Who We Are

James Cordova

James V. Cordova Ph.D

Click link for vita

The goal of Dr. Córdova’s research program is to increase our understanding of the processes that affect marital/couple health and deterioration, particularly those processes that can be manipulated to promote greater relationship, mental, and physical health. Dr. Córdova’s work involves the theoretical delineation of those processes, the demonstration of their proximal role in relationship health, and the construction of empirically testable procedures for their therapeutic manipulation. The principal processes addressed in Dr. Córdova’s work include intimacy, acceptance, depression, and motivating the adoption of relationship healthy practices. Dr. Córdova received a B.A. from the University of New Mexico in 1989 and a M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Washington at Seattle in 1992 and 1996, respectively. He has been at Clark since 2002.


Ellen Darling
Graduate Student

Ellen Darling is a Graduate Student in Clinical Psychology. She holds an undergraduate degree from Brown in Theatre and Literary Arts. Prior to matriculating at Clark she worked in mood disorders treatment-development research with a focus on perinatal populations at Butler Hospital/Brown University. Ellen has a particular interest in mindfulness-based treatment approaches and has been investigating how mindfulness practices may be of benefit to couples. Her master’s work focused on the pathways via which mindfulness affects relationship satisfaction, and her current research is an exploratory qualitative study of the impact of mindfulness meditation on intimate relationship processes across various domains.


Julia website photoJulia Sollenberger
Graduate Student

Julia Sollenberger is a graduate student in Clinical Psychology. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and social work from New York University in 2009. Julia’s research interests include studying how individual emotional skillfulness impacts intimacy processes and marital satisfaction, as well as how couples’ narratives can be used to predict treatment outcomes.


Tash Boulder_CroppedTatiana Gray
Graduate Student

Tatiana Gray is a fifth year graduate student in Clinical Psychology. She received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009 and her M.A. in Psychology from Clark University in 2013. Tatiana’s research interests focus on examining couples communication patterns, specifically the transition out of a conflict conversation. She is also interested in relationship well-being and exploring the factors that contribute to strong and healthy romantic relationships.


MattMatt Hawrilenko
Graduate Student

Matt is a third year doctoral student in the clinical program, and works with Dr. James Córdova.  His research interests include understanding how environmental challenges affect relationship dynamics (and vice-versa), incorporating tools from social cognition to under-stand processes of change in couples, and best practices for data-driven approaches to treatment.




Liz Weber Ollen
Graduate Student

Liz is a third year doctoral student in the clinical program working with Dr. James Córdova. Her research interests include marriage equality, same-sex couples and their experiences in couples therapy, and barriers to seeking help. Liz is also interested in how public policy and broader issues of heterosexism and homophobia impact sexual minority relationship functioning.


JustinJustin Laplante
Graduate Student

Justin Laplante is a third year graduate student in Developmental Psychology. He received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Muhlenberg College, and his Master’s degree at the University of West Georgia. Justin’s research interests include meditation and mindfulness among couples, religious and spiritual identity development across the lifespan, and morality and moral behaviors.




EmilyEmily Maher
Graduate Student

Emily is a second year graduate student in the clinical psychology department. Her research interests revolve around the therapeutic utility of mindfulness and compassion-based practices. With Dr. Cordova, Emily is studying the application of such techniques to building intimacy in romantic relationships.


TaylorTaylor Dovala
Graduate Student


Taylor Dovala is a first year clinical student in the doctoral program. She received her B.A. in Psychology from St. Olaf College. Taylor’s research interests lie at the intersection between positive psychology and intimate relationships. Specifically, she is interested in how relationships affect well-being, and how interventions can be used to capitalize on couples’ strengths and buffer against later stressors.