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Faculty Research

Dr. Ryan Holliman

Dr. Holliman is a registered play therapist and his research has focused on the quantitative efficacy of Child Centered Play Therapy. Specifically he has conducted studies which investigated the impact of school based play therapy on the academic achievement of early elementary school students. Dr. Holliman also has experience developing psychometric instruments and has developed the first instrument specifically designed for use in play therapy the Child Interpersonal Relationships and Attitudes Assessment. In addition to his research on the efficacy of Child Centered Play Therapy, Dr. Holliman has also conducted research into the training and supervision of play therapists.

Dr. Tom Burdenski

Dr. Tom Burdenski has conducted two research studies with Dr. Brenda Faulkner on the impact of teaching reality therapy principles to provisionally admitted freshmen college students at Tarleton State University. He has also conducted a study at three GrapevideoColleyville ISD elementary schools that led to the adoption of restorative practices in all elementary schools in that district. His current research focuses on applying Harry Aponte’s “Person of the Therapist Training” model and George Faller’s “Self of Therapist” training model to all students enrolled in Tarleton State University’s Internship courses. These two training models emphasize the importance of understanding how one’s gender, social, cultural, and spiritual background contribute to developing “signature themes,” patterns of relating to others that can inhibit or enhance one’s effectiveness as a professional counselor.

Dr. Ryan D. Foster

Dr. Foster is an active researcher in the areas of transpersonal experiences, spirituality, and expressive therapies. He has published quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods studies exploring the intersection of near-death experiences (NDEs) and counseling. Dr. Foster invests in research investigating the effect of learning about near-death experiences on intrapsychic healing. He has explored the effects of learning about NDEs on bereavement, and is currently working toward understanding how learning about NDEs impacts people diagnosed with chronic or terminal illnesses. In addition, Dr. Foster studies spontaneous mediumship experiences among NDErs. Finally, Dr. Foster also actively pursues outcome research on humanistic sandtray therapy, a model of expressive counseling.

Dr. Julie Merriman

Dr. Merriman conducted research with the TREAT Riding Research Team, applying play therapy tenets to Equine Assisted Therapy. They hired 8 students as research assistants on the project. Dr. Merriman also conducted research on Compassion Fatigue in school counselors and Compassion Fatigue in Licensed Professional Counselor-interns. She is currently expounding a counselor supervision model based on self-care and ETT.

Dr. Beck Munsey

Dr. Munsey has conducted research on numerous minority and discrimination topics including LGBTQ+, transgender and gender variant issues in counseling. Dr. Munsey's research extends to cover minority experiences with interviewing for full-time counseling faculty jobs and disability issues for graduate students in counseling faculty.

Dr. Chris Wilder

Dr. Wilder’s current research interests include: school counseling, clinical supervision, ethical and legal issues in school counseling and clinical mental health.

Dr. LaShondra Manning

Dr. Manning's current research interests include: crisis and trauma counseling, innovative teaching strategies in counselor education, and exploring unconventional qualitative methods.

Dr. Pedro (PJ) Blanco

Dr. Blanco has specialized training and experience in working with children using play therapy in community agencies as well as in the school system. P.J.’s primary teaching areas are Play Therapy, Counseling Skill Development, Child and Adolescent, and Group Counseling. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor, Registered Play Therapist Supervisor, and a Certified Humanistic Sandtray Therapist. As a therapist and educator Dr. Blanco believes strongly in the importance of providing developmentally appropriate treatment. He has over ten years of clinical experience and has conducted and published multiple research projects in the public school system. He is interested in strengthening the link between play therapy and academic achievement.