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Counseling and Family Therapy students

Hands-on Training, Real World Experience, Diversity Thrives Here

Counseling and Family Therapy Department

Our undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs provide unparalleled opportunities for students to learn and excel in the exciting fields of behavioral health counseling and family therapy. Students leave prepared to enter the workforce immediately upon graduation or go on to continue their advanced degrees. We train students to integrate theory and practice, as well as to be both culturally aware and culturally sensitive, socially just clinicians and researchers.

Internationally recognized and clinically experienced faculty train students to become successful clinicians and researchers. Our graduates go on to meet the national demand for competent mental health and addictions treatment professionals in a culturally diverse marketplace.

We are located at the dynamic Center City Health Sciences Campus, complete with a clinical skills simulation lab, and multiple clinics. Our innovative courses, clinical training, and co-op opportunities offer an unparalleled education for those interested in the helping professions.

Our Commitment:

The Department of Counseling and Family Therapy (COFT) recognizes structural racism is historic, ongoing and embedded in every institution; institutions and health services for which you will enter as a graduate of the COFT program. The insidious, systemic nature of racism has and continues to create a context where the lives of people of color are threatened, outright. COFT is dedicated to addressing these atrocities for the impact upon health disparities and health inequities. COFT will incorporate curricular attention to identify populations that may be dissimilar to yourselves, in order to bridge any adversity gaps, and to educate students prepared to be successful in the multiplicity of roles and environments, upon graduation. Racism impacts every human interaction, is perpetuated by individuals, groups, organizations, and governments, and is directly responsible for people of color experiencing:

Commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion without action are hollow. COFT will ensure discussion/evaluation space in each course to address moving thoughts into actions. Inaction is complicity. As future mental health professionals, you will adhere to fundamental principles rooted in do no harm across a variety of disciplines:

COFT will not be complicit in perpetuating structural racism, individually, collectively, or institutionally. We apologize for any appearance of complicity in courses, or communications, and affirm the following commitment, to action, moving forward:


  • Curricular review of all COFT courses, and programs for content specific.
  • Utilizing department funds for anti-racist trainings and scholarship focusing on health equity and inclusion.
  • Leverage University resources for fundraising efforts to collaborate with community organizations doing anti-racist work.

Short Term

  • Calling out racism via university, community, and professional publications and presentations.
  • COFT Community Advisory Board to facilitate ongoing engagement, collaboration and participation in training, research, and education.
  • Development of faculty, supervisor, and student affinity groups.

Long Term

  • Equitable recruitment, retention, and development of diverse faculty, professional staff, students, and applicants.
  • Annual faculty and supervisor required trainings in cultural competency and anti-racist practices.

We the faculty, supervisors and students of the Department of Counseling and Family Therapy are committed to dismantling structural racism. Our commitment is intrinsic to our identity as people, and vital to all aspects of our work as mental health practitioners, including education, practice and research. We recognize that ongoing self-interrogation is paramount to the process of individuals, communities, societies, moving from inaction to action, from ally to activist, from racist to anti-racist, to create a truly just, equitable world. Our graduates will be equipped to engage continually in this anti-racist self-work in their personal and professional lives, and to effectively support and advocate for racially marginalized individuals, couples and families.






Department News



Week three of our Black History Month 2022 feature celebrates members of the CNHP community who contribute daily to the success of the College.

headshot of Kevana NixonKevana Nixon is a licensed family and marriage therapist. I am not only a current student in the Doctorate in Couple and Family Therapy (DCFT) program, but I also contribute my expertise and knowledge to the Drexel University Individual, Couple and Family Therapy Services clinic guiding the Master of Family Therapy (MFT) interns in promoting the mission and values of Drexel that includes expanding their lenses, especially the social justice lens. As the co-founder of Black Men Heal, I bring a relevant perspective of how to promote and engage an underrepresented part of the Black community. My scholarship efforts include recently authoring “Residential Substance Use Treatment Outcomes for Pregnant and Postpartum Women Enrolling Before versus During COVID-19 Pandemic” where my lens of working in the community as a marriage and family therapist as well as my experience as program manager in an intensive outpatient family therapy program is demonstrated.

