Department of Counselor Education
Bridgewater’s Counselor Education programs prepare students for professional careers counseling individuals, families, groups and communities with developmental, educational, career and mental health needs.
Our goal is to provide high quality programs with flexible formats – including evening and weekend classes – to accommodate our students’ varied schedules. We train compassionate counselors who think critically, communicate effectively, and use innovative strategies responsibly to enhance the modern practice of counseling.
Victoria L. Bacon is a licensed psychologist, internationally Certified Group Psychotherapist and professor in the Department of Counselor Education at Bridgewater State University where she prepares master's level counselors. She is the recipient of the 2014-15 BSU Presidential Fellowship to continue her work on the Legacy Exploration and Preservation Group Project which provides LEPG wellness groups to veterans and adults affiliated with veterans or military personnel in Southeastern Massachusetts. She is a member of the Association for Specialists in Group Work (ASGW), the American Group Psychotherapy Association (APGA), and the American Counseling Association (ACA). Dr. Bacon has counseling experience in schools, colleges, and community mental health settings. Her scholarship activities include publications in journals and books as well as presentations at state, national, and international conferences.
BA, Fitchburg State College
MA, Anna Maria College
CAGS, EdD, Northeastern University
Dr. Katherine M. Bender is a member of the American Counseling Association (ACA), The American College Counseling Association (ACCA), The Association of Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES), and The National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA). Her professional areas of interest include: suicide prevention, mental health and higher education, wellness in the legal profession, self-care and wellness in helping professions, and clinical supervision. Dr. Bender has counseling experience in a variety of higher education settings and consults regular with law school staff and students on counseling and mental health concerns. Dr. Bender has spoken at over 40 law schools in the United States and has presented at numerous national conferences. She is currently a reviewer for the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice. Dr. Bender has published in law journals on the mental health of law students. Dr. Bender has teaching experience at the secondary, undergraduate, and graduate levels in traditional settings, hybrid classes, and distance learning classes. She enjoys sunrises in Florida and sunsets on the Cape, running in races which encourage the use of tutus, and spending time with her nieces.
BA, Georgetown University
MS, The University of Scranton
PhD, Old Dominion University
Dr. Elaine M. Bukowiecki is a professor of literacy education for the department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education at Bridgewater State University. Elaine joined the Bridgewater State University community in 2003, where she teaches graduate level courses for the MEd and CAGS programs in Reading. Elaine has served as Graduate Coordinator of the Graduate Programs in Reading from 2009-2015. In 2014, she was appointed by then Dean Karim Ismaili to serve as Graduate Faculty Fellow for the College of Graduate Studies. As Graduate Faculty Fellow, Elaine has predominantly worked with graduate student research and funding. In June 2015, she was appointed by the president of Bridgewater State University to serve as Acting Chairperson for the Department of Counselor Education for the 2015-2016 academic year.
Dr. Bukowiecki has research interests in the academic disciplines of critical literacy and content-area literacy. She has published widely in academic journals regarding this topic and has presented papers and workshops at local, state, national, and international conferences about critical literacy and content-area literacy. In 2014, she published two books regarding the inclusion of literacy techniques in social studies teaching and currently is in the final stages of co-authoring a book regarding the inclusion of informational texts in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms.
Dr. Bukowiecki spent 28 years working in public education, first, as an elementary school classroom teacher for the Shrewsbury, Massachusetts Public Schools and second, as a language arts consultant and district-wide language arts coordinator for the Putnam, Connecticut Public Schools. She is past president of the Massachusetts Reading Association.
Dr. Bukowiecki received a Bachelor of Science degree in English from Clark University, a Master of Arts in Teaching English degree from Assumption College, a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Reading from Lesley College, and a Doctorate in Education with a concentration in language and literacy from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.
BS, Clark University
MA, Assumption College
CAGS, Lesley College
EdD, University of Massachusetts at Lowell
Dr. Nikki Freeburg is a member of Chi Sigma Iota (CSI), the American Counseling Association (ACA), and The Association of Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES). Her professional areas of interest include: research, assessment, supervision, wellness and the use of metaphors in the counseling profession. Dr. Freeburg has counseling experience in private agencies, psychiatric hospitals and career development centers. Scholarship activities include publications on HIPAA, more than 20 presentations (local, state, and national level), research grant acquisitions, providing supervision training for site supervisors and she has membership status on the CACREP review board team.
BA, Albertson College of Idaho
MA, Northwest Nazarene University
PhD, Idaho State University, Counselor Education
Christy Lyons Graham is an associate professor and program director in the Department of Counselor Education. Dr. Lyons Graham received her Ph.D. in Counselor Education from Ohio University, a CACREP-accredited program. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and maintains a private practice in Barrington, Rhode Island. She has experience in both clinical and school settings; counseling children and their families is her clinical specialty. She has many years of clinical experience counseling individuals and families with mental and emotional disorders and/or facing various family crises such as death, domestic violence, divorce, and chemical dependency.
