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Devona Stalnaker-Shofner, EdD

Antioch University New England, Online

Devona Stalnaker-Shofner received her Doctor of Education in Counselor Education and Supervision from Argosy UniversityAtlanta. Her dissertation research focused on wellness in graduate students as they transition to counselors-in-training and during clinical practicum. She is also a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the State of Georgia, as well as a National Certified Counselor (NCC) through the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). Devona has been in professional practice as a counselor since 2001, and her experience includes providing individual, group, and marriage and family counseling to clients presenting with treatment concerns such as depression, anxiety, and personality disorders, as well as substance abuse, chemical dependency, and recovery. Additionally, her professional experience includes work with trauma, grief, sexual abuse, domestic violence, and self-mutilation/injury.

Devona has presented at a number of national conferences speaking on the topic of counselor wellness, as well as facilitating workshops in this area. Though her research interests have primarily been focused on counselor wellness, her other interests are in multiculturalism and family systems, and include the influence of acculturation, intracultural colorism, and factors influencing mate selection.

Devona is a member of Psi Chi National Honor Society in Psychology, as well as Chi Sigma Iota Counseling Academic and Professional Honor Society. She is also a member of the American Counseling Association (ACA), the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES), and the American Mental Health Counselor Association (AMHCA).

At the core of my teaching philosophy is that good teachers leave an indelible impression on their students. I view myself as a highly skilled practitioner, and my job as an educator is to make the abstract more accessible, essentially bridging the gap between understanding theory to the practical application of concepts and helping students to integrate the two worlds. Learning is based on synthesis and integration, not on regurgitation of facts. Consistent with my systemic theoretical orientation of practice, it is my belief that learning does not occur within a vacuum. The classroom is a microcosm of the professional world. In the capacity as the facilitator of the education process, it is my job to help the student to determine and find their future role within that community.

Educational History

Argosy University, Atlanta, GA (CACREP Accredited)
Doctor of Education, Counselor Education and Supervision
Degree conferred November 2013
Georgia School of Professional Psychology, Atlanta, GA (CACREP Accredited)
Masters of Arts, Professional Counseling
Degree conferred October 2000
Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA
Bachelors of Science in Psychology, Biology minor
Degree conferred May 1994

Teaching Statement

Good teachers leave an indelible impression on their students, and this conviction permeates my philosophy statement. I believe the best way to illustrate my teaching philosophy is through a narrative of my educational journey. In high school, I remember my English teacher once saying to me, “No one can ever take away what you know and what you learn.” She challenged me to learn all that I could and from every available source; because of this, I view myself as an avid learner on a quest for ongoing and increasing knowledge. This is an attitude I hope to instill in the students I will teach.

In my first year of undergraduate, I had some uncertainty about declaring a major. The professor in my first psychology class had so much passion, and I found this so stimulating. His passion for teaching was invigorating and inspired me to learn. I am very passionate about my profession and about learning, and it is my intent to convey this enthusiasm in my class and to my students. I think this principle is in part due to my undergraduate experience. It is this level of commitment that I hope will inspire my students to feel motivated to learn.

Later as a graduate student, I had a professor state “There is a big difference between theory and practice; what you learn in class and what you do in the field may not always coincide.” I learned to begin to integrate the knowledge I had acquired with the skills I would need to practice effectively. I view myself as a highly-skilled practitioner, and my job as an educator is to make the abstract more accessible, essentially bridging the gap between understanding theory to the practical application of concepts and helping students to integrate the two worlds. Learning is based on synthesis and integration, not on regurgitation of facts. Consistent with my systemic theoretical orientation of practice, it is my belief that learning does not occur within a vacuum. The classroom is a microcosm of the professional world. In the capacity as the facilitator of the education process, it is my job to help the student to determine and find their future role within that community.

