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  • Our Staff

Our Staff

UCS Staff

Jihad N. Aziz, Ph.D.


Licensure: Clinical Psychologist
Education: The Pennsylvania State University, 1999, Counseling Psychology
Internship: University of Maryland
Theoretical Orientation: Interpersonal process psychotherapy, psychodynamic, family systems
Clinical Interests: Training and supervision; conflict mediation; community violence; multiculturalism; African American men's issues; leadership development
Memberships: American Psychological Association
Supervision Style: In supervision I work to meet supervisees where she or he is developmentally. I encourage supervisees to explore how to use self as a tool in helping students and I support him or her in trying different techniques to help students. I am a firm believer in a strength based perspective and work with supervisees on building those while also helping her or him grow in other areas. I often use the Socratic Method in supervision as a tool to help supervisees think critically about the interventions he or she uses with students.

Sydney Brodeur McDonald, Ph.D.

Associate Director for Training

Licensure: Clinical Psychologist 
Education: Virginia Commonwealth University, 2005, Counseling Psychology
Internship: Virginia Commonwealth University Counseling Center
Theoretical Orientation: My theoretical approach is integrative; informed primarily by interpersonal theory with a feminist lens. I wholeheartedly believe that people can find healing and peace in the context of relationships and aim to create a therapeutic relationship where this may occur. Additionally, I incorporate Dialectical Behavioral Therapy as a core foundation of treatment with clients for whom this is appropriate. I am aware of the impact of environmental and societal influences, and attuned to issues of multiculturalism. For example, I am aware that clients do not live in a vacuum, and that society’s notions regarding gender, culture, power, racism, heterosexism, and definitions of "success" affect clients and their development, internalized view of self, and experiences. I believe that each client has untapped internal resources and strengths, and attempt to assist the client in developing these by highlighting them in our work together." 
Clinical Interests: Eating disorders; chronic illness, sexual trauma, group therapy, couples/family therapy, supervision and training 
Memberships: American Psychological Association, International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals, National Eating Disorder Association
Style of Supervision: I thoroughly enjoy providing supervision! My supervision style is flexible enough to accommodate trainees’ unique needs, but structured enough to ensure that it is a useful training experience. I take a collaborative and developmental approach to supervision. Taking into consideration the trainees experience and stage of development, we establish mutually agreed upon goals aimed at enhancing the trainees’ skills and comfort as a therapist. I work to create a trusting working alliance such that the trainee can explore issues of counter-transference and world view in additional to technical aspects of conducting therapy. I value watching trainees’ tapes, discussing theoretical orientation, and reading material that enriches the training experience. Finally, I encourage trainees to consult with me in-between supervision sessions in the event that they need additional support.

Kelly Reiner, Psy.D.

Associate Director for Clinical Services; DBT Specialist

Licensure: Clinical Psychologist
Education: Regent University, 2010, Clinical Psychology
Internship: Rockland Psychiatric Center, Orangeburg, NY
Theoretical Orientation: I use an integrative approach that is predominately based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. 
Clinical Interests: Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Depression, Anxiety, Couples/Family Issues, Groups, Training and Supervision
Supervision Style: I approach supervision in a collaborative and supportive manner in order to meet supervisees’ needs. I encourage self-reflection and personal growth as supervisees work with diverse clients and various clinical presentations.

Janice H. Altman, Ph.D.

Coordinator of Psychology Practicum, Safe Zone Coordinator

Licensure: Clinical Psychologist 
Education: University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1997, Counseling Psychology
Internship: Towson University
Theoretical Orientation: My theoretical orientation is integrative. My understanding of people is informed by a psychodynamic perspective (the importance of a person’s experiences in early life) and an understanding of family systems (the effects of one part of a system upon others). I believe that the agent of change in therapy is centered on our relationship and the interpersonal process, so I put emphasis on building a therapeutic alliance and pay attention to how we interact. I also believe that when change truly occurs, it is evident in one’s thoughts and behaviors – so working with these is a necessary and integral part of the change process. I am aware of the power that others assign to us as therapists, supervisors, and teachers, and the need to use both our personal influence and professional power responsibly, with care and respect. I remain in awe of the human experience.
Clinical Interests: Supervision and training; women's issues; group therapy; gay/lesbian/bisexual issues; career development; psychology and the arts 
Memberships: American Psychological Association Divisions 10, 17, 35; Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society 
Supervision Style: In supervision I work collaboratively to establish an open and trusting relationship in which we can both learn about ourselves and our clinical work. I am attentive to the trainee’s developmental level, multicultural issues, interpersonal and process variables, and clients’ needs. I am invested in training and find that supervision works best when approached with an attitude of eagerness to learn and grow.

