School of Psychology & Counseling

Research Initiatives - Integrating Science & Faith

The School of Psychology & Counseling offers a variety of ongoing research initiatives. Many also offer hands-on experiences for our students. Other outcomes include paper and poster presentations at regional and national conferences, articles for publication for which students are co-authors, and subject matter for student dissertations.

SPC Centers, Institutes, Research, Special Projects

Trauma Training and working with PTSD

The Center for Trauma Studies is an assortment of licensed, professional counselors and students within the School of Psychology & Counseling at Regent University who are dedicated to integrating their Christian faith with crisis intervention and trauma models for practical application in the United States and abroad. To learn more, view the comprehensive organizational structure for the Center for Trauma Studies.

Training: Trauma Certification Training

Contact Information: Dr. Benjamin Keyes can be reached by email at bkeyes@regent.edu or 757.352.4284.

Child Trauma Research Team

Dr. Donald Walker directs the Child Trauma Research Team. The mission of the team is to be a leading voice in research, training and practice in understanding the role of faith in recovery from various forms of childhood trauma, particularly childhood abuse.

Student members of the team have opportunities throughout the year to participate in research projects that are then presented at national conferences and published in scholarly outlets such as journal articles and book chapters. Students may also be involved in clinical consultation and outreach to the local as well as global community, as well as direct clinical service delivery.

Dr. Walker is currently under contract with the American Psychological Association for a co-edited book entitled Spiritually Oriented Trauma Psychotherapy. Another upcoming co-edited book, Treating Trauma in Christian Counseling and Psychotherapy, will be published through InterVarsity Press. Dr. Walker is also co-editing a special issue of the Journal of Psychology and Theology on religion, spirituality and trauma that will appear in the journal next year. Recent publication outlets for his work on spirituality and trauma have included APA journals such as Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, and Practice, and Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. He regularly presents at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association. He has also received a Regent University faculty grant to develop a Center for Spirituality and Mental Health in Haiti, focusing on helping children and their families cope with mental health issues following the earthquake.

Currently, students involved in his research team are beginning a clinical trial evaluating the effectiveness of a spiritually-oriented form of trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy for children who have experienced physical and sexual abuse. Other student research projects are investigating the effects of childhood traumatic experiences on personal faith and mental health. The team currently meets weekly, and is an open research team, meaning that new students are always welcome.

Contact Information: To learn more about the ongoing research and clinical training taking place, please contact Dr. Walker at 757-352-4377 or by email at dfwalker@regent.edu.

The Hope Marriage Project

The HOPE marriage project is a clinical trial study examining the effects of the hope-focused approach to marital therapy on different aspects of couples relationship. This means that couples are receiving a specific approach to marriage therapy called hope-focused therapy. This approach is tailored to the specific goals and needs of each couple while they receive free sessions of marriage counseling and are sometimes paid for completing assessments of their marriage. Assessments include questions about their agreement on important issues, their beliefs about their marriage, their commitment and other questions. We also measure heart rate and blood pressure during a communication exercise and have couples review their own videotape and rate it. This project uses cutting edge techniques and methods to significantly add to the literature on marital therapy.

Previous research has found the Hope approach to be effective. Results from the study have been presented at the American Psychological Association national conference and the Psychology of Religion division mid-winter meeting. The Hope approach will continue to be available through the clinic, with ongoing research.

Earn continuing education hours for the hope-focused approach to couples counseling.

http://www.mmatecenter.com

Contact Information: Interested parties can email the principal investigator and supervisor Dr. Jennifer Ripley at marriage@regent.edu or 757.352.4296.

The Marriage and Ministry Assessment Training and Empowerment Center

The mission of the MMATE Center is to support and empower churches in building a successful marriage ministry. This center creates the opportunity for churches to support mature and godly marriages. The MMATE Center provides internet resources for marriage ministry leaders and consultations with church leaders. Dr. Jennifer Ripley, professor of psychology, heads a team of doctoral students who provide the support for a thriving center, both in community outreach and research.

http://www.mmatecenter.com

Contact Information: Interested parties can email the principal investigator and supervisor Dr. Jennifer Ripley at marriage@regent.edu or 757.352.4296.

Sexual Identity Institute

Dr. Mark Yarhouse directs the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity (ISSI), a scholarly institute for the study of issues related to sexual identity and for the training of students to be leaders in the discussions that are shaping the culture. There are many topics that are viewed as critical for Christ and culture today, and the topics of homosexuality and the broader construct of sexual identity, are certainly among them.

The mission of ISSI is to further the understanding of sexual identity, its development and synthesis, and to be a resource to students in training and those in the community who are stakeholders in these discussions. ISSI provides a comprehensive approach to research, training and clinical services/consultations related to sexual identity. Student members of ISSI have opportunities throughout the year to participate in research projects that are presented at national conferences and published in scholarly journals; they attend monthly trainings on a range of topics related to sexual identity; they participate in outreach to the community; and they may participate in clinical service delivery and consultations in the area of sexual identity.

