Psych Department Broadens Graduate Program

Eastern’s Counseling Psychology department offers numerous graduate degree programs and is now adding a Master’s of Arts in Clinical Counseling with a concentration in Trauma Studies for fall 2014.

The Clinical Counseling MA is a unique program because it offers high quality, innovative teaching and mentoring from caring faculty, as well as experiential learning activities to build students’ skills. Twenty graduate-counseling programs in the greater Philadelphia area have been researched and reviewed and it has been found that only three offer a trauma focus. The Trauma Studies concentration also incorporates ideas and values from the Christian faith into their teachings. Students will learn foundational knowledge of the impact of traumatic stress on human functioning and evidence-based strategies for preventing and treating traumatic stress reactions. However, Eastern graduate students will also examine the Christian worldview of suffering, death, and loss in order to uncover how trauma can be addressed.

Dr. Ruth Palmer, the degree coordinator for the concentration, states, “Counselors need to wrestle with these theological questions because the clients they serve will raise these in counseling–as they struggle with the impact of suffering and evil in their own lives. Counselors need to be prepared to work with clients as they ask questions like, ‘Where was God when…I was being abused?’ or ‘my dad got shot?’ or ‘our house burned down?’ The Trauma Studies Concentration will assist students in developing their own spiritual framework to be used therapeutically with those suffering traumatic experiences.” Each of the mentioned programs require between 48 and 60 credits and for some, the student chooses a few electives to complete the curriculum. The program is now accepting applications for August 2014 for classes on the St. Davids campus.

If you are interested in finding out more information about these programs, a preview day will provide details and answer any questions on Thursday, January 30th , 2014 in the Eagle Learning Center from 5:00-8:00 pm. Contact enrollment counselors Gwenna Garrison at or Kat Borden at with any questions.



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