Lisa Beck, Ph.D.

Staff Psychologist/Liaison to VCU School of the Arts

Licensure: Clinical Psychologist - In Process 
Education: University of Alabama, 2016, Clinical Psychology
Theoretical Orientation: My clinical orientation is best understood as integrative. My first priority with each client is to collaboratively create a safe space and therapeutic alliance that will allow clients to examine and approach their authentic selves and values. Within this client-centered framework, I strive to pay close attention to the client's unique sociocultural characteristics and background which inform their perspectives and affect their lived experiences. I largely draw from theoretical orientations which honor the social construction, contextual factors, and subsequent experience of one's intersecting identities, such as third-wave (multicultural) feminist therapy, Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT), and narrative and existential approaches. These lenses combined with a strengths-based approach allow me to view client concerns and difficulties as adaptive rather than pathological developments. 
Clinical Interests: Issues related sexuality & gender identity (LGBTQIA+), First Generation Students, Identity Development, Multicultural & Social Justice Issues, Sex Positivism, Positive Psychology, Self-Compassion, Supervision & training
Memberships:  American Psychological Association - Div. 2: Society for the Teaching of Psychology, Div. 35: Society for the Psychology of Women, Div. 41: American Psychology-Law Society, Div. 44: Society for the Psychological Study of LGBT Issues; Association for Psychological Science
Supervision Style: My supervision style closely parallels my theoretical orientation in that my approach is highly collaborative. I view supervision as an integral piece of a developmental process during which I aim to meet supervisees where they are at and hope to closely understand where they want to be as we move forward in our work together. While I view trainee growth as the primary goal of supervision, I value reciprocity in all relationships and am grateful for the ways in which supervision enriches my work and life.

Engin Ege, Ph.D.

Staff Psychologist

Licensure: Clinical Psychologist
Education: University of Florida, 2016, Counseling Psychology
Internship: The University of Maryland Counseling Center
Theoretical Orientation:  I operate from a humanistic, feminist, and multicultural framework with clients. I view my most valuable tool as a therapist to be my ability to be genuinely accepting and create space for the client’s authentic expression of their emotional experience. I also strive to understand the client’s unique socio-cultural upbringing and help the client place their presenting problem in the context of what may be happening at a societal level whenever appropriate. To honor the diversity in my clients’ perspectives and experiences, the interventions I use follow an integrative approach, including: interpersonal, cognitive-behavioral, and mindfulness-based methods.
Clinical Interests: Identity Development, AMENA-and Muslim-Identified Student Concerns, Mindfulness-based Treatment, Multicultural Issues, Social Belonging
Memberships: American Psychological Association; Arab Middle Eastern North African Psychological Network
Supervision Style: As a supervisor, I take a feminist and developmental approach to my work with trainees. In particular, I tend to be flexible in my expectations and collaborative in goal setting to meet the needs of trainees, depending on where they are in their professional development and areas of growth. Following the feminist model, I look for opportunities during supervision to deepen my trainee’s understanding of how their identities influence their therapeutic work with clients and explore blind spots regarding issues related to diversity and social justice.

Dan Elreda, Ph.D.

Staff Psychologist 

Licensure: Clinical Psychologist 
Education: The Pennsylvania State University, 2014, Counseling Psychology
Internship: University of Virginia, Counseling and Psychological Services
Theoretical Orientation: Psychodynamic, interpersonal process psychotherapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy. I like to work collaboratively with clients to establish a healthy therapeutic relationship. In the end I hope that clients gain a new understanding of themselves and have an enriching interpersonal experience that they take with them outside of the therapy room.
Memberships:  American Psychological Association; Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity and Race; Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity 
Supervision Style: I enjoy providing supervision. My approach to supervision is informed by a developmental model. I endeavor to meet supervisees at where they are in their development as clinicians. Initially I like to foster an environment of warmth and safety because I believe this is important to growth as a clinician. Then I like to work with supervisees to establish their goals. From there through the use of discussions, reading materials, and videotape I like to help supervisees meet their goals.

Megan D. Guinn, Ph.D.

