News - Divine Mercy University


2019 Distinguished Alumni Award


Divine Mercy University is excited to announce that Dr. Greg Bottaro, IPS Class of 2012, has been nominated and will accept the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award at the Commencement Exercises this upcoming May.

Dr. Bottaro is a clinical psychologist practicing in Connecticut serving the greater New York Metropolitan area and many others through online therapy.   He received his Psy.D. (Doctorate in Clinical Psychology) from the Institute for the Psychological Sciences in 2012. Before finishing his degree, he discerned a religious vocation with the Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFRs).  He lived four years in the Bronx, serving the poor in the tradition of St. Francis. These years were emotionally, spiritually, and professionally formative as Dr. Bottaro tested his vocation and ultimately felt the prompting of God’s will to pursue family life. Six years after leaving NYC as a friar he returned as a psychologist.  His aim is fundamentally the same – to serve. Instead of serving those suffering material poverty, he now seeks to serve those with psychological needs. Dr. Bottaro formed the CatholicPsych Institute in 2012 to bridge the gap between Psychology and Catholicism, connecting Catholics around the world with resources and therapists trained to integrate the faith with the practice.  As one manifestation of the CatholicPsych mission, Bottaro published a book, The Mindful Catholic, and a related children’s book, Sitting Like A Saint: Catholic Mindfulness for Kids, that integrates the practice of mindfulness, often utilized in psychotherapy, with Catholic philosophy and theology instead of the Eastern roots often associated with it. Another aspect of the CatholicPsych mission is to meet people where they’re at, utilizing social media and digital communication tools in a powerful way to connect with Catholics all over the world in search of psychological healing grounded in a rich spiritual tradition.

Dr. Greg Bottaro is a true representative of a Distinguished Alumni, with significant contributions to the field of psychology and constant dedication to the mission and vision of the University.  We are honored to present Dr. Bottaro with this award.

For additional information regarding DMU’s 2019 Graduation, please visit our website here.

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Diocese of Austin partners with DMU offering tuition reduction


Divine Mercy University (DMU) is excited to announce a partnership with the Diocese of Austin, Texas.  DMU will offer tuition reductions to its online degree and certification programs in the fields of psychology and counseling.  

Geared toward those individuals serving in the helping professions or those wishing to enter the mental health field, the programs at DMU enhance one’s ability to serve by providing the practical tools and skills needed to integrate the best in psychological practice with the wisdom of the Catholic Church.  

“We are looking forward to partnering with the Diocese of Austin to spread the message of hope and healing through the practice and integration of psychology throughout the diocese,” shares President Fr. Charles Sikorsky L.C..

“This past year has highlighted the painful history of abuse in our church and has profoundly impacted the hearts and minds of the body of Christ. We are encouraged by our growing number of relationships with organizations, especially partnering with the Diocese of Austin, in order to share the expertise and resources we have developed over the past 20 years.  We look forward to working with the seminarians, clergy, religious and lay members within the diocese.”

DMU is excited to offer the following tuition reduction opportunities to those who qualify and meet the admission requirements:

50% Tuition Reduction for any of the DMU online degree programs:

  • Priests, Seminarians, Professed Religious and Religious Consecrated Members of the Catholic Diocese of Austin

30% Tuition Reduction for any of the DMU online degree programs:

  • Full-time employees of the Catholic Diocese of Austin schools, parishes, other apostolates and the administrative agents and members of their immediate families (children or spouse)

25% Tuition Reduction for any of the DMU online degrees programs for

  • Parish members in good standing with their respective parish

For additional information on the partnership and how to apply to receive the tuition reduction with Divine Mercy University, contact our Admissions Representatives at 703-416-1441 or



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DMU partners with FOCUS to offer tuition reduction


Divine Mercy University (DMU) is excited to announce a partnership with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS).  DMU will offer tuition reductions to its online and campus-based degree programs in the fields of psychology and counseling to FOCUS Staff and FOCUS Alumni.  

FOCUS is a Catholic collegiate outreach whose mission is to share the hope and joy of the gospel with college and university students. Trained in Church teaching, prayer, sacred Scripture, evangelization and discipleship, FOCUS missionaries encounter students in friendship where they are, inviting them into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and accompanying them as they pursue lives of virtue and excellence. Through Bible studies, outreach events, mission trips and one-on-one discipleship, missionaries inspire and build up students in the faith, sending them out to spread the good news and to live out the Great Commission: Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations (Mt. 28:19).

Geared toward those individuals serving in the helping professions or those wishing to enter the mental health field, the programs at DMU enhance one’s ability to serve by providing the practical tools and skills needed to integrate the best in psychological practice with the wisdom of the Catholic Church.  

DMU is excited to offer the following tuition reduction opportunities to those who qualify and meet the admission requirements:

Up to 33% tuition reduction for FOCUS Staff, Staff Alumni and FOCUS Student Leader Alumni:

  • FOCUS Staff and members of their immediate families (children or spouse), will receive a tuition reduction of up to 33% off all of the DMU online and campus-based degree programs
  • FOCUS Staff Alumni will receive a tuition reduction of up to 33% off all of the DMU online and campus-based degree programs
  • FOCUS Student Leader Alumni will receive a tuition reduction of up to 33% off all of the DMU online and campus-based degree programs

Up to 25% tuition reduction for FOCUS Student Alumni

  • FOCUS Student Alumni will receive a tuition reduction of up to 25% of all of the DMU online and campus-based degree programs

DMU will also offer a 25% reduction in cost for all online Certificate programs for FOCUS Staff and immediate family members and to the FOCUS Alumni groups listed above.

For additional information on the partnership and how to apply to receive the tuition reduction with Divine Mercy University, contact our Admissions Representatives at 703-416-1441 or

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2019 Commencement Speaker Announced


Divine Mercy University announces that Mr. Daniel A. D’Aniello, Co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of The Carlyle Group, will be the 2019 Honorary Degree recipient and graduation speaker at the University’s 18th Commencement Exercises. Mr. D’Aniello will be recognized for his work in entrepreneurship, philanthropy and dedication to the advancement of higher education and mental health research.

“We are honored to have Dan D’Aniello as our commencement speaker,” said Fr. Charles Sikorsky, president of Divine Mercy University.  “His life shows that people of faith can be successful in professional life and the secular world, and his generosity and commitment to the Catholic faith and our culture is exemplary.”

Daniel D’Aniello grew up in a small town in western Pennsylvania, raised by a single mother and grandmother.  From a very early age, he was exposed to the hard work and dedication needed to move through difficult circumstances.  He received a scholarship to attend Syracuse University and upon graduation, spent three years as a supply officer in the Navy before heading to Harvard University for an MBA.

Prior to forming Carlyle in 1987, Mr. D’Aniello was a Vice President for Finance and Development at Marriott Corporation where he was responsible for valuation of all major mergers, acquisition, divestitures, debt and equity offerings, and project financings. Before joining Marriott, Mr. D’Aniello was a financial officer at PepsiCo, Inc. and Trans World Airlines. In 2016, D’Aniello received the Lone Sailor Award from the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation.

Mr. D’Aniello’s philanthropic work follows what he calls his “five pillars” of philanthropy: faith-based giving, educational programs, free enterprise, the performing arts, and mental health research. Mr. D’Aniello also serves as Chairman of the Board of the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts Foundation in Vienna, Virginia, and is Chairman of the Board of the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC.   He and his wife Gayle have been married for  42 years and have two adult children.

