresses from Dr. Gary Collins, a visiting professor in the School of Psychology & Counseling, and a well-known Christian psychologist and author of 60 books on topics related to Christian counseling, and Dr. Paul Aravich, a behavioral neuroscientist and professor of pathology and anatomy, internal medicine, and physical medicine and rehabilitation at EVMS.

"Our doctoral students did an outstanding job planning, organizing and hosting a rich conference that showcased a number of talented speakers who addressed important and interesting areas of our fields," Hathaway said. "This was an invaluable exercise in professional leadership by these students and simultaneously served as a great opportunity for the conference facilitators and other student volunteers to develop leadership skills."

Learn more about Regent's School of Psychology & Counseling.

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Mindy Hughes, Public Relations

Phone: 757.352.4095 Fax: 757.352.4888

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