All clinical services are provided by graduate student therapists and supervised by senior clinical faculty of the Department of Family Science. Supervisors are experienced Couple & Family Therapists who bring a variety of theoretical approaches and a broad experiential base to the students.
Clinical Faculty Supervisors
Patricia Barros, Ph.D., is a clinical fellow and approved supervisor in AAMFT, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in DC, and a Graduate Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of Maryland. Her special interests include gender and ethnicity issues, intimate partner violence, as well as on individual and family resiliency.
Patricia Barros, Ph.D
Director of Center for Healthy Families
Reduced Fees for Veterans
A special fund has been established to provide couple and family therapy services to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (OEF & OIF) -- 5 sessions at no cost. Please contact the CHF directly to inquire about utilizing this service.
Leigh Leslie, Ph.D. is a clinical fellow and approved supervisor in AAMFT and a Licensed Psychologist and Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of Maryland. She is a fellow of the National Council on Family Relations. Her special interests include gender and ethnicity issues, military families, interracial couples, and work and family issues.
Leigh Leslie, Ph.D
Director of Clinical Education
Mariana K. Falconier, Ph.D. is a clinical fellow and approved supervisor in AAMFT and Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist in the states of Maryland and Virginia. She is a clinical fellow in AAMFT. Her special interests include diversity issues, stress and couples, immigration and financial stressors, emotion regulation, psycho-education programs. She is the developer of TOGETHER, a couples' program that integrates relationship and financial education
Mariana K. Falconier Ph.D
Couple and Family Therapy Faculty
Reena Bernards, M.S., LCMFT graduated from the University of Maryland CFT program in 2008, and joined a private group practice providing therapy for children, adolescents, families, and individual adults. Reena approaches therapy from the perspective of building on the strengths of the individuals and creating a supportive environment for change within the family. She is certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy, an attachment based clinical treatment for couples and families. Her other preferred models include Narrative Therapy and Child-Centered Play Therapy. She has a special interest in multicultural and adoptive families. She received a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a Bachelor of Arts from Brandeis University. Reena is an AAMFT Approved Supervisor, certified as a mediator, and has experience working as an organizational development consultant and a diversity trainer.
Merlene Blair-Brown, M.S., LCMFT is a licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes with individuals ages two through a hundred-and-two. She is the founder of a holistic practice located in Baltimore County, Maryland called The Thusong-A Place of Help. Merlene is a clinical fellow of the American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy (AAMFT) and is also a Registered Nurse. Merlene is an AAMFT Approved Supervisor and has experience dealing with marital issues, anger problems, depression, and stress. Through the use of varied therapeutic techniques, Merlene encourages clients to build bridges; tear down communication barriers and begin on the road to wholeness with deeper levels of self-realization. She is a graduate of Southern Connecticut State University with a Bachelor of Nursing & Masters of Family Therapy.
Wendy Wilcox, M.S., LCMFT is a graduate of the department’s Couple and Family Therapy Program, and has been a supervisor with the Center of Healthy Families since 2007. She is a Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist in Maryland as well as an AAMFT Approved Supervisor and Clinical Fellow. Wendy is the Director of Bowie Youth & Family Services, where she has been on staff for twenty years. Her areas of professional interest include parenting issues, as well as the family treatment of addiction and traumatic experiences. Wendy also owns a private practice, where she specializes in EMDR and other treatments for trauma.
Jodi Cobb, Ph.D., LCMFT is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Maryland, an AAMFT clinical fellow and supervisor candidate, and a graduate of the University of Maryland CFT Program. She sees clients at her private practice, Peer Bridges, LLC in Ellicott City and at Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery and Education in Virginia. Jodi also holds graduate degrees in school psychology and was a School Psychologist with the Howard County Public School System before her MFT licensure. She has received training in Theraplay®, play therapy, interventions for children with problem sexual behaviors, Relationship Development Intervention (RDI®), trauma-focused play-based interventions, and the Extended Play Based Developmental Assessment (EPBDA). She is also a Registered Circle of Security Parent Educator. Jodi has experience and interest in working with families impacted by autism spectrum disorders, attachment issues, adoption, foster care, sexual abuse, trauma, and LGBTQ issues.
Samuel H. Allen, LMFT, is a licensed marriage and family therapist in a clinical practice just south of DuPont Circle in Washington, DC. He a clinical fellow of AAMFT and an approved supervisor candidate. Sam's special interests include couple relationships, infidelity, and intimacy issues. Sam has a particular penchant for queer, feminist, and attachment theories, and enjoys working with diverse clientele, including sexual and gender minorities, racial and ethnic minorities, and interracial, intercultural, and interfaith couples.
Samuel H. Allen
Shy Porter, M.S., LCMFT, is a licensed clinical marriage and family therapist in the state of Maryland. She is a graduate of the Couple and Family Therapy program at the University of Maryland, College Park and is completing a PhD in Family Science, also at the University of Maryland. Shy works in private practice in Bethesda, MD and is particularly passionate about working with couples at all relationship stages, as well as adolescent and adult individuals. As a doctoral-level researcher, Shy conducts research at the intersection of reproductive health, mental health, and couple relationships; in other words, she examines the influence that reproductive health issues exert on mental health and relationship processes, as well as the ways in which the couple relationship and mental health might impact reproductive health. Shy's preferred therapy models include cognitive behavioral therapy, emotionally focused therapy, The Gottman Method, and narrative therapy. She is an AAMFT Clinical Fellow and Supervisor Candidate. Before coming to the University of Maryland, Shy received a Bachelor of Arts from Syracuse University, where she completed a double major in Psychology and Public Relations, as well as a minor in Child and Family Studies.
Laura Golojuch is an AAMFT Approved Supervisor Candidate and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who practices near Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Laura graduated from the University of Maryland's Couple and Family Therapy program and is currently completing her Ph.D. in the Department of Family Science. Her clinical interests include working with young adults through family of origin issues and life transitions, premarital therapy, and trauma. Laura's preferred models are Narrative and Solution Focused, and DBT. Laura likes to incorporate mindfulness into her clinical practice and her supervising.
Ms. Allen-Benton is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She most recently served as Interim Assistant Clinical Director at Virginia Tech’s Center for Family Services. Ms. Allen-Benton has provided therapeutic services in a variety of settings including, the DC School system, low-income clinics, and private practice. Additionally, she is an American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists Approved Supervisor and spent six years on the Maryland Board of Professional Counseling. Ms. Allen-Benton retired from the Federal Government after 33-years of service in the areas of Human Resources and Administrative Services. She has a long history of volunteering in programs devoted to families including Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and the Friends of DC Superior Court. That interest led her to pursue a master’s degree in Family Therapy. Ms. Allen-Benton lives with her husband in Fort Washington, Maryland.