The 2019 Commencement Mass & Exercises will take place Saturday, May 11th, 2019 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C.

CONTACT: Jessie Tappel; Sr. Director of Communications; 703-416-1441 x 116;


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Divine Mercy University Launches Spiritual Direction Certificate Program


Divine Mercy University (DMU) and Regnum Christi (RC) of North America are partnering to address the pressing need for spiritual directors in the life of the Church and the world. The Spiritual Direction Certificate (SDC) Program will begin January 2019 and available online for enrolled students.

The SDC Program is designed to provide the knowledge, skills, and supervision for future spiritual directors. The program seeks to respond to the ongoing need for followers of Jesus Christ to assist others on their path of hearing the Lord’s ongoing call in their lives and becoming ever more His faithful disciples.

Program Director Fr. Robert Presutti, LC notes: “Pope Benedict stated it beautifully when he reminded us that the Church continues to recommend Spiritual Direction to every all Christians who wish to live their Baptism. That means that Spiritual Direction should be a part of every Christian’s life! For his part, Pope Francis reiterates the need for Christians who personally accompany others on the path of the Gospel, which is precisely what Spiritual Direction accomplishes.”

DMU has developed online academic degree programs that are both academically rigorous and practical for working adults and will bring that expertise to the development of the SDC Program. Regnum Christi offers a deeply Christ-centered spirituality that seeks to meet individuals in their day-to-day life and help them become missionary disciples and agents for the Christian transformation of society and culture. The SDC Program combines the expertise of DMU with the spiritual and apostolic depth of RC in order to prepare students to be spiritual directors

Students who complete the SDC Program will receive the requisite dispositions, knowledge of the theological and human sciences, interactions skills, and supervision tools that will enable them to be spiritual directors with the heart and mind of Jesus Christ and in the tradition of the Church’s tried experience.

The SDC Program includes six online courses offered in 8-week modules, two onsite residences, and practicum. The courses are offered three times a year, with new student cohorts starting in January, May, and August of each year.

For more information on the SDC Program and how to apply, visit the website at To learn more about DMU’s mission of integrating the insights of the human sciences with a Catholic Christian view of the human person in graduate programs in psychology and counseling, visit To learn more about Regnum Christi throughout the world, visit


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Remembering Daniel N. Robinson


Prof. Daniel N. Robinson, a long-time friend, and faculty member at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences passed away at age 81 on September 17, 2018.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family during this time.


Commencement Address for the Institute for the Psychological Sciences in 2000.

Daniel N. Robinson, a distinguished philosopher, was published in a wide variety of subjects, including moral philosophy, the philosophy of psychology, and the history of psychology.  He was a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Georgetown University and a Fellow of the Faculty of Philosophy, Oxford University, among other prestigious faculty appointments over the years. He came to the Institute of the Psychological Sciences (IPS)  in the early 2000’s when invited to teach the course on History and Systems of Psychology. Recognized as one of the greatest historians of psychology and having written one of the definitive books on the subject, Prof. William Nordling and then Dean, Gladys Sweeney, who believed that the Holy Spirit would not settle for anything but the best for the education at IPS, reached out to Dr. Robinson to inquire about the possibility of teaching a course. Professor Robinson, to the surprise of Drs. Nordling and Sweeney replied that it would be a privilege for him to teach one or more courses at IPS. Thus began a remarkable collegial relationship that lasted for over a decade. Dr. Robinson retired from his faculty appointment at IPS in 2011. 

Dr. Robinson with Fr. Richard Gil, first president of IPS, Dean Gladys Sweeney and other guest.

“During the early days of the Institute for the Psychological Sciences, when we were new and unknown in the field of psychology, and even less known in the broader Catholic intellectual world, Dr. Daniel Robinson served as a great ambassador for the IPS and its mission, opening many doors for us.  The IPS (and now Divine Mercy University) could not have asked for a better friend, or a more faithful and generous one, during our early formative years,” shares Dr. William Nordling, IPS Professor. 



In addition to his role as a faculty member, Prof. Robinson delivered seven public lectures for the Newman Lecture Series, which seeks to promote an international conversation among various disciplines that treat the human person.  He was also the Commencement Speaker at our first Commencement September 5, 2000, and the recipient of our first Honorary Degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.


Dr. Robinson on a panel discussion with Martin Seligman, with whom he had assembled previously to help develop the framework for Positive Psychology










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Showcasing Student Research

On September 8th, 80 DMU students, faculty, and staff gathered at the new campus in Sterling, VA for the 2nd Annual IPS Student Symposium and DMU President’s Picnic.  As the fall semester kicked off, It was a day filled with insight into the work of the students and fraternity among the community.

The IPS Student Symposium was organized by the Department of Research Training, led by Dr. Rebecca Morse.  A small group of advanced doctoral students (selected through peer review) presented for 15-minutes each on a variety of topics and categories.

The presenters and topics were as follows:

  • Committing to Meaning in the Age of Identity Exploration by Mairead Bogley
  • Celibacy and Eros: An Integrated Approach to Sexuality in Religious Life by Fr. Bryan Duggan (Nominated for Best in Theology)
  • Integrated Self, Integrated Other: The Role of Bottom-Up and Top-Down Psychological Processes in Shaping Empathic Abilities by Maura McFadden (Nominated for Best in Psychology)
  • A Theology of Laughter and the Body: Social Laughter as an Expression of Man’s Psychosomatic Intersubjectivity by Annamarie Sproull (Nominated for Best in Integration)

Following the oral presentations, poster presentations were given from an array of students.  The 20 posters were diverse in topic and research areas. Students, faculty, and staff were able to walk through the posters, asking the presenter questions about their research and focus.  Select members of faculty also rated the posters in order to award students with special recognition.

The following are the awards presented and the awardees:

Best in Visual Representation: Maura McGlynn – Jesus in the Marketplace: The Psychological, Philosophical, and Theological Interrelationship Between Marketing, Branding, and Clinical Psychology

Best Overall: Fr. Connor Sullivan – The Formative Power of Friendship in the Seminary Setting: Psychological Integration and Affective Maturity

Honorable Mentions: Dionne Galliano, Krystyn Brauning, Bryan Runyan, Fr. Kevin Barnekow, and Anna Sproull

To conclude the symposium, everyone was invited to join the President’s Picnic.  The afternoon was filled with laughter and good food as everyone shared a meal, voted in the dessert competition, and participated in the cornhole tournament.

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Finding Hope in Romania’s Suffering Communities


A group from the Center for Trauma and Resiliency Studies (CTRS) at Divine Mercy University traveled to the country of Romania for an immersion and educational experience over the summer to assist local communities with various outreach organizations. Romania is at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, lying adjacent to the Black Sea, and is home to the seventh largest population in the European Union that’s incredibly diverse. 

“There is a lot of need in Romania,” said Dr. Benjamin Keyes, Director of the CTRS, who has traveled to Romania previously. “They have been through a lot as a country and the conditions are getting increasingly difficult to live and work. There is much to be done to support the local communities who are suffering.”

