Director of Clinical Training, Associate Professor of Psychology
On Faculty since 2011
Office: BGC M246
PsyD, Clinical Psychology, 2002
Wheaton College Graduate School, Wheaton, IL
M.A., Clinical Psychology, 1999
Wheaton College Graduate School, Wheaton, IL
B.A. Psychology 1996
Lee University, Cleveland, TN
Licensure & Certifications
Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Illinois Department of Professional Regulation, 2004
About Jana Pressley
Dr. Pressley's areas of clinical interest include couples and family therapy, child and adolescent therapy, and more specifically, therapy with adults and children/adolescents with an abuse/trauma history. Dr. Pressley has specialized training in a variety of trauma-related models for children and adults including Trauma-Focused CBT, EMDR, DBT, and the STAIR/NST model (“Skills Training in Affective and Interpersonal Regulation/Narrative Story Telling”, Cloitre, Cohen, and Koenen, 2006).
Additionally, she is trained in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) and has particular interest in utilizing PCIT with young children and families most vulnerable to relational difficulties. Dr. Pressley has enjoyed past opportunities to train graduate students and professionals in the impact of chronic trauma on long-term development, with an emphasis on the added vulnerability of those who live in environments of poverty. Currently, Dr. Pressley directs the Complex Trauma: Impact & Adaptation Lab which aims to seek understanding related to 1) the impact of complex trauma and insecure/disorganized attachment on the development of children and adolescents, 2) the long-term relational, emotional, and behavioral coping patterns of adults with trauma histories, and 3) the contextual variables that contribute to increased vulnerability vs. resilience in the lives of those who experience chronic trauma.
Prior to her time at Wheaton, Dr. Pressley founded a counseling center in Chattanooga, Tennessee for clients who did not previously have access to counseling due to lack of sufficient insurance coverage and/or other financial barriers. This reduced-fee counseling program was grant- and foundation-funded, targeted toward the clinical needs of multi-problem children, adults, and families, and staffed by recent graduates and master’s level interns in counseling. Dr. Pressley is thrilled to continue involvement in clinical training at Wheaton College in a program whose very mission is focused on serving underserved and marginalized populations. In her free time, Jana enjoys reading, gardening, cooking, and spending time with her husband and two little boys.
- PSYC 644 - Child and Adolescent Development and Treatment
- PSYC 714 - Professional Development and Ethics I
- PSYC 894 - Clerkship Seminar
- PSYC 893 - Seminar: Advanced Topics in Psychology - Treatment of Complex Trauma in Children and Adults
Membership in Professional Societies
- American Psychological Association
- APA Division 56 (Trauma Psychology)
- International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies
- Christian Association for Psychological Studies
Dr. Pressley’s research interests are focused on the impact of complex trauma and insecure/disorganized attachment on the development of children and adolescents, and the long-term relational, emotional and behavioral coping patterns of adults with trauma histories. Dr. Pressley is also interested in the contextual variables that contribute to vulnerability vs. protective factors in the lives of those who experience chronic trauma. Additionally, Dr. Pressley has specific interests in issues of spirituality and complex trauma. The construct of “altered systems of meaning” is the term Judith Herman (1992) coined for those with relational trauma histories who struggle with a deep sense of hopelessness, despair, and struggle to connect with faith beliefs. Herman states, “these profound alterations in the self and in relationships inevitably result in the questioning of basic tenets of faith…the majority of people experience the bitterness of being forsaken by God” (Herman, 1992, p.94). Dr. Pressley is interested in qualitative research further examining the faith development of clients with complex trauma histories and the impact on working with complex trauma on the spirituality of therapists (as related to potential vicarious traumatization).
Publications and Presentations
Pressley, J., & Vanden Hoek, K. K. (2014). Psychodynamic and attachment-based approaches to treatment. In K.S. Flanagan & S. E. Hall (Eds.), Christianity and Developmental Psychopathology: Theory and Application for Working with Youth. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press.
Aten, J., Boan, D., Flanagan, K., Canning, S., Hall, S., Eveleigh, E., Rueger, S., Kang, E., Pressley, J. (2012). Booklet: Helping children cope with traumatic events. Wheaton, IL: Humanitarian Disaster Institute, Wheaton College. Copyright 2012 Wheaton College Humanitarian Disaster Institute.
VanMeter, J. B., McMinn, M. R., Bissell, L. D., Kaur, M., & Pressley, J. D. (2003). Solitude, silence, and the training of psychotherapists: A preliminary study. In Hall, T.W. & McMinn, M.R. (Eds.), Spiritual formation, counseling, and psychotherapy (pp. 175-184). Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.
Selected Peer Reviewed Publications
VanMeter, J. B., McMinn, M. R., Bissell, L. D., Kaur, M., & Pressley, J. D. (2001). Solitude, silence, and the training of psychotherapists. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 29, 22-28.
Pressley, J. & Flanagan, K. (January 2014). Promoting a social justice orientation through research and scholarship. Poster presented at the Mid-Winter Annual National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology (NCSPP) conference. New Orleans, LA.