Staff Clinician, LGBTQIA+ Emphasis; Coordinator of Psychology Practicum 

Licensure: Clinical Psychologist – In Process
Education: University of North Texas, 2015, Counseling Psychology
Internship: Virginia Commonwealth University Counseling Services
Theoretical Orientation: My approach to therapy is integrative and informed by relational and interpersonal process theories with a multicultural lens. I value collaboration and fostering safety with clients so that they are able to be themselves, honestly face their emotional experiences, and examine their relationships in the pursuit of increasing self-understanding, connection, authenticity, and self-compassion. I deeply value and strive to maintain an ongoing commitment to sensitivity to diversity and contextual factors, and acknowledgement of the interactive influence they have on our relationships and well-being.
Clinical Interests: Attachment and relationship concerns, identity development, multicultural and LGBTQIA+ issues, trauma, group therapy, and supervision/training
Memberships: American Psychological Association (APA)
Supervision Style: My approach to supervision is relational, collaborative, and developmental. As a supervisor, I seek to facilitate a safe environment that fosters growth in clinical competence, self-awareness, and cultural humility through mutual engagement and an intentional and flexible balance of support and challenge, of guidance and encouragement of curiosity and self-reflection. I seek to meet supervisees where they are and to be connected, transparent, and collaborative in supervisory and training relationships.

Myriam T. Kadeba, M.A.

Staff Clinician

Licensure: In Process
Education:  The University of Akron, 2011, Counseling Psychology
Internship:The Ohio State University, Counseling and Consultation Service
Theoretical Orientation:  I conceptualize my work from feminist, constructionist, and Afrocentric approaches. I believe that we create meaning out of our environment and lived experiences, as well as strive for balance in our lives. Within the therapeutic alliance, clients are encouraged to recognize how societal forces, including systems of oppression, may affect one’s self-understanding, daily functioning, and create psychological distress. Clients’ contextual factors are incorporated throughout treatment in order to holistically understand their presenting concerns and inform treatment planning. I view my role as fostering clients’ inner strength in managing surmounting barriers, and empowering them to live a self-defined and value-driven life
Clinical Interests:  Intersectional identity concerns, women’s health issues, Immigration/International students, adjustment concerns, trauma.
Memberships: The Association of Women in Psychology (AWP), The Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi), The American Psychological Association (APA)
Style of Supervision: I approach supervision with dynamic lens, seeking to balance multicultural awareness of self and others, clinical competence, professional growth, and developmental needs of supervisees. I work in partnership with clinicians in training, aiding them to meet their identified needs, increase self-efficacy and critical thinking, emphasize care of self, and promote ethical and best practice care of clients. 

Tori Keel, LCSW

Clinical Case Manager

Licensure: Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Education: University of South Carolina, 2007, Social Work
Theoretical Orientation: My theoretical orientation is integrative, drawing primarily from cognitive behavioral, interpersonal and strength's based/solution-focused perspectives. I believe that all individuals possess innate strengths and a desire to survive and excel which drives them to do the best that they can with what they have at any given time. Emotional distress and daily stressors often cloud one’s ability to identify and build on strengths and utilize positive coping skills. I believe that a positive therapeutic relationship is crucial and thus strive to create a space where students feel safe and supported exploring any identified obstacles.
Clinical Interests: Depression, anxiety, grief and loss, substance abuse/dependence, adjustment difficulties, identity, relationships, trauma, ADHD, suicidality
Memberships: National Association of Social Workers
Supervision Style: My supervision style is collaborative and supportive. I strive to the meet the student where they are while also providing opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Beth Parsons, Ph.D.

Coordinator, Supervision of Supervision

Licensure: Clinical Psychologist
Education: The Ohio State University, 2000, Counseling Psychology
Theoretical Orientation: My theoretical orientation is integrative, influenced by feminist, relational, narrative, and social constructionist ideas. I view therapy as a collaborative process that can assist in clarifying and working through difficulties so that life can be lived in more congruent and satisfying ways.
Clinical Interests: I enjoy working with students across a wide variety of issues. Some special areas of clinical interest include trauma, couples work, multicultural and gender issues, LGBT issues, eating disorders, and use of mindfulness in therapy.
Memberships: American College Personnel Association, Association for Women in Psychology
Style of Supervision: I work collaboratively with supervisees to clarify and work towards their goals, explore and expand clinical skills, and assist in the process of developing their unique professional identity and style.

Camille Rudney, LCSW

Staff Clinician

Licensure: Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Education: Virginia Commonwealth University, 2013, Social Work
Theoretical Orientation: In therapy I work with Internal Family Systems theory as a non-pathologizing approach to helping clients understand the ways in which internal conflicts can drive self-destructive coping and to discover their innate capacity to heal. I incorporate Mindful Self-Compassion strategies to provide clients with a model for how to cope with distressing thoughts, feelings and sensations without shifting into self-attack or avoidance. I also have a specialization in trauma treatment and strive to incorporate sensorimotor awareness and intervention into my work.I believe that a therapist should also be an advocate and bring an awareness of how systems of oppression such as racism and income inequality impact the client, the therapist, and the therapeutic environment. As such I try to strike a balance between challenging the null environment while also creating a safe space for clients to express themselves freely and explore. 
Clinical Interests: trauma, group therapy, working with gender identity and sexuality, the impact of systemic oppression and discrimination on mental health  
Supervision Style: My approach to supervision is collaborative, relational and strength-based. I encourage exploration, self-reflection and consideration of counter-transference. I am also passionate about learning to integrate self-care into day-to-day therapeutic practice instead of adding another task to a to-do list. I am excited to help trainees contribute to the VCU and Richmond communities through outreach and other forms of community engagement.