Title of Study: Counselor Wellness: A Longitudinal Study Examining Wellness in Helping Professionals
Research Start Date: January 2021
Description of Study: This is a longitudinal study examining the efficacy of a wellness intervention on the total wellness of helping professionals over the course of one year. Participants completed a wellness workshop and related personal wellness plan and will be monitored monthly, quarterly, and at the conclusion of the study at the one-year mark. This is a mixed-methods approach, collecting quantitative data related to total wellness using a wellness assessment and surveys, and qualitative data using focus groups and surveys related to factors influencing the implementation of a wellness plan.
Title of Study: Experiences of Individuals Who Identify as BIPOC and Larger-Bodied: A Phenomenological Approach
Research Start Date: January 2021
Description of Study: The purpose of this proposed research study is understand the experiences of larger-bodied women that identify as BIPOC with sizeism. Body image development is affected by cultural images and the influence of family, peers, the media, and others” (Wong et al., 2019, p. 223). A common experience for women is a preoccupation with body size and image. The “ideal” female body portrayed is often one of thinness. This ideal body image is often at odds with the reality of women’s bodies. According to the CDC (2020), the average weight of women aged 20 and over in the U.S. is 170 pounds. Contemporary magazines targeting women (i.e., Ok!Magazine) list the average weight of celebrities at a range from 95 to 125 pounds. These messages of thinness as beauty and health leave a group of women – BIPOC, lower SES, and older as “violating mainstream beauty assumptions” and facing discrimination (Smith, 2019, p. 60). Smith (2019) discusses that larger-bodied individuals are seen as “lazy and lacking self-control” and often at a disadvantage in gaining employment and commanding salary equality (p. 62). Similarly, larger-bodied women face prejudice when interacting with medical professionals with medical professionals often blaming their weight for health issues (Henry & Walters, 2020; Williams, 2018). Finally, in a study on obesity stereotyping, participants rated overweight individuals as less active, less assertive, less athletic, less attractive, less happy, less hardworking, and less successful than average weight individuals (Grant et al., 2016). These are just some examples in the literature that highlight larger-bodied prejudice or sizeism as a significant issue for women today. To compound the problem, individuals that identify as members of the black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) community often face racism and discrimination.
Title of Study: Developmental Perspectives on Multiculturalism and Social Justice Advocacy Competence in Counselor Education
Research Start Date: January 2021
Description of Study: The purpose of this study is to expand on the previous research on the development of multicultural awareness, knowledge, and skills in relation to efficacy in social justice advocacy throughout the developmental process of counselors-in-training. Essentially, this study will examine self-assessment of first year, second year, and third year counselors-in-training across a span of three years. Thus, while we will gain a snapshot of CITs at different points in their training, we will also gain the advantage of viewing one cohort across three years. The specific quantitative research question that we are seeking to answer are: 1) What is the relationship between Multicultural Awareness, Knowledge, and Skills and Social Justice Advocacy Competence for CITs at various points in their counselor training? Additionally, the survey will allow for us to seek a richer understanding of the development of awareness and competence, including meaningful experiences or key moments that facilitate this growth. It is anticipated that the results of the study will contribute to the larger body of research on pedagogical approaches to multiculturalism and advocacy in counselor education, and will be disseminated through manuscript submission to counseling journals and presentation at professional conferences.
Title of Study: Perceived Stress and Self-Care in Graduate Students Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic
Research Start Date: May 2020
Research Completed: November 2020
Description of Study: This project seeks to examine the impact of perceived stress on the self-care strategies and implementation of such practices in graduate students at a northeast university. The results will be published in a peer-reviewed journal to inform about the specific impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the experiencing of stress and ability to self-modulate in a time of national and global crisis.
Title of Study: Professional Quality of Life and Career-Sustaining Behaviors Among Counseling Interns: Developing Strategies for Mitigating the Effects of Secondary Traumatic Stress
Research Start Date: February 2020
Research Completed: August 2020
Description of Study: The purpose of this study is to expand the previous research on the topic of wellness for helping professionals (e.g. licensed mental health counselors, clinical psychologists, camp counselors, crisis clinicians, etc.) conducted by the PIs to Counselors in Training (CITs), in conjunction with the mission and previous work of the AUNE Wellness Institute. Essentially, this study will examine self-reported levels of Compassion Satisfaction, Compassion Fatigue, and personal stress in counseling interns, in comparison with their reported implementation of strategies to mitigate the effects of stress. This study will help to inform counselor educators of the levels of distress experienced by CITs completing their internships, as well as effective career-sustaining behaviors that they may incorporate to mitigate the effects. It is anticipated that the results of this study will contribute to the larger body of research on wellness for helping professionals by addressing the efficacy of self-care, careers-sustaining behaviors as a means to facilitate wellness in CITs.
Title of Study: Counselor Wellness: A Phenomenological Study of Students as Counselors-in-Training,
Research Start Date: November 2018
Research Completed: November 2019
Description of Study: This phenomenological study explored students’ lived experiences of wellness, as well as their perspectives of how they define wellness, their sense of their own personal wellness, and potential barriers and resiliency factors that may affect their wellness. The study also explored common themes regarding student wellness culminating in a description of the universal essence of student wellness.
