Victor Counted, Ph.D.
Dr. Victor Counted is a research psychologist and associate professor in the School of Psychology and Counseling at Regent University. He specializes in health, positive, environmental psychology, and clinical and applied psychology of religion. His work primarily examines various aspects of psychosocial and psychospiritual processes that shape health and well-being across cultures, including how the interactions between people and their environments affect human behavior.
Counted has an interdisciplinary background in theology and social sciences and holds a Ph.D. in Health Psychology from Western Sydney University (Australia) and a second Ph.D. in Psychology of Religion from The University of Groningen (The Netherlands). He is a Faculty Affiliate of Harvard University’s Human Flourishing Program, an Honorary Fellow of Western Sydney University’s School of Psychology, a nominated Fellow of the International Society for Science and Religion, and a founding member of the Society for the Psychology of Religion in Australia and New Zealand (SPRANZ). He is also a Researcher Rating Assessor for the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa and an Editorial Board Member for Mental Health, Religion, and Culture.
Counted has authored over 50 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters in various academic journals and books on themes that coalesce around his research interests, including religion and well-being, human flourishing, adult attachment processes, psychology of religious places, place and disaster psychology, and contemporary issues related to spiritual care.
In addition, Counted has served as a reviewer for numerous journals and is the author of Place and Post-Pandemic Flourishing: Disruption, Adjustment, and Healthy Behaviors (Springer, 2021), The Roots of Radicalization: Disrupted Attachment Systems and Displacement (Lexington Books, 2021), and lead editor of The Psychology of Religion and Place: Emerging Perspectives (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019) and Place, Spirituality, and Well-being: A Global and Multidisciplinary Approach (Springer, 2023).
Before his current position at Regent University, Counted worked as a Research Fellow at the School of Psychology at Western Sydney University, Australia, where he researched adult attachment processes associated with health-related quality-of-life outcomes in vulnerable migrant communities in Australia. He also taught undergraduate and postgraduate social sciences, psychology, public health, research methods, and statistics courses at Western Sydney University.
Prior to joining academia, he was co-founder and executive director of a global non-profit organization providing support services and visibility to young social entrepreneurs in Africa. He also served as a pastor in Africa, Europe, and Australia and still enjoys pouring into different ministries around the world through his teaching and writings.
Counted’s work is a bridge between psychology and theology. He is trained as a health psychologist, practical theologian, and social scientist. His research objectives can be broadly grouped into the following:
- The integration of psychology of religion and mental health.
- The promotion of human flourishing through cross-cultural approaches to human-environment relationships.
- The impact of global change stressors (e.g., pandemics, conflicts) on health behaviors and human flourishing.
- The evaluation and promotion of resilience strategies to enhance community well-being, improve quality of life, and reduce disparities in health outcomes among vulnerable individuals and communities.
- The link between attachment, radicalization, and deradicalization across geo-political, religious, and interpersonal contexts.
- The relationship dynamics between religious/spiritual experiences and human-environment interactions.
- The use and development of transcultural assessment tools for mental health practitioners and researchers.
Counted looks forward to continuing to work with researchers, practitioners, and community members in Virginia and beyond to advance health and well-being. He is always committed to teaching and mentoring the next generation of psychological scientists and practitioners passionate about supporting, sustaining, and strengthening what makes communities flourish.
Ph.D., Health Psychology, Western Sydney University, Australia
Ph.D., Psychology of Religion, University of Groningen, Netherlands
Counted, V, Ramkissoon, H., Captari, L., & Cowden, R.G. (eds.) (forthcoming, 2022). Place, Spirituality, and Wellbeing: A global and multidisciplinary approach. Springer
Counted, V, Cowden, R.G., & Ramkissoon, H. (2021). Place and Post-Pandemic Flourishing: Disruption, Adjustment, and Healthy Behaviors. Springer
Counted, V. (2021). The Roots of Radicalization: Disrupted Attachment Systems and Displacement. Lexington Books/Rowman & Littlefield
Counted, V. & Watts, F. eds. (2019). The Psychology of Religion and Place: Emerging Perspectives. Palgrave MacMillan.