During the two-week trip, the group of 21 students and professionals–which included Dr. Kathie Erwin and Dr. Benjamin Keyes from Divine Mercy University, Dr. Kim Harris from the Green Cross Academy of Traumatology, and Dr. Kathy Averson of Regent University–worked alongside the Smiles Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to relieve poverty and advance education in the local communities. The Smiles Foundation is doing God’s work in a place where there are not many services available to the community. By providing presentations and training on various aspects of trauma, the team was able to address many relevant topics for the community.  For many, understanding the impact of grief and loss, compassion fatigue, and how to work with families and children who have been traumatized provides an educational foundation on which to grow the infrastructure of their outreach programs and better serve the community needs.

Encountering and spending time with the various communities had a tremendous impact on the DMU group. M.S. in Counseling student Rose Bond shared some of her own insights working in the community.

“Romania has a diverse population of many cultures,” she said, “I visited a school and totally enjoyed the children. Being a child at heart, I soon found myself playing soccer with the children and trying to keep up with their energy levels.” 

Anthony Flores, M.S. in Counseling student who has traveled to many locations with the CTRS, reflected about his experience in Romania.

“I’m asked all the time about my favorite part of this deployment, and every time my answer remains the same: the people. More specifically a little girl, no older than 5 years old in a Gypsy village infested with flies and a terrible stench. In the midst of it all, there she was with the most beautiful brown eyes and softest of smiles. She was so happy and joyful that it filled me with joy. In that moment I realized that I went to Romania to make a difference to the people there, I didn’t expect them to impact my life the way they did. It is beyond words.” 

The DMU students who participated in the two-week immersion received 100-120 direct hours with 20-30 hours of supervision, which can be applied to their Clinical Traumatologist certification through the Green Cross Academy of Traumatology. Next year, a group will travel to Kenya to provide trainings to pastors, priests, hospital clinics and the community.  

For more information on the Center for Trauma & Resiliency Studies, visit

To read the live blog of the students while in Romania, visit here.

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University President’s Letter on Abuse Crisis

August 22, 2018

Over the summer, the Catholic community in the United States has been rocked by scandalous revelations regarding former-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and a Grand Jury report released by the State of Pennsylvania. The reports of sexual abuse by clergy and the subsequent cover-up and failure to act by leaders in the Catholic Church are both troubling and difficult for us as Catholics and Christians to understand. Rightfully so, these revelations have provoked reactions of anger, shame and disgust among the faithful, and trust in Church leadership has been severely wounded. As a Catholic institution, we take these issues and allegations seriously.  As an institution focused on mental health, we are acutely aware of the unspeakable suffering and trauma caused by sexual abuse, and how that harm is aggravated when the perpetrator is a member of the clergy.   

While I do not have details beyond what we have all read in the media or in responses by numerous Catholic bishops to these reports and allegations, I want to assure you that Divine Mercy University remains steadfast in its mission to provide an effective academic and educational environmental that prepares students to respond to their vocation in the mental health and helping professions. Many of our faculty, graduates, and students in training work extensively with the victims of abuse. While the wounds of evil are not foundational to the person, the enduring goodness of God’s creation is: “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Rom 5:20). In these trying times, we look to Christ’s death and resurrection as the source of mercy and healing for a wounded spirit, for we know that our God is a loving, redemptive God and our mission is one of educating professionals who can provide help for individuals, on spiritual, emotional, and psychological levels, and work toward the reconciliation of relationships for flourishing.

As an act of reparation and solidarity with the victims, I will be offering one Mass per week for the next 9 weeks for the healing of victims of clergy abuse. I would also like to invite you to join me in daily prayer that Church leadership take the necessary steps to correct these grave problems, including a thorough investigation that is independent, objective, transparent and holds people accountable.  The DMU Community will be offering a nine-day novena for these intentions.  Above all, we are invited to renew our faith in Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life. He – and no one else – is Our Lord, Our God and Our All.

I am praying for each of you and wish you success as we begin the 2018-2019 Academic Year.

With best wishes and the blessings of our Savior Jesus Christ,


Fr. Charles Sikorsky, L.C., J.D., J.C.L.



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Secretary Ben Carson to Graduates: “We Need Healers!”


Divine Mercy University (DMU) celebrated the 17th Graduation Mass and Commencement Exercises on May 18th, 2018, with 45 new masters and doctoral graduates from the Institute for the Psychological Sciences (IPS).


Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, from the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, was the principal celebrant of the Graduation Mass and honored guest.  DMU President, Fr. Charles Sikorsky, L.C., preached the homily and offered his words of encouragement to the graduating students.

“You have a very special calling and to be faithful to that calling. The Gospel gives us the key: Remain in me, as I remain in you. If we remain attached to the Word of God, to the vine of Christ and his love, his mercy, his grace – we can do anything.  We can overcome all human limitations. We realize we have a big mission and we also have a fear: are we going to be able to do something about this? This Gospel gives us great reasons to hope and to trust in the Lord to overcome that fear.”

The Honorary Degree Recipient and 2018 Commencement Speaker was Dr. Benjamin S. Carson, United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.  Carson, who has a long and distinguished career in medicine and public service, shared with graduates his dedication to helping others and protecting human dignity throughout his professional career.  

“I believe you have been blessed by a tremendous foundation from this great institution. Through a Christian framework, you are able to go about your life’s work and God’s work through you. If we are to help people live a full life, flourishing according to God’s will, that is what it will take.”

Carson addressed some of the real needs of this country, including mental illness and poverty.  He encouraged the graduates to “continue to train harder than everybody else, continue your search for excellence. God has prepared you for the next step, but by no means does that mean learning stops with a degree.  This should be a source of joy – a lifelong education.”

Dr. Peter Martin, IPS Class of 2009, was honored with the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award, bestowed upon an alumnus who has shown great dedication and leadership in his field.  He reflected on two characteristics of the mercy of God, that God is unwavering and has tender compassion, and how these two qualities integrated into the life of a therapist are essential elements in the vocation of healing.  

He shared that following graduation, there are many important life experiences ahead.  “You [graduates] will learn more about your calling to heal than your academic training could have possibly equipped you before today. Embrace the sometimes challenging years of transformation to come in your work with your clients and grow in wisdom and virtue in the Lord as his faithful disciple.”

The 2018 graduates embark on their unique mission to accompany those who are suffering, to be present to those in need and to share the insights regarding the human person with everyone they encounter. For highlight photos of the 2018 Graduation Mass & Commencement Exercises, view here For the full Livestream of the ceremony, view here. 







For more information about the degree programs at Divine Mercy University, contact 703-416-1441 or visit

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Join us live for the 2018 Commencement Exercises!


The 2018 Graduation Mass & Commencement Exercises will be held on Friday, May 18th, 2018 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

The event will be live-streamed on DMU’s Facebook Page and Youtube Channel (link below).

Most Rev. Michael F. Burbidge will be the Principal Celebrant and Dr. Benjamin S. Carson, Sr. will receive the Honorary Degree and present the 2018 Commencement Address.  Dr. Peter Martin, IPS Class of 2009, will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award.

For more information on Dr. Ben Carson – read more here.
For more information on Dr. Peter Martin – read more here.

For media inquiries,
Contact Jessie Tappel, Director of Communications
703-416-1441 x 116

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2018 Distinguished Alumni Award


Divine Mercy University is excited to announce that Dr. Peter Martin, IPS Class of 2009, has been nominated and will accept the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award at the Commencement Exercises this upcoming May.

