“In today’s world, people really look for what it is that you have? What is the value you have?” says Steve Brownell, Director of the NEWSTART lifestyle program at the Weimar Institute.

So what does Weimar have? Students and a research program.

NEWSTART, a preventative lifestyle program located at the Weimar Institute, was founded in 1978 by physicians that desired to educate people on how to take care of their bodies, mind and spiritual being primarily through lifestyle interventions.

(L to R) Camille Krueger, Monica Fukuda, Johanna Emerson, Lance Hofer-Draper in April 2018. (Photo: Joletta Redd)

Over the years, multiple programs with the similar emphasis have since arisen at the Weimar. These include community depression and recovery classes, stop smoking seminars, and Diabetes Undone programs among others. Thousands of people have passed through these programs, providing the institute with up-to-date research on the effectiveness of lifestyle interventions.

Students at the college have the unique opportunity to not only watch the impact that lifestyle interventions has on its participants, but to also assist in publishing the incredible findings. Through a research methods class offered at the college, students have had the chance to publish papers in academic/scientific journals and to present this timely research at health conferences all around the United States.

Let’s take a look at the four students that recently had the opportunity to share this research at the Harvard Medical School during the New England Science Symposium (NESS) on April 8, 2018.


Lance Hofer-Draper
Lance Hofer-Draper speaking with one of the judges at NESS on April 8, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Lance Hofer-Draper)

Whether visiting the nursing home on a Saturday afternoon, encouraging strangers, or singing happy birthday in the cafeteria, the first thing you notice about Lance is his enthusiasm for service. Lance is a recent pre-med graduate from Weimar. Having been at Weimar all four years, he has seen the effectiveness of lifestyle medicine in his own life. He says, that lifestyle interventions “has a lot of potential that hasn’t been [uncovered] in helping people overcome disease. And so I see that God wants to really use lifestyle medicine more to bless others and He has put His approval on it.” This was Lance’s second time presenting at NESS. Lance also had the opportunity to present at another conference held by the North American Brain Injury Society (NABIS) in Houston this past March. The research topic Lance presented at NESS was: Self-reported vitamin B-12 intake in deficiency among Vegetarians.


Johanna Emerson at NESS on April 8, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Lance Hofer-Draper)
Johanna Emerson

Johanna is a junior at the college and is currently taking pre-med. She has a hard work ethic yet at the same time enjoys spending time with friends out of a class setting and cooking. Johanna took the Research Methods class as part of the prerequisites for graduating and was thrilled upon learning that her abstract topic was accepted for the NESS conference. Apart from presenting at NESS, she has also had the opportunity to present at the American Society of Regional Anaesthesia and Pain medicine (ASRA) conference in November 2017. Her research topic at the NESS was: The Relationship Between Poor Sleep Quality and Hypercholestoremia.



Monica Fukuda at NESS on April 8, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Lance Hofer-Draper)
Monica Fukuda

Before coming to Weimar, Monica had completed a degree in Spanish and worked as a teacher at a christian bible school called Soulswest. However, after having taught, she felt a strong call to study medicine. When looking for places to take classes, she was drawn to Weimar college because of the emphasis on medical missionary work and lifestyle interventions. Monica said, “being able to present at a conference in Harvard, about lifestyle interventions, which essentially is the Adventist health message. To me that is exciting. Because I really feel like the Adventist health message, is true medicine. If you practice that, that’s true medicine.”Monica graduated this past from the college and is waiting to join medical school. Monica is also the co-author of a book named Habits that Heal: Habits from America’s Longest Living People. Her research topic was: Lifestyle Interventions Improve Exercise capacity of those with COPD due to smoking.


Camille Kreuger at NESS on April 8, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Lance Hofer-Draper)
Camille Krueger

Camille is currently a junior at Weimar College. Camille’s research experience actually began as a senior while attending the Weimar Academy located on the campus of Weimar Institute. In the summer before her freshman year at college, she began working with the NEWSTART lifestyle program and began publishing scientific journals/papers with Dr. Eddie Ramirez, principal researcher at the Institute, and Dr. Neil Nedley, president of Weimar Institute. She enjoys playing the piano, outdoor activities, and being with family and friends. This was Camille’s first time publicly presenting any research at a conference. Her research topic was: The Effect of Autoimmune Disease on Emotional Intelligence.


At the conference, the four students had the unique opportunity talk with Harvard Medical School staff and other presenters. In talking to the judges, Monica remarked: “We are all on the same team and that team is relieving suffering humanity.”

