Faculty and Staff

Our Post-Graduate Certificate Program in Marriage and Family Therapy is staffed by a highly-experienced and distinguished team of faculty and supervisors, including numerous AAMFT-approved supervisors. Nearly all of our faculty and supervisors maintain active clinical practices and provide a wide range of expertise in the field of couple and family therapy. Many faculty members and supervisors have clinical appointments with the Department of Psychiatry at Thomas Jefferson University, Widener University, and other colleges and universities throughout the region, and have significantly contributed to the professional literature in the field.

Academic Administrator:

Tiffani Smoot
(215) 382-6680 ext. 3236

Program Directors:

Michele Southworth, JD, LMFT
Director, Post Graduate Certificate Program
(215) 382-6680 ext. 4113
Adult Development from a Systems Perspective; Families in Transition

Michele Southworth is the Director of the Post-Graduate Certificate Program in Marriage and Family Therapy and also serves as the Director of Supervision and a member of the senior clinical staff. She has practiced as a marital and family therapist and an attorney. She attended the University of Pennsylvania College for Women for her undergraduate work, and began her professional education at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, after which she practiced family law in Philadelphia for 8 years. Working with families in the legal system led to an interest in the then-emerging field of divorce mediation, and then to the study of marriage and family therapy at Council for Relationships. She was certified as a marriage, family and sex therapist by Council for Relationships in 1989. She has practiced in the dual fields of divorce mediation and marriage and family therapy since that time. Michele has been a member of the senior clinical staff at Council for Relationships since 1989. Her clinical practice includes working with issues of personal growth, gender-role conflicts, bereavement, depression/anxiety, and with divorcing families in a variety of divorce-related modalities, including divorce mediation. She has also worked in several interdisciplinary settings with legal and/or financial professionals and has pioneered new, cooperative approaches to the dilemmas of divorce.  This work involves the development of innovative models to support the successful adaptation of all family members as they move through the divorce transition, and has contributed to such new modalities as Collaborative Family Law, and Parent Coordination for high conflict parents.

Dolores Littleton, DMin, LMFT
Director, Post-Graduate Certificate Program, Clergy Track
(610) 213-6680

The Rev. Dr. Dolores E. Littleton (Dee) is a Clinical Fellow and Approved Supervisor with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Pennsylvania. She graduated from Eastern University with a BSW. Dee received her M.Div. from The Lutheran Theological Seminary (United) in Philadelphia and was ordained in 1983 as a Lutheran Pastor and has served two congregations in the Philadelphia area. She received her Doctor of Ministry in Marriage and Family Ministry from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary (Palmer). She completed the Council for Relationships post-graduate clinical training in Marriage, Family, and Sex Therapy. In addition, Dee is a graduate of the ELCA Systems Academy which is a four-year structured engagement with family systems theory, theology, and clinical work. Dee is looking forward to developing a 2 -year Congregational Systems Academy at CFR and is excited about working with clergy of all faiths in understanding the systemic dynamics in their places of ministry.

Dee has had a small private practice for 25 years, providing therapy for individuals, families and couples. Her areas of expertise include pre-marital, marriage education, relationship enrichment, spiritual and faith issues, mid-life transition, abuse, attachment, parenting, remarriage and stepfamilies. Dr. Littleton is a consultant and coach for churches and clergy who are experiencing conflict and are seeking to focus on mission and ministry. She also has experience working with churches that have faced a forced resignation of their pastor.

The Rev. Dr. Dolores E. Littleton is an experienced retreat leader, workshop speaker and trainer for Prepare/Enrich, Healthy Boundary Workshops for Clergy, Congregational and Pastoral Attachment, Congregational Process, and various Relationship Education Programs.

Nancy Gambescia, PhD
Director, Post-Graduate Sex Therapy Program
Systemic Sex Therapy I and II

Nancy Gambescia is the Director of the post-graduate program in Sex Therapy at Council for Relationships, Philadelphia, PA and a clinical associate and faculty member of the Center for Couples and Adult Families, Perelman School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Gambescia has over 35 years of experience in working with individuals and couples, specializing in this vital and often overlooked aspect of the human experience, as well as teaching, writing and providing clerical supervision in this specialized field. Dr. Gambescia is a Clinical Fellow and Approved Supervisor of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), a certified sex therapist and supervisor of the American Association of Sexuality Educators Counselors & Therapists (AASECT) and a clinical member of the Society for Sex Therapy and Research (SSTAR).

