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  • May 9: Graduate Commencement Ceremony
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  • May 9: Graduate Commencement Ceremony
  • May 9: University Commencement Ceremony
  • May 10: College Commencement Ceremonies
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News

Events

  • May 9: Graduate Commencement Ceremony
  • May 9: University Commencement Ceremony
  • May 10: College Commencement Ceremonies
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  • May 9: Graduate Commencement Ceremony
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About the Counseling Center

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Associate Director and Clinical Director

Shirley Cobb, M.A., L.P.C


cobbsa@jmu.edu
Contact Info

I received my MA in counseling at Eastern Kentucky University in 1975 and began work at the Madison College Counseling Center (now the JMU Counseling Center) as counselor and educational skills development coordinator.

In 1985, my duties at the JMU Counseling Center included only clinical work, consultation and outreach and liaison with the lake area of residence hall staff. In the late 1980's I returned to graduate school at the University of Virginia and earned 27 hours in and between the various UVA counseling curriculums. Between 1989-91 I served as interim director of the Counseling Center during some major staff changes in this center and the Division of Student Affairs; I have been associate director/clinical director since 1991.

At times over the years, my interests in working with students have shifted to various issues such as stress management and holistic approaches to working with victims of sexual assault/incest and PTSD. As a counselor I consider myself to be psychodynamic/relationship oriented. Many of the precepts of solution-oriented counseling I find useful and compelling; however, I usually conceptualize client issues in terms of object relations theory. Currently, in addition to counseling populations, I am interested in developing more expeditious, integrated (with student development and other services in the university), non-traditional service delivery to students with presenting concerns in the JMU Counseling Center.



Administrative Assistant

Marian Cornelius


cornelmm@jmu.edu
Contact Info

I grew up in Northern Virginia and attended Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA. I worked for AT&T in Washington, D.C. for approximately 5 years and then was a stay at home mom for quite a few years.

I began working for JMU in the Counseling Center in August 1995. As an Administrative Assistant, I provide support to the Director and the Counseling Staff while providing essential customer service to the students, faculty and the JMU community. I also assist with the day to day operation of the Center.

On a personal note, I enjoy cooking, gardening, traveling, auctions and visiting family and friends.



Case Manager

Nina Critz, M.S., L.P.C


critznh@jmu.edu
Contact Info

I joined the Counseling Center staff in 2010 when the position of Case Manager was created. I received my Bachelor of Arts ('05) and Master of Science ('07) in Psychology from Radford University. Through various internship and professional experiences, I have worked with clients across the lifespan in a variety of settings. My passion, however, lies in working with the college student population. Developmentally, this is an exciting time of for discovering and creating one's self identity, however, it is also a period in life when many students struggle with mental health concerns, some for the first time. Through the therapeutic relationship it is my desire to plant seeds of hope and recovery for each student who is struggling with a mental health issue. As Case Manager, I provide students with the tools, strategies, support and advocacy that they may need to navigate various campus and community mental health resources.

Although I am a New Yorker (state, not city!) at heart, it is wonderful to call Harrisonburg home. I enjoy exploring the gorgeous outdoors, especially mountains and waterfalls. I enjoy spending time traveling, enjoying delicious foods and being active in the community through various volunteering opportunities. Above all, I treasure my time and relationships with loved ones.



Staff Psychologist, Liaison to Athletics

Patricia Crocker, Ph.D.


crockepk@jmu.edu
Contact Info

I was born and raised in Henderson, Kentucky, I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. I completed one term as an AmeriCorps NCCC volunteer in the southeast region after graduation before pursuing both my MA and PhD in Clinical Psychology from University of Rhode Island. As part of my graduate training, I worked with individuals across the age span in both traditional outpatient and partial hospital levels of care. I was a graduate assistant with URI's Counseling Center and also provided mental health services through an urban community health center, a private practice, and multiple outpatient settings. I completed my pre-doctoral internship with Princeton House Behavioral Health in Princeton, NJ where I specialized in women's issues and trauma treatment using Dialectical Behavior Therapy. I was welcomed to the Counseling Center staff for the 2011-2012 academic year as a post-doctoral resident specializing in sexual assault response services, and I am lucky to now remain with the Counseling Center permanently as full-time clinician.  I consider myself particularly interested in women's and gender issues, sexual identity and orientation diversity, sexual victimization, and trauma. My approach to counseling is often cognitive-behavioral; however, I consider my orientation integrated.