The work we still need to do includes not only educating and having courageous conversations but adding those who are underrepresented to leadership and crucial decision-making for the University.

I lived in Nashville, TN for 20 years of my life—something that has informed in the way I help others.

headshot of Tina SolomonProfessor Tina Solomon, MSN, has been a part of the Drexel community for almost four years. First, as an adjunct nursing instructor and recently as an assistant clinical professor. She loves teaching nursing students and being helpful in any way that she can. She tries to create a relaxed environment that will foster learning and classroom engagement. Professor Solomon is a member of Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions Board of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She volunteers with the youth at her local church and is a mentor to new nurses when working clinically in the field. 

As far as equity and inclusion here at Drexel and the College of Nursing and Health Professions, Professor Solomon would like to encourage diversity within the CHNP faculty. She believes that diversity makes us smarter. It encourages creativity and adds to one's perspective leading to better decision making. She also believes that seeing a diversified faculty will motivate students of color to progress further in their career paths. 

Here are some things students are saying about Professor Solomon: 

  • “I passed!! Thank you so much for all of your help with Med Math this semester! I was very lost before working with you and now I am very confident in my calculations.”
  • “I just wanted to check in with you this semester. It's going well and you crossed my mind. You are still my favorite professor in this program.”
  • “I can't believe I am almost halfway done with my final quarter in the ACE program! Looking back, I remember how bewildered and nervous I was coming into that first lab back in Q1. You immediately put me at ease and made the material digestible and even fun. I can't understate the confidence you gave me moving forward into the program.” 
  • “Your teaching was very informative, yet straight forward and your personality was always intriguing, and I appreciate that. Thank you so much for making my nursing school experience so great and really furthering me in my education.”

Fun fact...She describes herself as an introverted people's person. In the classroom she shines, when at home she enjoys relaxing, listening to old school R&B, reading books, investing in real estate and traveling. 

headshot of Denise WayDenise Way, DNP, shares that a nursing career has given her the tools and knowledge to provide safe, quality and compassionate care to all people, especially our vulnerable and underserved population. “I pursued my doctoral degree knowing there was so much more work to be accomplished. Presently, working as a clinical assistant professor at Drexel University in the College of Nursing and Health Professions gives me a greater opportunity to teach students the importance of providing holistic care, meaning the mind, body and spirit. In continuing my quest for excellence in nursing at Drexel, I’ve joined the following committees: Nursing Faculty Search and Hire, Student Conduct, the Board of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) the Research Grant. I also serve as a Liberty Scholar mentor.

As a current member of the College’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion board, I work to ensure students and faculty of color are given the opportunity to be successful in nursing, academia and professional leadership roles by providing the tools and resources to be sustainable.”

Fun Fact: I enjoy walking outdoors in the cold weather.


Sarah Wenger, PT, DPT works with a patient in the gymAccording to the Institute of Medicine, chronic pain is a major health issue affecting approximately 100 million Americans and amounting to a cost of roughly $635 million a year. The healthcare community has a history of poor outcomes for chronic pain that have frustrated both patients and providers. Chronic pain can be very challenging to treat. It is an evolving condition with remodeling of neurological structures and biological, behavioral, environmental and societal influences. The focus is shifting from eliminating pain completely to minimizing the impact of pain on quality of life and building resilience to better cope with chronicity. The opioid crisis has drawn attention to how chronic pain is understood and managed. In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that nonpharmacological therapies be the first line treatment of chronic pain. Mental health, physical therapy and a variety of other professions and wellness strategies are fast becoming that first line defense. Interdisciplinary approaches are considered best practice in treating both chronic pain and substance use disorders. Interdisciplinary care that addresses health and wellness across physical, mental, and social domains is most effective. Healthcare providers need to have a good understanding of chronic pain neuroscience, biopsychosocial components of pain management, issues related to substance use disorders and pain management strategies so that they can effectively integrate their expertise within the context of interdisciplinary care and reinforce strategies used by other team members.

