PHOTO: Debbie Sturm

Debbie C. Sturm - Ph.D.

Counseling & Supervision Program Director


  • Ph.D. University of North Carolina at Charlotte (2008)
  • M.A.  University of North Carolina at Charlotte (2004)
  • B.A. Edinboro University of Pennsylvania (1988)


  • Licensed Professional Counselor in Virginia and South Carolina. Clinical experience has included:
    • Facilitating group experiences for families of cancer patients, grief groups, kid’s groups for those whose parents have cancer, as well as specific groups for Stage IV diagnosis, breast cancer, and young adult cancer.
    • Field clinician for Child Development Community Policing program, a Charlotte regional site for a Yale-based program designed to partner mental health practitioners with law enforcement. We provided immediate response and in-home counseling to children who witnessed or were victims of violent crime.
    • Clinician with Post Trauma Resources specializing in working with families and individuals who were victims or witnesses to crime and to children who were in the foster care system as a result of physical/sexual abuse or neglect. In addition to specialized treatment for crime victims, we also provided Psychological First Aid response throughout the region.
  • I am an outside girl and love all things active: cycling, running, hiking, kayaking, swimming, and just generally wandering around with my husband, Phil. I’ve been a triathlete since 1996, having completed more than 100 triathlons and running races, including four Ironman finishes.

Scholarly Interests/Research Topics

  • My research interests include:
    • Nature connectedness, sustainability, and mental health;
    • College sexual assault and Title IX;
    • Trauma and community violence; and
  • Selected books and publications include:
    • Sturm, D., & Gibson, D. (Eds.) (2012). Social Class and the Helping Professions. New York: Taylor Francis.
    • Sturm, D., & Metz, A. (2013). Toward an Ecological Self Amid an Empathy Epidemic: Higher Education, Psychology, and Mindful Connection with Nature. In Eppert, C., Lin, J., Oxford, R., & Brantmeier, E. (2013) Re-envisioning higher education: Embodied paths to wisdom and peace building.
    • Sturm, D., Metz., A., & Gibson, D., (Fall 2013). Opening the discussion on Title IX. Southern Association of Counselor Education and Supervision Newsletter.
    • Sturm, D. & Hill, C. (2013). Homeless children and play therapy. In Stewart, A. & Crenshaw, D. (Eds.) Guildford Handbook of Play Therapy.
    • Sturm, D. (2012). Substance abuse and trauma: A review of current research and practice implications for substance abuse counselors. (ACA 2012 VISTAS On-line peer reviewed journal).
    • Sturm, D., Sawin, E., & Baldwin, J. (2014). Understanding the decision-making process of gay and lesbian couples on becoming parents: A helping professionals guide. Journal of Clinical Mental Health Counseling. (ACA 2014 VISTAS On-line peer reviewed journal).
    • Field, T., Sturm, D., & Staton, A. (Fall 2013). Counseling Non-Western families through the immigration process to Western countries. The Virginia Counselors Journal.