Currently a licensed psychologist in the state of Nebraska, Dr. Martin is the Internship Director of Integrated Training and Formation at Catholic Social Services (CSS) of Southern Nebraska, located in Lincoln. His achievements, leadership, and service to others have been outstanding in the nearly ten years since he finished his education. He provides ongoing training and supervision at an APA-Accredited internship site and has been a welcome resource for IPS doctoral interns who have been matched at CSS for pre-doctoral internships. In 2008, through CSS, he started and currently heads a clinical outreach site at the Newman Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  The majority of Dr. Martin’s clinical caseload consists of undergraduate and graduate college students, and he offers consultation services to the priests, religious life, FOCUS missionaries and other staff at the Newman Center.

His areas of interest include supervising therapists in faith-integrated treatments of psychological disorders, in practicing trauma-informed care through EMDR and Internal Family Systems, Forgiveness  Therapy, group therapy, depth therapy, treating implicit God image problems, in studying the psychology of belief and unbelief, and in the social scientific understanding of religious conversion. Dr. Martin completed his doctoral degree from the Institute for the Psychological Sciences in May 2009, with a dissertation titled “Religious conversion: A critique of current major science models of conversion and a Christian anthropological response.”

On a national level, Dr. Martin has been a consultant for the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) and helped to develop training materials for the Witness to Love: Marriage Preparation Renewal Ministry, using attachment-based and virtues-focused formation modules. Despite his busy professional and personal schedule, he has served on the Board of Directors of the Catholic Psychotherapy Association. He and his wife have been married for 7 years and have 2 children.

Dr. Peter Martin is a true representative of a Distinguished Alumni, with significant contributions to the field of psychology and constant dedication to the mission and vision of the University.  It is an honor to present Dr. Martin with this award.

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U.S. Secretary Ben Carson to Address Graduates

February 28, 2018

United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Benjamin Carson has accepted the invitation to attend Divine Mercy University’s 17th Commencement Exercises this May. Dr. Carson will receive an Honorary Degree and serve as the principal speaker to address the graduates.

“It is a privilege and an honor to have Dr. Carson speak to our graduates, as they are endeavoring into the field with many hopes and aspirations of healing the suffering in the future,” DMU President Fr. Charles Sikorsky said. “His numerous professional achievements and influence in the medical community are expansive, demonstrating true leadership.  I am encouraged that his inspirational message will impact our graduates.”

Dr. Carson is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Michigan Medical School. His educational journey is one of resilience. The sacrifices of his mother, with only a third-grade education, paved the way for achieving academic success and rising from poverty.  Dr. Carson took on those challenges, and at age 33, he assumed the role as the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, becoming the youngest major division director in the hospital’s history.  Among his prestigious accomplishments, in 1987 he successfully performed the first separation of craniopagus twins. Dr. Carson has received dozens of honors and awards in recognition of his achievements including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.  

The 2018 Commencement Mass & Exercises will take place Friday, May 18th, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C.

CONTACT: Jessie Tappel; Sr. Director of Communications; 703-416-1441 x 116;



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We’re Excited to Announce the Launch of our Blog!

At Divine Mercy University, we take pride in providing educational resources to our students, alumni, faculty, staff and advocates.

We also understand the importance of sharing our stories to highlight the impact of psychology and counseling.

That’s why we decided to develop a blog just for you!

The blog is broken up into 4 sections:

  1. Features of students and faculty
  2. Answers to questions you Ask DMU
  3. Career Tips and industry trends
  4. Our Channel of videos

Look out for new content every month to read about our latest happenings.

Featured Blog Posts:

Newman Lecture Series Continues
On Thursday, January 25, George Mason University Professor of Law Helen Alvaré gave a dynamic presentation to students, faculty and local professionals on “Legal Foundations and History of Male/Female in Jurisprudence.” Read more



An Interview with the Dean: School of Counseling
As Academic Dean for the School of Counseling at Divine Mercy University, Dr. Harvey Payne helps position students to become licensed counselors who later provide therapy for people worldwide. Read more



What Jobs Can I Get with a Psychology Degree?
An education in psychology can present you with many job opportunities. Besides the all-too-familiar role as a psychologist, there are countless other jobs. Read more



Want to contribute to the blog? Send an email with your topic suggestion(s) to our Director of Communications Jessie Tappel at

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A New Campus Location for DMU

January 24, 2018

Early in January, President Fr. Charles Sikorsky announced that DMU has signed a contract to purchase a building and surrounding property located in Sterling, Virginia to be the new DMU campus.

Since 1999, the campus for the Institute for the Psychological Sciences (IPS) and now, the Divine Mercy University (DMU) campus, has been located in leased space in Arlington, Virginia.  DMU’s strategic plan has always included establishing a campus owned by the institution.  With the anticipated expansion of the academic programs and growth in the student population,  DMU’s leadership has been exploring opportunities for a campus location.

In considering many factors and input from the faculty, staff, and students, the team prioritized the potential for future growth of the university, with increased space for classrooms, library, the IPS Training Clinic, education and support services, and administrative offices.  Also in consideration were affordable off-campus housing for students, faculty and staff; access to public transportation; and economic feasibility for the university.

“We believe that this new site can become the ideal home for DMU and the initial feedback has been positive,” said Fr. Sikorsky.  “We anticipate a timeline of around six months to finalize the purchase, with a move to the new facility in mid-2019. Owning such a campus significantly enhances our ability to accommodate growth and strengthens our long-term financial position.” 

Understanding that there are various approvals to gain before finalizing the signed contract, Fr. Sikorsky expressed confidence in the process and shared his enthusiasm about the opportunity for DMU and future growth.

The building is located on 5.1 acres.   It would increase the square footage of the campus from 16,000 square feet to 46,000 square feet. The expansion will give DMU space to house its academic programs and operations and expand the training clinic. The building allows for more and varied classroom and library space, offices, community space, and a larger Chapel all for advancing the important mission of DMU.  The new location allows for greater flexibility including having regular M.S. in Counseling residencies on-campus and opportunities for additional national and international training programs and conventions.

In relocating the DMU campus, the IPS Training Clinic will be able to expand mental health services to the underserved population in Loudoun County.  Additionally, with the dense Catholic population in the area that has many thriving parishes, there will be greater opportunities to collaborate with the Diocese of Arlington.

This step is a significant milestone in the history of Divine Mercy University. Looking ahead to 2019 and the 20th Anniversary of the founding of IPS (DMU), the hope is for a new place to call home.

President Fr. Charles, members of the Board of Directors and staff visit the new site location.

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Healing the Wounds of War

In October, a group from Divine Mercy University and Dr. Benjamin Keyes, Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Trauma and Resiliency Studies (CTRS), travelled to Beirut, Lebanon to provide specialized trainings on the topics of trauma to outreach workers, clinicians and those working with the people affected by the violence in Aleppo, Syria.  This was the second trip of the year for Dr. Keyes, this time focusing on a different set of trainings.

“Thanks to the generosity of others, I had an opportunity to step into a country that has been fighting its own battles and help people from another country,” shared Marion Moreland, a M.S. in Counseling student.  “We worked in 4 languages and yet when we parted I knew I would miss these people and their stories. It was a blessing to experience how counseling skills allow us to come into the sacred space of another person’s life and to help them heal even when their loss and tragedy is far beyond anything I can comprehend. It is truly humbling. This trip has made me want to learn more, so I can do more.  It was a privilege to be able to share in the sacred space of these people’s lives and to hear their stories while helping them to learn something that they in turn will be able to give back to their community.”

