Get to know our experienced faculty.

Dr. James Wadley

Dr. James Wadley is Director of the Sex Therapy program at Council for Relationships. As a scholar-practitioner, he is a licensed professional counselor and maintains a private practice in the States of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He is the founding editor of the scholarly, interdisciplinary journal, the Journal of Black Sexuality and Relationships (University of Nebraska Press). He is also the founder and Principal of the Association of Black Sexologists and Clinicians and his professional background in human sexuality education, educational leadership, and program development has enabled him to galvanize scholars and practitioners in the field of sexology across the world.

His research and publication interests include sexual decision making among young adults, masculinity development and conceptions of fatherhood by non-custodial fathers, and HIV/AIDS prevention. He has written undergraduate and graduate courses and authored 22 courses for the Master of Science in Counseling program for Lincoln University (PA). In addition, he recently co-authored 13 doctoral level courses for the Theological Seminary of Puerto Rico. In 2015, Dr. Wadley earned his NBCC-International Mental Health Facilitator certification after spending time with Rwandan therapists discussing the impact of genocide and trauma in the early 1990s. In 2016, he helped developed curricula and conducted a sexuality education course at the University of Muhimbili in Tanzania for the nursing and midwifery program. Later that year, he developed and taught an applied research methods course at Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town, South Africa. In 2017, Dr. Wadley’s work and advocacy domestically and abroad enabled him to complete his first documentary, Raw to Reel: Race, Drugs, and Sex in Trenton, New Jersey, which captures some of the challenges that emerge in addiction and recovery. Finally, in 2018, Dr. Wadley co-edited The Art of Sex Therapy Supervision (Routledge), which is a book devoted to the clinical experiences of supervisors and supervisees in the field of sex therapy. The book won AASECT’s 2019 Book of the Year Award. His new book, The Handbook of Sexuality Leadership: Inspiring Community Engagement, Social Empowerment, and Transformational Influence (Routledge) carves a new path for sexuality educators, counselors, and therapists in that it serves as an invitation for re-conceptualizing the consultative roles in which sexuality professionals engage.

Dr. Wadley received his Doctorate of Philosophy degree in Education from the University of Pennsylvania with a concentration in Educational Leadership and Human Sexuality Education. He earned a Master of Science in Education degree in School Psychology from the University of Kentucky after completing his B.A. in Psychology from Hampton University. Finally, he holds a clinical postgraduate certificate from Council for Relationships and is an AASECT-Certified Sex Therapy Supervisor.

Dr. Patricia Gratson

Dr. Patricia Gratson is a licensed clinical psychologist. She earned a Master of Science in Clinical and Counseling Psychology with a specialization in Child and Adolescent Therapy, as well as a Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in Couple and Family Therapy from Chestnut Hill College. Dr. Gratson provides therapy and evaluation services to children, adolescents, and adults. She works with individuals as well as couples and families. Dr. Gratson is trained as a play therapist through the Family and Play Therapy Center and provides family play therapy to children from the ages of three to 12 years old. She also provides sand tray therapy to children, adolescents, and adults. Additionally, she is completing the requirements to become a certified sex therapist and has been trained in sex therapy through the Post Graduate Certificate Program at Council for Relationships.

Dr. Gratson has been extensively trained in psychodynamic therapy, structural family therapy, contextual therapy, and dialectal behavior therapy, as well as having received training in trauma focused cognitive behavior therapy, cognitive processing therapy, emotion focused therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy. She considers herself to be an integrative clinician who adapts her therapeutic approach to meet her clients’ needs. Her clinical areas of interest include working with the LGBTQ+ populations and working with individuals who practice alternative spiritualities. Additionally, she has extensive experience working with children, adolescents, couples, and families.

