Desiree M. Seponski

College of Family and Consumer Sciences

Human Development and Family Science

Associate 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, poverty, 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. 

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 (2014-2019)

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., Lewis, D. C., Bermudez, J. M., & Sotelo, J. M. (2020). Cambodian therapists’ perspectives of western-based psychotherapy models: Addressing the challenges for service providers. Journal of Family Psychotherapy, 36-55.  

Jordan, L.S., Seponski, D. M., Hall, J. & Bermudez, J. M. (2020, in press). “Hopefully you’ve landed the Waka Shore”: Negotiated spaces in New Zealand’s bicultural mental health system. Transcultural Psychiatry.  

Armes, S. E., Seponski, D. M., Kao, S., Khann, S., Lahar, C., Bryant, C., Bride, B., Wickrama, K. A., Bunnack, P., & Schunert, T. (2019). Contextual trauma: Investigating individual and community trauma in a Cambodian sample. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 97-107. 

Hinton, D., Seponski, D. M., •Khann, S., •Armes, S. E., Lahar, C., Kao, S., & Schunert, T. (2019).  Culturally sensitive assessment of anxious-depressive distress in Cambodia: Avoiding category truncation. Transcultural Psychiatry, 643-666.

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.

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.

•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.

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.

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.

•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.

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:

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.

•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.

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.

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.

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