Harvard Medical school where the New England Science Symposium took place on April 8, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Lance Hofer-Draper)

The judges at the conference were interested in the unique correlations in the research conducted at Weimar and how the students could practically implement the research on a much larger scale. The exposure allowed the students to further evaluate their own data, and look for ways to sharpen their data analysis skills.

However, the benefits went beyond merely the academic setting of Harvard Medical School. According to Camille, “the best part about going to Harvard wasn’t actually the conference…on Saturday [before the conference] we went to this small church. And we met some girls that were college students who were going to the symposium the next day. So that afternoon we actually were able to take [one of] them out to do outreach with us…So we took her out and she was excited because she was in a small church with maybe 10 members. And they were probably the only youth, at least that we saw. It was neat to just kind of give them a little bit of a taste of Weimar, and connect and build a friendship.”


Lance, Johanna, Camille and Monica working together in the library at Weimar College. (Photo: Joletta Redd)

Commenting on the vision of Weimar, Steve Brownell says, “to not have students would be the death of the program or vice versa….This is why this institution was founded. So that it [the research] would be taught to students and students would teach [it to others].”

“The program wasn’t to be apart from the education and really NEWSTART is just an extension of education, because it’s now using professionally those who have been educated in the health work to now implement that into the lives of those who are unwell, while teaching students how to do this work. And it’s been global in its effects, and that’s because we followed the methods of God outlined in the Bible.”

“There’s lots of research, and you can make research say what you want with the numbers, depending on how you research it. But I think probably, the most profound [research] is seeing someone, as was said in the bible by a man who had just received his sight: ‘all I know is that I was blind but now I see.’”

“When you see people who have been unwell: ‘I was told that I would have to have heart surgery. I had 90% occlusion and here I am a year later, I just got cleared. I’ve got veins like a teenager! My cardiologist’s jaw is on the floor. And they are sending more people to your program.’ That’s the research we really love because it actually is connected to a human being that just got their life back.”

Through sharing this timely research, students have the ability to fulfill Weimar’s vision of healing a hurting world.

Lifespan Development (3 Credits)

From conception to old age, this course explores focuses on the biological, psychological, and social developmental issues and milestones for each stage of the lifespan, paying particular attention to the aspects of context, culture, and environmental issues. Topics include, but are not limited to: parenting style (child guidance), social contexts, social stress, poverty, low educational attainment, abuse and neglect, gender and family issues salient to relationships, separation, nontraditional and blended families and inadequate housing and how these affect development. Issues of aging and long-term care are included.

Moral Identity and Faith as a Counselor (3 Credits)

This course explores the formation of the student therapist’s identity as a counselor within the framework of Christianity and how this plays out in a secular world of counseling. This course presents philosophical and ethical perspectives integral to the understanding of the contemporary psychologies. Students learn how to analyze the ethical bias of psychotherapeutic psychologies, identify their underlying philosophical assumptions, and develop an appreciation for the moral components in individual, marital, and family identity formation. Also included will be a workshop to enhance spiritual development.

Christian Counseling and Psychotherapy: Basic Theories and Skills (3 Credits)

This course develops an understanding of the major theoretical orientations used by current practitioners, focusing on systemic approaches. Theories provide a coherent framework for understanding how people change. This course will highlight the Biblical understanding of how change takes place. This course covers the concepts and techniques associated with the primary theories of counseling psychology: psychodynamic, existential-humanistic, cognitive-behavioral, and post-modern; in contrast with wholistic counseling techniques. Also included are the evidence-based treatments, limitations, and outcome research associated with each concept. The course also highlights cultural and spiritual diversity as it applies to the therapeutic process and awareness of the self, interpersonal issues, and spiritual values as they impact the use of theoretical frameworks. This course also introduces the student to basic skill in attending behavior, clinical interviewing and clinical intervention. Finally, this foundational course clarifies key issues in human nature and prepares the student for developing a worldview that is consistent with their theological and spiritual orientation.

Advanced Counseling Theory (3 Credits)

This course will examine several individuals, and family approaches for counseling. The development of specific behavioral, cognitive, humanistic/experiential, psychodynamic and systemic frameworks will be deconstructed. Student will distinguish Christian approach of addressing individual and family concerns. Students will be involved in experiential activities designed to relate the observation, demonstration and practice to research-based explanations. In this course, we will consider how each approach is used in clinical, school, and marriage and family counseling applications. Training in the use of the therapeutic relationship will be a focus for understanding and intervening with clients.