Pressley, J. (July 2013). Disrupted faith: Attending to client spirituality in complex trauma intervention. Invited lecture at the 2nd Annual Trauma Center Summer Institute. Hyannis, MA.
Lewis, G., Abraham, R., & Pressley, J. (2013). Longing for Home: An exploratory analysis on the impact of complex trauma with adult homeless populations. Poster presentation for the 2013 Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS) annual international conference, Portland, Oregon.
Pressley, J., Watson, T., Aten, J., & Walker, D. (March 2012). Preparing the next generation of Christian trauma therapists: faith-based resources for educators and supervisors. Symposium at the 2012 Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS) annual international conference, Washington, D.C.
Flanagan, K., Pressley, J., Kahn, T. & R. Gregory (January 2012). A Multi-faceted Approach to Evaluating Clinical Competencies: The Professional Qualifying Exam at Wheaton College. Poster presented at the Mid-Winter Annual National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology (NCSPP) conference. New Orleans, LA.
Pressley, J., White, J., and Weisgerber, C. (2010, April) The Urgency of Complex Trauma: An Overwhelming Need for Understanding. Poster presentation for the 2010 Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS) annual international conference, Overland Park, Kansas.
Pressley, J. & Weisgerber, C. (2009, November) The Developmental Impact of Complex Trauma: What Counselors Need to Know. Presentation at the Tennessee Counseling Association (TCA) annual state conference. Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Pressley, J. (2009, May). The Developmental Impact of Childhood Trauma. Invited lecture, Child Advocacy Center conference. Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Pressley, J., Pressley, C., & Doolittle, A. (2008, September). Attachment, Separation, & Identity. Presentation at the 2008 Tennessee Foster & Adoptive Care Association (TFACA) State Conference. Nashville, Tennessee.
Pressley, J. (2008, May). Early Childhood Development: The Critical Role of Healthy Attachment. Invited lecture, Southeast Commission on Children and Youth (SECCY). Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Pressley, J. (2008, April) Helping Children Through Trauma & Loss: The Cumultative Losses of Traumatized Children. Invited lecture, Annual Winshape Foster homes staff training retreat. Lenoir City, Tennessee.
Pressley, J. (2006, September). Fostering Heathly Attachment: Understanding & Addressing Relational Trauma in Foster Children. Invited lecture, Annual Winshape Foster homes staff training retreat. Lenoir City, Tennessee.
Penney, P., Pressley, J., and Brady, J. (2000, August). Working with Families: Special Focus on Child, Adolescent, & Parenting Issues. Conference workshop (one week course) conducted in Honduras as an extension of Wheaton College.
Watson, R., Watson, T., Butman, R., Pozzi, C., Pressley, J., McCain, J., and Lake, L. (2000, March). Promoting Esparanza: Towards a New Model of Cross-Cultural Collaboration. Symposium for the 2000 Conference for the Christian Association for Psychological Studies, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Pozzi, C., Crisafulli-Preussler, R., Pressley, J. (1999, August). Liberation Psychology. Paper presented at the 103rd Convention for the American Psychological Association, Boston, Massachusetts.
Watson, T., Pressley, J., Sierra, J., and Speakman, D. (1999, August). Trauma and the Family. Conference workshop (one week course) conducted in Honduras as an extension of Wheaton College.
Pozzi, C., Crisafulli-Preussler, R., Pressley, J., and Sierra, J. (1999, April). Liberation Psychology. Symposium at the 1999 Conference for the Christian Association for Psychological Studies, Colorado Springs, CO.
Secured $20,000 matching grant from the Maclellan Foundation (Chattanooga, TN) to cover the consultation and instructional costs of the development of a Trauma Counseling Certificate program for M.A. in Professional Counseling/M.A. Marriage & Family Therapy students, alumni, and post-masters/post-doctoral professionals who wish to develop further academic/clinical training in the area of working with clients with complex trauma/abuse histories. Secured additional $20,000 from private donors, meeting matching grant for total of $40,000 raised, 2009-2010.
Secured a variety of foundation grants in order to cover start-up and ongoing funding of the Richmont Community Counseling Center, Chattanooga, Tennessee. Sample grants include:
- Maclellan Foundation, $20,000 matching grant - seed money for the operations of first year of RCCC, with additional $20,000 raised via board members and private donors, 2005
- Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga - $15,000 grant for the development of full-time counselor position for Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) program. Additional $13,000 raised through private individual and church donors, 2008
- Campbell Foundation: $10,000 toward general operations of RCCC, 2009
- Eleanor Powell Memorial Fund: fund developed from the directed giving of friends and family of former Richmont Graduate University board member, $14,000 to date, with ongoing annual giving opportunity established, 2009
- Poindexter Family Trust: Secured planned giving for next 3 years from estate of former board member of Richmont Graduate University. $40,000, 2010 (ongoing annual trust earnings to be distributed biannually)