Dr. Gambescia has co-authored six books, and numerous journal articles and textbook chapters, focusing on relationship and sexual issues, and has presented on the Intersystem Approach to couple and sex therapy, both nationally and internationally. In 2017, Dr. Gambescia and her co-authors Gerald Weeks and Roberta Hertlein were given awards for the “Book of the Year” and “Integrative Approaches to Sex Therapy” from AASECT. The book award was for the second edition of A Clinician’s Guide to Systemic Sex Therapy. These awards recognized the contributions of the authors to the field of psychotherapy through the application of a systemic, integrative and comprehensive model to sex therapy.

Dr. Gambescia maintains a private practice in Rosemont, PA, specializing in individual, family, relationship and sex therapy.

Program Faculty

Dr. Will G. Barnes
Military Families

Will G. Barnes served 23 years in the U.S. Army as a Joint Force Chaplain.  He is a Clinical Fellow and Approved Supervisor with AAMFT, and serves as the “Military Clinical Consultant” for the Council for Relationships.  He is a former Associate Professor at Eastern University Palmer School of Theology (Eastern Seminary) and Hood Theological Seminary as well as being a former Adjunct Instructor at Wilmington University, a Guest Instructor at Caribbean Graduate School of Theology and Psychology, and at Universidad Peru Union. Most recently he served as Military Consultant for the Department of Defense with the Defense Suicide Prevention Office.  Dr. Barnes is published in the area of “Spiritual Resiliency”.  He has served as a Parish Pastor, MFT Therapist in direct clinical services, and as a Clinical Social Worker in Adolescent and Children Services. He is founding chairperson for the Family Care Center of Catawba Valley in Hickory, North Carolina.  He presently serves on the Board of Directors for the SECU Family House in Winston Salem, N.C.

Carol Blum, M.Ed, CAC, LPC
(215) 382-6680 ext. 4204
Psychopathology from a Systems Perspective; Mindfulness in the Therapeutic Encounter

Carol Blum is a Staff Therapist in our University City office.  Carol is an individual, couple, and family therapist who works with mindfulness techniques. These techniques include quieting the mind, calming the body through deep relaxation, and spirituality as a source of strength, if available.  Carol is   recognized for helping families build safety, trust and intimacy through secure attachments and resilience training. Carol has 20+ years experience working with clients who have experienced trauma, grief, health concerns, addiction, depression, anxiety, and serious mental illness.  She employs research in brain-based psychotherapy to help clients reach their potential. Carol Blum is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Addiction Specialist in Pennsylvania.  She received her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Temple University in 1991 and completed Post-Graduate training in Couple and Family Therapy at Council for Relationships.   Carol worked at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia for 17 years before coming to CFR.  Carol supervises therapists and teaches at CFR.  She is married for 20+ years, has two children, and lives in Philadelphia.

Rita DeMaria, PhD, LMFT, CST
(215) 382-6680 ext. 7111
The Intersystem Approach to Relationship Therapy

Rita DeMaria has 35 years of experience in the field of marriage and family therapy. She specializes in treating couples, especially those who are at the brink of divorce. With special attention to restoring love and trust in relationships, her areas of expertise include: individual and couple therapy, divorce prevention and family mediation, sex therapy, remarriage/blended families, premarital counseling, anger management, money issues, depression/anxiety, family business issues, and marriage and family ministry. Rita also has a commitment to empowering women in their lives and conducts women’s groups as a regular part of her practice.  Rita is the author and co-author of several books discussing relationship issues. In addition Rita has authored many professional articles. Rita received her Ph.D. in Social Work and Social Research from Bryn Mawr College. She is a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, an Approved Supervisor and is licensed to practice in Pennsylvania.

