Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. Board Certified Psychodramatist and Psychodrama Trainer.

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.
It will not lead you astray.”



Catherine D. (Cathy) Nugent is a licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC) and Board-certified psychodramatist and psychodrama trainer (TEP) with advanced clinical training and formal academic preparation as an adult educator. Cathy’s Resume

Central to Cathy’s practice and philosophy is the belief that body, mind and spirit are inextricably interwoven. Cathy’s approach affirms the innate human tendency toward health and wholeness, and she embraces a strength-based approach in all her endeavors.

Cathy teaches and practices with a holistic and integrative approach that can help clients and students access the full array of strengths, resources and skills for healing, learning and development. Some of these human capacities for personal and professional development include:

  • drawing on the body’s wisdom for greater self-awareness;
  • learning to focus the mind toward new, more affirming life narratives affirming
  • opening the heart to give and receive loving kindness;
  • being receptive to messages from Self/Spirit (as personally defined), and
  • learning to take wise and courageous action.

All of Cathy’s work as a psychotherapist, educator, consultant and program innovator/administrator is informed by her long-standing study of existential and transpersonal psychology and her practice of yoga, mindfulness and diverse spiritual practices. As a therapist and educator who teaches the importance of self-care, Cathy keeps herself well through practicing yoga, reading fiction, listening to music, and enjoying the support of family and friends and the companionship of her cat, Biggie.

Biggie the Cat

Career Development

Early in her career, Cathy worked as a Training Specialist with the Interpersonal Skills Training Project at the Johns Hopkins University School of Health Services. With her colleagues at the now-defunct School, Cathy used role-play and behavioral simulation to teach and evaluate health practitioners’ interpersonal skills with patients. Hopkins sent Cathy to a week-long training at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, to learn the current state-of-the-art in using behavioral simulation for teaching and training in medical settings. With the Hopkins Interpersonal Skills Project, Cathy co-authored several papers that were accepted for publication in peer-reviewed medical journals.

As an Educational Program Developer with Maryland Hospital Education Institute, Cathy developed and conducted training and organization development programs for hospital personnel, such as: Care for the Dying Patient; Essential Patient Education Skills; and hospital team-building. To this role, Cathy brought her ongoing interest in experiential learning methods, such as role-play and behavioral rehearsal.

After discovering psychodrama through a mini-course at Hopkins while pursuing her first degree, Cathy began a 10-year stay at Spring Grove Hospital. Cathy began at Spring Grove as an intern in a two-year psychodrama training program led by Rene M. Clay. Following the untimely death of her first psychodrama mentor, Rene Clay, Cathy took over the psychodrama program at the hospital. During her tenure at Spring Grove, Cathy led psychodrama groups for patients  developed and facilitated training programs for hospital staff, and conducted outreach and education programs for the community.

Following her tenure at Spring Grove, Cathy worked for 20 years with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In this capacity, Cathy was one of the lead architects in SAMHSA’s efforts to shift the national paradigm away from a traditional, deficit-based model of behavioral health services toward a strength-based, trauma-informed and recovery-oriented approach. Through this ground-breaking work, Cathy earned a national reputation as a thought leader on recovery and recovery-oriented services and systems. Read here William White’s 2013 interview with Cathy about the recovery movement and her work at SAMHSA.

Education/Professional Training

Cathy has completed two Master of Science degrees from the Johns Hopkins University—one in Applied Behavioral Science and the other in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. In addition to her graduate education, Cathy has pursued extensive specialized training that has allowed her to become a nationally certified psychodramatist and psychodrama trainer through the American Board of Examiners in Psychodrama, Sociometry and Group Psychotherapy.

Cathy completed Level 1 training in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, an approach that taps into the body’s innate intelligence and works well with the psychodramatic method. As a certified Imago Relationship Therapist, Cathy has a deep respect for the sacred space for healing that couples and groups can consciously co-create.

Cathy completed yoga teacher training with the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine, and she also pursued training, through the Kripalu Center in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, in Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra. Yoga Nidra is a form of deep relaxation that facilitates a meditative and healing state of consciousness. As a 40+ year practitioner of her own yoga practice, Cathy has developed and teaches a highly accessible style of this ancient, integrative healing practice called Gentle, Mindful Yoga for Every Body.

Academic/Professional Leadership

Cathy is currently an adjunct faculty member with the Johns Hopkins University in the graduate program in clinical mental health counseling. She teaches three well-received elective courses she designed:

  • Role-Play and Related Experiential Methods in Counseling;
  • Self-Care and Wellness for Counselors; and
  • Spirituality as a Resource for Mental Health Counseling.

In 2014, Cathy was elected to the American Board of Examiners in Psychodrama, Sociometry and Group Psychotherapy (ABE), where she has served as Ethics Chair, Vice-President and, currently, President. The ABE provides oversight to the certification process for psychodramatists, which is critically important to ensure the highest practice standards and integrity of the profession and its practitioners.

As a former Executive Editor of the Journal of Psychodrama, Sociometry, and Group Psychotherapy, Cathy used her expert knowledge of psychodrama and group psychotherapy to provide peer review and editorial recommendations and approval for the publication of submissions. She is the author of several articles published in peer-reviewed journals and her creative writing has appeared in literary magazines.

Cathy has proven herself a respected and effective leader in the psychodrama field. She has twice served as President of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama (MAC-ASGPP), was Chair of the ASGPP’s Evaluation Committee, and served on the ASGPP Nomination Committee.

Cathy is a highly sought-after conference presenter and workshop leader at the annual conferences of the ASGPP and with the MAC-ASGPP. She presents workshops on clinical topics regularly for the National Association of Social Workers/Maryland Chapter. Cathy has also presented plenary presentations and workshops at conferences of the American Group Psychotherapy Association/Mid-Atlantic Chapter, the American Mental Health Counselors Association and the National Association of Social Workers Conference.

A recent honor in Cathy’s psychodrama career was the invitation to present a three-day pre-conference workshop and conference plenary presentation at the 2018 Conference of the Taiwan Association for Psychodrama. At the Conference, Cathy also executed an historic Memorandum of Agreement regarding psychodrama certification between the American Board of Examiners in Psychodrama, Sociometry & Group Psychotherapy and the Taiwan Association for Psychodrama.

Early Days at Spring Grove (1981-1983)

Cathy's Trip to Taiwan--February 2018

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