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Desiree M. Seponski

College of Family and Consumer Sciences

Human Development and Family Science

Assistant Professor


Degree Field of Study Institution Graduation
BA Psychology & Women's Studies, Minor: Math Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, Indiana 2004
MS Child & Family Development, MFT The University of Georgia 2008
PhD Child & Family Development, MFT The University of Georgia 2011


My scholarship broadly focuses on persons and families who have experienced trauma and marginalization. I currently research culturally responsive family therapy and intervention (US, International: Cambodia, Southeast Asia), with particular interests in immigrant and refugee families who have experienced poverty, trauma, and discrimination. I am guided by Social Justice and Feminist Family Therapy lenses, especially focusing on the intersections between Gender, Aging, Spirituality, and Ethnicity.

As a scientist-practitioner, my research, teaching, and outreach dynamically inform each other and are oriented toward the social justice goal of transformation at multiple systemic levels. I am the director of the Culturally Responsive Research and Interventions in Global Settings (Currigs) Lab, which explores the use and development of culturally responsive trauma-informed family therapy in international and local contexts to advance interventions, outreach, and policy that foster well-being in underserved communities.


HDFS 9070: Family Therapy Practicum, HDFS 8950: Trauma Informed Family Therapy, HDFS 8950: Culturally Responsive Therapy and Intervention in Global Settings, HDFS 8050: Mechanisms of Change


Visiting Professor at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Co-director for the Refugee Responsiveness Program

Clinical Supervisor, ASPIRE Clinic

Areas of Expertise

Certifications in EMDR, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and PREPARE/ENRICH. Marriage and Family Therapy (LMFT Georgia),  AAMFT Approved Supervisor.

Current Classes

HDFS 9070: Family Therapy Practicum, HDFS 8950: Trauma Informed Family Therapy


Selected publications (• indicates student co-authorship)

Seponski, D. M., Lahar, C., •Khann, S., Kao, S., &. Schunert T. (2018). Four decades following the Khmer Rouge: Sociodemographic factors impacting rates of depression, anxiety, and PTSD in Cambodia. Journal of Mental Health. https://doi.org/10.1080/09638237.2018.1466039

Seponski, D. M., •Somo, C. M., Kao, S., Lahar, C., •Khann, S., & Schunert, T. (2018, online first). Family, health, and poverty factors impacting suicide attempts in Cambodian women: A qualitative analysis from a randomized national sample. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention. https://doi.org/10.1027/0227-5910/a000548

•Armes, S., •Somo, C. M., •Khann, S., Seponski, D. M., Lahar, C., Kao, S., & Schunert, T. (2018).  Mental health indicators of suicide in Cambodian Women. Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health. https://doi.org/10.1177/1010539517751349

Bermudez, J. M., Muruthi, Zak-Hunter, L. M., B., Stinson, M. A., Seponski, D. M., Taniguchi, N. & •Boe, J. (2018, online first). “Thank you for including us!”-Introducing a community based collaborative approach to translating clinic materials. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. http://dx.doi/10.1111/jmft.12317

•Jordan, L.S., & Seponski, D. M. (2017, online first). “Being a therapist doesn’t exclude you from real life”: Family therapist’s beliefs and barriers to political action. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. http://dx.doi/10.1111/jmft.12244

•Jordan, L.S., & Seponski, D. M. (2017, online first). Public participation: Moving beyond the four walls of therapy. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. http://dx.doi/10.1111/jmft.12240/abstract

•Morrissey, K., •Bower, K., Seponski, D. M., Lewis, D. C. •Farnham, A., & •Cava, Y. (2017). Practitioner’s guide to end-of-life intimacy for older adults: Suggestions for conceptualization and intervention in palliative care. OMEGA Journal of Death and Dying. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0030222817696540

Seponski, D. M. & •Jordan, L. S. (2017, online first).  Cross-cultural supervision in an international setting: Foreign supervisors and native supervisees. Journal of Family Therapy. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-6427.12157

•Spivey-Young, S., Lewis, D. C., Gilbey, P., Eisenman, A., Schuster, R., Oshri, A., Seponski, D. M. (2017). Humanitarian healthcare: Treating Syrian patients in Israeli hospitals. International Journal for Human Rights in Healthcare, 10(2), 95-109. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/IJHRH-10-2016-0018

Seponski, D. M. & Lewis, D. C. (2017). Challenges of culturally responsive research methodologies: Implications and suggestions for international research.  Sage Research Methods Cases Health. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781526403872

Seponski, D. M. (2016, online first). A feminist informed integration of emotionally focused and solution-focused therapies. Journal of Family Psychotherapy, 27(4), 221-242. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08975353.2016.1235430

•Spivey-Young, S., Lewis, D. C., Gilbey, P., Eisenman, A., Schuster, R., & Seponski, D. M. (2016). Conflict and care: Israeli healthcare providers and Syrian patients and caregivers in Israel. Global Qualitative Nursing Research, 3, 1-15. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2333393616666584

Seponski, D. M., Lewis, D. C., & •Megginson, M. C. (2014). A responsive evaluation of mental health treatment in Cambodia: Intentionally addressing poverty to increase cultural responsiveness in therapy. Journal of Global Public Health: An International Journal for Research, Policy, and Practice, 9(10), 1211-1224. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17441692.2014.947302

Seponski, D. M., Bermudez, J. M., & Lewis, D. C. (2013). Creating culturally responsive family therapy models and research: Introducing the use of responsive evaluation as a method. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 39(1), 28-42. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1752-0606.2011.00282.x

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