Department of Counseling & Behavioral Health
“Mental illness touches everyone. We must improve access to care and treatments, and we need to put a premium on early identification and early intervention for everyone with mental health concerns… Too many Americans are suffering, and far too many are not receiving the treatment they need to live healthy and productive lives.”
-Paul Gionfriddo, President and CEO, Mental Health America
The Department of Counseling and Behavioral Health at Jefferson- and more specifically our expert faculty, our growing alumni base, and the nearly 150 pre- and post-professionals in our training programs- have never before been more critically relevant. The United States is facing a mental health crisis and the existing workforce is largely unprepared to serve the often complex needs of individuals, families and communities impacted by poverty, trauma, stress, racial and cultural oppression, separation, loss, and addiction. Jefferson’s Department of Counseling and Behavioral Health is committed to providing relevant, cutting-edge training that prepares graduates to be excellent clinicians, advocates and trainers. Students emerge with a strong social justice lens, with a deep sense of cultural humility and racial literacy, with the skills and knowledge to serve our most vulnerable citizens, and with an excellent foundation to pursue doctoral training and advanced research competencies. As the first Chair of Counseling and Behavioral Health, it is my pleasure to welcome you to and orient you within our newly established Department.
Upon the merger of Thomas Jefferson University and Philadelphia University, the Counseling and Behavioral Health Department was formed to increase collaboration among behavioral health programs across the East Falls (Philadelphia), Center City (Philadelphia), and Camden County (New Jersey) campuses and to establish Jefferson as an important presence for behavioral health training, education, and community impact across the Greater Philadelphia Region.
Our faculty are exceptional! Their commitment to the quality of the educational experience for our diverse student body is truly unique. They are expert clinicians and researchers and they are actively learning about and engaging within the community. One example among many is Dr. Sara Course, who taught recently in Ladakh, India to support an ecosystem of entrepreneurship and growth while preserving the cultural heritage of Ladakh and the Himalayan region. Another is Dr. Angelle Richardson, a clinical expert in grief and traumatic loss, who spends two days per week embedded in a Philadelphia public high school where she provides direct counseling services to students and supervises Community and Trauma Counseling MS students on site. Drs. Nicole Johnson and Yoon Suh Moh are also consulting with a local public elementary school to design outdoor space dedicated to healing and to grow the school’s capacity to serve the needs of trauma-impacted students. Our faculty are also strong advocates for their respective professions and nationally recognized for their contributions. In fact, CFT Associate Director, Dr. George James, received the 2019 American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy Media Excellence Award at the national conference in Austin Texas and frequently appears on the Today Show and local news outlets. Additionally, our faculty are contributing meaningfully through publications and national presentations. In fact, Drs. Rita DeMaria and Rachel Brandoff have both published workbooks this year that provide helpful clinical strategies. Our faculty are continuously finding ways to make a difference!
Our students are exceptional! They are diverse in age, experience, race, culture, orientation, goals and interests and they are committed to contributing to safe, inclusive learning environments. They are not only learning requisite information in the classroom, but they are applying that knowledge and marrying it with clinical skill through various required field placement experiences. Over 100 Jefferson CBH students accrue between 100 and 700 hours annually (contingent on program and status) in various community and private practice settings across the region. I am continuously impressed by the positive feedback we receive from site supervisors across the region about our Jefferson students’ unparalleled knowledge, professionalism, and clinical skill.
The Department currently houses two distinctive graduate programs. The MFT degree program in Couple and Family Therapy is a 66-credit COAMFTE accredited (since 2014) master’s program that prepares graduates for the Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy credential. Students in this program can choose a Sex Therapy Track or a Family Therapy Track. Link to program overviews. The MS degree program in Community and Trauma Counseling is a 60-credit master’s program that prepares students for the Licensed Professional Counselor credential. Students enrolled in the MS in CTC program can choose to pursue a Specialization in Art Therapy (69 credits for MS + Art Therapy) a Specialization in Trauma, Addictions, and Recovery (66 credits for MS + Addictions), or a Specialization in Child Trauma and Play Therapy (66 credits for MS + Play).
Additionally, the Department offers an expedited 5-year combined bachelor/master’s degree program in Psychology or Health Sciences (BS) and Community and Trauma Counseling (MS), a 6-year combined bachelor/master’s degree program in Psychology or Health Sciences (BS) and Couple and Family Therapy (MFT) as well as an array of certificate programs.
The Department also offers multiple programs and training opportunities beyond the degree and certificate programs to contribute to behavioral health workforce development regionally and nationally. Specifically, The Jefferson Trauma Education Network (J-TEN) launched in August 2018 as the interprofessional training and community intervention arm of the Department. J-TEN delivers accessible and affordable monthly trainings to enhance the knowledge and application of novel skills and competencies among professionals, paraprofessionals, and students across disciplines and sectors, community members, parents, caregivers, and leaders. J-TEN’s largest convening, the Philadelphia Trauma Training Conference attracts over 550 attendees annually, providing advanced training and interprofessional practice opportunities for students, professionals, paraprofessionals and community members.
I am excited to welcome you into Jefferson’s growing CBH community. We have the privilege of guiding and witnessing incredible growth among our students and further watching the powerful, positive impact they have on others. When you join our department, I look forward to witnessing your transformation as a clinician and change agent equipped to serve, lead, and heal. Behavioral health professions require strong, knowledgeable and skilled leaders. Choose us as partners in your journey!
Department Chair and Associate Professor
This program is designed to meet the growing demand of counseling for individuals and communities impacted by trauma, adversity, and toxic stress.
Students learn how to help others with the stresses of family life in this program, in collaboration with the Council for Relationships.