The Counseling Center clinical staff includes psychologists, social workers, a psychiatric nurse practitioner, and psychology and social work graduate student counselors.

While some of our staff have particular areas of expertise, each staff member is trained to assess and treat a wide variety of concerns.

Staff Clinicians

Mark LaSota

Mark LaSota, Ph.D.

Staff Psychologist and Director of Internship Training (University of Nevada, Las Vegas)

Dr. Mark LaSota received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2008. He has been a staff psychologist at the CUA Counseling Center since 2010, serving as the Director of Outreach until the fall of 2017 when he took on the role of Director of Internship Training. His theoretical orientation most closely resembles an integration of cognitive-behavioral and interpersonal therapies, while incorporating aspects of mindfulness and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Dr. LaSota’s clinical interests reside in understanding and treating anxiety, with a specific emphasis on perfectionism, in addition to considering masculinity and aspects of privilege. Outside of work, in addition to spending time with his family and enjoying recreational offerings of the DC-Baltimore area, Dr. LaSota follows Chicago sports teams, especially the historically underachieving and 2016 World Series Champion Cubs.

Karen Miller

Karen Miller, L.I.C.S.W.

Staff Social Worker (Washington University)

Karen Miller, LICSW received her Masters of Social Work from The George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis in 1999. She has been a staff member of the Counseling Center at Catholic University since January of 2008. Prior to her work at CUA, she specialized in working with at-risk children, youth, and families. Karen works with clients from a Cognitive-Behavioral perspective, though she integrates aspects of relational and humanistic theories as well. Her style is straight-forward and direct and she is strong believer of utilizing humor in therapy. Karen also supervises advanced graduate students in social work and psychology. Her particular areas of clinical interest are trauma, issues related to family of origin, individuation, relationships, and building self-awareness.

Ali Phillips

Ali Phillips, PMH-NP

Staff Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (Vanderbilt University)

Ali Phillips, APRN, is a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. She received her Master of Science in Nursing, with a specialty in psychiatry and mental health, from Vanderbilt University. As a Nurse Practitioner, she is trained and certified to take medical histories, conduct examinations, order and interpret diagnostic tests, diagnose and treat acute and chronic mental health conditions, prescribe and manage medication, and provide supportive therapies. Ali has treated patients facing a variety of clinical challenges, including anxiety, depression, stress, substance abuse, addiction and trauma among others. Ali has a special interest in interpersonal neurobiology. In her spare time, Ali can usually be found on a bike or reading a good novel.

Monroe Rayburn

Monroe Rayburn, Ph.D.

Director, Counseling Center (University of South Carolina)

Dr. Monroe Rayburn received his Ph.D. in Clinical-Community Psychology in 1998 from the University of South Carolina. He has been on the CUA Counseling Center staff since 1998, having served as the Director since 2003. He utilizes an integrative style in his clinical practice. He incorporates humanistic/existential elements as well as cognitive-behavioral approaches in his work as a therapist for CUA student clients as well as a supervisor for advanced graduate students in psychology and social work. His clinical interests include depression, anxiety (including OCD, panic, and phobias), trauma, and family of origin issues. He has been affiliated with the Behavior Therapy Center of Greater Washington since 2001, has served as the unofficial coordinator of the Washington Metro Area Counseling Center Directors (WMACCD) since 2005, and served on the International Accreditation of Counseling Services (IACS) Board of Accreditation from 2012-2018 and Board of Directors from 2015-2018.

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Frances A. Mallari, M.Phil.

Psychology Associate & Director of Group Therapy (The George Washington University)

Frances A. Mallari, M.Phil. is a psychology associate on staff. She is currently completing her dissertation in George Washington University’s Clinical Psychology PhD Program. Her clinical experience includes The Meltzer Center for Psychological and Community-Based Services and The Capital Institute for Cognitive Therapy. She takes an integrative, collaborative approach to therapy, using empirically-supported cognitive-behavioral treatments with humanistic-existential elements. Multicultural issues are a passion of hers — both personally and professionally, and she is constantly searching for creative ways to adapt treatments and interventions to consider an individual’s multiple intersecting identities. She specializes in working with emerging and young adults who experience mood and anxiety disorders related to life transitions, identity exploration, relationship issues, and adjustment difficulties. In her spare time, Frances enjoys reading, crafting, exploring places through food, and creating playlists for very specific situations and moods. 