The most recent study to reach completion is the Ex-Gays? study, a longitudinal study of attempted change in sexual orientation through involvement in religious ministries. Results from the first three years of that study were published in the book Ex-Gays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation. The six year follow-up was recently presented at the American Psychological Association’s annual meeting.

Other projects focus on the conflicts that occur between a person’s religious and sexual identities, as well as research on persons in mixed sexual orientation marriages. The projects are ongoing with more advanced research team members completing dissertations on aspects of them, as well as joining Dr. Yarhouse in making presentations in a wide variety of venues.

http://www.sexualidentityinstitute.org/

Join the group and fan page on Facebook.

Contact Information: Interested parties can contact Mark A. Yarhouse, Psy.D., professor and director of the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity (www.sexualidentityinstitute.org). Dr. Yarhouse can be reached by phone at 757.352.4829 or by email at markyar@regent.edu.

Forensic/Assessment Team

Dr. Linda J. Baum heads the Forensic/Assessment Team for Regent University’s Psy.D. program. The team has several aims related to both forensic psychology and psychological assessment. Concerning forensic psychology, the team serves to educate clinicians-in-training on the many intersections of psychology and law, particularly how clinical psychology is applied in legal proceedings. Recent meetings have highlighted research and education concerning competency to stand trial assessments (CST), psychopathy, and the institutions that house the majority of mentally ill Americans: prisons. The Forensic/Assessment Team also promotes research pertaining to forensic psychology; recent examples include research on stigma towards mentally ill offenders and competency restoration.

Psychological assessment is a complex process that generally involves not only a clinical interview (and concomitant clinical judgment), but also objective or projective instruments. The Forensic/Assessment Team provides education concerning widely-used assessment measures, including the uses of these instruments in forensic psychology. Assessment research is a major aspect of the Forensic/Assessment Team. The team has worked with the Regent University Psychological Services Center to conduct validity and correlate research on the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2), and the newest member of the MMPI family of instruments, the MMPI-2-RF. Recent research has included studies on the usefulness of the MMPI-2-RF in treatment planning, the validity of the substance abuse scale on the MMPI-2-RF, and the impact of religion on validity scales of the MMPI-2-RF. Other instruments currently being studied include the MMPI-A, the SCL-90-R, and the Rorschach Inkblot Method.

Dr. Baum encourages all students interested in forensic or assessment psychology to attend the meetings; team ‘membership’ or research participation are not required. That being said, the Forensic/Assessment Team affords students an incredible opportunity to do meaningful research on a wide variety of topics. Students have presented research at the annual APA conference, the local Virginia Psychological Association conference, and the Annual MMPI Symposium.  There are plenty of data to explore, so join us at our next meeting for research opportunities or to learn more about forensic or assessment psychology.

Contact Information: For more information, please contact Linda J. Baum, Ph.D., assistant professor in Regent's School of Psychology & Counseling and the director of the Forensic/ Assesment Team. Dr. Baum can be reached by phone at 757.352.4371 or by email at lbaum@regent.edu. Her office is located in the Psy.D. suite of the Classroom Building (CRB 161).

Back to Top

Differential Diagnosis: Schizophrenia and Dissociative Disorders

Dr. Benjamin Keyes has been involved in ongoing studies with the Ross Institute in Richardson, Texas (www.rossinst.com) and the Shanghai Mental Health Center in China. This team has been involved in researching differential diagnosis between Schizophrenia and Dissociative Disorders. To date they have published five papers with plans for one or two more in the next one to two years. Talks continue between all parties to expand the study to examine Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder.

Contact Information: Dr. Benjamin Keyes can be reached by email at bkeyes@regent.edu or by phone at 757.352.4284.

Collaboration between Mental Health and the Church

Each year, one or more research project(s) will focus on an aspect of the interface of mental health and the Church. The vision is to use research to increase ministry effectiveness and mobilize church-based resources.

Dr. Amy (Dominguez) Trout is interested in creating research groups with students from all the programs in the School of Psychology & Counseling.

Contact Information: Dr. Amy (Dominguez) Trout can be reached by email at awdominguez@regent.edu or by phone at 757.352.4349.

Health Education and Assessment Research Team (H.E.A.R.T)

The Health Education and Assessment Research Team (H.E.A.R.T) provides psychoeducation and group therapy services to cardiac rehabilitation patients at Sentara Leigh hospital. Services are geared toward enhancing lifestyle choices for overall health and wellness.

Contact Information: Dr. LaTrelle Jackson can be reached by email at latrjac@regent.edu or by phone at 757.352.4292.

Consultation and Assessment Services Team (C.A.S.T)

The Consultation and Assessment Services Team (C.A.S.T) provides consultation and assessment services to university departments and community agencies that desire continuous quality improvement feedback or program evaluation. Dr. LaTrelle Jackson is currently working with a team of four students and will accept new students as projects are highlighted.

Contact Information: Dr. LaTrelle Jackson can be reached by email at latrjac@regent.edu or by phone at 757.352.4292

Ph.D. Research Projects

Ph.D. faculty are involved in several research projects with current doctoral students. These studies involve children and families, counselor education/supervision, and technology.

