Director of Clinical Training, Associate Professor of Psychology
On Faculty since 2011
Office: BGC M246
Psy.D., Clinical Psychology, 2002
Wheaton College Graduate School, Wheaton, IL
M.A., Clinical Psychology, 1999
Wheaton College Graduate School, Wheaton, IL
B.A. Psychology, 1996
Lee University, Cleveland, TN
Licensure & Certifications
Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Illinois Department of Professional Regulation, 2004
About Jana Pressley
Dr. Pressley's areas of clinical interest and experience include trauma-informed therapy with adults and children/adolescents, as well as couples and family therapy. Dr. Pressley has specialized training in a variety of trauma-related models for children and adults including EMDR, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), the Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competency (ARC) framework for intervention for traumatized youth, Sensory Motor Arousal Regulation Treatment (SMART), Trauma-Focused CBT (TF-CBT) and Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). Currently, Dr. Pressley serves as a therapist and supervisor at a community-based counseling center in Carol Stream, and is also conducting a clinical pilot program providing trauma-based services to children and families impacted by community violence on the south side of Chicago.
Dr. Pressley conducts training workshops and adjunct graduate-level courses for professionals and graduate students related to various topics, including: the impact of chronic, relational trauma on long-term development, adult trauma-informed treatment, and the impact of complex trauma on adult spirituality. Additionally, she serves as an adjunct clinical trainer and consultant for the Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competency (ARC) program for the Trauma Center (Boston, MA).
Prior to her time at Wheaton, Dr. Pressley founded a counseling center in Chattanooga, Tennessee for uninsured/underinsured individuals and families. This reduced-fee counseling program was grant- and foundation-funded, targeted toward the clinical needs of multi-problem children, adults, and families, and staffed by recent graduates and master’s level interns in counseling.
- PSYC 644 - Child and Adolescent Development and Treatment
- PSYC 714 - Professional Development and Ethics I
- PSYC 753 - Psychopathology
- PSYC 894 - Clerkship Seminar
- PSYC 893 - Seminar: Advanced Topics in Psychology - Treatment of Complex Trauma in Children and Adults
Membership in Professional Societies
- American Psychological Association
- APA Division 56 (Trauma Psychology)
- International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies
- Christian Association for Psychological Studies
Currently, Dr. Pressley directs the Complex Trauma: Impact & Adaptation Lab which aims to seek understanding related to the impact of complex trauma and insecure/disorganized attachment on the development of children and adolescents, and the long-term relational, emotional and behavioral coping patterns of adults with trauma histories. Dr. Pressley is also interested in the contextual variables that contribute to vulnerability vs. protective factors in the lives of those who experience chronic trauma. Additionally, Dr. Pressley has specific interests in issues of spirituality and complex trauma. The construct of “altered systems of meaning” is the term Judith Herman (1992) coined for those with relational trauma histories who struggle with a deep sense of hopelessness, despair, and struggle to connect with faith beliefs. Herman states, “these profound alterations in the self and in relationships inevitably result in the questioning of basic tenets of faith…the majority of people experience the bitterness of being forsaken by God” (Herman, 1992, p.94). Dr. Pressley is interested in qualitative research further examining the faith development of clients with complex trauma histories and the impact on working with complex trauma on the spirituality of therapists (as related to potential vicarious traumatization).
Publications and Presentations
Pressley, J. & Spinazzola, J. (2015). Beyond survival: Application of a complex trauma treatment model in the Christian context. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 43(1), 8-22.
Pressley, J., & Vanden Hoek, K. K. (2014). Psychodynamic and attachment-based approaches to treatment. In K.S. Flanagan & S. E. Hall (Eds.), Christianity and Developmental Psychopathology: Theory and Application for Working with Youth. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press.
Flanagan, K. S., Pressley, J., Davis, E., Aten, J., Sanders, M., Carter, J. C., Jackson, A., & Kent, J. (2013). Spiritual formation training in the Wheaton College Psy.D. Program. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 32, 340-351.
Aten, J., Boan, D., Flanagan, K., Canning, S., Hall, S., Eveleigh, E., Rueger, S., Kang, E., Pressley, J. (2012). Booklet: Helping children cope with traumatic events. Wheaton, IL: Humanitarian Disaster Institute, Wheaton College. Copyright 2012 Wheaton College Humanitarian Disaster Institute.
