Running Strong Together: Weimar University at the Lake Tahoe Marathon

On Sunday, October 15, 2023, Weimar University was back and even bigger at the Lake Tahoe Marathon. With around 160 participants, Weimar University had representatives in every event of the day including the 5K, 10K, Half-Marathon, Full-Marathon, and 72-mile Midnight Express Ultramarathon around the entirety of Lake Tahoe. Staff, students, and faculty from both Weimar University, Weimar Academy, and Weimar Elementary took to the beautiful course for the purpose of raising funds for Weimar University’s scholarship fund.

While the focus of the run was the goal of raising money for students, it was also an opportunity to foster a sense of family among all who attended. Tanya Schulterbrandt, Weimar University’s Student Finance Advisor, remarked on the camaraderie of Weimar’s team. “I’ve participated in many marathons and have enjoyed them all. I find exercise is a fantastic way to come together with friends and family. The Tahoe Marathon was an exceptional experience because not only was I able to enjoy a beautiful location, but I was able to do it with my Weimar family. And crossing the finish line after being so tired was so reviving as every Weimar family member encouraged me to finish strong in the run we all participated in together!”

At the finish line, a group of the previous Weimar finishers gathered together to cheer on their fellow runners. Each white “Weimar University Running” shirt that turned the corner to the home stretch was spurred on by boisterous cheers and applause. Q. Melidor, Weimar Academy’s Student Association President, noted the team spirit of Weimar’s runners. “The Lake Tahoe marathon not only tested our endurance but also rekindled the spirit of unity within our campus. Each step I took brought more purpose to me. The happiness at the end was all worth it, and I’m glad I got to be a part of it.”

Many students had trained for many weeks for the Tahoe run. Pastor Paul Ratsara, the man behind the running fundraiser idea, held several training sessions to teach runners the basics of safe and efficient running. In addition, he went on training runs with several runners who were to run longer distances, such as the full and ultra marathons. Emily Bouit, one of Weimar’s University’s students who ran the half-marathon, was glad for the great motivation to stay active. “I loved the Tahoe run because it kept me motivated to practice good exercise habits.” She explained. “I enjoyed seeing so many others waking up early to run in the mornings too! After having spent the effort to train for the run, I felt a great sense of accomplishment from completing it, especially in doing it together with all the other Weimartians.”

As a testament to the impact of properly planned training and lifestyle education here at Weimar, many runners came in first place for their age category in their events. Many others placed in the top three in their categories. One Weimar University student, Aidan Martel, placed 3rd overall in the full marathon. Aidan is known by his friends and schoolmates for prioritizing discipline in his health and fitness and this paid off in his running performance. Despite the high elevation and many steep hills on the course, he was able to achieve a podium finish.

Arguably, the most active and outspoken advocate of the health benefits of good health and frequent training, both in word and in action, is Pastor Ratsara himself. Pastor Ratsara’s endurance and energy at his age never cease to baffle and inspire the youthful university and academy students. One of the most driven and determined of Weimar University’s student runners, Jonathan D’ugo, trained for the full marathon with Pastor Ratsara. “‘Run this in your mind; visualize!’ is what Pastor Ratsara would say as we circled around Tahoe in the car,” Jonathan reported as he recounted his time in training. “It was a pleasure training with Pastor Ratsara, running with my classmates, and sharing Weimar with people from the community. I’m glad to hear the booths Weimar setup successfully resulted in health coaching, Bible studies, and friendships.”

At the finish line, Weimar University’s HEALTH students took the opportunity to share the principles that keep Weimar’s family healthy by holding a health expo at a finish-line booth. The health expo booth offered health coaching, including taking vital signs such as blood pressure and blood sugar. HEALTH students also offered massages, which were a hit among the participants of the run. Some students ran themselves before coming to assist at the booth. “I am no athlete,” Noa David, a current HEALTH student, confessed, “so I only ran the 5k, but I was still exhausted by the end of it. The last thing I wanted to do was work in the booth. However, just sitting there and watching people smile and feel the love we were serving completely energized me! It was a true blessing.”

At the end of the day, the health expo had served over 100 people, including children. In addition to their focus on health, the expo also offered runners the opportunity to attend Bible studies. During the health expo, four marathoners signed up for Bible studies with the pastor of the nearby South Lake Tahoe Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

“The Lake Tahoe run was not simply a fun experience but also a great opportunity to come together as a school community for a good cause,” Dr. Forde, a physician enrolled in the Weimar University Master’s in Biblical Mission and Wellness program, reported. “Everyone seemed to have had a wonderful time running to raise funds and to also minister to other runners. I had the opportunity to talk with many about their health and the connection between physical and spiritual health using NEWSTART. It was quite rewarding!”

“Life is like a marathon,” Jonathan D’Ugo explained as he reflected on the lessons he learned in training with Pastor Ratsara and running the marathon. “Visualize the goals, embrace the hills, and conquer before you begin. Then you run and never rest until you finish. The run was a great lesson of embracing pain. Each mile, counting down closer to the goal, was surely difficult. Yet the end was worth it, to finally be finished and see the great Weimar family all at the end. It’s parabolic to heaven… I’m excited to do it all again next year.”

This year’s Tahoe Marathon fundraiser is continuing to raise funds for the growing student body, and plans for next year’s Tahoe Marathon are in the works. If you would like to help Weimar’s family in this endeavor, feel free to go to

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.