Rabbi Julie Greenberg, LMFT
Systems Theory and Couples Therapy; Diversity, Social Justice, and the Practice of Family Therapy

Rabbi Julie Greenberg, LMFT, is a 2003 graduate of the Council for Relationships Post Graduate Certificate Program. Since then she has worked at the intersection of spirituality and psychotherapy, leading a local congregation, seeing people in private practice, consulting with organizations in transition and working with the multi-faith, multi-racial social justice organization POWER. Julie is mother to five children, author of Just Parenting: Building the World One Family at a Time, in addition to numerous articles, chapters, sermons and on-line resources. More information is available at www.leyvhair.org.

Bea Hollander-Goldfein, PhD, LMFT
(215) 382-6680 ext. 3118
Foundations of Systemic Theory

Bea Hollander-Goldfein is the Director Emeritus of the Council for Relationships’ Post Graduate Certificate Program in Marriage and Family Therapy. She also serves as Co-Director of Research. Since 1991, Bea has been the Director of the Transcending Trauma Project which is a large-scale research program investigating coping and adaptation after extreme trauma. Bea is licensed as a Clinical Psychologist and as a Marriage and Family Therapist, and is an AAMFT-approved supervisor. She is also a member of the American Family Therapy Association. Bea received her doctorate in psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University and subsequently expanded her training to include certification in Marriage and Family Therapy. Systemic theory has guided her clinical practice and research activities for over 25 years. She has presented broadly on the topic of trauma and the importance of an integrated model of coping and adaptation. She has also published in the fields of Marriage and Family Therapy and Trauma studies.

Nancy Isserman, PhD
(215) 382-6680 ext. 3133
Military Families

Nancy Isserman is the Director of Operation Home and Healing: Services for Veterans and Families (OHH); and Co-Director of Transcending Trauma Project (TTP) both part of Council for Relationships (CFR.)  In her role as the Director of OHH, Dr. Isserman has developed and run trainings in military culture for clinicians, clergy, and others.

She co-teaches a course on military culture and treatment for CFR’s interns and clinicians with Dr. Will Barnes, CFR’s military clinical consultant, and he is an adjunct lecturer at Gratz College, teaching a course on the Psychosocial Impact of the Holocaust on survivor families. Dr. Isserman is also currently serving as secretary of the executive committee of the Delaware Valley Veterans Consortium.

She is one of the authors of Transcending Trauma: Survival, Resilience, and Clinical Implications in Survivor Families (Routledge, 2012) and has published articles and book reviews, co-edited books, and lectured on topics relating to trauma and Holocaust survivors, military culture and the transmission of trauma in military families, marriage and family relationship education, and on resilience and tolerance in survivors. Dr. Isserman’s PhD from the Graduate Center, City University of New York, “I Harbor No Hate: Tolerance and Intolerance in Holocaust Survivors” received the 2004-2005 Randolph Braham Dissertation Award.

Kimberly Ludwigsen, Ph.D., MSW, MEd, CST, LCSW
Systemic Sex Therapy I, II, and III

Dr. Kimberly Ludwigsen is a licensed clinical social worker with more than 17 years’ experience treating individuals, couples, families, and children.  After graduating from Goucher College, Dr. Ludwigsen earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania, and earned certificates in couples and family therapy and sex therapy at the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. She is a Certified Sex Therapist and recently earned a Doctoral Degree in Human Sexuality from Widener University.  Dr. Ludwigsen has been teaching Sexual Attitude Reassessment seminars since 2011. She is a member of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT), and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). She is currently on the faculty of the Post-Graduate Sex Therapy Certificate Program of Council for Relationships.

Dr. Ludwigsen has a private clinical practice in Voorhees, NJ.  She works with individuals and couples and her specialties include Sex Therapy, Extramarital Affairs, Sexual Satisfaction, LGBTQA Issues, and Anxiety and Stress Management.  Her therapeutic style draws from a variety of treatment approaches, including but not limited to Couple and Family Systems Therapy, Psycho-dynamic Therapy, Sex Positive Sex Therapy, Pleasure-Oriented Model for Sexual Satisfaction, Conflict Resolution, Narrative Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Mindfulness Practice. Her therapeutic approach honors and respects the emotional, mental, and sexual self of every person.

