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Richmont Faculty, Staff and Students Prepare to Present at the Christian Association for Psychological Studies Annual Conference

ATLANTA, GA – (March 7, 2014)

This April 3-5, more than 20 Richmont faculty members, current students and alumni will be presenting at the Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS) annual conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The conference, according to the CAPS web site, “…brings students, professors, clinicians, researchers, pastors and others around the integration of the behavioral sciences and Christian faith and spirituality.”

The three-day conference will offer plenary sessions and workshops that span a wide range of psychological conversations. At a number of these sessions, individuals affiliated with Richmont will offer presentations and poster sessions. Additionally, several Richmont faculty members are serving in conference leadership positions and as track coordinators.  Specifically, Dr. Dan Sartor and Dr. Mary Plisco are serving as the Assistant Conference Coordinator and the Volunteer Coordinator, respectively. Similarly, Drs. Tim Sisemore, Keny Felix, Jim Siwy, and DeAnne Terrell are serving as coordinators for the Academic/Research, Clinical Practice and Cross-Cultural/International Tracks.

“This CAPS conference is a wonderful opportunity for Richmont faculty and students to share their contributions to the fields of counseling and psychology with their peers and the community at large,” said Bob Rodgers, Richmont’s President. “We are incredibly grateful to have so many thought leaders at Richmont and are looking forward to a successful conference.”

This year, presentations by Richmont faculty and students include the following:


-Dr. Timothy Sisemore (Richmont faculty) will present: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: Overview of a Christian Translation.

-Melanie Barefield (Richmont alumna) will present: Coping Processes and Social Support as Variables that Impact Well-Being in Couples Struggling with Infertility.

-Danielle Evans (Richmont alumna) and Dr. Keny Felix (Richmont faculty) will present: Missionary Adjustment in Relationship to Traumatic Stress, Preparation, and Sense of Community.

-Nathan Sharp (Richmont student) and Dr. Dan Sartor (Richmont faculty) will present: Grace and Shame as Factors of Disclosure or Concealment of Same-Sex Attraction among Men from Christian Families of Origin.


-Dr. Marty Goehring (Richmont Clinical faculty) and Laurel Burnett will present: A Church-Based Model for Community Counseling Services: Ethical and Cultural Considerations.

-Dr. Amanda Blackburn (Richmont faculty), Kim Eckert, E. Nicole Saylor, Dr. Jana Pressley (Richmont Adjunct faculty), & Kelly Flanagan will present: Fostering Childhood Attachment and Nurturing Your Career: Stories from Psychologist Moms.

-Vanessa Snyder (Richmont Adjunct faculty) will present: Research on Best Practices in Treatment of Girls and Women in Sex Trafficking Shelters: A Holistic Approach.

Friday poster sessions will include:

-Dr. Timothy Sisemore (Richmont faculty) and Rodger Bufford will present: Worldview Foundations for a Christian Psychology.

-Pearl Brown (Richmont student) will present: Shame Experienced from Childhood Sexual Abuse: Is Grace a Moderator?

-Ashley Dillon (Richmont student) and Dr. Timothy Sisemore (Richmont faculty) will present: Adopting Parents’ View of Grace and Report of Behavior and Mood of Biological Children Before and After the Adoption of a Sibling.

-Jessica Richards (Richmont Student) and Dr. James Siwy (Richmont Adjunct faculty) will present: The Impact of Process Groups on Community: A Survey of Perceived Cohesion and Implications for Church Communities.

-Kristina Tucker (Richmont student) and Dr. Timothy Sisemore (Richmont faculty) will present: Religious Coping and Quality of Life in Women with Chronic Pelvic Pain Conditions.

-Dr. Jama White (Richmont faculty), Dr. Evalin Rhodes-Hanshew (Richmont faculty), Dr. Mary Keeley Plisco (Richmont faculty), Dr. Keny Felix (Richmont faculty), and Dr. DeAnne Terrell(Richmont faculty) will present: Cultivating Empathy Skills: A Counselor Education Intervention.

-Dr. Timothy Sisemore (Richmont faculty) will also facilitate a Christian Psychology special interest group meeting on Friday evening.


-Jenna Riemersma (Richmont student) and Dr. Michael Sytsma (Richmont Clinical faculty) will present: A New Generation of Sexual Addiction: Etiology and Treatment Implication. 

-Stanley Hoover (Richmont alumnus) will present: Healing the Broken Hearted, Binding their Wounds: Religious Coping in Response to Trauma. 

-Dr. Kevin Eames (Richmont Adjunct faculty) will present: The Cognitive Science of Religion: The Revival of Faculty Psychology.

-Dr. Timothy Sisemore (Richmont faculty), and Dr. Amanda Blackburn (Richmont faculty), and Rodger Bufford will present: Dimensions of Grace.

