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.

What Makes a Good Counselor?

Have you ever thought about a career in counseling? Are you concerned whether or not a counseling degree will help you find a job that would “be worth it”? If so, below are just a handful of job titles you could earn with a degree in counseling:
  • Clinical Mental Health Counselor
  • Rehabilitation Counselor
  • Addictions Counselor
  • Career Counselor
  • Marriage and Family Counselor
But degree and employment opportunities aside, what makes a good counselor?
They are licensed to practice Being licensed certifies that you meet the standards of the profession of counseling and are legally recognized to practice clinically, and gives both you and your clients a standard of care. It also allows you to show the caliber of your qualifications and makes you eligible to accept a potential client’s insurance, as well as legally securing your client’s privacy. (A violation of patient privacy results in potential job loss or other legal repercussions). But most importantly, it keeps you and your clients safe and responsible. They are put through rigorous training A Clinical Mental Health Counselor is a highly trained professional who can understand, identify, evaluate and treat various problems, both mentally or emotionally, that impact different areas of personal life. Counselors receive education in the fundamental aspects of the person: personality, family, society, culture, and aging, as well as specific problems that could arise like addictions, school or work related issues, depression/stress/anxiety, relationship struggles, acclimating to a life changing event and much more. Clinical Counselors are trained to evaluate and interpret diagnostic test results and create a comprehensive plan to address their clients’ particular needs. They can get very specific Upon graduation and licensure, Clinical Counselors can decide to specialize in an area they feel best suits their talents, knowledge and passion. There is a plethora of opportunities for clinicians who don’t specialize in a particular area, but many do specialize in child or adolescent counseling, marriage and family counseling, addictions counseling, or trauma counseling with specialization in therapeutic interventions like Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprogramming (EMDR). All the work pays off It's good to know that all of the trained and specialized services a counselor offers is helping the world move in a better direction, one individual at a time. It's also good to know it literally pays off too. According to recent polls done by ZipRecruiter, the average salary in the United States for a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) is $64,623 a year. That's above the current national salary average for working adults. This means that most LPC positions fall between $45,500 and $71,500 a year, which doesn’t include salaries for counselors who have a specialty or start a private practice. They help in a way that few can The demand for well-qualified counselors and experts in mental health is reaching an all time high. As a licensed clinical mental health counselor, you're trained and certified to accompany people on their journey to healing and transformation. You are able to assist them in working through whatever concern brought them to you, and helping them to learn the tools to take life in a new and healthier direction. If this seems like a career that could be your passion, go to Divine Mercy University’s website and look at the online M.S. in Counseling degree we offer. DMU takes a holistic approach to the person, knowing that each of us has a unique dignity, freedom and soul as well as mind, heart and body. If you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact us online or call us at (703) 416-1441.

My School Bus Rode Past a Suicide Scene

This blog post was written by Ebony Shamberger, a marketing associate at Divine Mercy University. I remember the day like it was yesterday. I was on the school bus nodding off to sleep, trying to play catch up from studying the night before, when the bus made a sudden stop. The jolt of the bus woke me up as my peers started complaining about being late to school. (As if the good ol’ cafeteria food would hit the spot). “What is going on? Why did she just stop like that?” said a high school girl. From the front of the bus, we could hear the driver talking on the two-way radio. “I can’t drive them through this. What am I supposed to do?” she said nervously. I couldn’t make out what was said on the other end, but all of a sudden the driver stood up and commanded everyone to close their eyes. All I could think was – what is the big deal? Is she afraid to drive us to school all of a sudden after having been on our route for nearly half the school year? So many thoughts and questions crossed my mind. “Do you see that? There’s a body hanging from the playground,” someone yelled from the front-end of the bus. I eased up from my seat to look out the window. And all I could see was a light shining on what looked like the shadow of a teenage body that dangled from the monkey bars. It wasn’t even 7am and I already felt like I had knots in my stomach, which didn’t usually come until after lunchtime from the greasy fries I just had to have. The darkness of the early morning didn’t make the situation any less terrifying as we slowly rode past the neighborhood playground that was now a crime scene. That was the first time I witnessed the fatality of a mental health illness and I didn’t even know. It wouldn’t be until I worked for Divine Mercy University that I would realize that at a young age my very own peers were dealing with issues that they didn’t think they’d be able to live with. So they’d take their own life not to bear the burden of bullying, peer pressure, addiction and so many other psychological detriments. If only someone was able to recognize that this young person was displaying suicidal behaviors and was able to guide her to a counselor or psychologist. If only she was told that her inherit nature as a human being, seen in the likeness of God, was enough to keep her on Earth a little longer. Despite all the “if onlys,” “shouldas,” “couldas,” and “wouldas,” there’s still a chance that people, with their innate human kindness and caring heart, can save the next person from a premature death and learn how to cope with everyday challenges. It could be as simple as directing them to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) or gaining skills to become a mental health professional. Regardless, of how you’d like to help save the next life on the path of destruction, just remember, every life is worth living. And, just knowing that a parent, friend or love one has to find their child hanging from monkey bars, overdosed on opioids or leaving a note behind after imitating “13 Reasons Why,” is reason enough to become a vessel of healing for those suffering in the world. Learn how you can become a mental health professional today.
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.