Stalnaker-Shofner, D. M. (accepted for publication in 2021). Colorism and the racial identity
development of African American women: An autoethnographic depiction. The Journal of Black Sexuality and Relationships, Special Issue: Black Sexuality Matters.
Stalnaker-Shofner, D. M. (2013). The effect of a wellness intervention on the total wellness of counseling practicum graduate students (Doctoral dissertation).
Stalnaker-Shofner, D. M. and Manyam, S. B. (2014). The effect of a wellness intervention on the total wellness of counseling practicum graduate students. The Practitioner Scholar: Journal of Counseling and Professional Psychology, 3, 48-62.
Manuscripts Submitted and Under Review
Stalnaker-Shofner, D. M. (under review). Counselor as client: Exploring the ethics of required psychotherapy as a component of counselor education, training and wellness.
Stalnaker-Shofner, D. M., & Corey, A. (under review). Ethical student remediation as a gatekeeping responsibility of counselor educators.
Stalnaker-Shofner, D. M., Kreider, H. D., Oblak, R., & Collagan, S. (under review). Wellness and self-care with counselors-in-training: A pilot phenomenological study.
Stalnaker-Shofner, D. M., Lounsbury, C., Collagan, S., Keck, S., & Roberts, R. (under review).
Professional quality of life and career-sustaining behaviors among counseling interns: Developing strategies for mitigating the effects of secondary traumatic stress.
Stalnaker-Shofner, D. M., Lyness, K., and Keck, S. (under review). The influence of
race/ethnicity, gender, age, social support, religion/spirituality and occupational history on the total wellness of counseling practicum graduate students: A pilot study.
Stalnaker-Shofner, D. M., & Moser, D. (under review). Perspectives on the efficacy of a wellness intervention and use of a wellness plan.
“Integrating Wellness in Client Recovery and Care,” Alcohol and Drug Abuse Certification Board of Georgia (ADACBGA) 8th Annual Conference, Stone Mountain, GA, June 29, 2021.
“Advocating Social Justice & Educating Future Social Justice Change Agents,” (accepted 10/21/2020) American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) 2021Annual Conference, Las Vegas, NV, June 25, 2021.
“Counselors as Social Change Agents: Developing Ethically Competent Advocates.” Sixth Annual Law and Ethics in Counseling Conference 2021, March 6, 2021 (Virtual).
“Ethical Considerations of Wellness-Based Clinical Supervision,” Fifth Annual Law and Ethics in Counseling Conference 2020, New Orleans, LA, February 14, 2020.
“Ethical Remediation as a Gatekeeping Responsibility of Counselor Educators,” Fifth Annual Law and Ethics in Counseling Conference 2020, New Orleans, LA, February 14, 2020.
“Self-Care While Caring for Others: Addressing Wellness, Secondary Traumatic Stress, and Burnout in Counselors.” Pennsylvania Counseling Association 2019 Conference, College Station, PA, November 9, 2019.
“Counselor as Client: Exploring the Ethics of Mandated Psychotherapy as a Component of Counselor Education, Training and Wellness,” Law and Ethics in Counseling Conference 2018, New Orleans, LA, January 31, 2018.
“Supervisee Wellness as an Element of Clinical Supervision,” Association for Counselor Education & Supervision (ACES) 2017 Conference, Chicago, IL, October 6, 2017.
“Strategies for Student Wellness,” Association for Counselor Education & Supervision (ACES) 2017 Conference, Chicago, IL, October 5, 2017.
“Supervisee Wellness as an Element of Clinical Supervision (Poster Presentation),” American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) 2017 Annual Conference, Washington, DC, July 28, 2017.
“Strategies for Student Wellness (Poster Presentation),” American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) 2017 Annual Conference, Washington, DC, July 27, 2017.
“Integrating a Wellness Model in Addictions Counseling,” The 5th Annual Clinical Overview of the Recovery Experience (CORE) Conference, Amelia Island, FL, July 17, 2017.
“Counselor Wellness: An Ethical Mandate,” Law and Ethics in Counseling Conference 2017, New Orleans, LA, February 17, 2017.
“Practicing What We Preach: Practical Skills for Self-Care and Counselor Wellness,” American Counseling Association (ACA)—Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) 2016 Conference & Expo, Montreal, Canada, April 3, 2016.
“Student Wellness: A Phenomenological Study (Poster Presentation),” American Counseling Association (ACA)—Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) 2016 Conference & Expo, Montreal, Canada, April 2, 2016.
“The Effect of a Wellness Intervention on the Total Wellness of Counseling Practicum Graduate Students (Poster Presentation),” Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES) 2013 Conference, Denver, CO, October 19, 2013.
“Adopting a Wellness Philosophy: Practical Skills for the Counseling Student and Professional,”
American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) 2012 Annual Conference,
Orlando, FL, July 21, 2012.
“Practicing What We Preach: Implications for Wellness in Counseling Students and Professionals,” Licensed Professional Counselors Association of Georgia 24th Annual Convention and Regional Conference, Atlanta, GA, June 7, 2012.
North Atlantic Region Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (NARACES) Wellness Committee Co-Chair
Emotional PPE Project Volunteer Counselor
Private Practice: The Couples Institute of Northeast Georgia
American Counseling Association (ACA)
Professional Member, in good standing since 2001
American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA)
Clinical Member, in good standing since September 2007
Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES)
Member, in good standing since September 2007
North Atlantic Region Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (NARACES)
Member, in good standing since September 2014
Licensed Professional Counselors Association of Georgia (LPCA—GA)
Clinical Member, in good standing since 2001
Chi Sigma Iota, Counseling Academic and Professional Honor Society International
Alpha Upsilon Alpha Chapter, Argosy University, Atlanta
Inducted August 2007
Psi Chi, National Psychological Honor Society
Xavier University Chapter, Charter No. 602
Inducted April 1992
Beta Beta Beta, National Biological Honor Society
Sigma Kappa Chapter, Xavier University of New Orleans
Inducted April 1992
Devona

Associate Professor and Associate Chair,

Clinical Mental Health Counseling

CONTACT INFORMATION

Courses Taught

Addictions Counseling
Integrative Approaches to Addictions Counseling
Social Justice and Advocacy in Addictions Counseling
Process Addictions
Family Approaches to Addictions Counseling

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