Dr. Justin Jordan first heard about Longwood’s Counselor Education program as a doctoral student at Virginia Tech. In 2018, he met former department chair of Longwood’s Master of Science in Counselor Education Dr. Kevin Doyle through the Virginia Counselors Association (VCA). Doyle quickly became Jordan’s mentor, and the two collaborated to establish the Virginia Association of Addiction Counselors (VAAC), a special interest section within VCA.
“There was no organization specifically for counselors who treat addictions in Virginia, so we sought to change that,” said Jordan. “Since then, we have hosted a panel discussion with national counseling leaders about cannabis legalization, hosted a sponsored breakfast at the VCA convention multiple times, and advocated for various legislation affecting addiction counseling and people who use substances. We created a ‘professional home’ for these counselors to support one another and celebrate their successes.”
As Jordan grew to know Doyle, he grew to know Longwood. He discovered a student-focused program with multicultural and social justice perspectives — a program that acted as a launchpad for students’ careers in mental health and school counseling. Most importantly, he discovered a program with an intentional focus on cultivating connections between faculty and students.
Jordan knew that at a place like Longwood, he could expand his impact. Just as Doyle had mentored him, he could build relationships that would help students change lives.
Jordan joined Longwood’s faculty in the summer of 2022.
“Longwood is a great fit for me because of the emphasis on teaching and student mentorship,” he said. “The legacy I hope to cultivate is making the world a better place by sending the next generation of counselors into communities to help people heal. Longwood puts students first, and that helps me work towards this goal.”
As a professor, Jordan’s experience counseling clients at an Appalachian community services board and in a Southwest Virginia private practice informs his teaching. During this time, Jordan advocated for telehealth, home-based mental health services and rural mental health outreach. He championed LGBTQ+ specific services and compassionate care for clients struggling with substance use. Today, he continues to support these communities in his classroom.
“I bring in real-world examples from work with clients, as well as what I saw about how systems work,” he said. “This includes the drug court and probation system, as well as how mental health agencies struggle with meeting the needs of these client populations. My top priorities as an instructor are promoting a destigmatizing mindset and building a passion for helping clients in these populations.”
Jordan also pursues advocacy on a broader level through research and publication. In June 2022 he co-authored an article, “Advancing access to Medicare-funded mental health treatment during the opioid epidemic: A counselor advocacy analysis,” which highlighted ongoing efforts to achieve Medicare parity for counselors, including those treating substance use.
Today, with a nod to Doyle, Jordan continues to place relationships at the center of his teaching, emphasizing co-constructed learning in the graduate classroom.
“Our graduate counseling students come into the program with meaningful ideas and rich experiences related to mental health and wellness,” he said.
Jordan sends them into the community ready to make a difference.
“I see counselors as superheroes who help people make changes that improve their lives, which has ripple effects that make families and communities healthier.”