M.S. in Community and Trauma Counseling


The CTC faculty is comprised of expert clinicians and educators from a variety of mental health disciplines including counseling, psychology, clinical social work, and psychiatric nursing.  All faculty maintain clinical practice, have a strong background in trauma, and are experts in their respective practice areas.  This “Practitioner-Educator” model is critical to our program’s success as it draws experienced faculty who utilize clinical expertise to create a rich educational experience for the students, and further results in a curriculum that is current, relevant, and grounded in today’s standards of practice.  


Jeanne Felter

Jeanne M. Felter, Ph.D., LPC

Program Director\Associate Professor

Jeanne is a Professional Counselor and Education Psychologist.  She earned a Master’s in Counseling and Doctorate in Education Psychology from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.  She joined the faculty at Philadelphia University after serving as a full-time Lecturer within the counseling programs at The University of Pennsylvania. 

 In addition to serving as the Director of the CTC Program, Jeanne is actively involved in the teaching and clinical training of CTC students.  She generates and oversees students’ clinical placements, and provides group supervision to first-year students who are involved in field placements.  She also teaches or has taught Practicum I: Introduction to Helping Skills, Advanced Theories, Group Counseling, and Advanced Interventions in Trauma Treatment. 

 Jeanne has extensive experience providing clinical and managerial oversight in community and school-based mental health settings, and has particular expertise working with urban children, adolescents and families who have endured adversity and traumatic stress.  She has developed and implemented trauma-informed curriculum in Philadelphia schools to universally promote the social and emotional growth of urban children.  Currently, Jeanne provides trainings to school staff and administrators on the topic of trauma-informed education to promote empathic and student-centered interventions in classrooms and schools, as well as trainings within community settings to promote trauma-competent service provision.  She is a mental health consultant to urban schools that serve under-resourced children and families, and she is also a clinician and consultant for the Violence Intervention Program (VIP) at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where she assists with the training and supervision of clinical staff, and further facilitates trauma groups for assault-injured youth.  

Dale Michaels

Dale S. Michaels, M.S., NCC, LPC

Associate Professor

Dale Michaels conceived of and developed the Masters in Community and Trauma Counseling at Philadelphia University in response to professionals and their organizations identifying the need for more and better trauma training in graduate education. He is Associate Professor of Psychology at Philadelphia University, teaching the upper level clinical courses at the undergraduate level, and is a faculty member in the graduate counseling program. Dale also advises first-year and upper level psychology undergraduates.

Dale is a licensed professional counselor with over twenty-seven years experience in residential treatment and private practice working with children, adolescents, and adults. He is affiliated with Bala Child and Family Associates, a group of long-experienced mental health professionals providing consultation and therapy to individuals and families. His areas of specialization include mood and anxiety, substance abuse and dependence, and remediation of learning differences and attentional difficulties. Additionally, supportive therapy addresses concerns regarding self-concept and esteem, identity, and relational problems. His graduate study was from Villanova University.

Christine Kennedy

Christine Kennedy, Ph.D., LCPC, ACS

Assistant Professor

Dr. Kennedy has served in a variety of capacities as an administrator, clinical therapist and supervisor, and hospice chaplain. Her most recent position was as the Director of the Center for the Study of Health, Religion, and Spirituality at Indiana State University, a research-practice based program that examined the centrality of religion and spirituality in health. She has served as Director of the Life Center at Hospice of the Chesapeake, which provides support services and programs for hospice patients and families, and bereavement and trauma counseling to adults, teens and children in the community. Dr. Kennedy began her career as a frontline case manager for the HIV/AIDS epidemic and, as a result, transitioned her vocation to hospice. She holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree from the University of Iowa, a Master of Divinity from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. from Loyola University Maryland. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Pennsylvania, an Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS) in Maryland, and an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ denomination. Her larger interests include a collaborative partnership with VNA Hospice of Philadelphia. Her specialty areas include complicated grief and bereavement, life-limiting illness, trauma survivors, military personnel, spiritual alienation, gender identity and sexual orientation and support to the LGBTQ+ community.   

Stephen DiDonato

Stephen DiDonato, MS, LPC

Assistant Professor

Stephen earned his master’s degree in counseling and clinical health psychology from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2012. He is a PhD student in International Psychology with a Trauma specialization at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. During his practicum year and the two years following his master’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, Stephen’s work focused on providing clinical care to children who endured abuse or neglect, primarily sexual abuse, and their families.  Following his work at UPHS, Stephen was recruited by Nemours / Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, where he currently serves as the Program Manager of the Center for Pediatric Traumatic Stress. In this role, Stephen works with children who have been diagnosed with a medical illness (cancer, sickle cell disease, congenital heart disease, obesity, etc.) and their families. Stephen also supports the development of family-centered and psychosocially focused screeners and interventions for healthcare providers in pediatric settings. He also trains and provides support/consultation to healthcare providers in pediatric settings nationally focusing on delivering trauma-informed care to children and families.


