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Introducing the Counseling Faculty at ULM

Below the Counseling faculty introduce themselves and share a little about some of their professional and personal interests.


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Dr. Thomas Foster, Program Director and Associate Professor (he, him, his)

Dr. Thomas Foster has served as the Program Director at ULM for five years and takes great pride in this program. He currently teaches Clinical Assessment and Psychometrics, Diagnostics in Counseling, Psychopharmacology in Counseling, and Trauma Counseling.

Dr. Foster is LPC licensed in Louisiana, identifies as a trauma therapist, and is trained in EMDR. During his clinical practice, he primarily worked with trauma cases and utilized EMDR. Dr. Foster also identifies as a quantitative methodologist and some of his writing interests center on trauma, loss and grief, and lifespan development.

On a personal note, he enjoys many things when not working. He likes swimming laps at the gym and lifting weights, pursuing projects around the house, and attending rock concerts all over the United States. He has also ridden in the Tucks parade during Mardi Gras for the last 11 years. 




Dr. Janys Murphy Rising (she/they), Clinical Associate Professor and Addictions Coordinator 

Dr. Janys Murphy Rising is a Clinical Associate Professor. They have practiced for over two decades counseling adolescents, families, LBGTQ, co-occurring substance use disorders, and eating disorders. Dr. Murphy Rising has led research on a yoga intervention for counselors with compassion fatigue and has published on career counseling resources for lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. Janys has presented at numerous conferences on topics including spirituality in counseling, motivational interviewing, treating suicidal patients, self-care and counselor identity, trauma and the brain, and the Enneagram. Dr. Murphy Rising received a BA in from The Evergreen State College, her MA in Counseling Psychology from St. Martin’s University, and their Ph.D. in Counselor Education from Oregon State University. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and Substance Use Disorder Professional (SUDP), an Accredited Child Mental Health Specialist (CMHS), and an Approved Clinical Supervisor in Washington State. When not counseling or teaching, they enjoy gardening, drinking coffee, podcasting, swimming, being out in nature, and hanging with their spouse, dog, and 3 cats.  




Dr. Ruoxi Chen, Associate Professor and Marriage, Couple, and Family Co-Coordinator

Dr. Ruoxi Chen is an Asssociate Professor in the Counseling Program. She graduated from Virginia Tech with a doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy. Currently, she teaches the Research in Counseling, Lifespan Development, and Internship courses. Dr. Chen is LPC and LMFT licensed in the state of Louisiana. Her research interests focus on family and relationship dynamics, and cross-cultural comparisons. Dr. Chen is currently building a Marriage, Couple, and Family concentration in the Counseling Program for students interested in working with couples and families. 





Dr. Tonya Elliott (she, hers), Clinical Associate Professor and Marriage, Couple, and Family Co-Coordinator

Dr. Elliott is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and holds a Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Clinical Supervision. She is of Cherokee and Pawnee descent and has been deeply immersed in her cultural practices for over 25 years.  She has 14 years of graduate level teaching experience both in online and in-person in counseling-specific programs, 10 years in counseling program administrative leadership and 20+ years in the field of mental health conducting psychotherapy and clinical supervision via agency work, private practice and consulting. Her strengths are in teaching cultural competency, trauma recovery, social justice and community building.  She regularly engages in social justice advocacy for the Native American Community, both in research and program implementation. She has always looked to positively affect social change, as a counselor, clinical supervisor and educator. She believes that working in higher education is not just a job, it’s a calling. Being part of the solution in decolonizing theoretical approaches to therapy is her life’s work and joy.




Dr. Poppy Moon, School Counseling Coordinator

Dr. Poppy Moon is a Board Certified Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor (LPC-S) and a Certified School Counselor. She graduated magna cum laude from Centenary College of Louisiana with a BS degree in Chemistry and a minor in French.  She obtained her masters degree in Counselor Education from Texas A & M Commerce.  Dr. Moon attended the University of Alabama to earn her Ph.D. in Counselor Education, focusing on child and adolescent issues. 

Dr. Moon is an accomplished author and illustrator of guidance related games, books, and DVDs.  Operation Breaking the Boy Code & Operation Breaking the Girl Code, Operation Breaking the Middle School Code, Kicky the Mean Chick, How to Be a Bully – NOT!, and Good Friends/Bad Friends & How to Know the Difference are just some of her creations.  Dr. Moon was thrilled to receive a Mom’s Choice Gold Award for her book that she both wrote and illustrated, The School with No Rules.  Two other books she illustrated, Brad Takes a Bite Out of Meanness and Princess Priscilla and the Bully Bee Day both received Mom’s Choice Silver Awards. Her first game, Snoots Toots! A Kids Guide to Empathy & Manners, received a Dr. Toy Best Game Award. Youthlight is the publisher of her products. 

Dr. Moon was selected as the Alabama School Counselor of the Year in 2015. 

She has worked with Out of This World Productions to create streaming guidance media for counselors and teachers.  OTWP produced digital material for the Cengage text Counseling Children

She believes that her goal in life is to help counselors be better counselors.  She says, “There is magic in what we do.  We change lives.”




Dr. Yolanda Dupre, Associate Professor

Dr. Dupre has been a professor at ULM for the last 19 years. She earned her Masters degree in Counseling from Loyola University New Orlans and her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from University of New Orleans. She has taught every class in the curriculum during her time in the program, and is licensed as a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor (LPC-S) and Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT) in Louisiana. Dr. Dupre is a National Certified Counselor (NCC), Certified School Counselor, and Certified Tricare counselor. Her theoretical orientation is existential theory. 

Dr. Dupre's research interests include school counseling, women's issues, eating disorders, violence, workplace issues, trauma, substance abuse and addiction, play therapy, and supervision and efficacy in counseling. She is currently working on a project examining the experiences of African American Counseling faculty in higher education and recently presented on the topic entitled Fighting Endangerment: Race, Gender, and Power’s Affect on Female Faculty Retention. 




Dr. Michelle Dobson, Clinical Assistant Professor

Dr. Michelle Dobson is a licensed professional counselor in the State of Arkansas. She received both her Masters in Mental Health Counseling and her Doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision from Capella University. In addition, she is a Registered Play Therapist and Certified Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant. She has counseling experience with all ages and in many diverse settings including school-based, home-based, private practice, community clinic, and telehealth. She began teaching with the University of Louisiana Monroe in January 2021 as an adjunct professor. In Fall, 2023, became an assistant professor at ULM teaching Law and Ethics in Counseling, Multicultural Counseling, and Crisis Counseling. She additionally provides faculty supervision for practicum and internship students. Her research interests include ethics of counseling in non-traditional settings (including telehealth and home-based counseling) and integration of religion/spirituality into counseling. Dr. Dobson believes relationships provide the keys to both learning and healing. “It is through our relationships we are able to meet both our needs and the needs of others.”