Seeing the hopefulness of the people they encountered was one of the most moving parts of the trip, according to Marion.  After five years of occupation by ISIS, who are currently on the outskirts of the city, the town of Aleppo has a chance for restoration and healing. The number of Christians has fallen from 250,000 to just 30,000, demonstrating the ravaging effect of war and terror on the religious population in Aleppo.

Dr. Keyes has seen the impact directly of the trainings and how they are able to make a difference in a short amount of time.  “I have seen many who have blamed themselves for the death of someone else, even though it was a casualty of the war and violence, and experience deep anger, depression and sadness. Through a particular training we provide, specialized to treat those affected by traumatic experiences, we have seen a complete turnaround in perspective and an increased ability to function. The resilience and determination of the community to heal is inspiring.”

Next summer, the CTRS is planning an immersion experience for students, alumni and community professionals in Romania to work with the gypsy population in the western part by the Hungarian border. They will work alongside the social workers who support the local prison system, the child abuse system and provide support to the leading organization, the Smiles Foundation.

For more information on the Center for Trauma & Resiliency Studies, visit

Student Anthony Flores assists with a demonstration during a training.

Dr. Benjamin Keyes guiding the training session regarding EMDR.










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Trauma Team Responds to Charlottesville

In the wake of the violence that recently occurred in Charlottesville, VA, a few members of the Center for Trauma & Resiliency Studies (CTRS) at Divine Mercy University, along with other community professionals, were deployed through the Green Cross Academy of Traumatology to respond to the emotional and psychological needs of the community.

Following the aftermath of a traumatic event, it is common to see complaints that follow a recognizable pattern: anxiety, depression, anger, confusion, helplessness. It is not unusual to see a marked increase in people experiencing stress and other mental health symptoms following demonstrations of hatred and racial superiority, like the recent Charlottesville rally. The teams through Green Cross Academy are designed for crisis intervention and to respond within 48 hours domestically and 72 hours internationally, which provides immediate support to those who are suffering. 

Psy.D. student, Jennifer L., encourages those visiting the memorial to share their story.

Dr. Benjamin Keyes, Director of the CTRS, helped to coordinate and provide Compassion Fatigue services to those counselors and therapists who had been directly responding to the crisis.  The consortium of mental health professionals, Resilient Charlottesville, had formed to provide a network of resources to those that are in the local community, but they are not without need themselves.  Additionally, the team provided support directly at the memorial for Heather Heyer, directing them to resources and services available and encouraging them to share their experiences.

“We really strived to decrease the stress of the individuals coming to grieve, as well as provide them the opportunity to stabilize, express some of their stories and receive support from the community,” said Dr. Keyes. “Many of those we spoke with carried a significant amount of fear following the violence and need additional support as the events continue to unfold.”

Through the response of compassion and support, community resilience is increased.  Helping others to recognize the fundamental dignity of each human being, as a result of being made in the image and likeness of God, is referred to often in the letters of St. Paul: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Through the continued compassionate outreach, such as that of the Center for Trauma & Resiliency Studies and Green Cross Academy of Traumatology, it is necessary to provide the support to those communities who are battling the wounds against human dignity. 

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New Academic Dean for IPS


ARLINGTON —Dr. Suzanne Nortier Hollman, associate professor and Co-Director of the Psy.D. Program at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences (IPS), Divine Mercy University, has been selected to lead IPS as Academic Dean, effective July 1, 2017. She will succeed Dr. William J. Nordling, who has served as Dean since 2012 and will return full time to the faculty of IPS, providing student supervision and contributing to the work of DMU’s research on integration.

“The Dean must have not only the pertinent academic knowledge, professional competence, and academic administrative experience, but must also demonstrate a deep appreciation for the work of integrating psychology with a Catholic view of the human person,” said Fr. Charles Sikorsky, President of Divine Mercy University. “Suzanne is extraordinarily well suited to be IPS’s next dean, as demonstrated by her history of being a scholar, teacher, colleague, administrator and forward-looking leader.”

Dr. Hollman will take on the duties of Academic Dean and serve as Psy.D. Program Director.  Since 2014, Dr. Hollman has helped guide the Psy.D. Program at IPS to distinction, successfully achieving accreditation by the American Psychological Association in 2016.  Previously, Dr. Hollman has held the positions of Director of Clinical Training, and Director for Academic Tutoring at The Catholic University of America Counseling Center in Washington, D.C.  She was an Assistant Professorial Lecturer, and Assistant Professor  at The George Washington University (GWU) in the Clinical Professional Psychology Program.  Dr. Hollman earned graduate degrees in Clinical Psychology from GWU, and in the History of Medicine, Science and Technology from Oxford University.

“It is with a profound sense of appreciation and enthusiasm for what is possible in the future of IPS that I accept this role,” says Dr. Hollman. “Being a part of the Divine Mercy University community represents a calling to be a part of a common mission that is far greater than any one person. It is the decision to be an instrument of healing to those who suffer, the conviction that all human beings are imbued with dignity, and the recognition that it is a privilege to train others who hold this same commitment.”

In addition to the transition of the Academic Dean, Dr. Lisa Klewicki, a long-standing faculty member of IPS, will support Dr. Hollman in the role of Associate Psy.D. Program Director.  Dr. Philip Scrofani previously shared the title of co-director of the Psy.D. Program with Dr. Hollman and he will be returning to teaching full-time within the Psy.D. program.

“The contributions that Dr. Nordling and Dr. Scrofani have made over the years have enabled the foundation and subsequent flourishing of the programs at IPS,” said Fr. Robert Presutti, Vice President of Academic Affairs.  “Their stepping down from administrative roles will allow them to engage more fully in the mission critical tasks of teaching, faculty and student mentoring, and the further development of the integration model. The entire institution is grateful for their contribution, and for other well-qualified faculty and professional who will take over the reins of academic administrative leadership.”

Dr. Hollman expressed her gratitude to be surrounded by a supportive community of students, faculty, staff and administrators, who are all working toward a common purpose:

“The mission to integrate Faith and Reason takes on a very unique form at IPS. The ever-evolving field of Clinical Psychology, in concert with a rich Catholic-Christian anthropology of how we understand the human person, requires a serious intellectual engagement. It is, however, also a very personal journey for anyone who chooses to take this path. It is especially heartening to observe how many students are choosing to embark on this journey as is evidenced by the growth of DMU.  It is a privilege to be a fellow traveler, and to be a part of an organization that is looking toward the future not in fear, but with hope.”

For more information on Dr. Suzanne Hollman, please visit:

For more information on the Institute for the Psychological Sciences at Divine Mercy University, visit:

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A Journey of Faith and Healing: DMU’s 2017 Commencement Exercises

Divine Mercy University celebrated the 16th Graduation Mass and Commencement Exercises on May 19th, with 62 new masters and doctoral graduates from it’s School of Psychology, the Institute for the Psychological Sciences. This year marked the first graduating class from the online Master of Science in Psychology program, which began in 2014, geared toward those serving in Church ministries and the helping professions.

His Excellency Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, was the principal celebrant and homilist of the Graduation Mass, along with Most Reverend Paul S. Loverde, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Arlington, and long-standing DMU board member.