Kent, B.V., Cowden, R.G., Counted, V., Davis, E.B., Rueger, S.Y. (in press). Do Religious/Spiritual Factors Moderate the Effect of Suffering on Religious/Spiritual Struggles? A Prospective Longitudinal Study. Journal for the Social Scientific Study of Religion
Captari, L. E., Cowden, R. G., Sandage, S. J., Davis, E. B., Bechara, A. O., Joynt, S., & Counted, V. (2022) Religious/spiritual struggles and depression during COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns in the Global South: Evidence of moderation by positive religious coping and hope. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality 14(3), 325–337. https://doi.org/10.1037/rel0000474
Shiba, K., Cowden, R.G., Counted, V., VanderWeele, T.J., & Fancourt, D. Associations of home confinement during COVID-19 lockdown with subsequent health and well- being among UK adults. Current Psychology. Advance online publication: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-022-03001-5
Neff, M.A., Masilela, L., Cowden, R.G., & Counted, V. (2022). Religion, Migration, and the New African Diaspora: A Psychological Perspective. Journal for the Academic Study of Religion https://doi.org/10.1558/jasr.21032
Counted, V. & Abraham, I. (2022). Introduction to the Special Issue on Religion, Spirituality, and the New African Diaspora. Journal for the Academic Study of Religion https://doi.org/10.1558/jasr.21071
Cowden, R.G., Davis, E.B., Counted, V., Chen, Y., Rueger, S.Y., VanderWeele, T.J., Lemke, A.W., Glowiak, K.J., Worthington Jr., E.L. (2021). Suffering, Mental Health, and Psychological Well-being During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Longitudinal Study of U.S. Adults with Chronic Health Conditions. Wellbeing, Space, and Society 2, 100048. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wss.2021.100048
Cowden, R. G., Rueger, S. Y., Davis, E. B., Counted, V., Kent, B. V., Chen, Y., VanderWeele, T. J., Rim, M., Lemke, A. W., & Worthington, E. L., Jr. (2021). Resource loss, positive religious coping, and suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic: A prospective cohort study of U.S. adults with chronic illness. Mental Health, Religion, & Culture. Advance online publication: https://doi.org/10.1080/13674676.2021.1948000
Counted, V, Neff, M., Captari, L., Cowden, R. (2021). Transcending place attachment disruptions during a public health crisis: Spiritual struggles, resilience, and transformation. Journal of Psychology and Christianity 39(4), 276-286.
Possamai, A., Long, G., & Counted, V. (2021). An Analysis of Australian Research Council’s Grants in Religion. Journal for the Academic Study of Religion 34 (1), 74-95 https://doi.org/10.1558/jasr.20133
Renzaho, A., Counted, V., Mansouri, F., Polonsky, M. (2021). The influence region of origin, area of residence prior to migration, religion, and perceived discrimination on acculturation strategies among sub-Saharan African migrants in Australia. Journal of International Migration and Integration 23 (1), 141-160 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12134-021-00829-x
Counted, V., Pargament, K., Bechara, A.O., Joynt, S., & Cowden, R.G. (2020). Hope and well-being in vulnerable contexts during COVID-19 pandemic: Does religious coping matter? The Journal of Positive Psychology 17 (1), 70-81 https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2020.1832247
Possamai, A., Jinks, T., & Counted, V. (2020). Conventional and unconventional forms of religiosity: identifying predictive factors and wellbeing outcomes. Journal for the Study of Spirituality 10(2), 155-170. https://doi.org/10.1080/20440243.2020.1817249
Counted, V., Possamai, A., McAuliffe, C., & Meade, T. (2020). Attachment to Australia, Attachment to God, and Quality of Life Outcomes in African Christian Diaspora. Journal of Spirituality in Mental Health 22(1), 65-95. https://doi.org/10.1080/19349637.2018.1499165
Counted, V. (2019). The Role of Spirituality in Promoting Sense of Place among Foreigners of African Background in the Netherlands. Ecopsychology 11(2), 101–109. http://doi.org/10.1089/eco.2018.0070
Counted, V. (2019). Domains of Religious Coping Behaviour among African Christians in New South Wales, Australia: An exploratory qualitative study. Journal of Spirituality in Mental Health 21(3), 215-236. https://doi.org/10.1080/19349637.2018.1476948
Counted, V. & Zock, H.T. (2019). Place Spirituality: an attachment perspective. Archive for the Psychology of Religion 41(1), 12–25. https://doi.org/10.1177/0084672419833448
Counted, V. & Watts, F. A Space of Transition and Transaction: A rejoinder to selected commentaries on place spirituality. Archive for the Psychology of Religion 41(1), 43–52. https://doi.org/10.1177/0084672419832673