Dr. Monica Johnson

Dr. Monica Johnson is a clinical psychologist and owner of Kind Mind Psychology, a private practice in NYC that specializes in evidence-based approaches to treating a wide range of mental health issues (e.g. depression, anxiety, trauma, and personality disorders). Additionally, she has a focus on working with marginalized groups of people including BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and alternative lifestyles to manage minority stress. She is also dedicated to contributing to her field professionally through speaking, training, supervision, and writing. She routinely speaks at conferences, provides training and workshops at organizations, supervises mental health trainees, and co-authored a book for professionals on addressing race-based stress in therapy. She is the host of the podcast Savvy Psychologist where she provides practical tips about mental health. Additionally, she is on the medical review board for Verywell Mind and Byrdie. She currently lives in Manhattan where she indulges in horror movies, sarcasm, and intentional introversion. You can find her on Instagram and online at kindmindpsych.com

Ruby Bouie Johnson

Ruby Bouie Johnson is a sex therapist in private practice in Plano, TX. Her areas of specialty are open/polyamorous partnerships/families, Kink/BDSM, desire discrepancy, and multicultural relationships. She is the founder and CEO for PolyDallas Millennium© LLC (www.polydallasmillennium.com), which is an annual symposium that centers BIPOC and consensual nonmonogamous [CNM] voices and experiences. Ms. Johnson is a speaker, writer, and therapist who has several publications and interviews in many media outlets discussing BIPOC experiences with BDSM/Kink and CNM relationships. She can be found on her website, www.inamorata.me and email, rubyjohnnsonlcsw@gmail.com.

Ms. Johnson has presented, including keynote, at several national and international conferences such as Association of Black Sexologist and Counselors, American Association of Sexologists, Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, Loving More (Philadelphia and Denver), ABSC Spring Roundtable Series, Southwest Love Fest, Black Poly Pride, Creating Change, and others. Most recently, Ms. Johnson is facilitating a workshop for sex therapists at Society for Sex Therapy and Research on Black Woman and Sexuality: Cultural Humility in Practice.

Her perspective and voice regarding CNM and sexuality has been sought on radio shows, blogs, podcasts, and magazines such as Playboy Magazine, Areva Martin’s Special Report, Vice, Cosmopolitan, Therapy for Black Girls, and Women’s Health. She was a former contributor for the Huffington Post. Ms. Johnson was the Guest Editor for Journal of Black Sexuality and Relationships for a special edition on polyamory and other relationship constellations. She has two upcoming chapters, Liberation Theory and Psychotherapy with CNM Relationships, for two academic books on consensually nonmonogamous relationships. Currently, Ms. Johnson is on the Board of Directors for the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom and Hopeful Solutions. She participated on the Division 44 taskforce committee that formulated the guidelines for best clinical practice Kink/BDSM and consensual nonmonogamy for the American Psychological Association.

Dr. Alishia Kalos

Dr. Alishia Kalos is a Pennsylvania licensed clinical psychologist and sex therapist certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT). Dr. Kalos provides individual and relationship therapy as well as comprehensive psychosexual assessment in English and Spanish. As a sex and relationship therapist, Dr. Kalos specializes in addressing sexual and relational concerns related to intimacy, communication, desire, arousal, pain, kink, atypical sexual interests, relationship contract negotiation, orgasm, relational violence, and sexual behavior challenges. Areas of clinical focus include anxiety disorders, perinatal and postpartum depression and anxiety, cancer, and chronic illness. Dr. Kalos has in-depth training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Schema Therapy, Mindfulness–Based, Strengths-Based, and Intersystems approaches to therapy. She also has experience utilizing Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Problem-Solving Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

Bianca Laureano

Bianca I. Laureano is an award-winning educator, curriculum writer, and sexologist. She is a founding member of the Women of Color Sexual Health Network and ANTE UP! a virtual freedom school for sexuality professionals. She has written curricula and led the curriculum development for the award-winning Netflix film Crip Camp guided by disability justice principles. She is an AASECT certified sexuality educator and supervisor and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the California Institute for Integral Studies for her work in expanding the US sexuality field. She is the editor of The People’s Book of Human Sexuality: Expanding the Sexology Archive available in May 2023. Find out more about Bianca at her website BiancaLaureano.com and about ANTE UP! at www.AnteUpPD.com

Marilisse Iakovou Mars

Marilisse Iakovou Mars is a Georgia Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Professional Counselor Supervisor. She is a sex therapist certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT).

Ms. Mars graduated valedictorian from Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, the seminary of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, with her baccalaureate of Arts degree in theology. She then worked for the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta directly under His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta for several years prior to returning to graduate school at Mercer University, where she earned her Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with honors. She has completed extensive postgraduate training and supervision in Brainspotting as a form of trauma treatment and utilizes psychodynamic, existential, and Emotionally Focused Therapy as her preferred methods of treating both individuals and couples.