Archbishop Pierre offered his words of inspiration to the graduating students: “As members of the Church, especially you who engage in teaching, counseling and assisting individuals and families, it is important that we not impose excessive burdens on the unwanted and hurting.  Rather, we must discern in the light of the Holy Spirit and the Gospel, how best to accompany these individuals in their journey of faith and healing. This is our life: a journey of faith and healing. Is there someone here who does not need some healing?”

In his remarks to the new graduates, Fr. Charles Sikorsky, L.C., president of Divine Mercy University, recognized the hard work, sacrifice, and generosity of the students: “It is very edifying to see how you have responded to God’s invitation, to follow Him into the professional field. It offers so many opportunities to serve others, to love others, to be Christ for others.”

The Commencement address at this year’s ceremony was delivered by the founder and CEO of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), Mr. Curtis Martin.  Martin, an inspirational leader and dynamic speaker, engages thousands of people every year in their journey of faith.  Martin encouraged the graduating members of the Class of 2017 to have hope in the work that awaits them: “We live in an exciting time. I believe this University is perfectly positioned, in an anointed way. You [graduates] stand at a moment when piercing insights of the secular sciences are being shown through the very education you are receiving. There has been such wonderful advancements in the secular studies and that makes it a perfect time to be a Catholic. Because what Catholics are best at is looking into the beauty, truth, and goodness of the world, and with the Holy Spirit, mining those truths and bringing them home so that they can find their true place in the flourishing of the human person.”

Dr. Greg Kolodziejczak, IPS Class of 2006, was honored with the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award, bestowed upon an alumnus who has shown great dedication and leadership in his field.  He spoke to the graduates of the importance of the insights into human formation that they have received through their studies at Divine Mercy University.  

He shared that the mission of the graduates is to “join people in their struggles, not just giving advice from on high, but accompanying them in their pain, in their distress, in their confusion and darkness, finding the light shining within them and nurturing that light, the same way you might nurture a glowing ember you are trying to grow into a large beautiful campfire. Joining people in their struggles is precisely what God did in the Incarnation.  Such was an essential element of Christ’s vocation.  Such is our vocation.” 

The 2017 graduates embark on their unique mission to accompany those who are suffering, to be present to those in need and to share the insights regarding the human person with everyone they encounter.

For more information about the degree programs at Divine Mercy University, contact 703-416-1441 or visit

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DMU Graduates Prepare To Counsel, Heal, and Serve

On May 19, Divine Mercy University (DMU) will hold the 16th Graduation Mass and Commencement Exercises at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. His Excellency Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, will be the principal celebrant and homilist of the Graduation Mass. Most Reverend Paul S. Loverde, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Arlington and longtime member of the School’s Board of Directors, will also be in attendance.

President Fr. Charles Sikorsky, L.C. will confer 62 Master’s and Doctoral degrees from DMU’s School of Psychology, the Institute for the Psychological Sciences, making this graduating class the largest in the history of the university.

“As our graduates continue to spread  across the world, serving in various capacities as mental health counselors, psychologists, and in the helping professions, we are profoundly grateful to Our Lord to witness  the  growing impact of the mission of Divine Mercy University: to bring hope and healing to all those who suffer,” said Fr. Sikorsky.

The evening prior, Fr. Sikorsky, along with His Excellency Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the DMU Board of Directors, DMU Faculty and Staff, and other honored guests will gather at the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See for the 2017 President’s Reception to honor the graduates and supporters of the University.

Founded originally in 1999 as the Institute for the Psychological Sciences, the graduate school became Divine Mercy University in 2016.  It currently houses two schools: the Institute for the Psychological Sciences and the School of Counseling. The Institute for the Psychological Sciences offers two degree programs: the Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology, offered onsite in Arlington, VA, and a Master of Science in Psychology, offered online.  The School of Counseling offers a Master of Science in Counseling, offered online with onsite residencies.

The 2017 President’s Reception will take place on May 18th at the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See. The reception is by invitation only. Divine Mercy University’s 16th Annual Commencement Exercises, open to the public and live-streamed through the University’s YouTube channel, will take place May 19th at 2PM with the commencement address given by Curtis Martin, Founder of the Fellowship for Catholic University Students (FOCUS). The Exercises will be held in the Crypt Church at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, located at 400 Michigan Ave., N.E., Washington, DC.

For more information, contact Jessie Tappel in the Office of Communications at 703-416-1441×116 or


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News and Announcements: 2017 Graduation Mass & Commencement Exercises

His Excellency Christophe Pierre, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, will be the principal celebrant and homilist for the 2017 Graduation Mass on May 19th, 2017.  The 2017 Graduation Mass and Commencement Exercises will be held in the Crypt Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Archbishop Christophe Pierre is a veteran Vatican diplomat and succeeds Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who served as nuncio to the United States until 2011. He was appointed by Pope Francis last April after the Holy See confirmed his appointment with the United States administration. 
It is a privilege to have Archbishop Christophe Pierre join the Divine Mercy Community, graduates and families for the 2017 Graduation Mass.

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4 Psychology Hacks That Will Enhance Your Career

Looking to gain an edge on the competition in your field of work? Psychologists have identified several “hacks” that you can incorporate into your workday that could have quite an impact on your effectiveness within your profession.

Take the short quiz below to see which hacks were identified for your profession.

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DMU Opens New Center for Trauma and Resiliency Studies


The Center for Trauma and Resiliency Studies (CTRS) at Divine Mercy University opened this fall, offering a training program through Green Cross Academy for Traumatology for students, faculty, alumni and interested community professionals targeted toward certifications as Mental Health First Responders in times of disaster and traumatic situations. Dr. Benjamin Keyes, a faculty member of the School of Counseling at DMU, is leading the formation and development of the CTRS at Divine Mercy University.

The CTRS  will also house research projects looking at the long and short term effects of trauma and effective therapeutic interventions in response to traumatic situations and events.  As part of the Center, there will be a development of an on-going Response Team of students, alumni and interested community professionals capable of deploying in times of significant disaster or crisis anywhere in the US.  The goal is to assist recovery efforts with first responders to prevent compassion fatigue, collaborate in working with survivors in the field, and provide counseling services in the aftermath of disaster or crisis.  

“We are privileged to have the opportunity to bring in depth training and certification in aspects of trauma  to the students, alumni and community professionals around Divine Mercy University,” said Dr. Benjamin Keyes, Director of the Center for Trauma and Resiliency Studies. “It is through the certification process that we are able to directly impact those suffering and those in need.”

The CTRS at Divine Mercy University has partnered with the Green Cross Academy for Traumatology to offer certification courses leading to four separate levels of Trauma Certification.  The four certifications are: Compassion Fatigue Educator, Compassion Fatigue Therapist, Field Traumatologist and Certified (Clinical) Traumatologist.  The courses for the certifications will be offered throughout the year covering all levels of intervention.  The Certified Traumatologist credential is recognized by the Veteran’s Administration (VA), Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), Volunteer Organizations Amid Disaster (VOAD), and other response agencies.  The workshops are offered both on-site at the Arlington, VA campus of Divine Mercy University or online through a virtual classroom.  

Research projects of the CTRS include both short term and long term trauma environments, which include natural disasters, man-made crisis and accidents as well as human trafficking, domestic violence, terrorism, refugee displacement, and chronic poverty. Current research projects include a 5 year longitudinal study with survivors of human trafficking utilizing a Christian treatment model for intervention and healing, the effects of trauma training with professionals working with Syrian refugees and compassion fatigue levels with both short and long term intervention with the population affected by trauma.  