Counted, V. (2019). Sense of Place Attitudes and Quality of Life Outcomes among African Residents in a Multicultural Australian Society. Journal of Community Psychology 47(2), 338-355. https://doi.org/10.1002/jcop.22124
Counted, V., Moustafa, A.A., & Renzaho, A. (2019). Migration and socio-demographic factors associated with the sense of place attitudes of sub-Saharan Africans in northern and western Netherlands. Journal of Community Psychology 47(2), 238-253. https://doi.org/10.1002/jcop.22118
Counted, V. (2019). African Christian Diaspora Religion and/or spirituality: A concept analysis and re-interpretation. Critical Research in Religion 7(1), 58-79. https://doi.org/10.1177/2050303218823258
Counted, V. (2018). The Circle of Place Spirituality: Toward a motivational systems theory in the psychology of religion. Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion 29, 149-178. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/9789004382640_009
Counted, V. (2018). Global avoidant attachment predicts indicators of caregiving faith in Australian-based African Christians in New South Wales. Journal for the Academic Study of Religion 30(1), 55-74. https://doi.org/10.1558/jasr.36551
Counted, V., Possamai, A., & Meade, T. (2018). Relational Spirituality and Quality of Life 2007 to 2017: An integrative research review. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 16:75. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12955-018-0895-x
Counted, V. & Miller, J.R. (2018). Pastoral Juxtaposition in Spiritual Care: Toward a caregiving faith theology in an evangelical Christian context. HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 74(2), a4630. https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v74i2.4630
Counted, V. (2017). Attachment Theory and Religious Violence: Theorizing Adult Religious Psychopathology. Journal for the Study of Religion 30(1), 78-109. http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2413-3027/2017/v30n1a4
Counted, V. & Watts, F. (2017). Place Attachment in the Bible: The role of attachment to sacred places in religious life. Journal of Psychology and Theology 45(3), 218-232. https://doi.org/10.1177/009164711704500305
Counted, V. & Moustafa, A.A. (2017). Between God and Self: Exploring the attachment to God and authenticity/inauthenticity tendencies of South African Christian youths. Mental Health, Religion & Culture 20(2), 109-127. https://doi.org/10.1080/13674676.2017.1326476
Counted, V. (2016). Making Sense of Place Attachment: Towards a Holistic Understanding of People-place Relationships and Experiences. Environment, Space, & Place 8(1), 7-32. https://doi.org/10.5840/esplace2016811
Counted, V. (2016). Being Authentic is the New Image: A study of authenticity and selfhood among south African Christian millennials. Mental Health, Religion and Culture 19(3), 268–294. https://doi.org/10.1080/13674676.2016.1168388
Counted, V. (2016). The Psychology of Youth Faith Formation: A Care-giving Faith? Journal of Youth and Theology 15 (2), 146 – 172. http://doi.org/10.1163/24055093-01502004
Counted, V. Missionizing Youth Identity Crisis: Towards a missional hermeneutic of care in youth ministry practice. Missionalia: Southern African Journal of Missiology, 41(1), 82-102. https://doi.org/10.7832/44-1-141
Counted, V. & Arawole, J. ‘We Are Connected, But Constrained': Internet Inequality and the Challenges of Millennials in Africa as Actors in Innovation. Journal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship 5(3), 1-21. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13731-015-0029-1
Counted, V. (2016). God as an Attachment Figure: A Case Study of the God Attachment Language and God Concepts of Anxiously Attached Christian Youths in South Africa. Journal of Spirituality in Mental Health 18(4), 316-346. http://doi.org/10.1080/19349637.2016.1176757
Counted, V. (2015). God Images and God Concepts: Towards a pastoral hermeneutic of the God attachment experience. Verbum et Ecclesia 36(1), a1389. https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v36i1.1389
Counted, V. (2015). African Women, Religion, and Health: Essays in Honour of Mercy Amba Ewudziwa Oduyoye. Journal of Religion and Health 54(6), 350–354. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10943-015-0153-z
Cowden, R.G., Counted, V., & Ho, M.Y. (2022). Positive Psychology and Religion/Spirituality Across Cultures in Africa, Asia, and Oceania. In: E. B. Davis, E. L. Worthington, Jr., & S. A. Schnitker (eds.), Handbook of positive psychology, religion, and spirituality. Springer.
