Office of Professional Training
The Office of Professional Training (OPT) provides dedicated support for students enrolled in a program that has a clinical or professional training experience component. The OPT includes a Professional Training staff who work in connection with the program directors, clinical directors, and key faculty to promote accessible world-class student clinical and professional training experiences by providing quality training programs and services that ensure student success throughout their experiential learning.
To connect with the Office of Professional Training, please email [email protected].
What We Do
- Guide and mentor students leading up to and throughout their training process
- Connect and maintain relationships with potential training sites throughout the United States and internationally
- Ensure training sites and supervisors are in alignment with regulatory and accrediting bodies
- Implement and maintain state-of-the-art software that allows for tracking of training elements such as graduation hour requirements, site options, supervisor options, and documents for licensing
- Assist students if they encounter issues with their training
- Collect, evaluate, and analyze student and site performance data to continuously improve the clinical training experience
- Collaborate with program leaders and faculty in the academic review of student progress in training
- Actively seek, consider, and implement feedback from our students, sites, supervisors, faculty, and staff to continuously improve processes
Program Specific Support
- Oversees the Community-Based Counseling Program (CBCP) for those students in the California Master of Counseling and Psychology Doctorate (PsyD) programs. The CBCP is a training site that provides outpatient health and psycho-education services to the greater Bay Area community through partnerships with K-12, college, and community agency settings. Supervision is also provided to students who engage in their training with this program. More information on the CBCP can be found at www.nu.edu/cbcp-program. The Professional Training team is actively working on expanding this to other geographic areas within and outside of California, while working to include other programs.
- The OPT also supports the Psychological Assessment Clinic (PAC) in Pleasant Hill, California. This program allows students in the PsyD program to provide assessments to those aged 5 and above, while also receiving direct supervision. More information on the PAC can be found at www.nu.edu/psychological-assessment-clinic-pac.
Timothy Ford is Associate Dean of Professional Training and Academic Operations of the JFK School of Psychology and Social Sciences. Mr. Ford received both his bachelor’s degree and master’s in counseling psychology at National University and is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). He has over 25 years of experience in managerial and executive leadership roles in the private sector at companies including FedEx and Yahoo, as well as within the mental health field. Mr. Ford joined John F. Kennedy University (JFKU) as Director of Clinical Operations for JFKU’s Community Counseling Centers in 2017 and was the Director of Clinical Training for the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology program from 2018-2020. With the closure of JFKU at the end of 2020, Mr. Ford transitioned to National University, serving as Executive Director of the JFK School of Psychology until assuming the role of Associate Dean for the expanded JFK School of Psychology and Social Sciences in 2022. Prior to joining the university, Mr. Ford was the clinical program director for residential treatment centers and Medi-Cal funded school-based mental health programs in the Bay Area, as well as a therapist in private practice since 2009. As a clinical supervisor for over a decade, Mr. Ford is passionate about training and developing new therapists to meet the demands of the continuously changing mental health profession, especially for historically underserved populations.
To contact Mr. Ford, please email [email protected].
Cassandra Lettenberger-Klein, PhD, LMFT
Dr. Cassandra Lettenberger-Klein (Dr. LK) is the Senior Director of Clinical Training in the JFK School of Psychology and Social Sciences and oversees the Office of Professional Training. Dr. LK received her master’s degree in marriage and family therapy (MFT) from Purdue University and her doctorate degree in MFT from Florida State University. Prior to working as the Senior Director of Clinical Training, Dr. LK was the Director of MFT Clinical Training at Northcentral University. Dr. LK has held various roles in academia since 2010, including faculty, supervisor, and director. She has also practiced since 2010 and still maintains a small caseload. Dr. LK endeavors to support all those involved in the professional training process with a focus on efficiency, consistency, and accuracy. She is passionate about empowering students to understand and direct their educational experience so that they have the skills needed to achieve their professional goals.
To contact Dr. LK or for or for more information regarding the Office of Professional Training, please email [email protected].
Rachel Butterfras, MA
Rachel Butterfras is the Director of Professional Training for the JFKSOPSS. She has a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from Abilene Christian University. She has worked in higher education for over 11 years serving students as an academic advisor, clinical coordinator and manager of academic operations.
To contact Ms. Butterfras, please email [email protected].
Lindsay Sweetnam, MA, LMFT
Lindsay Sweetnam, LMFT is the Manager of Clinical Training and oversees the Community-Based Counseling Program and operations for the Psychological Assessment Clinic at the JFK School of Psychology and Social Sciences at National University. After receiving her BA from the University of Oregon, she returned to her native Bay Area, CA to pursue her Master’s in Counseling Psychology at the University of San Francisco. She had direct clinical experience working in a variety of settings including K-12 schools, shelter-based and permanent supportive housing for homeless and formerly homeless families, and an adolosecent inpatient psychiatric facility before moving into the field of domestic violence. She spent 10 years in the field of domestic violence in roles from direct services and community education to Community Programs Director at the oldest and largest domestic violence agency in San Francisco. She joined formerly JFKU in 2017 as a Clinical Supervisor before moving into her current role in 2022.
To contact Ms. Sweetnam, please email [email protected].
Shauntis Bussey, MA, LMFT
Shauntis Bussey is the Clinical Training Director with the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology (MAC) program. Ms. Bussey graduated from the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University with her second master’s degree in 2016. Ms. Bussey is a solution-focused licensed marriage and family therapist who has dedicated 14+ years to empowering and developing people, programs, and organizations to fulfill their vision for success and build a lasting legacy. She is also an undercover National Park explorer and elevated camping enthusiast. She loves karaoke, chai lattes, and Denzel Washington movies.