Ms. Mars’ clinical areas of focus are working with individuals with sexual trauma, couples where trauma are present, couples with intimacy and relationship issues, individuals with chronic pelvic pain, individuals who are exiting toxic relationships, and LGBTQ+ individuals, of whom she is affirmative, particularly with transgender and non-binary individuals, focusing much work on spirituality and spiritual/religious abuse recovery.

Ms. Mars’ research and speaking interests are in the areas of religion and LGBTQ+ inclusivity. She has been invited to speak at Eastern Orthodox Christian conferences worldwide. As an advocate for sexual minorities within the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church, she speaks about the clinical effects of the Eastern Orthodox Church’s theology and the applications of such on LGBTQ+ individuals in Her congregations, the power dynamics between Eastern Orthodox Christian clergy and LGBTQ+ individuals, the need for stronger codes of ethics for Eastern Orthodox Christian clergy worldwide, and educates Eastern Orthodox clergy and theologians on mental health and trauma, particularly with reference to the LGBTQ+ experience.

Anne Mauro, LMFT, CST, CSE

Anne Mauro (she/her) is a Licensed Couples and Family therapist (LMFT), American Association Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) Certified Sex Therapist, AASECT Certified Sexuality Educator, and clinical supervisor. Her private practice, Mending Connections, in Washington, specializes in couples counseling and sex therapy. She volunteers her time to the field by being a member of the AASECT Ethics Advisory Committee and serving as chair for the AASECT Awards Committee. Anne created and taught a course titled Colonization and Sex for the Sexuality Certificate Program at Antioch University Seattle. In partnership with a colleague, Anne is an AASECT continuing education (CEU) provider. Through this venture, Anne co-created the Beyond Settler Sex Sexually Attitude Reassessment (SAR). Her first publication, More Than Ebony and Ivory: Complexities of sex therapy with interracial couples, can be found in An Intersectional Approach to Sex Therapy: Centering the lives of indigenous, racialized, and people of color.

Marjorie Nightingale

Marjorie Nightingale is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Washington, D.C., with a specialty practice in couples and sex therapy. She received her MA in Marriage and Family Therapy from LaSalle University. Currently, she is completing a doctorate in Couple and Family Therapy at Drexel University where her research focuses on developing racially sensitive interventions for African American couples. Marjorie has extensive training and experience with Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. She completed her postgraduate sex therapy training at Council for Relationships and is working towards AASECT-Certification in Sex Therapy. In addition, Ms. Nightingale spent several years as a family law and child welfare attorney in Baltimore, MD where she worked with marginalized populations. As a scholar-practitioner, she has a special interest in addressing the intersection of sex and race in therapy for people of color. She teaches as an adjunct faculty in Virginia Tech’s Marriage and Family Therapy program in Falls Church, VA.

Anabel Perez-Gonzalez

Anabel Perez-Gonzalez (she/her/hers) is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and AASECT Certified Sex Therapist in private practice in New York City. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Women’s Studies from the City University of New York – Hunter College, an MSW degree from New York University, and additional certifications in psychodynamic psychotherapy (Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy), sex therapy (University of Michigan), and family relational therapy (Ackerman Institute for the Family). As a social worker, she has worked in some of the most underserved communities in New York City in the areas of domestic violence/sexual assault, children and families, women’s perinatal health, HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ+, and substance use/harm reduction. As a bilingual therapist, Anabel provides services in Spanish to clients struggling with varying levels of immigration and acculturation stress. Dedicated to social justice, her main area of interest is identity development in a multicultural context.

Melissa Thoen

Melissa Thoen is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker based in New York City. She’s a native New Yorker, raised in various countries, and identifies as a first-generation Latinx American. She currently works as the Clinical Director at the Ackerman Institute for the Family and has a small private practice. She is a graduate of Ackerman’s Clinical Externship Program, specializing in work with couples. She holds a Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University School of Social Work.

Previously, Melissa worked as a multilingual middle and high school social worker. She was also part of a child study team at the New Jersey Board of Education, which conducted multidisciplinary psycho-social assessments of academically struggling students.

Melissa has extensive experience working with teens, adults, families, and couples, and attained her certification as a sex therapist by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT). In 2019, she completed the sex therapy training at the University of Michigan’s Sexual Health Certificate Program.

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Course Descriptions

Tuition and Tuition Grant


Sexual Attitude Reassessment (SAR)