Counted V., Cowden R.G., Ramkissoon H. (2021) Protest, Despair, and Detachment: Reparative Responses to Place Attachment Disruptions During a Pandemic. In: Place and Post-Pandemic Flourishing, pp 55-67. Springer https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-82580-5_5
Cowden R.G., Counted V., Ramkissoon H. (2021) Transcending Place Attachment Disruption: Strengthening Character During a Pandemic. In: Place and Post-Pandemic Flourishing, pp 81-92. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-82580-5_7
Cowden R.G., Counted V., Ramkissoon H. (2021) Adapting to Place Attachment Disruption During a Pandemic: From Resource Loss to Resilience. In: Place and Post-Pandemic Flourishing, pp 71-80. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-82580-5_6
Cowden R.G., Counted V., Ramkissoon H. (2021) Place Attachment and Suffering During a Pandemic. In: Place and Post-Pandemic Flourishing, pp 45-54. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-82580-5_4
Counted V., Cowden R.G., Ramkissoon H. (2021) Place Attachment and Resource Loss During a Pandemic: An Ecological Systems Perspective. In: Place and Post-Pandemic Flourishing, pp 33-44. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-82580-5_3
Counted V., Cowden R.G., Ramkissoon H. (2021) Place Attachment During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Scoping Review. In: Place and Post-Pandemic Flourishing, pp 15-32. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-82580-5_2
Counted V., Cowden R.G., Ramkissoon H. (2021) Place Attachment During a Pandemic: An Introduction. In: Place and Post-Pandemic Flourishing, pp 1-11. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-82580-5_1
Counted V., Cowden R.G., Ramkissoon H. (2021) Pro-environmental Behavior, Place Attachment, and Human Flourishing: Implications for Post-pandemic Research, Theory, Practice, and Policy. In: Place and Post-Pandemic Flourishing, pp 93-108. Springer https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-82580-5_8
El-Essawy, M.H.I., Solimana, A.M.A., Morris, A., Counted, V., Eissaa, A.M., Valikhanic, A., & Moustafa, A. A. (2021). Religious delusions in psychotic patients: Prevalence, possible origin, and effects. In: Moustafa, A.A. (ed.), Cognitive and Behavioral Dysfunction in Schizophrenia (pp. 87-113). Academic Press https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-820005-6.00001-3
Counted, V. & Possamai, A. (2020). Confidence in the Australian Society, Belief in Demons, and Practice of Exorcism: The mediating and moderating role of spirituality. In: A. Possamai & G. Giordan (eds.), The Social Scientific Study of Exorcism in Christianity, (pp 217-236). Springer. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-43173-0_12
Counted, V. (2020). Attachment Theory and the Study of Religion. In: Adam Possamai and Joseph Blasi (Eds.), SAGE Encyclopedia for the Sociology of Religion. SAGE. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781529714401
Counted, V. (2020). Quantitative Data Research Software. In: Adam Possamai and Joseph Blasi (Eds.), SAGE Encyclopedia for the Sociology of Religion. SAGE. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781529714401
Counted, V. & Watts, F. (2019). Defining the psychology of religion and place: a concept analysis. In: V. Counted & F. Watts (eds.), The Psychology of Religion and Place: Emerging Perspectives. Springer/Palgrave MacMillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-28848-8_16
Counted, V. (2019). The Psychology of Place Spirituality: A Cascade of Parallel Processes. In: V. Counted & F. Watts (eds.), The Psychology of Religion and Place: Emerging Perspectives. Springer/Palgrave MacMillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-28848-8_9
