Alumna Learns Trauma to Open New Center

Marion Bean Moreland, a 2019 Master's in Counseling graduate, is still taking the necessary steps to become a high value professional. Recently, she participated in a training offered by Divine Mercy University's (DMU) Center for Trauma and Resiliency Studies. We caught up with her to learn about her work experience and skills gained during training.

Tell us a little about yourself and where you have been working since graduating DMU?

After graduation, I began working at a community mental health clinic where there was a variety of needs but the greatest was in the area of addiction. I was leading groups in a crisis unit where people were detoxing from various substances and providing individual counseling at two different locations. In April, I transitioned to private practice at Appalachian Life Enrichment Counseling Center (APLECC) where I am fortunate to be working with an incredible team and unique clients.

Despite this transition happening in the early stages of COVID-19, I have built a full-client load. This has been a life-giving transition and I feel like I am beginning to solidify my professional identity. I have continued my work with Green Cross Academy of Traumatology (GCAT) including availability for deployments and chairing our first conference to be held on DMU's campus from September 9-11, 2021.

Do you use EMDR often? What kinds of things is this technique helpful for?

While working at the community mental health center, I utilized Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) for resource development either through calm places, containers for the feelings that are too much in the moment, and discovering characteristics of strength that lie within themselves. Many of my clients were in the early stages of sobriety and were not ready to begin processing trauma. Instead, I utilized some of the work Laura Parnell teaches in Rewiring the Addicted Brain which uses the bi-lateral stimulation of EMDR to connect the consequences of usage to the amygdala addiction response. Now that I am in private practice and my clientele is more varied, I am using EMDR more frequently, though doing so remotely has added a new level of complexity to the protocols.

How do you envision the impact of trauma training on service to the community?

I am amazed at the resilience of the people of West Virginia. This community suffers in so many ways, leading the nation in opioid addiction, grandparents raising their grandchildren, unemployment and other economic distresses but there are so many people wanting to change the patterns of the past. My trauma training enables me to help open the Appalachian Trauma and Resiliency Center. This center will work as a non-profit organization and an adjunct to APLECC in providing training, counseling, advocacy, and support in the areas of trauma, crisis intervention, and disaster mental health for frontline workers, first responders, military, survivors, and other mental health colleagues.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I remember at my first residency when Dr. Benjamin Keyes, Director for Center for Trauma and Resiliency Studies, asked me to look forward to five years and imagine where I wanted to be professionally and then to look back at the steps I would need to take to get there. At that time, I had no idea what GCAT was, but I knew I wanted to work with first responders, focus on trauma, and that I needed to graduate. Starting grad school at 50 seemed a bit crazy, but here I am at 54; I'm seeing my imagination become a reality and experiencing so much more than I could have imagined. It's hard work and at times exhausting, but it is worth it!

Learn more about the Center for Trauma and Resiliency Studies.

Psychology Alumna Publishes Self-Care Book

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor Julia Hogan knows, from personal experience, the importance of self care. She values this quality so much that she wrote a book with a holistic workbook that helps readers improve their physical, mental, emotional, relational and spiritual well-being. “I think the biggest thing that’s a barrier to self care is that people think that self-care is selfish,” said the first-time author of the book entitled “It’s OK to Start with You.On a daily basis, Julia works with adults who deal with anxiety, decision-making and relationship issues. Through word-of-mouth alone, she’s built a client base that appreciates her ability to incorporate her Catholic faith into the psychotherapeutic services offered at the Chicago-area private practice. She was inspired to write her self-help book after recognizing that nearly all of her patients were feeling overwhelmed due to the lack of sleep, exercise or proper eating. Additionally, the contents of the book were developed based on knowledge and practical training she gained in the Master’s in Clinical Psychology degree from the Institute for the Psychological Sciences at Divine Mercy University. Learn about the doctorate in clinical psychology offered at Divine Mercy University. “The things that I learned through my master’s were included in the second half of the book,” said Julia, making mention of the workbook section. “I would definitely say that my master’s degree, especially the clinical experience, influenced my book. The research and outreach helped me put together a plan so that the reader would have a clear plan that they could achieve.”   The book’s actionable plan consists of S.M.A.R.T. goals – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timeframe – that readers can incorporate into their everyday life. For instance, if a reader is struggling to get adequate sleep, the plan would indicate the need to go to sleep at 9pm (specific) that will allow them to get eight hours of sleep (measurable) for five nights a week (timeframe) by going to sleep in a dark room without their phone (realistic/achievable). Despite her book’s action-oriented style, she distinguishes her ability as a therapist to provide professional clinical treatment that is a distinct skill-set from self help. “My book is not meant to replace therapy – everyone should be practicing self care,” she said. Julia’s Tips on Self-Care (to Prevent Burnout)
  • Set boundaries around work: People schedule office hours or contact me through phone or email (with a 24-hour response time). “Typically therapists have a really giving heart but it’s important to keep work boundaries because if not that’s a recipe for burnout.”
  • Read a lot of positive content: I try not to watch dramatic TV shows or movies. “A lot of therapists watched it ‘13 Reasons Why’, but I don’t need to put myself through 13 hours of this when that’s my day job.”
  • Stay in touch with other therapists who are faith-based: This will allow you to talk about challenges and successes you both face. “You don’t want to feel like you’re alone, so that’s a lot of help.”
Purchase your very own copy of “It’s OK to Start with You.”

Recent Graduate Deems University as Innovator

This blog post was written by Teresa Vandal, a Master of Science in Psychology alumna from Divine Mercy University. An amazing thing has happened to me recently, something just 10 years ago I was not sure I would ever get to do. I finished my Master's Degree. What is really amazing is that I was blessed to be able to attend the university I did. Why was I so blessed? You see, the university I attended, if put up against such universities as Harvard or Yale might be still considered fledgling. It is a university that has been around nearly 20 years. It is quite the innovator though because it deals with such a novel concept in that it reintroduces the dignity of the human person in such topics as Psychology and Counseling. Unlike the more traditional forms of Psychology and Counseling that deals only with fixing what might be broken in a human soul, this university believes in the Judeo-Catholic-Christian view of the person as a whole, and so teaches the idea of helping the person to heal through building their whole life back up and thus helping them to not just fix the problems, but to actually flourish. They teach you to take into consideration the potential client's day to day living, their family, their culture, their spirituality as well as their possible spiritual leader, but most importantly they teach you to help the client understand what they might need help with by actually looking deeply and without fear, at who they really are. There are many thought-provoking projects, many discussions on multitudes of topics, a lot of reading assignments and papers, and after each class you may tend to feel brain-fried, but you always feel it was all worth every brain cell if needed. The university also has faculty and staff – from Father Charles Sikorsky, LC, JD, JCL, President of the university, to each and every professor – who truly care about the success of the students. As a result, students tend to not only find instruction on how to help their clients flourish, but also how to flourish themselves. I look back over the past two years as I worked to finish my M.S. in Psychology and I am amazed about how much change occurred in me; a change that had me reach and grow far more than I could ever have imagined, and that not only gives me the courage, but the desire to want to go out into the world, and with God's help, hopefully make a difference in others' lives. Thank you DMU! I will be forever grateful.
About DMU
Divine Mercy University (DMU) is a Catholic graduate university of psychology and counseling programs. It was founded in 1999 as the Institute for the Psychological Sciences. The university offers a Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology, Master of Science (M.S.) in Counseling, Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology, and Certificate Programs.