Pressley, J. & Spinazzola, J. (under contract). Treating complex trauma among adult survivors of Christian faith. In Aten, J., & Walker, D. (eds.). Treating trauma in Christian counseling and psychotherapy. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
VanMeter, J. B., McMinn, M. R., Bissell, L. D., Kaur, M., & Pressley, J. D. (2003). Solitude, silence, and the training of psychotherapists: A preliminary study. In Hall, T.W. & McMinn, M.R. (Eds.), Spiritual formation, counseling, and psychotherapy (pp. 175-184). Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.
VanMeter, J. B., McMinn, M. R., Bissell, L. D., Kaur, M., & Pressley, J. D. (2001). Solitude, silence, and the training of psychotherapists. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 29, 22-28.
Pressley, J. (April 2015). Sacred dissonance: Attending to client spirituality and religiosity in complex trauma treatment. Invited workshop at the Trauma Center Training Institute, Brookline, MA.
Pressley, J. (April 2015). Sacred dissonance: Attending to client spirituality and religiosity in complex trauma treatment. Invited workshop at the LeTourneau University Psi Chi Student Research Conference.
McMinn, M, Goetsch, B., Pressley, J, Strawn, B., Kim, C., & Jennings, J. (April 2015). Spiritual formation as a dimension of culture and training in Christian doctoral psychology programs. Pre-conference workshop at the 2015 Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS) annual international conference, Denver, CO.
Pressley, J. (July 2014). Sacred dissonance: Attending to client spirituality and religiosity in complex trauma treatment. Invited workshop at the 3rd annual Trauma Center Summer Training Institute, Hyannis, MA.
Pressley, J., Smith, R., Smith, K., Waters, L., & Abraham, R. (April 2014). Connections between trauma, survival, and resilience in an urban context: Preliminary results from a qualitative study. Poster presentation at the 2014 Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS) annual international conference, Atlanta, GA.
Pressley, J. (April 2014). A sacred journey: The therapeutic process with adult survivors of complex trauma. Seminar at the 2014 Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS) annual international conference, Atlanta, GA.
Pressley, J. & Flanagan, K. (January 2014). Promoting a social justice orientation through research and scholarship. Poster presented at the Mid-Winter Annual National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology (NCSPP) conference. New Orleans, LA.
Pressley, J. (July 2013). Disrupted faith: Attending to client spirituality in complex trauma intervention. Invited lecture at the 2nd Annual Trauma Center Summer Institute. Hyannis, MA.
Lewis, G., Abraham, R., & Pressley, J. (2013). Longing for Home: An exploratory analysis on the impact of complex trauma with adult homeless populations. Poster presentation for the 2013 Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS) annual international conference, Portland, Oregon.
Pressley, J., Watson, T., Aten, J., & Walker, D. (March 2012). Preparing the next generation of Christian trauma therapists: faith-based resources for educators and supervisors. Symposium at the 2012 Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS) annual international conference, Washington, D.C.
Flanagan, K., Pressley, J., Kahn, T. & R. Gregory (January 2012). A Multi-faceted Approach to Evaluating Clinical Competencies: The Professional Qualifying Exam at Wheaton College. Poster presented at the Mid-Winter Annual National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology (NCSPP) conference. New Orleans, LA.
Pressley, J., White, J., and Weisgerber, C. (2010, April) The Urgency of Complex Trauma: An Overwhelming Need for Understanding. Poster presentation for the 2010 Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS) annual international conference, Overland Park, Kansas.
Pressley, J. & Weisgerber, C. (2009, November) The Developmental Impact of Complex Trauma: What Counselors Need to Know. Presentation at the Tennessee Counseling Association (TCA) annual state conference. Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Penney, P., Pressley, J., and Brady, J. (2000, August). Working with Families: Special Focus on Child, Adolescent, & Parenting Issues. Conference workshop (one week course) conducted in Honduras as an extension of Wheaton College.