Astra B. Czerny, Ph.D, LPC, NCC, DCC

Assistant Professor

Dr. Astra Czerny comes to Philadelphia University with strong clinical skills, and a deep passion for clinical work and for the field of professional counseling. She completed her Master’s Degree in Community Counseling in 2009, and her Ph.D. in Counseling in 2014, both degrees earned from The University of North Carolina-Charlotte.  Astra has clinical expertise working with women and underserved populations.  She worked for the Shelter for Battered Women (now the Clyde & Ethyl Dickson Domestic Violence Shelter) in Charlotte, NC from 2009 to 2013 as a clinical counselor. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), a National Certified Counselor (NCC) and a Distance Credentialed Counselor(DCC). She is also a Qualified Clinical Supervisor in North Carolina and eligible for the Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor (LPCS) credential in NC.  In 2013, Astra opened a private practice in Davidson, NC where she specialized in trauma therapy and working with traumatized clients. She plans to continue her practice in Philadelphia upon relocation.  Astra has advanced training in addictions counseling, as well as several evidence-based interventions, including Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT).  She is also a certified Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) therapist.

Astra’s scholarly work reflects her passion for counseling women and underserved populations, evidenced in her qualitative dissertation, which explored the renegotiation of boundaries for women in recovery from domestic violence. Her larger research agenda encompasses the practical aspects of the healing and empowerment journey for victims of trauma, oppression, and abuse, and she seeks to develop a conceptual model of empowerment for women healing from abuse.

 Rachel Brandoff

Rachel Brandoff, ATR-BC, ATCS, BCPC, LCAT

Lecturer and Coordinator of Art Therapy Concentration 

Rachel is a board-certified, registered, New York State-licensed art therapist and supervisor. She has a masters in Mental Health Counseling and Art Therapy from Lesley University, and has experience working in variety of settings with many different populations experiencing trauma and major life changes.  In addition to her clinical work, she has taught psychology and art therapy in several undergraduate and graduate programs since 2004. She was a founder of the Expressive Therapies Summit, an annual professional conference launched in NYC in 2010, and has served for almost a decade as the Ethics Chair for the board of the New York Art Therapy Association. She maintained a private clinical practice in New York City for 10 years prior to relocating to Philadelphia.  She is the coordinator of the new art therapy specialization in the Community and Trauma Counseling program at Philadelphia University.  


Harry Allen

Harry Allen, MA

Harry is currently the Director of Outpatient and Specialized Services at Northeast Treatment Center.  Harry has extensive clinical experience working with Children and Adolescents and Families who have experienced Trauma. He has worked in and managed Partial Hospital Programs, Early Intervention Programs and as a consultant to local school districts.  He is trained in a wide variety of Evidence Based Practices specifically designed to address Trauma including:  The Sanctuary Model, Child Parent Psychotherapy(CPP), Parent-Child Interaction Therapy(PCIT), Structural Family Therapy, Child Centered Play Therapy, and Filial Therapy. He is trained as a Trainer in Child Centered Play Therapy as well as Filial Therapy.  He has frequently spoken and presented at schools, conferences, and parent groups on Using Play to Strengthen the Relationships between parents and their children. Harry considers his greatest professional accomplishment as re-connecting the special bond between parents and their children.

Janne Flower

Janna Flower, MA LPC 

Janna is a Professional Counselor with over 10 years of experience working with inner-city youth and families in Philadelphia through various community agencies and non-profit organizations.  Currently, she works full-time at Resources for Human Development in a school-based program providing mental health counseling to middle and high school students. Her clinical work focuses on assisting those who have experienced trauma, relational deficits and mood disorders.  She also has a private practice, counseling adolescents and adults on an individual basis.  As part of her practice, Janna provides clinical supervision for those seeking their license as a Professional Counselor.  She earned a Master’s in Community/Clinical Counseling from Eastern University.   Janna joins Philadelphia University as an Adjunct Faulty member and group supervisor to first-year students throughout their practicum.


Carol Gantman

Carol Gantman, Ph.D.

Carol Gantman is a licensed psychologist for over 30 years. She has evaluated and treated a diverse population, including trauma survivors, over the last 29 years both in private practice and as a consultant to the Renfrew Center and Friends Hospital.  As a Clinical Assistant Professor at University of Pennsylvania and Widener University, Carol is responsible for the training and supervision of graduate students in psychology and psychiatric residents. In addition, in her practice Carol has a specialty in forensic work and has appeared as an expert witness in Common Pleas Court in all of the five counties surrounding Philadelphia.  Carol has worked as a consultant to the Liberty Center for Survivors of Torture from 2003. More recently, she has conducted evaluations for HIAS Pennsylvania and the Nationalities Service Center.  