Within the Department of Counselor Education, Dr. Lyons Graham was elected coordinator of the Department of Counselor Education’s Professional Development Center which serves professional counselors and counselor trainees across the region by offering continuing education workshops on topics such as “Play Therapy”, “Sandtray Therapy”, “Counseling Supervision” and “Getting Started in Private Practice”. She is the founding Chapter Faculty Advisor for the Beta Sigma Chi chapter of Chi Sigma Iota, an international counseling professional and academic honor society, at Bridgewater State University.
Dr. Lyons Graham has numerous roles outside the Department of Counselor Education including coordinating BSU’s Service Learning and Civic Engagement Initiative, and she was recently appointed to BSU’s Diversity and Social Justice Implementation Committee. She is also a frequent presenter at American Counseling Association (ACA), the Association for Specialists in Group Work, and the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES) national conferences and has several publications in ACA and ACES affiliated journals. Writing and research interests include empathy development and measurement, counselor development, relational teaching, relational parenting, social justice work, and service-learning.
BA, University of Oklahoma
MEd, Ohio University
PhD, Ohio University, Counselor Education
Dr. Graham holds clinical hospital privileges at the New England Healthcare Veterans Administration Brockton campus and she has had a Harvard Clinical appointment through the Harvard Medical School since 1990, where she supervises doctoral interns in medical psychology and in the anxiety disorders. The courses she teaches are the following: Applied Counseling, Advanced Applied Counseling, Psychopharmacology, and Psychopathology. She is a member of the American Counseling Association and has published in Counseling Today. She is also presenting in October in Ohio at the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision on Adventure Counseling. She has been appointed to the ACA task force on Military Families. She and students have presented at the MA School Counselors Annual Conference for the last five years. Dr. Graham is actively involved in mental health disaster response. She is on the MA Mental Health Disaster Response Team, on a Disaster Assistance Team for the Red Cross and a member of the Terrorism and Disaster Center MA Coalition for Child and Family Disaster Research at Boston College.
BS, MAT, Bridgewater State College
PhD, Boston College, Counseling Psychology
Dr. April Megginson is a licensed Guidance Counselor (5-12) in the state of Massachusetts. She has spent 14 years working in diverse public schools as a Title I Guided reading specialist, high school counselor, and middle school counselor. Dr. Megginson is an active member of the American Counselors Association (ACA), American School Counselors Association (ASCA), Association of Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES), and Association of Play Therapists (APT). As part of her scholarship activities, she has presented at state, regional, national, and international conferences. Her research and scholarship areas of interest include assisting school counselors in implementing a comprehensive data-driven school counseling program that advocates for and meets the unique needs of special populations, as well as utilizing play therapy and expressive arts therapy in schools.
BA, San Francisco State University
MS, California State University, Los Angeles
PhD, University of Wyoming
Albert Ciri has been a part-time faculty member at Bridgewater State University since 1984. Dr. Ciri earned his doctorate in educational psychology from Heed University. in addition, Dr. Ciri has completed graduate studies in counseling at Boston University. His professional experience has included: twelve years as a certified secondary education classroom teacher, five years as a Director of Guidance and Counseling, four years as an Administrator, and five years as Chairperson of the Education Department at Stonehill College. Dr. Ciri teaches the following counseling courses: The Counseling Function in School, Agency/Community and Higher Education Settings, and The School Guidance Counselor:Psychopathology and Developmental Issues, and Internship Supervision and Seminar.
Beth Moriarty earned her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Johnson and Wales University and her Master's of Science Degree in Human Development, Counseling and Family Studies from the University of Rhode Island. Dr. Moriarty has held positions within the field of residence life and housing for the past eighteen years. She has been employed at Bridgewater State University since July 1993, and has been the Director of Residence Life and Housing since July 2001.
Amanda Barudin is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who earned her master's degree in clinical and counseling psychology from William Paterson University and her bachelor's degree in psychology from Western New England University. Ms. Barudin has worked in community mental health agencies as well as private practice and has experience counseling children, adolescents, and adults suffering from various mental health disorders. She has also provided clinical supervision to counselors, while collaborating with local and state agencies to ensure that individuals and families are able to access appropriate mental health services.
Janice Bowen has been the Administrative Assistant for the Department of Counselor Education since 2001. She manages the department office and answers inquiries regarding program information, admissions questions, etc.
The department offers Master’s Degree programs in Mental Health Counseling, Mental Health Counseling – Dual License, Mental Health Counseling International Non-Licensure Concentration (Non U.S. Citizen), School Counseling and Student Affairs Counseling. We also offer a CAGS program in Mental Health Counseling and a Post Master’s program in School Counseling. (Please note that we will be placing a moratorium on admissions to the CAGS in Mental Health Counseling program and will not be accepting applications to this program after the October 1, 2015 deadline.) Our department made history by being the first counseling program in Massachusetts to achieve CACREP accreditation. As practitioners, our faculty members offer unique experience-based insights as they prepare students to pursue professional licensure.
A counseling career can be both challenging and rewarding. Counselors enjoy the personal satisfaction of helping children and adults cope with a variety of conditions and situations – and more important, they play a vital role in the general health and wellness of our communities.