Sarah Wenger, PT, DPT works with patient using a exercise ballAt Drexel University’s Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services, we developed a psychoeducational group called Power Over Pain (PoP). Research has indicated that an interdisciplinary approach aids in improving the functional status and quality of life of patients with chronic pain. PoP is an interdisciplinary program that empowers patients through education to self-manage their pain. The group is based on a framework we developed, the Clinical Reasoning Model for Chronic Pain.


Power over Pain Plan of Care

The top of the diagram represents the goal of treatment: patients who are using healthcare services appropriately as they self-manage their pain with little or no opioid use. To reach this goal, patients need education, mentorship for behavioral change, help to address cognitive-affective factors and an understanding of the roles various healthcare providers serve in their health and wellness.

Sarah Wenger, PT, DPT in the gymThe middle of the diagram depicts an interdisciplinary team that includes the patient. All members of the interdisciplinary team collaborate to arrive at unified goals and a unified plan of care. This differs from a multidisciplinary approach where patients see different professionals who are not functioning as a cohesive team, each providing different goals and treatment plans leaving the patient to sort through an often overwhelming amount of information and action items. Good communication among professionals, the patient, the patient’s family and other stakeholders is essential in forming the collaboration needed for efficient and effective care management.

Each pillar at the bottom of the model represents a different area of research important for chronic pain management. While each team member specializes in their discipline, everyone should have a broad knowledge of all areas so that they can effectively situate their expertise within the fabric of the whole patient and a holistic treatment approach that will prepare patients for a resilient path forward.

The PoP group will be re-starting at Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services and will be offered for the first time at Parkway Health and Wellness in this spring. Information about the group and its curriculum can be found at

*Note: Wenger's article, “Reducing Opioid Use for Patients with Chronic Pain: An Evidence Based Perspective,” is getting published in the Physical Therapy Journal in print in April and on-line early 2018. 

By Sarah Wenger, PT, DPT, OCS

Associate Clinical Professor, Coordinator of Experiential Learning
Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences Department


The IPER Collaborative launched a new series that is available to faculty. During a listening tour last summer, faculty, who gathered to discuss their views on interprofessional practice, education and research, expressed there is a lack of communication among faculty. To facilitate faculty communication that leads to collaboration, we have offered to administratively support any faculty member who would like to form a working group around a passion, focus or research topic.

To date, we have held two brown bag lunches with much success. On November 16, Michael Bruneau, Jr., PhD of the health sciences department hosted “Exercise Science and You.” The meeting was open to all faculty interested in exploring interventions with physical activity and exercise as potential, non-pharmacological lifestyle therapies, as well as, faculty looking to integrate physical activity into their current practice and research. With a great turn out both onsite and online, Bruneau was able to form a working group with peers from many different disciplines. On November 28, Annette Willgens, PT, EdD of the physical therapy and rehabilitation sciences department hosted “Mindfulness for Clinical Practice, Education and Research.” Willgens invited those who were interested in incorporating mindfulness practice into their curricula, courses, clinical rotations and busy schedules. Again, a great group of like-minded professors and instructors including some adjunct faculty formed another collaborative working group.

Next on the schedule is Guy Diamond, PhD and Lisa Chiarello, PT, PhD who are hosting “Family Centered Care” on December 7.  Diamond and Chiarello are looking for collaborators focused on projects that will integrate family-centered care into their clinical practice, classes and/or research. We are sure that they too will experience the same success as Bruneau and Willgens.

If you are a faculty member who has a passion or focus you’d like to share with others, please contact any member of the IPER Collaborative or email All brown bag lunches are held from 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. on the day of your choice. We will email faculty, create flyers to advertise your topic, book rooms, link to Zoom and support any other administrative needs you may have to ensure your lunch’s success.

Our goal is to assist faculty in finding peers from across the College to foster collaboration which will enrich student experiences, research projects and faculty relationships.

We look forward to hearing from you soon!

IPER Collaborative


Join a Group!

For “Exercise Science and You” contact Michael Bruneau.

For “Mindfulness for Clinical Practice, Education and Research” contact Annette Willgens.

To host your own Brown Bag Lunch email

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