Miki Skinner, Ph.D.

Staff Psychologist-Medical Campus

Licensure: Clinical Psychologist
Education: University of Utah, 2013, Counseling Psychology
Internship: Virginia Commonwealth University Counseling Services
Theoretical Orientation: I work from a theoretical orientation grounded in existential psychotherapy integrated with interpersonal theory.
Clinical Interests: Wellness of students in the health professions, anxiety, grief and loss, depression, LGBTQ concerns, and incorporating mindfulness into therapy.
Memberships: American Psychological Association
Style of Supervision: I work from a collaborative and strengths based framework of supervision. My goal in supervision is to help my supervisee develop her or his clinical identity in a safe and supportive environment. I work towards this goal from a developmental perspective, providing structure where needed and encourage exploration of clinical style, theoretical orientation and attention to parallel process.

Christine Strasser, Psy.D.

Staff Psychologist/ Sexual Assault Specialist and Outreach Coordinator

Licensure: Clinical Psychologist
Education:The Illinois School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University, Chicago, 2013
Internship: Purdue University, Counseling & Psychological Services
Theoretical Orientation: I utilize an integrative approach to individual therapy, specifically drawing from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), existential psychotherapy, interpersonal process therapy, and feminist therapy. I work with students to help them identify their values and to begin to take steps to living a more meaningful, values driven life.
Clinical Interests: Sexual assault and intimate partner violence, grief and loss, existential concerns, women’s issues, mindfulness based treatment, and group psychotherapy
Memberships: American Psychological Association; Association for Contextual Behavioral Science
Supervision Style: I approach supervision from a developmental and interpersonal model. I work to meet the supervisee where they are and to utilize the supervisory relationship to foster growth and change. As in my clinical work, I utilize the supervisee’s values and goals to guide the work in supervision. I encourage and challenge supervisees to engage in meaningful self-reflection about themselves and their clients regarding sociopolitical and developmental concerns.

Kristi M. Vera, LCSW

Coordinator for Groups

Licensure: Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Education: Virginia Commonwealth University, 1997, Social Work
Internship: Virginia Commonwealth University
Theoretical Orientation: Object relations and Attachment Theory
Clinical Interests: Trauma, working with Axis II disorders, group therapy, grief, and multicultural issues 
Memberships: National Association of Social Workers
Style of Supervision: I believe in working from a developmental approach, taking interns where they are. Together, we develop learning objectives that will help them become successful professional social workers. Although I work primarily from object relations and attachment theory, my interns are free to develop a theoretical orientation that fits with their values and the values of NASW. Supervision is interactive, and interns are encouraged to be actively engaged in the process and not just passive recipients of knowledge. I stress critical thinking and informed interventions. 

Jo Ellyn Walker, Ph.D.

Staff Psychologist

Licensure: In Process
Education: Texas A&M University, Counseling Psychology, 2016
Theoretical Orientation: My theoretical orientation is grounded in multicultural, existential, and psychodynamic theories. 
My clinical approach is integrative and interpersonal. 
I strive to create a safe space for clients to freely express their authentic selves and work collaboratively to set, and progress toward therapeutic goals. I pay particular attention to the roles of context, and one's intersection of identities; often utilizing ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) and CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) techniques.
Clinical Interests: Multicultural concerns, LGBTQ+ concerns, eating concerns, identity development, family of origin issues
Memberships: American Psychological Association, Association of Black Psychologists
Supervision Style: My supervision style is collaborative, developmental, and integrative. I strive to create a safe environment in which trainees are challenged and supported . I use a strength-based, graduated approach to help trainees identify strengths and growth edges, and work toward personal and professional growth. I strive to deepen trainees' self-reflection and social justice-mindedness. 

Contract Employees

Vanessa M. Ellison, LCSW, MDiv

Annie Rhatigan, Ph.D.

Nina Schroder, MSW, LC

Administrative & Office Staff

Yavonda Patterson
Office Manager

Dominique Maddux- Jackson
Administrative Assistant

Felicia Banks
Administrative Assistant

Terrence Walker
Administrative Assistant, MCV Campus


UCS Trainees