Clara E. Hill and graduate students at the Maryland Psychotherapy Research Lab meet

Counseling Psychology Spotlight

photo of Interim Dean Laura Stapleton

Our counseling psychology program is a world leader in the field, with a long history of producing groundbreaking research and eminent alumni. One of the first programs accredited by the American Psychological Association in 1953, we help prepare new generations of scientist-practitioners.

Our renowned faculty, drawn from the College of Education and the College of Behavioral & Social Sciences, are leading the way in scholarship on diversity and social justice, counseling and psychotherapy, and career development. Our research grapples with ways to improve the personal, educational, and vocational lives of people from diverse backgrounds and on how to intervene on individual, group, and systems levels.

We seek to understand what makes psychotherapy helpful or unhelpful in order to improve the practice of counseling psychology. Our scholarship also focuses on major developmental transitions in healthy adults, particularly around navigating career paths and educational development.

At Maryland, we leverage our deep faculty expertise to better prepare students through an intense focus on mentoring. Our students work with leading scholars in the field, and often go on to prominent careers in academia and counseling.

Located outside of Washington, D.C., faculty and students benefit from access to federal funding agencies and to the nation’s top research centers and nonprofit organizations, as well as a diverse community in which to practice and learn.

Celebrating 100 years of leadership in education, our College of Education looks forward to continuing to advance the field of counseling psychology and improve the quality of life for individuals and communities.


Laura M. Stapleton
Interim Dean and Professor, UMD College of Education

Counseling Psychology Highlights

 Our counseling psychology faculty are widely recognized for their eminence in the field.

  • 3 Leona Tyler Awards for Lifetime Achievements in Counseling Psychology
  • 7 American Psychological Association Fellows in the Society of Counseling Psychology (Division 17)
  • 3 Editors of the Journal of Counseling Psychology

William Ming Liu
Chair and Professor, Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education

William Ming Liu

Dr. Liu is an accomplished scholar in the areas of White supremacist ideologies, critical race theory and application, social class and classism, men and masculinity and multicultural competencies. His research and scholarly endeavors are substantial, with his fifth book, The Psychology of Privilege, White Supremacy, and Power, forthcoming from Oxford University Press. He is the editor for Psychology of Men and Masculinities and is a consulting editor on a number of editorial boards.


Dr. Liu’s accomplishments as a scholar and leader in the field are reflected in the multitude of awards and fellowships he has received, such as the researcher of the year and being named a fellow for the American Psychology Association’s Society for Counseling Psychology (Division 17) and its Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinities (Division 51).

Clara E. Hill
Professor, Department of Psychology

Clara E. Hill

Dr. Hill’s research interests are based in psychotherapy. She studies the psychotherapy process and associated outcomes. Recently, she has been studying the effectiveness of specific therapist skills, such as providing interpretation and advice for clients.

Dr. Hill has also conducted research on helping skills training, therapist supervision, the therapeutic relationship, meaning in life, and dream work. In addition, she has developed a widely-used qualitative research method to study inner experiences, mostly of participants in psychotherapy.

Dr. Hill has published over 300 articles and book chapters. She is also the author of 14 books, including Helping Skills: Facilitating Exploration, Insight, and Action; Dream Work in Therapy: Facilitating Exploration, Insight, and Action; Meaning in Life: A Therapist’s Guide; and Consensual Qualitative Research: A Practical Resource for Investigating Social Science Phenomena.

She has served as president of the Society for Psychotherapy Research, and is the recipient of multiple awards, including the Society of Counseling Psychology’s Leona Tyler Award and Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award, the Society for Psychotherapy Research Distinguished Research Career Award and the American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Psychologist Award.

Dennis Kivlighan
Professor, Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education

Dennis Kivlighan

Dr. Kivlighan’s research focuses on the process and outcomes of both individual and group therapy. His innovative studies have explored the role of laughter, crying, silence and secrets in the context of counseling sessions, as well as the relationship between the client and the psychotherapist.