Watson, R., Watson, T., Butman, R., Pozzi, C., Pressley, J., McCain, J., and Lake, L. (2000, March). Promoting Esparanza: Towards a New Model of Cross-Cultural Collaboration. Symposium for the 2000 Conference for the Christian Association for Psychological Studies, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Pozzi, C., Crisafulli-Preussler, R., Pressley, J. (1999, August). Liberation Psychology. Paper presented at the 103rd Convention for the American Psychological Association, Boston, Massachusetts.
Watson, T., Pressley, J., Sierra, J., and Speakman, D. (1999, August). Trauma and the Family. Conference workshop (one week course) conducted in Honduras as an extension of Wheaton College.
Pozzi, C., Crisafulli-Preussler, R., Pressley, J., and Sierra, J. (1999, April). Liberation Psychology. Symposium at the 1999 Conference for the Christian Association for Psychological Studies, Colorado Springs, CO.
Selected community presentations:
Pressley, J. (June 2015). Considering complex trauma impact and intervention in underresourced communities. Invited lecture for the Isaac Ray Center at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, Chicago, IL.
Pressley, J. (March 2015). Understanding and treating complex trauma in adults, a 2-part training series. Invited lecture for the Chicago Area Christian Training Consortium (CACTC) predoctoral internship seminar series. Carol Stream, IL.
Pressley, J. (January 2015) The long-term impact of chronic trauma. Invited staff training seminar, Lawndale Christian Legal Center. Chicago, IL.
Pressley, J. (March 2014). Understanding complex trauma in youth and adult survivors. Invited lecture for staff and intern training, Kane County Diagnostic Center. Batavia, IL.
Pressley, J. (January & March 2014). Understanding and treating complex trauma in adults, a 2-part training series. Invited predoctoral internship didactic training seminar series. Carol Stream, IL.
Pressley, J. (January 2014) The long-term impact of chronic trauma. Invited lecture for staff training, Lawndale Christian Legal Center. Chicago, IL.
Pressley, J. (February 2013). Treating complex trauma: Evidence-based practice with adult survivors. Invited predoctoral internship didactic training seminar series. Carol Stream, IL.
Pressley, J. (November 2012). Event organizer and Master of Ceremony for “Don’t give up on me: Interrupting urban violence and poverty." Screened documentary film “The Interrupters,” followed by a panel of experts and community members involved in the treatment and prevention of community violence. Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL.
Pressley, J. (June 2012) The impact of relational trauma on children, adolescents, and adults. Invited lecture, Evangelical Child & Family Agency. Wheaton, IL.
Pressley, J. (May 2009). The Developmental Impact of Childhood Trauma. Invited lecture, Child Advocacy Center conference. Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Pressley, J. (May 2008). Early Childhood Development: The Critical Role of Healthy Attachment. Invited lecture, Southeast Commission on Children and Youth (SECCY). Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Pressley, J. (April 2008). Helping Children Through Trauma & Loss: The Cumulative Losses of Traumatized Children. Invited lecture, Annual Winshape Foster homes training retreat. Lenoir City, Tennessee.
Secured $20,000 matching grant from the Maclellan Foundation (Chattanooga, TN) to cover the consultation and instructional costs of the development of a Trauma Counseling Certificate program for M.A. in Professional Counseling/M.A. Marriage & Family Therapy students, alumni, and post-masters/post-doctoral professionals who wish to develop further academic/clinical training in the area of working with clients with complex trauma/abuse histories. Secured additional $20,000 from private donors, meeting matching grant for total of $40,000 raised, 2009-2010.
Secured a variety of foundation grants in order to cover start-up and ongoing funding of the Richmont Community Counseling Center, Chattanooga, Tennessee. Sample grants include:
- Maclellan Foundation, $20,000 matching grant - seed money for the operations of first year of RCCC, with additional $20,000 raised via board members and private donors, 2005
- Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga - $15,000 grant for the development of full-time counselor position for Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) program. Additional $13,000 raised through private individual and church donors, 2008
- Campbell Foundation: $10,000 toward general operations of RCCC, 2009
- Eleanor Powell Memorial Fund: fund developed from the directed giving of friends and family of former Richmont Graduate University board member, $14,000 to date, with ongoing annual giving opportunity established, 2009
- Poindexter Family Trust: Secured planned giving for next 3 years from estate of former board member of Richmont Graduate University. $40,000, 2010 (ongoing annual trust earnings to be distributed biannually)