Group Processes in Counseling (3 Credits)

This course introduces students to the theory and practice of group counseling with children, adults, families, and couples. The course focuses on basic group counseling theory including therapeutic group factors, stages of group development, and principles of commonly accepted and research-based group interventions. The course will cover different types of groups, such as support, psycho-educational, and process groups; the tasks, skills, and qualities of effective group leaders; roles of group members; and legal and ethical issues pertaining to groups, group leaders; roles of group members; and legal and ethical issues pertaining to groups. Importance is placed on responsibilities and skills and cultural considerations. Emphasis on small and large group processes and involvement in experiential activities is designed to relate the clinical process to theoretical explanations. Throughout, there is an emphasis on group work within community mental health settings.

Child and Adolescent Counseling (3 Credits)

This course provides an understanding of the broad range of childhood and adolescent problems and maladjustment behaviors. A variety of psychotherapeutic modalities are presented, providing the student with an opportunity to develop knowledge of basic child and adolescent therapy skills, assessments, and treatment strategies. The impact of the development aspects, family dynamics, social environments, and multicultural issues are addressed. In addition, legal and ethical issues and the role of hospitalization are considered.

Addictions Counseling and Treatment (3 Credits)

This course covers the prevention, assessment, and treatment of substance abuse/dependence, behavioral addictions, and co-occurring conditions. Theories of etiology, populations at risk, and the role of persons and systems in supporting or compounding abuse/addiction are discussed. The course reviews the cognitive, affective, behavioral, and neurological effects of psychoactive drug use and the impact of addiction on the family system. Best practices for the screening, assessment, and treatment of addictions and co-occurring behaviors are covered as well as community resources for individuals and family members. Additional focus will be placed on developing understanding of Recovery Oriented Care, social and psychological implications of socioeconomic position, and cultural awareness and competencies.

Counseling Diverse Populations (3 Credits)

This course focuses on the intersection and convergence of culture, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, disability, socioeconomic status, religion, acculturation, and chronological age and how these inform effective mental health care. The goal is to increase awareness of multiple dimensions of diversity in order to prepare students to work sensitively and effectively with California’s multi-cultural population. Attention also is given to issues of privilege, marginality, and oppression, including sexism, racism, classism, ableism, ageism, and heterosexism. Theoretical perspectives on multicultural counseling will be examined as well as strategies for intervention and advocacy. This course will focus on eliminating biases, prejudices, and processes of intentional and unintentional oppression and discrimination. Throughout, effective strategies for communicating about emotionally charged material is emphasized.

Couples and Family Counseling: Post-Modern (3 Credits)

This course continues the study of the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of individuals, couples, and families using interactional and brief models. This course provides advanced training in the theories and techniques of modern and post-modern schools of family therapy including Cognitive Behavioral, Behavioral, Solution-Focused, and Narrative Therapy. Also included are the evidence-based treatments, outcome research, and limitations associated with each theory. Specific family issues addressed include: transition to parenthood, parenting young and school-age children, household division of labor, and blended families. Throughout, careful attention is paid to the historical and cultural context in which the theories were developed and the implications for working with diverse populations in recovery-oriented community mental health settings.

Christian Counseling and Psychotherapy: Advanced Techniques (3 Credits)

This course is designed to further develop the psychotherapeutic skills of students prior to their entry into a clinical placement. Students focus on developing proficiency in the core interviewing qualities, deriving goals for a clinical session, and in making contracts with clients for change. Additionally, students are encouraged to begin developing a theoretical and conceptual understanding of cases and trained to work with diverse populations. Students are also encouraged to address issues regarding the integration of their faith with the practice of psychotherapy.

Assessment of Individuals, Couples, and Families (3 Credits)

This course examines the application of psychological instruments to the assessment of individuals, couples, and families. Fundamentals of psychological assessment are reviewed including standardized and non-standardized testing approaches, basic statistical concepts, and moral, ethical and cultural considerations in assessment. The course will also provide an overview of issues related to cognitive assessment, achievement, aptitude, and neuropsychological assessment. Emphasis will also be on clinical, behavioral, and personality assessment.

Knowing God Better Through Career Development: Theories and Techniques (3 Credits)

This course prepares students to address the intersections of career, values, and life roles in the context of career counseling and responding to career and work-related issues

for majority and marginalized groups. Students will gain core knowledge of major career development theories; examine the implications of sociocultural factors on career development, work transitions, and the career counseling process; gain experience with career counseling assessments and resources; and become familiar with current career development literature.