One of the research projects consists of an investigation to evaluate the performance indicators and personality types of students who graduate from CACREP and non-CACREP counseling programs. This study is being funded through two grants: CACREP/ACES and Regent University’s faculty research grants.

There are complementary studies investigating the relationship of wellness and ego-development of adults who were raised within a step-family as well as one investigating the relationship of wellness and ego-development of adults who are step-parents.

Several other studies focus on clinical counseling and counselor education. These current studies involve personality development, emotional intelligence, the concept of hope, compassion fatigue, integration of technology into education and burn-out.

Contact Information: For more information, please contact Dr. Linda Leitch-Alford at lalford@regent.edu or 757.352.4499

God Image Research Team (GIRT) and the Clinical Psychology of Religion Research Project (CPRRP)

Dr. Glen Moriarty directs the God Image Research Team (GIRT), a team of Regent doctoral psychology students who are dedicated to studying God images and God concepts. "God images" are the mental representations of God that underlie a person's emotional experience of Him. In comparison, "God concepts" are the doctrinal understandings of God that underlie a person's cognitive beliefs about Him. Often Christians struggle with significant God-image/God-concept disparities - that is, the God they experience with their hearts (God images) and the God they know about with their heads (God concepts). For example, they may cognitively believe that God is loving, but actually emotionally experience Him as harsh; or, they may believe that God is mercifully forgiving, but they actually experience Him emotionally as mercilessly punitive.

The vision is to further the understanding of God images and God concepts, particularly the development, maintenance and potential resolution of maladaptive emotional experiences of God. GIRT seeks to accomplish this goal via the avenues of cutting-edge research, therapy/consultation services, scholarly publications and professional presentations.

At present, one of its most exciting research endeavors is its Clinical Psychology of Religion Research Project (CPRRP), a research partnership between Regent University's GIRT and the University of Cambridge's Psychology and Religion Research Group. Under the umbrella of this partnership, they are conducting a grant-funded, multi-site, interdisciplinary research project which utilizes traditional survey measures and a computerized reaction time test to directly and indirectly assess the God images of depressed and non-depressed evangelical Christians. They are also developing a God image treatment protocol for use in either an individual or a group therapy setting, and are developing a psychoeducational God image curriculum for use in either a church or a pastoral care setting. In the near future, they plan to begin developing a psychoeducational website that includes downloadable God-image-related resources. They will also be conducting a multi-site research project studying the interrelationships among authenticity/inauthenticity, attachment and God image tendencies among adult evangelical Protestant Christians.

At the monthly training meetings, student members on GIRT receive comprehensive training in God-image-related scholarship, including emphases on theory, research and practice in this area. Further, throughout their participation on the team, they gain valuable experience conducting cutting-edge research, providing therapy/consultation services, submitting to scholarly publications and making professional presentations.

Meeting Time: Last Tuesday of every month, from 12 p.m. until 1:45 p.m.

Contact Information: For more information, please contact Glen Moriarty, Psy.D., associate professor in Regent's School of Psychology & Counseling and the director of the God Image Research Team. Dr. Moriarty can be reached by phone at 757.352.4341 or by email at glenmor@regent.edu. His office is located in the Psy.D. suite of the Classroom Building (CRB 161)

Discovering God: A Group Therapy Experience

Discovering God is a clinical trial study of a manualized group therapy that addresses God-image-related difficulties. The group is designed for individuals who have significant disparities between the God they know about with their heads (God concepts) and the God they experience with their hearts (God images). Participation in the group is meant to facilitate a more adaptive, rewarding and fulfilling emotional experience of God, via cognitive-behavioral, Gestalt-existential and interpersonal-experiential interventions. In other words, the goal is to help participants achieve increasing God-image/God-concept congruence. Each fall and spring academic semester, Regent doctoral psychology students lead these time-limited Discovering God groups, meeting once per week in the Regent Psychological Services Center (PSC), located in Classroom Building Suite 188.

Contact Information: For more information, please contact Glen Moriarty, Psy.D., associate professor in Regent's School of Psychology & Counseling and the director of the God Image Research Team. Dr. Moriarty can be reached by phone at 757.352.4341 or by email at glenmor@regent.edu. His office is located in the Psy.D. suite of the Classroom Building (CRB 161).

Substance Abuse Research: Web-Based Alcohol Prevention Program

Assessing effectiveness of a web-based award winning prevention program that targets a college-age population. Attitudes towards drinking behaviors are assessed both before and after the applied information-based program. Meeting times are on an as needed basis.

Contact Information: For more information, please contact Dr. Amy (Dominguez) Trout at awdominguez@regent.edu or 757.352.4349.

Find Out More

READY TO START YOUR
COUNSELING CAREER?


Request Info Apply Now

SPC ADMISSIONS:

800.681.5906
OR 757.352.4498
psycoun@regent.edu

Counseling Sessions Are
Available In Our Community

757.352.4488 | psc@regent.edu

Regent University