About ejdavis1

Betsy Davis Church is the Director of Program Operations for the Pastoral Counseling department at Loyola University Maryland.

How does Meditation influence the development of the Mind, Body, & Spirit: Five Reasons to Join a New Research Group

Meditation and Human Development Research Team Openings

meditationMeditation has long been a divisive conversation in interfaith discussions. There are some who believe meditation opens the mind and spirit to be present with the Divine, and others that believe it opens a person to opposing forces. As researchers, we are exploring the questions surrounding meditation and other centering practices; questions about the influence meditation and prayer have on development.

If you have interest in this topic, an experience to share, or more research questions, I wanted to let you know that we are starting a new research group here in the pastoral counseling department. The Meditation and Human Development Research Team we will be opening up the discussion to investigate meaningful questions about meditation.

Meditation and Human Development

This research group is devoted to understanding how meditation (and similar practices such as contemplative prayer) influences the development of mind, body and spirit. The goals of the group are to secure grant funding to support the research and subsequent peer reviewed publication and presentation of data investigating how meditation influences our lives and how it can be used to better the lives of clients who seek help in counseling. Students who are interested in becoming a part of the research team should submit a resume or curriculum vitae to Jesse Fox, Ph.D., at jfox1@loyola.edu.

Top Five Reasons to join this group:

  1. CONTRIBUTE to the research and development that is changing the social sciences understanding of spirituality and centering prayer.
  2. INSPIRE These ground floor discussions on the emergent research topic of mediation may just inspire your research as we cultivate ours.
  3. EXPERIENCE Be a part of a lively discussion, academic debates, and developing research
  4. ACQUISITION new skills, as the team is exploring grant funding, writing, and proposals.
  5. LEARN about applying for grant funding, writing a research proposal, and study outcomes

Loyola Magazine » Playing through Grief: Helping Children Heal

Beverly Sargent, a current Ph.D candidate, published two books about helping children use child-centered therapy to play through the grief of losing a parent. She was featured in Loyola Magazine’s December 2012 issue.

Read more here:

Loyola Magazine » Playing through Grief: Helping Children Heal.

Thank you! A note from Tucker Brown, PhD

Tucker BrownDear Pastoral Counseling Faculty,

I am honored and humbled that you awarded me the Dr. Barry K. Estadt medal.  I belong to such a supportive and dynamic cohort of students; this honor is as much theirs as mine.  Thank you for helping to create an atmosphere of thriving, love, and life-long friendship.

 I worked hard as a student and I approached the pastoral counseling program as a formation experience, as a process that would shape me into a skillful, wise, attuned, and responsive healer.  I worked hard and I recognize that I am graduating on Saturday very, very much because of your encouragement and pruning — your illumination of my growing edges and your honest response to my efforts.

By your instruction, presence, and patience I have been discovering a voice that might be of service to others.

 My wife, Emily, and I are going to New Mexico because we feel called to live and work among those whose voices some call illegal.  I have been able to honor and nurture a desire to answer this call with your wisdom, teaching, and blessing, and for that I am most grateful!

See you at the reception.

In gratitude,


From Workforce Development to Loyola

Karla Wynn

As my academic journey as a candidate for the Master of Arts Degree in Spiritual and Pastoral Care at Loyola nears its end, I can’t help but reflect on the moment that led me to pursue an advanced degree program at this institution.

Employed as a Workforce Development Specialist at a local government agency, I realized, once again, the need to earn an advanced degree in order to remain competitive in the labor market. Inasmuch as I had spent at least 20 years of my professional life serving as a “career counselor in the Workforce Development Industry” I felt the time was right for me to pursue a counseling degree program. As a result, I began looking into a variety of masters’ degree programs in order to obtain my professional goals.

After researching numerous ‘counseling programs’ online, the Pastoral Counseling Degree program at Loyola University Maryland captured my attention. I contacted and met with Ms. Brenda Helsing (bhelsing@loyola.edu) and after attending my initial meeting, I felt right at home – that obtaining a Loyola Education would be beneficial and provide the tools needed to continue serving as a Workforce Development Counselor supporting dislocated workers and others in obtaining their next professional adventure in a spirit of service.

Instead of pursuing a Pastoral Counseling Degree, I entered the Spiritual and Pastoral Care program at Loyola (www.loyola.edu/pastoralcounseling/academics/care.html) and followed the Chaplaincy Tract. During the course of my studies, I gained both the theological and theoretical tools that enables me to be of service “ministering” to those who suffer losses – whether those losses be in employment, health, or a loved-one; to assist individuals in crisis situations, and empathetic listening skills to support people who wish to resolve their spiritual and religious questions, concerns, or challenges.  As my graduate student tenure comes to a close, I can say that the Spiritual and Pastoral Care program has heightened my awareness of spiritual and pastoral questions and concerns, helped me grow as a person and provided me with the technical support system to serve my sisters and brothers – regardless of their Religious Traditions – grapple with their questions and concerns to form a new and/or elevated spiritual identity.