Fran Gerstein

Fran Gerstein, LCSW, BCD

Fran is an adjunct professor at the Bryn Mawr School of Social Work, Philadelphia University and Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.  She is on the board of Pennsylvania Society of Clinical Social Workers and the Phila Area Group Psychotherapy Society, and edits The Clinical Voice newsletter for PSCSW.  Fran is former Clinical Director of the Outpatient Department of the The Renfrew Center and has been in private practice for over 25 years, specializing in eating disorders and other self-destructive symptoms. She has presented on the uses of family therapy, therapist self-disclosure and Secondary PTSD. 

Nicole Johnson

Nicole G. Johnson, Ph.D., LPC, CAADC, CCDP-D 

Nicole G. Johnson, has over 16 years of experience working in the behavioral health care system in Philadelphia and surrounding counties. She has served in a variety of roles including Therapist, Clinical Supervisor, Unit Manager, Clinical Coordinator, Accreditation Manager and Program Director. Nicole has also served as an Adjunct Instructor at Montgomery County Community College teaching a course in Human Services.
Nicole holds a B.A. in Psychology (1992), M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology from Temple University (2004) Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision (2016). She has also earned a certificate in Spiritual and Faith Based Counseling (2011).
Nicole is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Certified Co-Occurring Disorder Professional Diplomate. Nicole is also a Certified Prepare/Enrich Premarital & Marital Counselor. Nicole holds a certification as a trainer in Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) for the State of Pennsylvania Bureau of Autism Services and is a Mental Health First Instructor for both the Youth and Adult Curricula.
Currently, Nicole serves as a Behavior Specialist Consultant for NHS Human Services and a Training Consultant for Resources for Human Development. In addition to these roles, Nicole trains and consults with Community and Faith Based Organization in areas of Addictions and Mental Health services. Nicole provides clinical supervision for professionals preparing to obtain their license as a professional counselor in Pennsylvania. Teaching is her love and passion!


Sarah J. Powell, MA

Sarah is the Director of Emergency Management for Temple University, and prior to that appointment, she served for ten years as Director of the Center for Preparedness Research, Education, and Practice (CPREP), also at Temple University. Trained as a medical anthropologist at McGill University, Sarah has gained significant experience and expertise in the area of public health preparedness, and more specifically, disaster mental health. In her capacity at CPREP, Sarah developed curricula, training, and competencies for volunteer disaster mental health responders working in the five county southeast PA region, and she has worked closely with experts in the field. While working with the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health in that role, she supported and managed the 100+ member voluntary Community Response Teams (CRTs), trained to provide Psychological First Aid, Crisis Counseling, and other behavioral health resources following community crisis and/or large scale disaster events. She has set new benchmarks for Homeland Security compliant disaster mental health exercise and evaluation programs, and has been utilized as a nationally-known consultant in that area. Sarah is a fervent advocate for preparedness education, and is one of the few people in the region well-versed in disaster mental health at all stages of planning, training, exercise, practice, and field response. 

Michael Shelton

Michael Shelton MS, CAADC, LPC

Michael’s clinical focus includes addictions, sexual concerns, and LGBT issues. He is recognized as an expert in male sex and sexuality by Psychology Today.  The National Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Addiction Professionals recognize Michael Shelton as a national treatment leader, and in 2012 the Independent Book Publishers Association awarded his text Gay Men and Substance Abuse the title “Best LGBT Book of the Year.” He is the author of five additional books and is currently associated with Addiction Medicine and Health Advocates; Assessment and Treatment Alternatives; and Equilibria Psychological and Consultation Services.

Craig Strickland

Craig Strickland, PhD

Dr. Strickland graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1993 with a Doctorate in Psychology and a focus on experimental research. His dissertation research involved recording neural activity in order to observe the effects of benzodiazepine administration within animal models of anxiety. Past academic positions include a faculty position at the Medical College of Pennsylvania and adjunct faculty positions at Widener University and Springfield College. Dr. Strickland currently has guest lecturer privileges at Arcadia University and the Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research.

Dr. Strickland was the Program Director of the Behavioral Health Training and Education Network in Philadelphia for 17 years and currently is the Director of the Organizational and Employee Development department at Horizon House, Inc. In addition he is the owner of Biobehavioral Education and Consultation, which provides consultation and training on a variety of topics including diagnosing, various courses on the etiology of mental illness and addiction, courses that focus on the use of psychotropic medication and on the neurobiology and pharmacological treatment of traumatic exposure/PTSD. His website can be found at https://sites.google.com/site/bioedcon