Another focus of Dr. Kivlighan’s work is group therapy in international contexts, where he collaborates with researchers in Italy and Taiwan to study factors like self-disclosure and fault lines, which is the tendency of groups to break into cliques. He investigates new ways to understand the therapy process that capture its complexity, by employing advanced statistical models to examine the interaction of multiple variables.

Dr. Kivlighan is an American Psychological Association Fellow in the Society of Counseling Psychology (Division 17), the Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy (Division 29), and the Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy (Division 49). A Fulbright Fellow, he is also a 2013 recipient of the Arthur Teicher Group Psychologist of the Year Award from APA’s Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy. He is the current editor of the Journal of Counseling Psychology.

Derek Iwamoto
Associate Professor, Department of Psychology

Derek Iwamoto

Dr. Iwamoto’s scholarship addresses health disparities in underserved and understudied groups, largely in Asian American communities. He identifies socio-cultural mechanisms affecting substance abuse and mental health problems, and works to develop treatments and interventions for at-risk underrepresented adolescents and young adults.

Dr. Iwamoto’s research has identified “high risk” groups and has illuminated the vast within group differences in drinking patterns of Asian Americans. Dr. Iwamoto also investigates gender socialization and the role of masculinity and femininity on problem drinking among young adults. A recent study identified high-risk drinking typologies among underage young adult women, and these trajectories were related to distinct feminine norms.

Dr. Iwamoto’s research has been funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, as well as by national foundations. Dr. Iwamoto is coauthor of the book Culturally Responsive Counseling Interventions with Asian American Men, and has published in the top addiction science journals including Addiction, Alcohol Research: Current Reviews and Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

Karen O'Brien
Professor, Department of Psychology

Karen O'Brien

Dr. O’Brien’s research focuses on the career development of women, intimate partner violence and education regarding communication about death, dying and grieving.

In one study, featured in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, she examined the relationship between work, family, support and depression for employed women in Korea, Israel and the U.S., and found that Korean women reported less support and more depression, while Israeli and American women had comparable experiences.

Dr. O’Brien’s work on intimate partner violence focuses on interventions to reduce dating violence on college campuses. To educate students about intimate partner violence, for instance, she developed a theory-based online intervention, which increased the likelihood that students would intervene when witnessing domestic violence. Finally, she conducts studies on educating future health care providers, including graduate students in psychology, on how to communicate about end-of-life issues—a crucial topic in our aging society.

A recipient of the Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award in 2017, Dr. O’Brien is a fellow of the American Psychological Association. She previously served as associate editor for the Journaling of Counseling Psychology.

Jonathan Mohr
Associate Professor, Department of Psychology

Jon Mohr

Dr. Mohr’s research explores stigma, discrimination, and stereotypes in marginalized groups, with a focus on sexual and gender minority populations. He draws on theoretical perspectives from social and personality psychology to understand the experiences of diverse LGBTQ people, as well as the attitudes and behaviors directed toward members of stigmatized groups.

Dr. Mohr’s recent work has used ecological momentary assessment methods to learn about identity-related experiences in everyday life. A study featured in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, for instance, revealed that LGBQ people’s self-acceptance level varied daily, and was elevated on days involving affirming experiences with heterosexuals. Notably, LGBQ participants with the lowest levels of selfacceptance reported the highest number of negative experiences with other LGBQ people. This research highlights the potential value of interventions that strengthen relationships within LGBQ communities.

Dr. Mohr is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and was a recipient of the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues. He is an incoming Associate Editor of the Journal of Counseling Psychology.

Robert W. Lent
Professor, Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education

Robert W. Lent

Dr. Lent is the lead developer of social cognitive career theory (SCCT), a theory of career development that has been widely researched and extended to many practical applications. Covering the career lifespan, from educational preparation to retirement, SCCT focuses on how people make choices that lead them into a career path; what factors affect their career performance, persistence, and satisfaction; and how they manage both predictable and unpredictable events in educational and work settings.