Allyson Shaffer, M.S.W, L.I.C.S.W.

Staff Social Worker & Director of Externship Training (Marywood University)

Allyson Shaffer, LICSW, received her Masters of Social Work from Marywood University in 1994. She has been at Catholic University since 2010, serving in Social Work education, Student Affairs and the Counseling Center. Allyson has over 25 years of clinical practice experience, with individuals, families and groups. She has a background in crisis intervention, trauma & emergency psychiatry services, grief & loss, and counseling with children, young adults & parents. Allyson is the Training Director for the Graduate Externship Program for Social Work & Psychology students.  She takes a collaborative approach to therapy, working with clients from a Cognitive Behavioral perspective, utilizing aspects of psychosocial and strengths based theories. Outside of work, She enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She can often be found at a baseball or swimming event, or out trying to keep up with her dogs. Her favorite days are at the beach with her family.

 

Sonja Kubota Johansson, Psy.D.

Staff Psychologist (The George Washington University)

Dr. Sonja Kubota Johansson (she/her) received her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from The George Washington University in 2019. Four years after completing CUA's Counseling Center Externship Program, she (happily!) returned to CUA as a staff clinician in 2022. Sonja enjoys working with emerging adults who are exploring and developing their identities. Her clinical interests include anxiety, depression, and trauma, especially within college mental health. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at Stanford University CAPS and her post-doctoral fellowship at Georgetown University CAPS. Before returning to CUA, Sonja was also a staff clinician at New York University Counseling and Wellness Services. Her style is integrative and based on a relationship-centered approach informed by psychodynamic theory and multi-cultural context. Off campus, Sonja teaches therapeutic yoga both privately and in groups, which influences the mind-body approach she sometimes integrates into treatment.

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Deirdre Gaughan, Psy.D.

Staff Psychologist & Director of Outreach (Divine Mercy University)

Dr. Deirdre Gaughan received her Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology from Divine Mercy University in 2021. She completed her externship at the Catholic University of America two years ago and is excited to return as a staff psychologist.  After training at CUA, Deirdre continued to work at university counseling centers. She completed her predoctoral internship at the Baylor University Counseling Center and her postdoctoral fellowship at Georgetown University CAPS. Additional clinical experiences during graduate school included working at the IPS Center for Psychological Services and Phoenix House Mid-Atlantic Counseling Center.  Her theoretical orientation draws primarily from a psychodynamic, interpersonal, and emotion-focused framework for therapy. She works to create a non-judgmental and trusting environment in order to help students address patterns, process their experience, gain insight into their relationships, and better understand themselves in order to reach their goals. Her clinical interests include working with anxiety and mood disorders, trauma recovery, identity development, spirituality and family of origin concerns. Outside of work, she enjoys frequenting coffee shops, going on adventures to find beautiful places, and trying new recipes.

Interns

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Jason Wang, M.S.

Doctoral Intern (University of Maryland, College Park)

Jason is a doctoral intern from the University of Maryland's Counseling Psychology doctoral program. Over the course of the last 5 years, he has worked with a diverse range of clients at 2 community mental health centers in the DC-Maryland-Virginia greater metro area, in addition to working with clients at the University of Maryland Counseling Center. He believes in the importance of centering clients' lived experience --- including experiences, identities, cultures, and relationships -- in therapy so that they feel deeply heard, understood, and respected. He also believes strongly in respecting clients' agency in the therapeutic process -- i.e. the goal is ultimately in helping clients recognize and build on their own strengths, in helping clients treat themselves with more self-compassion, and in helping them take steps to reduce the distress in their life. As a therapist, Jason strives to be a collaborative partner who brings a new perspective to the table as he works with clients together on developing new understandings and approaches to their lives. Of note - has a particular passion in working with clients on career and vocational issues. In his free time, Jason can be found traveling, trying to find a good cup of coffee that isn't "bright" or "citrus-y", or cooking Chinese food in the kitchen.

