David  P. Cecil
Associate Professor
School of Public Health
Department of Social Work
Office: 1593 CHS Building 1
Email: dcecil1@samford.edu
Phone: 205-726-4633

David Cecil, Ph.D., LCSW is an associate professor in Samford University's Master of Social Work program and his private practice, Optimize Counseling and Therapy, is located in Mountain Brook, Alabama.  Cecil previously served as an associate professor at Asbury University from 2009-2016 where he taught in the Master of Social Work program and chaired the Behavioral Sciences Department (2013-2016).  He was also on faculty with East Tennessee State University’s Master of Social Work program from 2004-2009; he was the M.S.W. program director during the 2008-2009 academic year. 

In his practice Cecil specializes in anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety, obsessive compulsive and panic disorders. He also does family counseling that includes areas of depression, substance dependence, and relational difficulty.  He has published on topics of cognitive-behavioral modalities, motivational interviewing, program and practice evaluation, teaching practice models, and technology use.  He contributed a chapter to the Essential Clinical Social Work Series (Tosone & Rosenberger, 2012) and published on Russian substance abuse treatment in Substance Use and Misuse (Stoltzfus & Cecil, 2013). Cecil annually teaches psychopathology at LCC International University in Klaipeda, Lithuania and is currently researching the German social work response to the Syrian and Afghan refugee crisis with Samford colleagues Rachel Hagues and Ken Stoltzfus.  

Degrees and Certifications

  • Ph.D., social work, University of South Carolina
  • M.S.W., University of Kentucky
  • B.A., psychology, University of Kentucky


Clinical counseling and therapy practices, mental health, program evaluation, research, policy analysis, international education and research 

Recent Publications

  • Placido, N. & Cecil, D. (2014). INSTRUMENT: Needs Assessment Survey for Congregation Based Social Work. PSYCTests. 
  • Placido, N. & Cecil, D. (2014). Implementing best practices for needs assessment and strategic planning systems: a case study. Social Work & Christianity, 41 (1).
  • Stoltzfus, K., & Cecil, D. (2013). “A different atmosphere of love”: a qualitative study of the experiences of participants in faith-based addiction rehabilitation programs in the Russian Federation. Substance Use and Misuse, 48(12). 
  • Cecil, D., & Stoltzfus, K. (2013). Relational Social Work Practice with Evangelical Christian Clients. In Tosone & Rosenberger (Eds.) Essential Clinical Social Work Series. New York: Springer Books. 

Recent Presentations

  • Cecil, D., Bolton, K., & Schmidt, G. (2015). DSM-5: Beyond skepticism and into practicality. 65th Conference of the North American Association of Christians in Social Work. Pursuing Shalom: Serving Our Neighbors Locally and Globally. 
  • Cecil, D. (2013). Competency based social work education. 1st Annual Russian Orthodox University Social Work Education Conference. Moscow. Russia.
  • Cecil, D. (2013). Competency based social work education. 1st Annual Russian Orthodox University Social Work Practitioner Round-Table. Moscow. Russia. 
  • Cecil, D. (2013). Defining issues of social justice: a model for efficiency and precision. 6th Annual Academic Conference of the Lithuanian Christian College-International University. Whose Justice? Global Perspectives in Dialogue. 

Research Areas

Clinical practice, mental health diagnostic practices, social work practice models, program and practice evaluation, comparative analysis of international social work (e.g., response to refugee crisis)


  • Kentucky Society for Clinical Social Work, president, 2014-2016
  • North American Association of Christians in Social Work, president, 2009-2011