Staff Counselor, Outreach Programming Coordinator

Melinda Fox, M.A., Ed.S.


morganma@jmu.edu
Contact Info

I am a life-long resident of the beautiful Shenandoah Valley and a Duke through and through. The ninth in my family to attend JMU, I graduated in 2002 with a BBA in Hospitality and Tourism Management. After working for several years at a private military secondary school as the activities director, I felt called to redirect my career path, thanks in part to experiences with military families and veterans. I returned to JMU to pursue a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. I completed my counseling practicum at Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and my externship here at the Counseling Center. In May 2011, I graduated with my MA and EdS. After continuing in a part-time capacity during the 2011-2012 academic year, I was blessed with the opportunity to join the staff on a full-time, permanent basis!

I have an affinity for working with high school and college aged students and appreciate deeply both the joys and struggles of self-exploration, individuation and identity development that often accompany this life phase. As a counselor I strive to journey with clients; I view the therapeutic relationship as sacred and essential to this process. I work from a psychodynamic perspective and often integrate interpersonal process and cognitive behavioral theory into my work. I have particular interest in adjustment concerns, family of origin issues, working with the LGTBQIQ community and trauma related to military service. When not at work I can often be found hiking through the woods with my husband and our three dogs. In the fall and winter, Sundays are reserved for football and chili. I also love to read, bake, explore new foods/restaurants and I am a self-admitted TV junkie.



Animal Therapist

Francis




Francis, a Border Collie mix, specializes in petting therapy. He was rescued from Harrisonburg SPCA and underwent training to become an animal therapist. He works in group and individual therapy sessions and is frequently found under the psychiatrist's desk. He loves to meet new people, but definitely loves to be petted (especially on the belly). He is also affectionate and gives out many kisses. When not working, he can be found chasing squirrels or rabbits, napping in a sunny spot, or evading his owner.



Staff Psychologist, Coordinator of International Student Services

Rachel Friendly, Ph.D.


friendrw@jmu.edu
Contact Info

I am originally from Toronto, Canada, but moved to Southern California when I was 11 years old. In an effort to escape the perfect California weather, I moved to Massachusetts for college, and received my Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Tufts University and my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Clark University. I completed my doctoral training as a doctoral intern at James Madison University's Counseling Center, and I liked it so much that I didn't want to leave - I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to join the staff on a permanent basis!

I believe that our interpersonal context is vitally important to our well being. As a counselor, I therefore tend to be most influenced by interpersonal and client-centered approaches to therapy, but I also integrate elements of behavioral theory into my work.I truly enjoy working with college students, and am especially interested in identity development, interpersonal process, gender and gender identity, and international student, LGBTQ, and women’s issues. Other clinical interests include mindfulness and acceptance based treatment, group therapy, animal assisted therapy, and working with couples.



Staff Counselor, Outreach Coordinator

Leslie Gerrard, Ph.D.


gerrarll@jmu.edu
Contact Info

I am originally from North Carolina and have lived most of my life in the southeastern region of the United States. I received my B.A. in Psychology and my M.A. in Experimental Psychology from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. I spent a year working with a community mental health provider in Asheville, NC, and a year as a field instructor for a wilderness therapy program in northern Georgia before returning to school to pursue a career in applied psychology. I received my Ph.D. from the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Kentucky in 2012. My clinical experiences include working in various community mental health settings in Lexington, KY and the surrounding areas. I completed my doctoral internship and my postdoctoral fellowship at the University of New Hampshire's Counseling Center.