Counted, V. & Watts, F. (2019). An Introduction to the Psychology of Religion and Place. In: V. Counted & F. Watts (eds.), The Psychology of Religion and Place: Emerging Perspectives. Springer/Palgrave MacMillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-28848-8_1
Counted, V. & Meade, T. (2019). Why and How Environmental and Religious Attachments Matter for Health Promotion. In: V. Counted & F. Watts (eds.), The Psychology of Religion and Place: Emerging Perspectives. Springer/Palgrave MacMillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-28848-8_15
Counted, V. (2019). Religion, Place, and Attachment: An Evaluation of Conceptual Frameworks. In: V. Counted & F. Watts (eds.), The Psychology of Religion and Place: Emerging Perspectives. Springer/Palgrave MacMillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-28848-8_3
Counted, V. (2022). Consider the Least of These: Sternberg’s Three Principles of Love and COVID-19. Christianity Today. https://www.christianitytoday.com/better-samaritan/2022/april/consider-least-of-these-sternbergs-three-principles-of-love.html
Counted, V., Cowden, R., & Kaftanski, W. (2022). Remembering our lost ties to place. ABC Religion & Ethics. https://www.abc.net.au/religion/remembering-our-lost-ties-to-place-due-to-the-pandemic/13757822
Counted, V. (2021). Can radicalisation be defeated? Yes, if we understand that it happens when people’s bonds are broken. The Conversation https://theconversation.com/can-radicalisation-be-defeated-yes-if-we-understand-that-it-happens-when-peoples-bonds-are-broken-168399
Counted, V. & Cowden, R.G. (2021). Sustaining Well-being in the Absence of Hope. Psychology Today! https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/hope-resilience/202101/sustaining-well-being-in-the-absence-hope
Counted, V. (2020). Migrants and the bond with God: attachment and survival are linked. The Conversation https://theconversation.com/migrants-and-the-bond-with-god-attachment-and-survival-are-linked-128873
Counted, V., Pargament, K.I., Cowden, R.G. (2020). Hope and religion in a time of crisis: evidence from Colombia and South Africa. The Conversation https://theconversation.com/hope-and-religion-in-a-time-of-crisis-evidence-from-colombia-and-south-africa-149093
Counted, V. (2020). Can religious coping help bushfire survivors? Psychology Today! https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/hope-resilience/202001/can-religious-coping-help-australian-bushfire-survivors
Counted, V. (2020). The Security of Place and Resilience. Psychology Today! https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hope-resilience/201903/the-security-place-resilience
Counted, V. (2019). Experiencing God in a Foreign Land. University of Groningen News https://www.rug.nl/ggw/news/archive/2019/experiencing-god-in-a-foreign-land?lang=en
Harvard University’s Human Flourishing Program
American Psychological Association
International Association for the Psychology of Religion
International Association for People-Environment Studies
Society for the Psychology of Religion in Australia and New Zealand
Global Flourishing Study
Place Attachment Network
Western Sydney University’s School of Psychology
Australian Association for the Study of Religion
Society for the Scientific Study of Religion
Society for the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality
Fellow (FISSR) of the International Society for Science and Religion, 2021
Recipient of the Wessel Ganzevoort Award for outstanding PhD thesis, University of Groningen, 2019
Dean’s HDR Research Award, Western Sydney University, 2016
Research Fellowship Award, Stellenbosch University, 2015
Leadership Excellence Award (Student Union President), West Africa Theological Seminary, 2012