A Letter from our CPSY Program Coordinators

Welcome Prospective Students!

We are delighted that you are interested in learning more about our APA-accredited doctoral program in Counseling Psychology (CPSY) within the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Research (CEPR) at the University of Memphis!

Memphis is a robust city in west Tennessee, the second largest in the state with a metropolitan population of more than 1.3 million people. There are numerous museums (e.g., the National Civil Rights MuseumStax Museum, the , the Brooks Museum) and social attractions (e.g., Graceland, the Memphis Zoo, Beale St., FedEx Forum (home of the Grizzlies and our own Memphis Tigers!), the Greater Memphis GreenlineShelby Farms Park). Memphis is famous for its BBQ and music and  is also home to Fed-Ex and other Fortune-500 companies and the world-renowned St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

The CPSY program has five core faculty members: Sara Bridges, Suzanne Lease, Madeline Brodt , Richard Lightsey, and Rosie Phillips Davis. Chrisann Schiro-Geist also works with the program, but her primary responsibilities are with the Institute on Disability We pride ourselves on our faculty's involvement in our students' success. We also value and embrace our faculty's diverse research interests, including sexuality, gender and health, career, race/ethnicity, microaggressions, resilience, and disability.

There are several unique features of our program. First, rather than admitting students specifically to work with individual faculty, the CPSY program uses a cohort model, which means we admit a class of students who roughly follow the same curriculum. Students are assigned an adviser when they are accepted but are given the option to change advisers as they progress through the program. Cohorts establish close relationships that can provide support throughout graduate school. Additionally, there are many opportunities to collaborate, and students are encouraged to participate in multiple research teams rather than only working with their major advisor, providing exposure to different research topics and mentoring opportunities. Second, we utilize an article format dissertation option, in which students develop a manuscript-length dissertation that will be submitted for journal consideration after the student's defense. Third, for students who enter with a master’s degree in counseling or other mental health training programs, the academic coursework can be completed in three years with the predoctoral internship occurring in the fourth year. Finally, our students have opportunities to complete practica in a very wide variety of placements including counseling centers, federal prisons and other forensic settings, veteran's affairs sites, community agencies, and integrated care settings.

We are extremely proud of our focus on multicultural and social justice. We strive to weave these principles into all training experiences in our program (i.e., coursework, practica, and research). We offer several elective courses that highlight our focus on diversity (e.g., Counseling with Transgender Individuals, Counseling Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual Individuals, Gender Issues in Counseling, Social Justice in Counseling and Counseling Psychology-I, Social Justice in Counseling and Counseling Psychology-II, Disability and Counseling Psychology, Multicultural Issues and Poverty). Further, many of our students are heavily involved in the Diversity Committee. In addition, our faculty hold multiculturalism and diversity as a core value in their research and service activities.

Please feel free to further peruse our website. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email us and/or reach out to any of our faculty members.


Sara K Bridges

Sara K. Bridges, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Co-Training Director, The University of Memphis

Suzanne Lease

Suzanne H. Lease
Associate Professor
Co-Training Director, The University of Memphis