With four years of training in university counseling centers, I have experience working with a myriad of presenting concerns and diverse students. I have specific training in the provision of outreach services, working with trauma survivors, crisis management, identity development, and social justice issues. My theoretical perspective is interpersonal process oriented, meaning that I am interested in patterns of interpersonal interactions that have developed over the lifespan and may influence a person’s current wellbeing. My training has been heavily influenced by multicultural and feminist perspectives and my time working in wilderness settings has led to a strengths-based, holistic approach with a focus on culture and community. I enjoy spending time with family, friends, and our dog, Joey. I like engaging with my community and participating in a variety of outdoor activities including cycling, yoga, running, swimming, and hiking.



Office Manager

David Gillette


gilletdl@jmu.edu
Contact Info

I was born in Suffolk, VA and moved to the Shenandoah Valley with my family when I was 12. I have a certificate in supervision from Blue Ridge Community College and a Bachelor's degree in Business Management and Organizational Development from Eastern Mennonite University. Since my interests include health and personal wellness, I have also obtained certifications in CPR and AED as well as a Personal Trainer Certification from the American Council on Exercise.

I joined the counseling and student development center in October of 2009 and very much enjoy my job. While at JMU I have had the opportunity to increase my understanding of self awareness and expand my knowledge of business management by attending a diverse range of professional development courses.

While not in the office my interests include riding my motorcycle through the beautiful mountains of the Shenandoah Valley, spending time with my family and going on vacations, especially to the beach or Vegas. I enjoy being consumed by a great book, working out at the gym, and anything to do with being outside in the summer. I also love college football and enjoy playing golf.



Staff Psychologist, Coordinator of Services for Domestic Underrepresented Students

Sylvia Hanna, Psy.D.


hannass@jmu.edu
Contact Info

I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Virginia Tech. After completing my undergraduate degree, I moved to Baltimore, MD to pursue a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology at Loyola University Maryland. During my time at Loyola, I earned my Master's degree in Clinical Psychology in 2009 and completed my doctoral degree in 2012. I completed my Doctoral Internship here at the Counseling Center and am thrilled to stay on as a senior staff member, coordinating outreach efforts for domestic underrepresented students.

Throughout my training, I have had the opportunity to work with many different populations in various settings (i.e., community mental health, college counseling center, group private practice). After having all of these experiences, I have come to realize that my passion is working with young adults, particularly in a university counseling center setting. In my work with clients, I strive to provide a warm and supportive environment for exploring their thoughts and feelings. I view therapy as a collaborative process and enjoy helping individuals arrive at solutions that fit for them and their lives. I value the therapeutic relationship as an avenue to understanding the individual's outside relationships. Some of my clinical interests include working with trauma survivors, those struggling with disordered eating and body image concerns, and interpersonal relationship difficulties. In addition, being a first-generation Egyptian immigrant, I have an interest in working with diversity issues, particularly culture and spirituality.



Staff Counselor

Rebecca Heselmeyer, M.A., Ed.S.


heselmrj@jmu.edu
Contact Info

I was born and raised in Houston Texas, enjoying the Texas coast, city life, and hill country. I did my undergraduate work at Trinity University (San Antonio, Texas) where I played collegiate soccer and was a member of SPURS sorority. After graduating with a BA in Psychology, I moved back to Houston and spent four years working as a Family Home Specialist at Lutheran Social Services, a foster care and adoption agency. In August 2006 I heard JMU's call, which was loud enough for me to leave my home state and relocate to Harrisonburg, VA. I completed my MA and EdS degrees in May 2009 and am now ABD in the JMU Counseling and Supervision PhD program. I have been a counselor with the Counseling Center since 2008; initially as an EdS extern and subsequently as a part-time clinician. I also work with the Psychiatric Emergency Team (PET) at Rockingham Memorial Hospital and teach as Adjunct Faculty in the JMU graduate counseling program.