To contact Ms. Bussey or to learn more about the Master’s in Counseling Psychology training program in California, email [email protected].
Jenna Wilson, PhD, LMFT, CCTP
Dr. Jenna Wilson is the Director of Clinical Training for the Marriage and Family Therapy Program. She earned a bachelors in psychology with a minor in sociology, a Masters and PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy. As a professor since 2015, she has taught several MFT courses in masters and doctoral programs and has clinical experience in various settings working with diverse populations as clinical director of behavioral health and substance use treatment centers, a therapist in non-profit and for-profit organizations, and currently in private practice. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, an AAMFT-Approved Supervisor, and Qualified Supervisor as well as a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional. Dr. Wilson is passionate about supporting masters and doctoral students throughout their MFT training and beyond.
To contact Dr. Wilson or to learn more about the Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy training program, email [email protected].
Emily Schmittel, PhD, LMFT
Dr. Emily Schmittel is the Associate Director of Doctoral Marriage and Family Therapy Clinical Training. Emily received her PhD in Human Development and Family Studies- with a specialization in Couple and Family Therapy from Michigan State University. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and AAMFT Approved Supervisor. Dr. Schmittel practiced couple and family therapy in private practice for nearly 10 years before transitioning to full-time faculty with Northcentral University. Dr. Schmittel’s main clinical and research experience is on therapy with child welfare involved families. She has published in the areas of criminal justice, child welfare, and telesupervision. She continues to supervise and mentor local clinicians in Springfield, MO. In her role at NU, Dr. Schmittel assists doctoral MFT students in planning their clinical courses. She is passionate about assisting doctoral students in designing experiences that align with their personal passions, professional goals, and local community needs.
To contact Dr. Schmittel or to learn more about the Marriage and Family Therapy Doctoral training programs, email [email protected].
Sharon Christensen, PsyD
Dr. Sharon Christensen is Director of Clinical Training for the PsyD Program and the lead faculty for the Correctional/Forensic Concentration. She teaches the Integrated Professional Seminar course focused on developing students’ clinical proficiency and professional development skills. She brings 20 years of experience as a clinician working with diverse, underserved populations. Her culturally informed clinical style helps her provide effective psychological services across populations in order to meet the diverse needs of the community. As Director of Clinical Training, Dr. Christensen actively mentors students from a developmental trajectory perspective meeting with students one-on-one to provide individualized support throughout the student’s clinical development as they matriculate through the program. Dr. Christensen is focused on meeting students where they are and providing them the support and clinical experience needed to reach their career goals in the field of Health Psychology.
To contact Dr. Christensen or to learn more about the Psychology Doctorate (PsyD) training program, email [email protected]
Julie Hayden, MA, CMPC
Julie Hayden-Blackburn, MA, CMPC is the Director of Fieldwork Placement for the MA in Sport Psychology program. Ms. Hayden earned her MA in sport psychology from formerly JFKU in 2017 and her BS in psychology from Michigan State University. Ms. Hayden is driven to provide a rewarding and challenging fieldwork placement experience for student-interns with this program, offering an unparalleled applied experience. She is extremely proud to be part of this fun and hard-working team. Ms. Hayden also teaches for the MA in Sport Psychology program, specializing in fieldwork preparation and applied execution of mental performance techniques. Ms. Hayden’s passion in the sport psychology field lies within enhancing sport and performance culture to promote healthy and safe motivational climates where athletes and performers are empowered to become the best versions of themselves, with a particular focus in gymnastics as a centerpiece of her private practice.
To contact Ms. Hayden or to learn more about the Master’s in Sport and Performance Psychology fieldwork training program, email [email protected].
Robyn Hudson, PhD, LCSW
Dr. Hudson is the MSW Field Education Director in the CSWE Master’s of Social Work program. Dr. Hudson earned her master’s degree in social work from Radford University and her doctorate degree in education and curriculum at Virginia Tech. She has served as a social worker in the field and held various academic positions. Her areas of expertise include child and family social work, community disaster response, behavioral health, medical social work, and supervision.
To contact Dr. Hudson or to learn more about the Master’s in Social Work program, email [email protected].
The OPT embraces the mission and vision of National University. More information about NU’s mission, vision, and the 5 Pillars of Support can be found on our 5 Pillars of Support – Supporting The Whole You. The OPT is working to enable students to build relationships and make a positive impact in communities outside of their academic setting both before and after graduation, and to ensure we are contributing to building each student’s supportive ecosystem through each of the five pillars.
The OPT is committed to continuing to improve the training experience for all students within JFKSOPSS programs.
Professional Training staff will continue to work with program leadership in facilitating a direct and clear connection to the student’s licensing board, so that students can continue their career journey post-graduation.
Family Life & Community
Professional Training staff offer assistance and direct connection to students through email, phone calls, and video conferencing at various times so that students can more easily balance their academic, personal, and work responsibilities.
Efforts are being made to look at funding sources to support students who are engaging in their training component of their program.
Social & Emotional
In partnerships with other resources within the University, the OPT is working to increase awareness and availability of resources that promote mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. To that end, students are encouraged to access TimelyCare as needed. More information on TimelyCare be found here. More information on support for students, faculty, and staff can be found at Whole Person Center.
Clinical Records Requests
Current or former clients of formerly JFKU’s Community Counseling Centers or counselors in our CBCP’s community or school placement settings can request access and copies of their psychotherapy records from the Office of Professional Training. Please review the Client Record Request Packet.
If you have questions about the process for requesting records, feel free to contact the OPT at [email protected].