“The goal with CTRS is to examine potential resilience in affected populations and to strengthen skills with those professionals providing services to those in need of trauma intervention,” says Dr. Keyes. “We will be organizing a Mental Health Response Team capable of providing intervention for compassion fatigue, field trauma support, and clinical counseling to those affected by a disaster or traumatic event.” The Response Team is visioned as an ongoing program, welcoming new members every year as students and community participants complete trauma trainings and certification levels through the Green Cross Academy for Traumatology. Divine Mercy University is committed to providing the best education available in fields that are of particular relevance in the world today.

For more information about the training and workshop schedule, please visit:
For more information on Green Cross Academy for Traumatology, please visit:
Dr. Benjamin Keyes is the Director of Training and Internship for the School of Counseling at Divine Mercy University. For more information about the School of Counseling, please visit:

Jessie Tappel
Senior Director of Communications
703-416-1441 x 116

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#GivingTuesday on November 29th

#GivingTuesday and DMU

During this busy time of the holiday season, you can do many things to make the season brighter. While Advent is a time of spiritual preparation and hope for many of a joyous Christmas, for others the holidays can be hard.  Whether you are reminded of loss, are lonely, or suffer from the “holiday blues”, the season is not always merry for everyone. Here are some ways you can have an impact and help others fight the holiday blues:

  1. Listen: This is one of the first, and best gifts you can give
  2. Empathize: Don’t jump immediately into giving advice, but rather show that you hear and value the person in front of you
  3. Support: Be consistent in showing your care for the people in front of you. Your repeated smile or genuinely kind words can make a big difference
  4. Invite: Whether it’s inviting a lonely coworker to eat lunch together or a friend who has been grieving to come to light a candle of remembrance at church, step outside of your comfort zone as a gift to other.
  5. Encourage: When asked for particular advice or guidance, encourage the person to strive for virtue, hope and joy.

The day after Cyber Monday, is Giving Tuesday, a day dedicated to giving back to those in need.  On Tuesday, November 29th – we are asking the community to come together for a common goal: to give the gift of healing.  We give that gift by living charity in our daily lives and also by supporting others with our financial resources.  I ask you to help Divine Mercy University prepare others to become full time instruments of healing by making a donation to our scholarship fund.  Everyday our students and alumni   heal those suffering from the holiday blues and many other problems – addictions, depression, marital breakdown and so many other mental health issues.

What is Giving Tuesday?

The day after Cyber Monday, is Giving Tuesday, a day dedicated to giving back to those in need,

Could you help us with a gift of $5, $10, $25, $50, $100 or whatever amount God might put on your heart?  Please join us in this tradition of giving back and giving thanks.  I will be very grateful, but more importantly our students and the countless lives that they touch now and in the future will be very grateful.  Thank you.

Click here to make a gift

A growing number of psychological studies have linked gratitude with higher general feelings of happiness and have found that more grateful persons are more satisfied with life.  It is our Christian mission to take action with the perspective of gratitude and to give back to those around us. We need to convey the hope we share for the future and spread the culture of gratitude.  Reaching out to those in need, serving the poor around us, volunteering for a ministry, lending an ear to those suffering – these are all examples of sharing the gifts we have been given with others.    

I am grateful for the support and dedication of everyone involved with the mission of Divine Mercy University, and my prayers will be for you and your families during the holiday season.

Fr. Charles Sikorsky, L.C.
President, Divine Mercy University

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HEART Model Presented at Healthcare Expo in Houston, TX

Healing Emotional Affective Responses to Trauma (HEART) is a Model designed to treat complex trauma specifically with survivors of Human Trafficking. This Model was recently presented at the recent Healthcare Design Expo and Conference, held this year in Houston, TX on November 12th – 15th 2016.

In a paper submitted titled “Using Design to Rescue Children from Commercial Sex Trafficking”, Dr. Benjamin Keyes, (Assoc. Professor and Director of Training and Internship for the School of Counseling at Divine Mercy University) presented his HEART Model and recent research findings along with three other colleagues to an audience of about 100 healthcare design and building professionals.

Marc Schweitzer and Karen Cupp, of Stafford King Weise Architects in Sacramento, CA, discussed a recent researched design for a treatment group home based on the issues and emotional difficulties facing survivors of Human Trafficking and the elements of the HEART Model that is used to treat these women at Courage Worldwide in Rocklin, CA.

Jenny Williamson (CEO of Courage Worldwide) started the workshop off with a quick overview of the problems facing recovery efforts with trafficked juvenile survivors. Dr. Keyes presented the effectiveness of a spiritually based treatment model (HEART) and the current research showing significant decreases in depression, anxiety, and PTSD symptoms, along with an increase of personal resiliency and positive God image. Mr. Schweitzer and Ms. Cupp then explained the intricacies of a complex design model which addressed issues of trust, safety, comfort, identity, spirituality, resiliency and emotional overcoming within the very design of the facility and how healthcare facilities of the future needs to work with treatment models to significantly improve the facilitation of recovery and healing.

This concept of design is new to the area of trauma recovery and the HEART Model is well on its way in becoming a Best Practice in the treatment of complex trauma.

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Curtis Martin to Address Graduates

Curtis Martin, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, has accepted the invitation to address the graduates of Divine Mercy University for the Sixteenth Commencement this May.

The 2017 Commencement Mass & Exercises will take place Friday, May 19th, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C.

In addition to leading FOCUS across 100 college campuses and supporting over 550 missionaries, Curtis Martin is a dynamic speaker and is passionate about spreading the outreach mission of the New Evangelization. He holds a Master’s degree in Theology, is the author of the best-selling book Made for More, and co-host of EWTN’s ground-breaking show, “Crossing the Goal”. He serves as the Vice-Chairman of the Augustine Institute in Denver, a Catholic graduate school dedicated to the New Evangelization. He and his wife Michaelann host the EWTN television series “Family Matters”. Curtis and Michaelann live in Westminster, Colorado, with five of their nine children.  

As the graduates become beacons of hope in the modern world, the address of Curtis Martin will look to serve as an inspiration on embracing the mission they have received and move to serve in the many vocational capacities following graduation from Divine Mercy University.

For more information on FOCUS, visit

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IPS Academic Dean to Transition to New Role


The Institute for the Psychological Sciences started as an inspired idea and dream in the mind of its visionary founders.  Over these last 18 years, IPS has developed into a well-established and renowned program, culminating with APA accreditation. In recent years, the Institute has been able to extend its reach significantly through its online program, and most recently, the momentum of the Institute has led to the establishment of a University that not only offers psychology but also offers a world-class program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. This impressive story has been due to the hard work, dedication, and sacrifices of many individuals, some still with us, and others who have moved on.

One of the key figures has been Dr. William Nordling. Dr. Nordling has assumed various roles in the Institute over these years, meeting important needs as they have arisen. Most recently, he has been serving as Academic Dean, a task which involves notable administrative responsibilities, together with the teaching, student supervision, and research load incumbent upon the faculty. On the scholarly and professional side, he is a national leader in the areas of child and marital therapy, assisted in the founding and development of the Catholic Psychotherapy Association, and has contributed significantly to the ongoing development of the Catholic-Christian model used at the IPS and now being adapted for Professional Counseling.