Saturday poster sessions will include:

-Dr. Jana Pressley (Richmont Adjunct faculty), Rachel Smith (Richmont alumna), Laura Waters, Karisa Smith, and Ryan Abraham will present: Connections between Trauma, Survival, and Resilience in the Inner City: Preliminary Results from a Qualitative Study.

-Drs. Douglas Rosenau and Michael Sytsma (Richmont Clinical faculty) will host a post-conference workshop on: The Disciplines of Intimacy: Experiencing Passionate Lovemaking.

Master of Arts in Ministry Degree Program Approved for Online Format

On Wednesday, February 26, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) approved Richmont’s proposal to offer the Master of Arts in Ministry degree in a fully online format. This will be the university’s first master’s degree program to be offered online.

“Since Richmont’s School of Ministry began in 2012, we have had prospective students from around the country asking for online course options,” said Richmont’s President, Bob Rodgers. “The Master of Arts in Ministry strikes a desirable balance between theological learning and practical application in the areas of discipleship, spiritual formation and leadership. Since students cannot always move to one of our campuses in order to take classes we are therefore excited to meet the clear national demand for coursework through online instructional delivery.”

The university looks forward to offering current ministry curriculum online beginning in August of this year. Typically, students complete coursework over a period of six academic semesters and, while there will be an in-person program orientation for classmates to get to know one another, coursework will be conducted remotely

“What a great encouragement it is to receive the approval by SACSCOC for the School of Ministry to move its entire Masters of Ministry degree online,” said Dr. Leland Eliason, Dean of the School of Ministry. “This two year English track degree is uniquely designed to equip those who are called into ministry whether in churches or faith based organizations or those who want to be better prepared to serve God within marketplace ministries.”

Since the beginning, feedback from faculty and students in the School of Ministry has exceeded expectations. For two years the program has successfully offered coursework via evening classes and intensive weekend class formats. The online version of the degree will broaden the School of Minstry’s reach as the curriculum that has received such enthusiastic endorsement from the students who have been enrolled in the residential program during the past two years will be offered virtually. Click here to learn more about the School of Ministry or to apply for the fall 2014 semester.

Richmont Psychologist, Dr. Jeff Eckert, Joins Bryan College to Teach on Sexual Addiction

DAYTON, TN – (February 20, 2014)

On February 14, Dr. Jeff Eckert was one of two speakers to teach during Bryan College’s “Kill Your Sexual Addiction” seminar. Speaking during the college’s Friday morning chapel session, Eckert helped students consider sexual addiction as a modern day epidemic and an age old problem, particularly in regards to male populations. His seminar was preceded on Wednesday by Marnie Ferree, a licensed marriage and family therapist with a national reputation as a leader in the field of sexual addiction, particularly as it presents in women.

“College students are at a pivotal age where they are making decisions that will impact the rest of their lives,” said Eckert. “This topic is particularly relevant as they are considering marriage and the quality of their lives going forward. It’s important to equip them with knowledge and tools so they can make wise decisions and successfully cultivate positive habits and behaviors that will build a healthy foundation in their lives for the present and the future.”

A licensed psychologist and clinical social worker, Dr. Eckert not only engages clients (ages 12 and up) in individual and group counseling settings, but oversees approximately 20 clinicians in his role as Director of the Henegar/CBI Counseling Center in Chattanooga, TN. A ministry of Richmont Graduate University, the Center serves approximately 1,400+ individuals throughout the Chattanooga area with a wide variety of counseling services on a monthly basis.

Since, 2011, Richmont has partnered with Bryan College to offer the 3+2 program which allows psychological studies students to complete their bachelor’s and master’s in five years. As of 2013, Richmont has further replicated this partnership with Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, Georgia.

“We continue to be grateful for the many ways Richmont and Bryan partner together to share knowledge and resources,” said Richmont’s president, Bob Rodgers. “Jeff is a skilled psychologist with years of varied experiences and it is a true privilege to have him providing counseling services to clients and eye-opening material to students throughout Tennessee.”

John Ortberg to Present Spiritual Formation Conference at Richmont

ATLANTA, GA – (February 7, 2014)

It is with great pleasure that Richmont Graduate University prepares to welcome  internationally renowned author and speaker, John Ortberg, Jr., to present: “Knowing Christ: Celebrating the Teaching of Dallas Willard for Pastors, Ministry Leaders and Christian Educators.” This two-day conference will be hosted coming May 28 and 29, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia and will be open to pastors, parachurch organization leaders, and current students.

“I am thrilled that John has agreed to partner with Richmont this spring to train local ministry leaders in such a critical area as spiritual formation,” said Richmont’s President, Bob Rodgers. “As cultural changes accelerate, we know a new type of leader, one who is prepared to generate ministry strategies that are contextually relevant and theologically sound, is needed more than ever. I am excited for John to join us in equipping students and local ministry leaders to think critically and act creatively to communicate the gospel in our contemporary and diverse world.”

