Christopher Rybak

Department Chair & Professor

Westlake Hall 345
(309) 677-3193

Ph.D. in Educational Psychology/Counselor Education from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
M.S. in Education/Educational Psychology from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
B.A. in Sociology from Illinois State University


Dr. Christopher Rybak is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Leadership in Education, Human Services, & Counseling.  Professor Rybak has served as Chair of the Department of Leadership in Education, Human Services, & Counseling since 2004 and teaches in the Human Development Counseling Graduate program.  

In 2009 Dr. Rybak received a Fulbright Award to research indigenous healing practices in Nepal while developing a graduate curriculum in counseling.  This Fulbright experience included presenting at a national Indian conference and group counseling workshops to psychology graduate students at Fergusson College in Pune, India. 

Dr. Rybak received a previous Fulbright Award in 2002 to research indigenous healing methods in India.  While there he presented on various topics including group counseling, strength-based assessments, and mind-body integration to faculty and graduate students at several Indian institutions of higher education.  

In 2012 he presented at a counseling conference in Dharamsala, India where he had the extraordinary privilege of meeting the Dalai Lama. 


Dr. Rybak's courses include Group Counseling, Counseling Diverse Populations, Pre-Practicum, Practicum and Internship.


Dr. Rybak's research interests center on the holistic approaches of Eastern and Native American psychologies, incorporating mindfulness approaches in promoting counselor wellbeing and positive mental health.

Since joining the department in 1993, Dr. Rybak has explored aspects of diversity, both locally and globally, and has presented papers at international conferences in India, Thailand, Nepal, China, Spain, and Australia.

In 2013 The International Journal for the Advancement of Counseling published his article entitled “Nurturing positive mental health: Mindfulness for wellbeing in counseling”

Dr. Rybak co-authored Group Leadership: Interpersonal Process in Group Counseling and Psychotherapy (2004) and has served on the editorial board of The Journal for Specialists in Group Work since 1998. 


Dr. Rybak serves as President of the Illinois Association for Specialists in Group Work, selected in 2014 as the outstanding branch by the national Association for Specialists in Group Work.

Locally, Dr. Rybak serves on the Council of Seven Circles Heritage Center, Edwards, IL that seeks to preserve and restore indigenous culture while improving cross-cultural understanding and respect. Through collaboration with people of Native American heritage, he explores common themes of healing in Native American practices and counseling while publishing and presenting workshops based on these themes. 

Licensures & Certifications

Dr. Rybak is a National Certified Counselor and a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in Illinois.