PhD in Mental Health Counseling
Visit the PhD in Mental Health Counseling program page for more information about how to apply, curriculum, and outcomes.
Paul W. Griffin, PhD
Associate Professor, Chair, Psychology Department (Pleasantville)
Dr. Griffin’s research reflects his graduate training in both counseling and developmental psychology. Dr. Griffin is broadly interested in adult development, though much of his research has particularly focused on subject well-being (e.g., happiness) and eudemonic well-being (e.g., meaning and purpose). Related to the theme of well-being, Dr. Griffin has chaired dissertation projects on a variety of projects, including flow, grit, meaning, and identity illness. In the area of counseling, Dr. Griffin has published on a variety of issues, including grief therapy, group counseling, and multicultural considerations in practice. He is currently pursuing two lines of research. The first is focused on investigating the question of subjective and eudemonic well-being among counseling professionals. The second is focused on how values and beliefs affect the counseling relationship and counselor identity.
Anthony Mancini, PhD, Licensed Psychologist
Dr. Mancini’s research focuses on the different ways people respond to potentially traumatic events, including the Virginia Tech Campus shootings, military deployment, the 9/11 terrorist attack, Hurricane Sandy, traumatic injury, life threatening illness, and bereavement. He also examines the ways that stress can stimulate social connection and improve psychological functioning, how networks of PTSD symptom develop over time, and how analog stress paradigms can illuminate the stress response in experimental lab settings. See Dr. Mancini’s research group, The Trauma, Social Processes, and Resilience Lab.
Michael Tursi, PhD, LMHC
Dr. Tursi is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and a National Certified Counselor (NCC). He is interested in qualitative research, especially research focused on clients’ experiences of counseling and the influence of client variables on the counseling process. Dr. Tursi is also interested in person-centered and other humanistic counseling theories in addition to integrative counseling approaches.
Alfred Ward, PhD
Dr. Ward has been a full-time faculty member in both New York City and Pleasantville Psychology departments for 35 years; the last ten years in the PLV department. In addition, he has currently been appointed Pace University Director of Assessment. In his five years as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Dyson College, Dr. Ward launched a process to assess student learning in every Dyson program, and throughout the Core Curriculum. For his work, Dr. Ward received the 2019 President’s Award for Outstanding Contribution. In addition to his administrative duties, Dr. Ward currently teaches statistics and research design in the Ph.D. in Mental Health Counseling, is serving or has served on over 10 doctoral dissertation committees, and oversees the assessment of student learning for the Ph.D. program.
Poonam Doshi, PhD, LMHC. LPC, NCC
Dr. Doshi is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in NY, Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in NJ and a National Certified Counselor (NCC). Her research interests have included studying variables such as types of motivation from self-determination theory framework as well as clinical supervision. She has studied these variables for the purpose of understanding their influence on counselor self-efficacy especially in the field of counselor education and mental health counseling. Dr. Doshi is well-versed in the knowledge and application of integrated counseling approaches and is specifically interested in person-centered as well as humanistic theories.
Joseph R. Franco, PhD, LMHC, NCC
Professor, MS in Mental Health Counseling Program Director, Director of Clinical Field Supervision
Dr. Franco is a Counselor Educator, Practicing Clinician, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, and a Nationally Certified Counselor. He has served as President and Membership Chair for the New York Mental Health Counselors Association (NYMHCA) for a period of eight years. Dr. Franco recently published his book, Aspirations of Italian-American College Students: The impact of family traditions, mentorship, career interventions, and counseling for professional success. Dr. Franco’s research interests include counseling strategies with ethnic minorities and LGBTQQI clients, supervision models for counselor educators and advocacy in the mental health counseling profession. He regularly presents and national and local conferences. Dr. Franco is the recipient of the Outstanding Service Award for his commitment to NYMHCA, Outstanding Counselor Educator Award for teaching excellence and the Pace University Kenan Award for teaching excellence.
Dr. Gosnell's research examines how individuals navigate personal and relational needs in good times and bad. Her research has focused on examining how individuals perceive, manage and are impacted by their own personal goals and self-perceptions and the use of self-regulation in the context of their close relationships. In addition, much of her work examines how people provide and receive support in the context of positive and negative events in their own lives and how work on positive event support (capitalization) might be extended in important ways to other contexts. Most recently, her lab has also begun to explore how conflicting political goals and motives may influence close relationship dynamics.
Sara Juncaj, PhD, LMHC
Clinical Assistant Professor
Dr. Juncaj’s central theme of work understands how individuals’ work can affect their psychological well-being. Her current research examined how to better understand well-being among one of the most stressful and dangerous occupations, police officers, particularly focusing on the effects of flow. More specifically, her work has examined questions such as how job, organizational and flow characteristics impact job satisfaction and how job satisfaction levels impact life satisfaction. Dr. Juncaj is also interested in studying the job dynamics of mental health counselors in relation to supervision, burnout, and self-efficacy.
Angela Legg, PhD
Broadly, Dr. Legg’s research focuses on improving dyadic relations marked by potential threat. To this end, she examines relationships marked by power differentials in high stakes situations such healthcare and education. She is specifically interested in how people develop rapport in these potentially threatening dyads (doctor-patient, professor-student, and manager-employee, for example) and how people communicate threatening information such as bad news and negative evaluative feedback. Dr. Legg’s research also maps social/health psychology theories of communication and bad news delivery onto the counselor-client relationship. She is also interested in how individuals decide to pursue potentially threatening information such as their genetic risk factors.
Johnna Pointek, PhD
Dr. Pointek earned her BS in Psychology from Mercy College, MS in Psychology from Long Island University, and PsyD from California School of Professional Psychology. She is a Lecturer at Pace University. She teaches in the graduate level in focuses on the following courses: Sex Education and Counseling Intimacy and Sexuality; Introduction to Gerontology; Helping Relationships: Counseling Theories and Techniques.
Ross Robak, PhD, Licensed Psychologist, LMHC
Professor, Associate Chair, Program Director, PhD in Mental Health Counseling PhD
Dr. Robak’s research extends across a number of different areas. Much of his recent work has studied factors that affect the group counseling process. He is also interested in self-definition and self-perception, as well as self-determination theory and its application to counselor education. Other previous research has examined the relationship between money and life-satisfaction.
Maren Westphal, PhD, Licensed Psychologist
Dr. Westphal’s research aims to further understanding of how emotion regulation may contribute to resilience and psychopathology, with focus on flexibility in emotional expression, attentional biases to emotion, mindfulness, and self-compassion. Her research has looked at these variables in the context of immediate threat and cumulative life stress and in relation to work-related stress and early adversity. She has also investigated the impact of exposure to potentially traumatic life events among ethnic minority patients in primary care. Dr. Westphal currently investigates mindfulness as a longitudinal predictor of mental health in health professionals and mindfulness and self-compassion as predictors of treatment outcome in cognitive behavioral therapy for depression.