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Cristen Wathen, PhD, LCPC, NCC


Tenured Associate Professor

Contact Information:

Other Positions:

Director of the Center for Educational Excellence




Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Counseling, May 2013
Idaho State University, Pocatello, Idaho, CACREP Accredited
Dissertation: Visions in Our Heads: Lived Experiences of Cross-Cultural Study
Abroad Trips for Counselors-In-Training

Master of Science in Education, Community Counseling, May 2005
Baylor University, Waco, Texas


Dr. Wathen is an Associate Professor in the Counseling Department at Palo Alto University and the director of PAU's Center for Educational Excellence. Her research and writing center on innovative pedagogy and andragogy both online and in person, Group Counseling, and mental wellness needs for those with chronic illnesses and organ transplantation. She has a background in working with survivors of trauma and child sexual abuse. She also has experience counseling and advising college students and working with underserved populations in educational settings.   Cristen attended Baylor University for her master’s and Idaho State University for her PhD. Before joining PAU, she was an Assistant Professor at Montana State University for four years.  She has served as the Rocky Mountain Association for Counselor Education and Supervision president and as the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision's secretary among other professional service positions.  She is a licensed counselor in California, Montana and in Idaho and is Board Certified in Telemental Health.

Areas of Interest:

Innovative Pedagogy, Group Counseling, Chronic Illness & Organ Transplantation

Selected Publications:

Sheperis, D., Gomez, R., Wathen, C., Frank, M., & Brown, L. (In Press, Accepted May 2022). Addressing isolation, loneliness and mental health of older adults living during COVID-19: A university training partnership with senior living communities.  Gerontology and Geriatrics Education.

Wathen, C., Speciale, M., Chen, Szu-Yu, & Sheperis, D. (2021). Effective online synchronous group counselor training: Challenges, strengths, and solutions. Journal of Technology in Counselor Education and Supervision, 1(1).

Chen, Szu-Yu, Coker, K., Wathen, C., & Sheperis, D. (2021). Effects of clinical skills training: Technology and pedagogy for the quality virtual classroom. Journal of Technology in Counselor Education and Supervision, 1(1). DOI:

Chen, Szu-Yu, Wathen, C., Speciale, M. (2020). Online clinical training in the virtual remote Environment: Challenges, opportunities, and solutions. The Professional Counselor, 10(2). doi:10.15241/syc.10.1.78

*Brown-McCormick, L. M., Todd, S., Schmuldt, L., Russ, K., & Wathen, C. (2019). Clinical implications in Vaginal Orgasm Response. Journal of Counseling Sexology & Sexual Wellness: Research, Practice, and Education, 1(2).

Koltz, R. L., Smith, A., Tarabochia, D. S., & Wathen, C. (2017). A pedagogical framework for counselor educators working with millennial students. Journal of Counselor Preparation and Supervision, 9(1).

Meekums, B., Wathen, C., & Koltz, R. (2016). Technology as a bridge: Developing inter-cultural understanding through a student videoconference. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling. doi: 10.1080/03069885.2015.1135875.

*Koltz, R., Tarabochia, D., Wathen, C., Koltz, D., Foote, A., Cuyle, N., Volkman, A. (2016).
Living well into later years: A psychoeducational support group. In ideas and research you can use: VISTAS 2016. Retrieved from source/vistas/article_15e3bf24f16116603abcacff0000bee5e7.pdf?sfvrsn=4

Bohecker, L., Vereen, L., Wells, P. & Wathen, C. (2016). A mindfulness experiential small group: A study to explore ambiguity. Counselor Education and Supervision 55, 16-30. doi: 10.1002/ceas.12030. (equal participation by both Wells & Wathen).

*Bateman, J., & Wathen, C. (2015). Understanding rape myths: A guide for counselors working with male survivors of sexual violence. In ideas and research you can use: VISTAS 2015. Retrieved from 2015/docs/default-source/vistas/understanding-rape-myths

Wathen, C. & Kleist, D. (2015). Internationalization of counselor education: Exploring the lived experiences of counselors-in-training internationally. The Qualitative Report. 20(1), 59-83.

Wathen, C. & Wells, P. (2015). Sharing strengths. In K. Goodrich and M. Luke
(Eds.), Group work experts share their favorite supervision activities. Alexandria, VA: Association for Specialists in Group Work (ASGW).

Wells, P. & Wathen, C. (2015). Open to page 57. In K. Goodrich and M. Luke
(Eds.), Group work experts share their favorite supervision activities. Alexandria, VA: Association for Specialists in Group Work (ASGW).

*Kostohryz, K., Wells, P., Wathen, C. & Wilson, D. (2014). More than a vacation:
Exploring the impact of reentry for international sojourners. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 36(4), 315-327.

Bohecker, L., Wathen, C., Wells, P., Salazar, B. (2013). Mindfully educating our future: A group curriculum for training emergent counselors. Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 39(3), 257-273. doi: 10.1080/01933922.2014.919046.

Wells, P. & Wathen, C. (2013). Our photos, our voices. In J.S. Glass and K. Dotson-Blake (Eds.), Online group activities to enhance counselor education (pp. 65-71). Alexandria, VA: Association for Specialists in Group Work (ASGW).
*Gardner, R., Adkins, J., Gillespie, W. & Wathen, C. (2012). Needs assessment for counseling LGBT clients. Vistas 2012. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.

Harrawood, L., Wathen, C. & Nelson, J. (2012). Music and lyrics: Understanding addiction cravings. ACA-ACC Creative Interventions and Activities Online Clearinghouse, Charter Member.

Harrawood, L., McClure, C. & Nelson, J. (2011). Using experiential activities to prepare counselors-in-training to understand the power of cravings when addressing clients with addiction. Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, 6(2), 105-117, doi: 10.1080/15401383.2011.579872.


Websites and Other Relevant Links:

Upcoming research projects:

Wathen, C., Chapman, D. & Cordova, M. (2022). Needs assessment: Mental health support for polycystic kidney disease and organ transplantation. (Received $2260 for research funding Fall 2021 from PAU OAA)

Wathen, C., Vaishnav, S., & Coker, K. (2021). Virtual reality in the counseling classroom: Experiences of innovative technology for counselors-in-training.  Awarded by PAU Office of Academic Excellence Innovative Grants.  Grant   Award Amount: $5338.