I view counseling as an opportunity for me to partner with clients through a particularly challenging part of their life journey to offer support and collaboration. I believe in the healing power of the therapeutic relationship and approach counseling using interpersonal, person-centered, feminist, and systems frameworks. I also incorporate expressive arts, narrative, and mindfulness-based practices. I am trained in Intergroup Dialogue facilitation and believe in ongoing personal and professional growth and advocacy particularly with regard to intercultural development.

I love domestic and foreign travel and have been able to merge this interest with my formal studies, traveling to the Dominican Republic, Sri Lanka, and India for coursework. Other interests include fitness, reading, time with family and friends, cooking, and enjoying the great outdoors. Still strong in my love for Texas, I have found a wonderful home away from home in Virginia.



Staff Counselor, Program Assistant Supervisor, Certificate Program Coordinator

Kara Karr, M.A., Ed.S.


karrkm@jmu.edu
Contact Info

I received my MA and EdS in Community Agency Counseling from JMU in 1993. I then went on to become licensed as a professional counselor in Virginia. While I was completing my graduate training at JMU I had the good fortune of interning here at the Counseling Center. I enjoyed my counseling work with college students so much that I continued part-time counseling here even as I took on the role of JMU Coordinator of Disability Services. Three years later as I prepared to give birth to my first child, Mia Christina, I resigned as the Coordinator of Disability Services and stayed on here at the Counseling Center. I immensely enjoy my work here and plan on continuing my part-time schedule indefinitely as I now have a second child, Tessa.

Prior to my employment at JMU, I served as an Adult Protective Services Social Worker for Shenandoah County, providing case management and investigating complaints of abuse against both individuals over age 65 and adults with disabilities. This experience propelled me away from pursuing my MSW and toward a counseling career where I would be able to work with clients on a deeper level instead of focusing on more basic needs.

One of my particular areas of interest is death and dying. I completed the RMH Hospice Training and served as an in-home hospice volunteer. In addition, I have given several presentations on grief issues throughout the years. Other clinical interests include spirituality/religion as it impacts the client and the process of psychotherapy, couples counseling, sexual assault recovery, and working with the LGBTQIQ community.

When I conceptualize client issues, I draw from both a psychodynamic and systems model. In keeping with the Counseling Center's brief therapy model, I have begun to employ more of a solution-focused orientation. I continue to utilize a variety of counseling techniques, depending on what I feel the individual client will respond to, always considering that the counselor/client relationship is a key ingredient in the therapy process.


Staff Counselor, Coordinator of Men's Issues Programs

Jerrod Koon Ph.D.


koonja@jmu.edu
Contact Info

I earned my B.A. in psychology from Wheeling Jesuit University, M.S. in Community Counseling from Shippensburg University, and Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from The University of Iowa.  I moved to Virginia in 2013, after the completion of my doctoral internship at The University of Tennessee Knoxville. I’ve had a variety of amazing clinical opportunities throughout my career. However, the most rewarding and exciting ones are on a university campus supporting student success.

I perform a variety of clinical and outreach work related to anxiety, men’s issues and masculinity, gender, identity and multicultural issues, first generation college students, survivors of trauma, sexual assault and domestic violence prevention, and healthy relationships. My goal in counseling is to create a collaborative and empowering environment that assists clients in moving closer to their goals and improving the quality of their lives.



Training Director, Staff Psychologist

Ilene Magee, Ph.D.


mageeim@jmu.edu
Contact Info

I received my undergraduate degree in Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis, master's degree in Social Work from the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, and doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology from Indiana University in Bloomington.

My career in psychology has focused on human interaction, particularly how change occurs by means of the therapeutic relationship and the process of therapy. My work is most influenced by interpersonal process, family systems, and cognitive-behavioral approaches. I have experience providing counseling services to a diverse student population with a wide range of presenting issues, and I am dedicated to multicultural awareness both professionally and personally. I am particularly interested in supervision of professionals in training, women’s issues, trauma recovery, multicultural issues, and career development.