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Kelly Showen, M.S

Doctoral Intern (PGSP-Stanford Psy.D. Consortium)

Kelly is a doctoral intern from the PGSP-Stanford Psy.D. Consortium. Over the past four years, Kelly has had the privilege of serving a diverse range of individuals in a variety of settings, including community mental health, the Menlo College Counseling Center, and the San Francisco VA Medical Center. Her clinical interests include life-stage transitions, intersectional identity development, interpersonal concerns, women's health, depression, and sleep challenges. Kelly uses an integrative approach to therapy, incorporating relational, humanistic, and cognitive-behavioral techniques into her work. She strives to create an atmosphere in which clients feel supported and heard. When not at work, Kelly can be found exploring her neighborhood, eating ice cream, or spending time with loved ones (or preferably all three together!).

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Phoebe Long, M.S.

Doctoral Intern (University at Albany, SUNY)

Phoebe is a doctoral intern from the University at Albany, SUNY. Over the past three years, she has worked with diverse client populations in a variety of clinical settings, including college counseling, private practice, community mental health clinics, and the National Institutes of Health. Phoebe’s clinical style is integrationist and draws upon cognitive-behavioral, acceptance-based, and client-centered methods. In therapy, she seeks to develop a warm, collaborative, and safe atmosphere where clients feel empowered to utilize their strengths and develop skills to promote wellness and self-compassion. Her clinical interests include anxiety, depression, trauma, life transitions, identity development, academic concerns, relationship stress, grief, and career issues. Her research explores the relationships between social media, social comparison, and psychological well being among college students. In her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time with family and friends.

Externs

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Emily Cygrymus

Doctoral Extern (University of Maryland, College Park)

Emily (sher/her) is a doctoral extern from the Counseling Psychology PhD program at University of Maryland, College Park. She has previously worked with diverse college students for personal and career counseling at the University of Maryland Counseling Center and Howard Community College Counseling and Career Center. She has also gained assessment experience as an extern at Neuropsychology Associates of Fairfax. Emily's theoretical orientation integrates psychodynamic, humanistic, and feminist-multicultural theories, emphasizing an environment of empathy, collaboration, and focus on self-worth. Emily's clinical interests include body image, identity and self-esteem, career development, relationship issues, depression, and anxiety. Her research interests surround career satisfaction and management, including coping with stigma in the workplace. Emily is originally from Pittsburgh, PA. She enjoys crafting, theater, reading, and baking anything pumpkin-flavored!

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Sina Nofoagatoto'a Jones

MSW Intern (The Catholic University of America)

 Sina is pursuing her Masters in Social Work from the Catholic University of America. She was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and received her MA from Brigham Young University in International Relations. She began her career as a Congressional staff member in the U.S. House of Representatives and has spent the last 15 years living and working overseas with adolescents and young adults in countries recovering from war. Her clinical interests include trauma, anxiety, and spirituality. Sina loves basketball and is a high school varsity basketball coach. 

 

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Laura Strickart

MSW Extern (George Mason University)

Laura Strickhart is an extern from George Mason University's Master of Social Work program.  Her previous experience includes offering individual and couple's therapy at Jewish Social Services Agency (JSSA), answering the Mental Health Helpline at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and meditation and mindfulness practice at the Mindfulness Practice Center of Fairfax (MPCF).  Laura incorporates person-centered, cognitive-behavioral, mindfulness, and parts work into therapy, and approaches the client-therapist relationship with authenticity, empathy, and warmth.  Her clinical interests include chronic illness and disability, LGBTQIA+ issues, family conflict, trauma, and mood disorders.  Outside of work, she enjoys caring for her kids, wandering around the woods, and playing video games.

Vianna Christianson, B.A. Psychology

MSW Extern (George Mason University)

Vianna is a social work extern from George Mason University's Master of Social Work program. After graduating with her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Boston University, Vianna has worked with a diverse range of individuals with mental and behavioral health concerns. Her clinical interests include anxiety disorders, depression, gender and sexual identity, and working with trauma survivors. She seeks to provide trauma-informed and client-centered care in her clinical practice with students in a safe, empathic, and compassionate environment. In her spare time, Vianna enjoys yoga, writing, reading, and spending time outdoors.