His other current research interests focus on the factors that attract and retain women and students of color in STEM fields; the future of work in the face of technological challenges; the maintenance and recovery of psychological wellbeing; relational processes in psychological functioning; and the training and supervision of counselors and psychologists.

A recipient of the Society of Counseling Psychology’s Leona Tyler Award for Lifetime Achievement in Counseling Psychology, Dr. Lent has also been recognized with the Eminent Career Award from the National Career Development Association. He is founding co-editor of the Handbook of Counseling Psychology and co-editor of Career Development and Counseling: Putting Theory and Research to Work.

Richard Shin
Adjunct Associate Professor, Counseling Psychology; Associate Professor, School Counseling, Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education

Dr. Richard Shin

Dr. Shin’s scholarly interests are broadly focused on the integration of social justice principles into the field of counseling psychology. His work centers on how systemic, institutionalized forms of discrimination like racism, sexism, classism, and others are perpetuated by mental health professionals in subtle and overt ways.

Dr. Shin created the Contemporary Critical Consciousness Measure, which is intended to assess people’s awareness of various forms of discrimination. He also published the first study using audit methodology in counseling psychology, which provided evidence of implicit racial bias among counseling practitioners. Currently, Dr. Shin is collaborating with the University of Maryland Prevention Research Center on a multi-year Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant to increase the LGBTQ+ cultural competencies of mental health professionals. The primary goal of this work is to reduce disparities in access to high quality mental health care for marginalized groups.

Dr. Shin has published in multiple top tier professional journals, including the Journal of Counseling Psychology, the Counseling Psychologist and the Journal of Homosexuality. He currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Counseling Psychology and Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology.

Roger L. Worthington
Professor, Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education

Roger L. Worthington, Ph.D.
Roger L. Worthington, Ph.D.

Dr. Worthington is a nationally recognized scholar, educator, and higher education consultant on issues of diversity in counseling and education. A fellow of the American Psychological Association, his research expertise includes multicultural counseling competencies, sexual identity development, diversity in higher education and difficult dialogues teaching and learning.

Dr. Worthington is the founder and executive director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education. Recently, he served as editor of the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. A founding member of the board of directors for the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education, he co-authored the NADOHE Standards of Professional Practice for Chief Diversity Officers in 2014 and 2019. Dr. Worthington was the recipient of three prestigious grants from the Ford Foundation Difficult Dialogues Initiative and was also the founding chair of the board of directors for the Difficult Dialogues National Resource Center.

Jioni A. Lewis, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Jioni Lewis

Dr. Lewis' research examines the influence of discrimination on the mental and physical health of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). Her work explores the intersection of racism and sexism experienced by Black women, as well as resilience and protective factors, and the influence of subtle forms of racism experienced by BIPOC college students. She has applied intersectionality theory to develop the Gendered Racial Microaggressions Scale, a self-report instrument to measure subtle forms of gendered racism. Dr. Lewis received the Rising Star Early Career Award at the American Psychological Association's National Multicultural Conference and Summit (2019).

“My research, teaching, and advocacy have been grounded in my passion and commitment to social justice and equity. As a counseling psychologist, I am committed to engaging in social justice research that seeks to dismantle systems of oppression and improve the health and well-being of marginalized individuals and communities."

Maryland Psychotherapy Clinic and Research Laboratory

Clara E. Hill and graduate students at the Maryland Psychotherapy Research Lab meet

The Maryland Psychotherapy Clinic and Research Lab provides high-quality, low-cost counseling and psychotherapy to adults in the Washington, D.C. area, as well as nearby counties. The lab’s treatment focuses on insight and understanding difficulties in relationship problems, depression, anxiety, grief and loss, meaning in life, dreams, and nightmares.

Directed by Dr. Clara E. Hill, the lab helps meet the growing demand for psychotherapy services, while expanding access to counseling to lowand middle-income clients in the community. The services are offered by advanced doctoral students with considerable experience and skills in the mental health field. These therapists-in-training are supervised by licensed and experienced University of Maryland psychologists, including COE Professor Dennis Kivlighan.