Who We Are

James Cordova

James V. Córdova, Ph.D

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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.


Tash Boulder_CroppedTatiana Gray
Graduate Student

Tatiana Gray defended her dissertation in August, 2016, and is currently on internship at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial VA. 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 fifth 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 fifth year doctoral student in the clinical program working with Dr. James Córdova. 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 fifth year graduate student in Developmental Psychology. He is working on his dissertation proposal investigating the effect of meditation on relationships across the adult lifespan. 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 third 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 second 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.





IMG_5313Nick Canby
Graduate Student

Nick Canby is a first year graduate student in the clinical psychology department. He received his B.A. in Psychology from Beloit College and worked as a research assistant at Brown University before coming to Clark. 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.