Crisis and Trauma Counseling (3 Credits)

Students will develop a foundation for assessing and treating post-trauma reactions in adults along with an overview of trauma responses in children. We will begin by reviewing the variety of trauma populations followed by in-depth instruction on the mechanism of development major trauma concerns. The assessment and intervention of post-trauma conditions will be identified. Next, we will address clinical interventions including disaster mental health and exposure-based treatment. Finally, we will review issues affecting therapists working with trauma populations and self-care strategies to prevent compassion fatigue.

Research and Evaluation in Counseling (3 Credits)

The goal of this course is to enable students to become informed consumers of psychological research and to use current research knowledge and tools to improve treatment outcomes. Students will explore methods and issues associated with the conduct and use of research concerning phenomena relevant to counseling psychology. The course provides an overview of hypothesis generation, research design, data collection and interpretation, and utilization of research findings in clinical practice, while considering systemic and sociocultural influences. Students will review seminal research findings including research on specific treatments and common factors across treatments that improve therapy outcome. The course also provides students with assessment tools for evaluating mental health programs and the effectiveness of one’s own clinical practice. Emphasis is given to helping students become knowledgeable consumers of research, including the use of research to inform evidence-based practice.

Clinical Neuroscience and Psychopharmacology (3 Credits)

Fulfills the California Board of Behavioral Sciences requirement for surveying the use of pharmacological agents in patient care. This course provides a basic overview of neurobiology in order to understand the biological bases of behavior and the psychopharmacological treatment of mental disorders. The course includes information about commonly prescribed psychiatric medications for children and adults – indications, contraindications, mechanisms of action, side effects, drug-drug interactions, iatrogenics, and variability related to age, gender, ethnicity, and medical condition. Students will learn how to work cooperatively and effectively with clients, family members, and prescribing clinicians. Additionally, controversies related to the medical model and to specific prescribing practices will be explored.

Psychopathology & Diagnostic Processes (3 Credits)

This course examines the major types of psychopathology. It explores techniques of intake interviewing and determining mental status to formulate a differential diagnosis based upon the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Students will also recognize and understand the controversial history of the development of the DSM. The

course also includes a critical examination of the clinical and experimental literature in psychopathy. Etiologies of cognitive/affective functions and dysfunctions and implications for therapeutic intervention are also addressed.

Human Sexuality and Sex Therapy (3 Credits)

This course will provide students with an understanding of human sexual development with a particular focus upon sexuality counseling from a systems perspective. The goal of this course is to learn about the many facets of human sexuality and the treatment of sexual dysfunctions in a safe and respectful environment. Topics include the physiology, psychology, and sociology of sexuality, including the effects of sexual attitudes and functioning on individuals and families. Gender Identity and LGBTQ and sexual perspectives will be reviewed. Clinical applications, including the treatment of sexual difficulty and dysfunction will also be explored. Students will develop familiarity with the language and terms of sexology and demonstrate an ability to apply this knowledge to clinical situations. Finally, students will explore the above with a framework of Christian compassion and love, exploring how God created sex to be beneficial. A review of AIDS, HIV, and STDs will be given.

Legal, Ethical, and Professional Issues in Counseling (3 Credits)

This course introduces students to the legal, ethical, and moral issues related to the practice of LPCC and MFT in the state of California. This course focuses on contemporary professional law and ethics and moral dilemmas related to counseling practice. Students review statutory, regulatory, and decisional laws related to the scope of therapy practice, including confidentiality, privilege, reporting requirements, family law, and the treatment of minors. Professional codes of ethics (ACA, AAMFT/ CAMFT, and APA) will be reviewed. California law that is relevant to the practice of counseling will be examined including goals and objectives of professional organizations, standards of training, licensure, and the rights and responsibilities of professional counselors. Case examples will be discussed. Consideration is also given to the student practitioner’s values and behaviors, especially in relation to becoming a Christian therapist.

Practicum in Counseling (6, 3 per term)

The purpose of this course is to develop counseling competencies when working with a variety of clients with unique presenting concerns. Specifically, the focus will be on your ability to engage your clients in treatment, establish a working alliance, identify dysfunctional patterns, and use either general strategies or ECBIS strategies to facilitate change. You will work toward the development of a personally acceptable and professionally effective style of establishing and working in helping relationships. We will work toward helping you to examine your behaviors and rationales and to modify for greater effectiveness.

Course Prerequisites:
This is the terminal course for the program and will run concurrently with a weekly seminar that will address issues in counseling practice.