Loyola University Maryland

Department of Pastoral Counseling


Research Groups

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Research GroupsSpirituality and Positive Psychology

The spirituality and positive psychology research team is a group of doctoral students and faculty who are interested in spirituality as an aspect of human flourishing. The team is engaged in an ongoing project of collecting data on topics such as resilience, empathy, altruism, spiritual intimacy with others, self regulation, optimism, hope, and gratitude as they relate to happiness and spiritual growth. Several students have published studies based on their doctoral research and numerous student presentations at professional conferences have emerged from this project. For more information, please email Sharon Cheston, Ed.D., at scheston@loyola.edu.

Quantum Science and Spiritual Implications for Counseling

This research team consists of students who are interested in understanding the ways in which the Holy Spirit makes itself known, and the ways we can use this information to better ourselves, our clients, and our world. For more information, please email Sharon Cheston, Ed.D., at scheston@loyola.edu.

Well Being and Religious Leaders

This group seeks to understand the ways that pastoral counselors can foster the well being of clergy and others engaged in professional ministry. Joseph Stewart-Sicking, Ed.D., and interested students meet to explore these issues as they engage in research leading to presentations, publications, and potential dissertation topics on the subject. For more information, please email Joseph Stewart-Sicking, Ed.D., at jastewartsicking@loyola.edu.

Faith in Times of Trauma

This research lab is devoted to understanding the spiritual pathways involved in the senselosing and sensemaking processes that lead to posttraumatic transformation following adverse life events. This  lab is designed for faculty, Ph.D. students, and M.S./M.A. students planning to pursue a doctoral degree in the future. Members of the research team participate in discussion, research, writing  publication, and presentation at professional conferences on the topic.  Recent research has focused on discussion, analysis, and scholarly product of studies conducted in Haiti by Kari O’Grady, Ph.D. and some of her students. To read more about O'Grady's experiences in Haiti, read this article from Loyola magazine. . For more information, please email Kari O’Grady, Ph.D., at kaogrady@loyola.edu.

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.

Making Meaning: A peek into the lives of current pastoral counseling students