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Armahn Rassuli, M.Ed

Doctoral Extern (The George Washington University)

Armahn is a doctoral extern from George Washington University's Professional Psychology (Psy.D) program. Over the past few years, Armahn has served a diverse range of individuals at community mental health centers in Washington D.C. and Williamsburg, VA. His clinical interests include interpersonal and relational issues, anxiety, depression, and substance use. Armahn uses an integrative approach to therapy that incorporates psychodynamic psychotherapy, humanistic approaches, and mindfulness-based interventions. In his spare time, Armahn enjoys reading, spending time with others, and playing video games.

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Erin Hill

Doctoral Extern (University of Maryland)

Erin Hill is a doctoral extern from the University of Maryland’s Counseling Psychology PhD program. Her previous clinical experiences include serving students at the UMD Counseling Center. She is passionate about helping college students navigate the many stressors that accompany the undergraduate and graduate experiences. Her therapeutic style is eclectic, incorporating humanistic, psychodynamic, feminist, and cognitive-behavioral approaches to empowering her clients and improving self-esteem. Her research focuses on grief outcomes after a stigmatized loss, as well as improving community responses to loss. Erin’s hobbies include running, antiquing, and playing the ukulele.

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Ashley Riley

Doctoral Extern (Howard University)

Ashley is a doctoral extern from Howard University’s Counseling Psychology Ph.D. Program. In her previous placement at Howard University Counseling Center, Ashley had the privilege of serving a diverse group of clientele, including students of various racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, spiritual, sexual, and gender backgrounds seeking therapy to address a variety of challenges and concerns. She has spent the past year conducting neuropsychological assessments with youth who experience attentional, behavioral, cognitive, and emotional difficulties at Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore. Through a humanistic and strengths-based approach to therapy, she empowers clients as experts of themselves and strives to create an environment free of judgment where clients can flourish. Areas of clinical interest include anxiety, depression, multiracial identity development, intersectionality, and life transitions. Ashley is a native Floridian and coffee enthusiast who loves cooking, spending time with family and friends, and thrifting.

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Erica Venezia

MSW Extern (The Catholic University of America)

Erica is a clinical social work extern from the Catholic University of America National Catholic School of Social Services. Over the course of the last year, she has worked with a diverse range of clients at Catholic Charities with the Assertive Community Treatment team. With a person-centered mentality, she desires to be a part of the termination of negative stigma that follows mental illnesses and disabilities. As a counselor she desires to work with her clients where they are at in their life journey allowing them to feel accepted and respected as individuals. Together we will work on building from the client’s own strengths and experiences to create a receptive and collaborative environment. In her spare time, Erica enjoys cooking, hanging out with friends, or finding new places to brunch at!

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Michael Burrows, M.S.

Doctoral Extern (University of Maryland, College Park)

Michael (he/him) is a Counseling Psychology graduate student at the University of Maryland, College Park. He has worked with college students and adults in their 20’s and 30’s in a variety of settings, including the UMD counseling center and Capital Therapy Project, a low-fee private practice clinic in Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C. His clinical interests include working with depression, anxiety, interpersonal concerns, and navigating sexual orientation and gender identity. He operates primarily from an interpersonal and relational approach, but he also borrows from humanistic and self-psychology approaches––above all, aiming to bring a warm approach to therapy that gets to know each client as an individual. In his free time, he enjoys running, cooking, and listening to some good music.

Practicum

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Ethan W. Graure, M.A.

Doctoral Student (The Catholic University of America)

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Marian Ruiz, B.A.

Doctoral Student (The Catholic University of America)

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Lillian Foote, M.S.

Doctoral Student (The Catholic University of America)

 

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Mariafernanda Macias, B.S.

Doctoral Student (The Catholic University of America)

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John P. Ryan, B.A.

Doctoral Student (The Catholic University of America)

Administrative Staff

Morgan McDonald

Morgan McDonald, M.A.

Psychometrist (Catholic University of America)

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Mallory Marse, B.A.

Administrative Assistant (Nicholls State University)

Mallory is from South Louisiana and graduated from Nicholls State University with her Bachelor's in Liberal Arts. She majored in Sociology with concentrations in psychology and education. She is currently getting her Masters in Higher Education while working full-time at the Counseling Center. She is also in the process of learning Spanish. When Mallory is not at work, she is usually with her son and partner binge watching fantasy shows and movies. Mallory also enjoys spending time in nature looking for waterfalls.