Ortberg has written several notable books on spiritual formation including, The Life You’ve Always Wanted, If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat, The Me I Want To Be, and most recently, Who is This Man?. He also currently serves as the senior pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, California where he lives with his wife, Nancy.

“Concerning both the process of Christian Spiritual Formation and the role the Church can play, there is not more clear or compelling voice that that of John Ortberg,” said Dr. Gary Moon, Richmont professor and Director of the Martin Institute for Christianity and Culture and Dallas Willard Center for Christian Spiritual Formation.

“John embodies the hallmarks on the pathway to spiritual transformation such as authenticity, transparency, and centeredness in Christ,” said Richmont’s School of Ministry Dean, Dr. Leland Eliason. “His speaking and writing invite readers to incorporate profound truths from great minds like Dallas Willard, one of his mentors. These remarkable qualities, in addition to his personally transparent approach, challenge readers and listeners to grow in their relationship with Christ.”

In preparation for this exciting event, further details can be found on the conference website.

Event Host:

Richmont Graduate University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOCS) and offers master’s-level training in professional counseling to help individuals, families and groups successfully confront life’s challenges. Presently, students have the opportunity to pursue master’s degrees in: Professional Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy, Ministry, and Christian Psychological Studies as well as specializations in addictions, child and adolescent therapy, sex therapy, spirituality and counseling, and trauma counseling. Additionally, in order to serve Richmont’s campus communities, the university hosts a network of Hope Counseling Centers throughout metro Atlanta, as well as the Henegar/CBI Counseling and Richmont Community Counseling Centers in Chattanooga, TN. These centers offer counseling and mental health services to children, adults, families and groups of all walks of life, regardless of their insurance status.

For More Information Contact:

Robert G. “Bob” Rodgers

President, Richmont Graduate University

(404) 835-6132 or

Richmont partners with local Atlanta churches to preview the Master of Arts in Ministry

The School of Ministry at Richmont Graduate University will co-host two Preview Evenings for those interested in learning more about the Masters of Arts in Ministry. Richmont will partner with Mount Paran Church and Trinity Anglican Mission next month to allow church members and the surrounding communities an opportunity to learn more about the degree program that is aimed at preparing and equipping leaders in ministry.

The events will be held:

  • Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at Mt. Paran Church 6:15 – 7:00pm (Banquet Room)
  •  Thursday, March 20, 2014 at Trinity Anglican Mission 6:30 – 8:00pm (Youth Room)

For more information about the Masters of Arts in Ministry degree or to RSVP for one of the above events, please contact McCall Garner, Assistant to the Dean, or (404)835-6124.

Alumni Advisory Council $10k Match Fulfilled

On Tuesday, December 31, the $10,000 dollar for dollar matching gift challenge given by Richmont’s Alumni Advisory Council was officially fulfilled thanks to generous gifts from alumni and friends of the university.

“This matching challenge was an extraordinarily generous way to encourage and enhance end of the year giving,” said Richmont’s president, Bob Rodgers. “The Alumni Advisory Council has been incredibly generous and creative in their pursuit of Richmont’s mission. It was a blessing to watch so many committed individuals and families give sacrificially in order for Richmont to flourish.”

This year, based on current alumni association enrollment, the university is anticipating the highest level of alumni engagement in the history of the institution. Additionally, the university is preparing to graduate the second largest classes in Richmont’s 81 year history.

“”These gifts demonstrate a wonderful outpouring of generosity and commitment by the alumni,” said Alumni Advisory Council Chair, Lavinia Myers. “I am so pleased to see this initiative be fully realized.”

Clinical Professor, Dr. Dan Sartor and Richmont’s President, Bob Rodgers, Pen Advent Devotional

Atlanta, GA and Chattanooga, TN – (January 23, 2014)

This winter, clinical faculty member, Dr. Dan Sartor, and Richmont’s president, Bob Rodgers, co-authored a new book titled God is With Us. Offering daily reflections from the gospels of Matthew and Luke, God is With Us seeks to help individuals and families scripturally prepare their minds and hearts during the advent season as the church awaits the celebration of Christ’s birth.

“Nothing is as gripping as the majesty of God’s love for us—He longs to be with us and has chosen to be with us in the common and broken aspects of being human,” said Dr. Sartor. “It was a deeply rewarding experience to join Bob in reflecting on the profound ways that God came to be with us and continues to be present with us today. We pray this simple little book will stir each reader’s awareness of the comfort and joy of Emmanuel: God is with us!”

“It was an incredible privilege to work with Dan in order to compile this booklet,” said Richmont’s President, Bob Rodgers. “We hope this book will help friends and alumni of Richmont find peace and grow closer to Christ during the holiday season for many years to come.”

