Who We Are

James Cordova

James V. Córdova, 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.


Tash Boulder_CroppedTatiana Gray
Postdoc Researcher 

Tatiana Gray defended her dissertation in August, 2016, and is working as a postdoc researcher in the Córdova Lab. Tatiana’s research interests focus broadly on how to facilitate greater intimacy in romantic relationships. She is interested in therapeutic mechanisms that elicit compassion between partners as well as how contemplative practices such as yoga and meditation can help partners cope with trauma and feel closer to and safer with one another.


MattMatt Hawrilenko
Graduate Student

Matt is a sixth year doctoral student in the clinical program, and works with Dr. James Córdova.  He is currently on internship. 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 sixth year doctoral student in the clinical program working with Dr. James Córdova. She is currently on internship. Her research interests include the ways in which minority stress influence same-sex couples. Liz is also interested in how public policy and broader issues of heterosexism and homophobia impact sexual minority relationship functioning. Her dissertation is exploring help seeking for relationship abuse in the context of same-sex relationships.


JustinJustin Laplante
Graduate Student

Justin Laplante is a sixth year graduate student in Developmental Psychology. He is working on his dissertation investigating the effect of a meditation practice on romantic relationships. He is also teaching Qualitative Methods, and is also overseeing undergraduate independent projects and honors theses.  Justin’s research interests include meditation and mindfulness among couples, as well as religious and spiritual identity development across the lifespan.




EmilyEmily Maher
Graduate Student

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



TaylorTaylor Dovala
Graduate Student

Taylor Dovala is a third year clinical student in the doctoral program.  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.





IMG_5313Nick Canby
Graduate Student

Nick Canby is a second year graduate student in the clinical psychology department. Nick is interested in the relational context of mindfulness interventions and meditation practice, especially concerning teacher and therapy group/ community relationships and the impacts that meditation practice has on others who do not practice meditation.


Setareh O’Brien
Graduate Student

Setareh O’Brien is a first year student in the clinical psychology doctoral program. She received her B.A. in psychology and Neuroscience from Wesleyan University and worked as a research assistant at the University of Chicago before coming to Clark. Setareh is interested in studying relational spirituality, or spirituality as experienced in the context of intimate relationships, among nonreligious adults.