Don McCown, PhD, MSS, MAMS
Mindfulness in the Therapeutic Encounter

Don is an Assistant Professor of Integrative Health and Director of the Center for Contemplative Studies at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. He holds a PhD in Social Science from Tilburg University, a Master of Social Service from Bryn Mawr College, and a Master of Applied Meditation Studies from the Won Institute of Graduate Studies. He has completed the advanced Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) trainings through the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He is the primary author of Teaching Mindfulness: A Practical Guide for Clinicians and Educators (2010) and New World Mindfulness (2012), and author of The Ethical Space of Mindfulness in Clinical Practice (2013).

Frani Pollack Ph.D., LCSW
Theory and Practice of Family Therapy

Dr. Frani Pollack is a registered dietician, licensed social worker, and licensed psychologist. She has worked in multiple inpatient and outpatient settings and presently is in private practice at Bala Child and Family Associates. Frani also teaches at the Bryn Mawr School of Social Work. Her areas of specialty include working with teens, women and families. Frani received her MSW from New York University and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Toronto.

Matthew CP Purinton, MSW
(215) 382-6680 ext. 3135
Live Supervision

Matthew Purinton, a staff therapist at Council for Relationships,  is a  social worker and member of the National Association of Social Workers. His experience and areas of interest include: depression, anxiety, children who have lost a loved one, and palliative care as a model of medicine to improve quality of life. Matthew is especially passionate about working with adults and children who are dealing with pain and/or disability. He is trained in clinical hypnosis as well as guided imagery and relaxation techniques. Matthew employs an eclectic array of therapeutic interventions to work with clients dealing with a variety of challenging issues. He helps individuals, children & adolescents, couples, and families to build on their strengths and to develope effective coping strategies to deal with the adversities of life. Matthew received his Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice. He is a consultant at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where he advises multiple departments on the experience of being a patient. He helps CHOP develop ways that they can better target their procedures and environment to reduce stress on patients and improve healthcare outcomes. He gives lectures on a wide range of topics and consults with a variety of nonprofit and for-profit entities on issues involving the inclusion of people with disabilities, and increasing productivity.

Priscilla Singleton, LMFT, LCSW
(215) 382-6680 ext. 7045
Child | Adolescent Development and Psychopathology

Priscilla Singleton is the Director of Clinical Standards at CFR. She teaches courses in Psychopathology and in Child and Adolescent Development in our post-graduate training program, and is also teaching Foundations of Systemic Practice and Families in Transition in our joint Masters in Family Therapy program with Jefferson University. Priscilla is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT), a clinical member of AAMFT, and an AAMFT- approved supervisor. She received her MSW from Temple University in 1982, and completed her post-graduate training in marriage and family therapy at Council for Relationships (formerly Marriage Council of Philadelphia) in 1989. Priscilla has completed additional training and certifications in EMDR, Sandtray therapy, and co-parent counseling/parent coordination. Priscilla has been in practice for over twenty-five years. Before coming to the Council in 1994, Priscilla worked with children, youth and families in the child welfare system, with women in a crime victim center, with families of children with developmental differences, and with individuals and families in her private practice. Her areas of special interests are separating and divorcing families, adoption, and promotion of child and adolescent connection in their families.

Anneliese E. Sorrentino, MSS, MFT
(215) 382-6680 ext. 4402
Research in Couple and Family Therapy and Capstone Project

Ms. Sorrentino is a therapist and social scientist with a background in social work, qualitative and mixed-methods research, and clinical work with individuals, couples, and families. She holds a Master of Social Service from the Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work & Social Research, pursued post-graduate training in clinical work with children and adolescents at the Yale Child Study Center and, most recently, completed the Post Graduate Certificate Program in Couple and Family Therapy at Council for Relationships. In addition to her work at Council, Ms. Sorrentino is a project manager at the VA Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP) in Philadelphia, where she contributes to ongoing research on social determinants of health among women Veterans.