To receive a free copy of God is With Us, please connect with Christianna Luy in the Office of the President via email: or phone: 404-835-6118.



Professor Dan Sartor to Provide Training on Attending to Sexual Crises

Atlanta, GA – (January 21, 2014)

On Saturday, January 25, Dr. Dan Sartor, licensed clinical psychologist, Nationally Certified Counselor, and Associate Professor of Counseling at Richmont Graduate University, will provide a one-day training called: “Attending to Sexual Crises: Triage 101 for First Responders.” Hosted by Cedartown Congregational Holiness Church, the event will help pastors, youth leaders, church staff and volunteers, lay leaders, counseling professionals, therapists, school teachers, caregivers and social workers to understand pornography and sexual addiction. It will also help them develop the ability to know what to say, what not to say, and what to do with individuals and families facing sexual crises.

“I’m honored to join forces with the True Intimacy Project in this event,” said Dr. Sartor. “The True Intimacy Project is a non-profit organization that works ardently to comprehensively address the issues of human trafficking in Atlanta and in Northwest Georgia. Their work has revealed under-addressed issues of sexual addiction and brokenness in our suburban communities and churches. We hope to provide information, resources, support, and encouragement to our pastors, ministers, and ministry leaders in our community as they labor toward the spiritual and relational well-being of our community with regard to human sexuality.”

Dr. Sartor will be joined by DeVon Mills as he currently serves as a pastor in northern Gwinnet County while also pursuing his Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Richmont. Throughout the one-day conference, Sartor and Mills will focus on the following: 

  • What is sexual and/or pornographic addiction?

  • How does sexual and/or pornographic addiction develop

  • How can the Church best address sexual addiction?

  • How does healing happen?

In order to register for this event, interested parties can visit The event will begin at 9 a.m. and conclude around 3 p.m. The cost of attendance is $20 and lunch will be provided. This workshop is made possible in large part thanks to the True Intimacy Project.

Richmont Alumna Publishes Book on Counseling for “Third Culture” Children and Adults

ATLANTA, GA – (January 13, 2014)

At the end of 2013, Lois Bushong, a 1990 graduate of the Psychological Studies Institute (now Richmont Graduate University), published her first book on counseling titled: Belonging Everywhere & Nowhere: Insights into Counseling the Globally Mobile. A licensed marriage and family therapist, Bushong’s book focuses on counseling the “globally mobile” or Third Culture Kids (TCK) and Third Culture Adults (TCA). Her book is the first of its kind on how to effectively counsel clients raised outside of their parents’ home culture. Additionally, with the rapid growth amidst the expat community, Bushong’s book provides incredibly helpful and timely insights for counselors who are working with the unique circumstances faced by TCK and TCA populations. Readers will discover the basic characteristics and counseling skills effective with Third Culture populations as well as practical examples, interesting stories, tips, charts, resources, theories, techniques and discussion questions for further study.

For more than 20 years, Bushong has worked with and presented to many mission agencies, military, diplomatic and corporate organizations. Several universities are also considering ways to incorporate her subject matter into current curriculum. Her book, which retails for approximately $17, is for purchase here on When not writing, Bushong is an adjunct faculty member in the Graduate Counseling Department at Indiana Wesleyan University (Marion, Indiana). Fluent in Spanish, Bushong also serves counseling clients through her private practice, Quiet Streams Counseling, in Fishers, Indiana.


                                                                               Bushong Book Cover


Unite. Wear White on January 10 to Raise Awareness of Human Trafficking

CHATTANOOGA, TN – (January 7, 2014)

Richmont Graduate University, in partnership with the Chattanooga Coalition Against Human Trafficking and Second Life of Chattanooga, will present the 3rd annual “Unite. Wear White” event on Friday, January 10, 2014. Serving as the local expression of National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, the event will educate, inspire and mobilize organizations and individuals to partner together against human trafficking in Hamilton County.

“The Chattanooga Coalition Against Human Trafficking exits to create a community that is truly unified in the response to and prevention of human trafficking in all its forms,” said Jerry Redman, Managing Senior Partner of Second Life of Chattanooga, a co-founding member of the Coalition. “Unite. Wear White” is one of the ways that we highlight that unified response, as well as strengthen and grow the Coalition.”

This year’s free and public event will be held at the Chattanooga Choo Choo’s Imperial Ballroom. Doors will open at 9am and the program will begin at 9:45am. Additionally, the keynote speaker for the event is Ed Stanton, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee.

“Hearing from Ed Stanton this year will be an incredible honor as his office is a national leader in addressing human trafficking crimes,” said Richmont’s President, Bob Rodgers.  “Those of us at Richmont look forward to partnering with the Chattanooga Coalition Against Human Trafficking and Second Life of Chattanooga as they are valuable voices calling for justice in our communities.”

For more information on this Friday’s event, please visit or email