As DMU continues to look to the future needs and opportunities, Dr. Nordling’s capabilities in teaching, research, and further development of the IPS Model stand out. Consequently, Dr. Nordling will be stepping down as IPS Dean at the end of the 2016-2017 academic year. Starting with the 2017-2018 academic year, he will dedicate himself completely to the critical mission of teaching, research, and mentoring faculty and students in the Catholic-Christian Model, while continuing to develop and publish this Model. IPS and now DMU have an impressive “oral tradition” that will be set down and made available and continually developed by future generations here and elsewhere.

Accordingly, although he will be primarily associated with the School of Psychology (IPS), Dr. Nordling will also have an appointment to Divine Mercy University’s Department of Integrative Studies, which will allow him to contribute to this important task.  As a faculty member for the IPS, he will continue to teach courses in child, marital and family therapy, supervise students in the IPS Clinic, and work with students on dissertations.

The search and selection for a new IPS Dean will take place over the course of the academic year, with the help of a Search Committee. Given the uniqueness of the IPS mission and history, the search process will be an invited process.  Individuals interested in the position can email the Search Committee (

DMU would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Nordling and all the faculty, staff and students of DMU for their hard work, dedication, and example.

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Transform your life and others’ in 2017

Have you ever reached January 1st and realized that you haven’t given any thought to how you’d like the coming year to be different than the last? We’re challenging you to think about your professional and personal goals today, so that you can make lasting changes in the New Year.

Here at Divine Mercy University, we have three start dates each year for the online M.S in Psychology: May, August and January. Each one has their advantages, but we particularly recommend a January start date to get ahead of the curve when it comes to your education and your current or future profession. You can also save up to 20% on tuition costs through our scholarship opportunities, which makes the path forward smoother.

Students from across the United States and around the world have applied to join a program that will have an immediate and lasting impact on your career. Of course, a Master’s in Psychology will enhance your career or ministry as well as help you grow professionally. However, one of the distinctive characteristics of our program is that you’ll receive tools that you can use in your field of work right away.

If you work with people, whether that be in a professional, ministerial or volunteer capacity, you’ll be better equipped to serve others effectively. And, by the end of 2017, you won’t have to wonder what happened to your New Year’s resolution: you’ll see the results in the classroom, at your workplace and in your personal life.

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There’s a mission only you can fulfill

When you look at your family, your job, your parish, or your community, there are many different ways to make an impact. The common denominator in any one of these scenarios are the people you’ll be making an impact on.

The online M.S. in Psychology gives you the tools you need to fulfill your particular mission, whether that’s:

  • Raising children through various stages of developments, helping them grow in maturity and virtue.
  • Managing a team of employees or volunteers, guiding them to make the most of their gifts and talents.
  • Learning how to better understand challenges your parishioners face so that you can assess how to minister to them more effectively.
  • Enhancing your outreach in professional and volunteer settings such as pro-life ministry, helping the underprivileged, serving the elderly, etc.

Here at Divine Mercy University, we understand that you may be called to serve others in a variety of different ways. Our degree gives you the knowledge and the practical skills you need to change the lives of others for the better.

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What does psychology have to do with Respect Life month?

As Christians, we have many opportunities in our culture to witness to and support life. In a society that often supports abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, we have the responsibility to defend the vulnerable and aid the afflicted.

Here at Divine Mercy University, we emphasize that first of all, we must understand that each person has irreplaceable dignity and value–from the baby in the womb to the elderly person with no one left to care for them. Whether you are a friend lending a listening ear to a woman in a crisis pregnancy; a caretaker supporting someone who is terminally ill; or working in a parish, helping people through life’s many challenges, it is our role to listen and accompany those who are suffering.

Psychology adds an important layer of understanding to the way in which we defend and protect life. By learning about grief and trauma, we can more effectively walk with those who are suffering. By recognizing coercive factors and environmental stressors affecting those we care for, we can aid them in removing or overcoming many challenges. And by understanding that at the root of any psychological studies of the human person is a God of mercy who loves and forgives us, we can be witnesses to hope and healing to those who are lost.

Our students and alumni work in a variety of pro-life related fields from Sisters of Life who work with those in need, to those working in pregnancy centers, to religious and clergy who witness to life on a daily basis. The truth is that every professional who serves other men and women in some capacity benefits from a profound pro-life viewpoint, founded in psychology and our Catholic faith. In honor of Respect Life month, make the decision to join our efforts to support life at every stage!

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Our M.S. in Psychology is firmly rooted in the Catholic faith

When current students enrolled in the online M.S. in Psychology program were asked why they chose Divine Mercy University for their graduate studies, the majority answered that their primary reason was that it was “rooted in the Catholic faith.”

Of course, the program is also known for its academic excellence, its flexibility as an online program and for its global community. However, what really makes it stand out for many is that students are taught from a unique psychological model–one that seamlessly combines the best of modern psychology with the truths of the Catholic faith about the human person.

Together, these two attributes form a program that enable graduates to approach each person as having value and dignity and assist them not only in addressing problems, but also set them on a path that leads to human flourishing.

Our graduates are putting this degree to use in a variety of fields — from education to social work to pastoral ministry. Join us in making an incredible impact on the lives of others.

Apply today

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One way you can be more like St. Francis

On October 4, the Catholic Church celebrates St. Francis of Assisi, a man who had everything–status and money–and still chose to serve others instead of himself. He followed Christ’s call to “rebuild my Church”, founding the Franciscan order who, to this day, serve the disenfranchised, the lonely and those in need.

Here at Divine Mercy University, we prepare our students to follow a similar call to service through a modern psychology program that is firmly rooted in the Catholic faith. Our online M.S. in Psychology students learn more about why each person has value and dignity as well as gain the knowledge needed to know how to best serve them.

Each of us knows people who need the kind of services that graduates of Divine Mercy University can provide. On this great man’s feast day, make the choice to start your application and join us in a life-long journey of serving our neighbors.

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APA grants Divine Mercy University’s Psy.D. Program 7-year Accreditation

August 17, 2016


APA grants Divine Mercy University’s Psy.D. Program 7-year Accreditation

We are pleased to announce that the American Psychological Association (APA) has accredited the doctoral program in clinical psychology (Psy.D.).  The Psy.D. program is the cornerstone program of the Institute for the Psychological Sciences (IPS) at Divine Mercy University (DMU).

This accreditation is significant as graduates pursue licensure.  Our APA accredited Psy.D. is recognized and meets one of the requirements for licensure as a clinical psychologist.

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Becoming Agents of Mercy: 2016 Commencement Exercises

This May marked a milestone for Divine Mercy University, as the 15th Commencement Exercises celebrated 22 new masters and doctoral graduates from the Institute for the Psychological Sciences, and the inauguration and ceremonial opening of Divine Mercy University was held on May 19th. Most Rev. William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore, Bishop Knestout, Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. and over 90 attendees were present to mark the opening of the university.

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2016 Distinguished Alumni Award

Divine Mercy University’s Distinguished Alumni Award is presented on an annual basis to a graduate who has made significant contributions to society and whose accomplishments, affiliations, and career have honored the legacy of the excellence of the university.

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Ceremonial Opening of Divine Mercy University

On May 19th, Divine Mercy University will hold a Ceremonial Opening of the newly-expanded university along with a special lecture event, featuring Most Reverend William Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore.

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