Staff Counselor, Group Services Coordinator, Ed.S. Training Coordinator

Tom Metzinger, M.Ed., L.P.C.


metzintg@jmu.edu
Contact Info

I have been at the Counseling Center part time from 1988-1991 and full time since then. I received my M.Ed. from JMU in Counselor Education in 1983 and have been licensed as Professional Counselor since 1993. I first came to the Counseling Center to develop and assist with running the group therapy program. This continues to be a primary function of mine. In addition, I coordinate the Educational Specialists Training Program and assist in managing the technology needs of the center. My areas of interest include couples work, ACoA issues, and group therapy. I'm also a member of JMU's Safe Zones.

I am married and my wife and I are always in the process of working on something around our house. When I am not doing my own projects, I'm usually fixing something at someone else's house or around the office.


Director

David Onestak, Ph.D.


onestadm@jmu.edu
Contact Info

Previously the Director of the Counseling Center at Eastern Illinois University for seven years, I came to JMU in the spring of 2004. I received my undergraduate degree in psychology from Penn State in 1987, and I then immediately entered the clinical psychology program at the University of South Carolina. Beginning with my predoctoral internship at the University of Pittsburgh's Counseling Center, my professional practice and career have been based exclusively in university counseling centers. After internship, I became a staff psychologist at Georgia Southern University's Counseling Center, where I became licensed psychologist. When a staff psychologist position became available at the University of Pittsburgh, I returned to the site of my internship and stayed there for three years, eventually becoming an Assistant Director.



Staff Psychologist, Suicide Risk Reduction Coordinator

Katrina Simpson-McCleary, Psy.D.


simpsoka@jmu.edu
Contact Info

I received my undergraduate degree from Lycoming College in Pennsylvania double majoring in Psychology and Spanish. The blending of psychology and Spanish nurtured my appreciation for people's stories and diversity of experience. Quality relationships and growth are important to me, which is seen in my clinical work in the emphasis and exploration of the clients' relationships, including ours. While I enjoy working with a wide variety of presenting concerns, my areas of special interest include women and men's issues, trauma, working with the LGBTQIQA community, and multicultural identity development. Tied into my value of quality relationships and growth, supervision and training of future clinicians is a passion of mine. After college, I worked as a sexual assault counselor before enrolling in Indiana University of Pennsylvania's Clinical Doctoral program. While at IUP, I had the opportunity to complete both a practicum & GA at IUP's Counseling Center, and I realized that my place in psychology was in working with undergraduate and graduate students. After receiving my degree in 2008, I returned to IUP as a staff therapist before coming to JMU. I first had the opportunity to live in Virginia, while completing my internship at William & Mary's College Counseling Center, and my family and I were very excited by the opportunity to return to Virginia! The multiple parks and recreational opportunities help Harrisonburg feel like home!



Psychiatrist

Colleen Tennyson, M.D.


tennyscg@jmu.edu
Contact Info

I am originally from Ohio and relocated to Virginia in 2003. I completed a B.S. in Biology at Denison University in Granville, Ohio. During college, my volunteer work at the state psychiatric hospital sparked my interest in mental health. I continued studies at The Ohio State University, College of Medicine, and received my M.D. in 2003. I completed my adult psychiatric training at University of Virginia and served as chief resident for the program during my final year.

My training provided exposure to various therapeutic and pharmacologic approaches. I am interested in the interplay of psychopharmacology and psychotherapy and believe that combined treatment is superior to medications alone. This philosophy provides the foundation for my work as I only provide services to students who are actively engaged in counseling at the Counseling Center. I also recognize the benefits students can receive when medical providers in different specialties collaborate. Thus, I work to maintain a comprehensive treatment approach for each student.