Counseling Center

Mission Statement

The mission of the Counseling Center is to foster students’ psychological development and emotional well-being and to support students in attaining their academic and personal goals. Our multidisciplinary staff work with students, faculty, staff, families, and administration to support students and to create a healthy, diverse, supportive and inclusive multicultural learning community. This is accomplished through counseling and psychotherapy, preventive and educational programming, consultation and outreach. We also strive to contribute to the training and development of multi-culturally competent mental health professionals.

The Counseling Center exists within and has responsibility to the academic institution. Given this unique relationship, the Center attends to the academic imperatives of the institution in all of its programming and functions. Toward this end, Center staff members serve on university committees, provide consultation to faculty and staff regarding mental health concerns around students, faculty and staff, and provide limited instruction within academic courses.

The Counseling Center is accredited by the International Association of Counseling Services Inc. (IACS) and provides all services within the guidelines adopted by this agency.

Counseling Staff

Doha Chibani, MSW, LCSW-C

Case Manager

Doha is a magna cum laude undergraduate alumna of UMBC’s psychology program. She went on to graduate with a Master’s in clinical social work from the University of Maryland Baltimore. Prior to joining the counseling center, Doha provided therapeutic services to individuals on the Autism Spectrum, refugees, survivors of torture and trauma, as well as victims of sexual abuse. In addition to direct clinical practice, she has spent several years involved in mental health and social services research. Doha espouses an integrative approach to therapy that incorporates trauma focused cognitive behavioral, developmental and existential components within a solution focused brief model. She has a strong interest in supporting the multicultural and international students, the transfer, commuter and non-traditional returning student body, as well as the LGBTQ population. Doha is fluent in English, Arabic and French.

Amber Hager, Ph.D.

Staff Psychologist

Dr. Hager graduated from the University of Georgia then earned a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Syracuse University in 2006. After working for several years in home-based, residential, and outpatient substance abuse settings, she earned a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University in San Francisco. She completed her doctoral internship at the University of San Francisco Counseling and Psychological Services Center and her postdoctoral residency at University of New Haven Counseling and Psychological Services Center. Her approach to therapy is integrative, including time-limited psychodynamic, postmodern family systems, feminist, and cognitive behavioral theories. She has particular interest and training with anxiety and panic disorders, LGBTQ identity development, diversity and inclusion, the use of mindfulness in therapy, relationship issues, and program administration and training.

Whitney Hobson, Psy.D.

Staff Psychologist, Groups Coordinator

Dr. Hobson is a licensed psychologist who graduated from the American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University, Washington, D.C. with a PsyD in Clinical Psychology. Dr. Hobson completed her doctoral internship at Basics Group Counseling, LLC through the Mid-Atlantic Internship Consortium providing individual and family therapy as well as psychological assessments to individuals of varied ages. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship followed by a position as a Behavioral Health Consultant at Chase Brexton Health Care in Randallstown, MD. During her time there Dr. Hobson spent two years providing clinical and outreach services in the form of individual, family, and couples therapy to both general and pediatric populations, serving individuals from diverse and varied backgrounds and within the LGBTQ community. Dr. Hobson uses an integrative approach to therapy and conceptualization primarily derived from cognitive-behavioral and relational-culture theories. Dr. Hobson’s interest and clinical experience include the treatment of anxiety and depression, grief and loss and its broader application to adjustment and life transitions, establishment of identity and empowerment, interpersonal effectiveness, and culturally/socially focused issues.

Bruce Herman, Ph.D.

Director of Health & Counseling

Dr. Herman graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Industrial and Labor Relations. He obtained his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. He has been working in Higher Education for over 30 years and has worked extensively in the areas of mental health and health promotion. He came to UMBC in July 2012. Before UMBC he worked at Towson University Counseling Center from 1999-2012. Prior to that, from 1991-1998 Dr. Herman worked as a Psychologist at Loyola College in Maryland. Dr. Herman has also taught in the Psychology and/or Education Departments at Towson University, Loyola College and University of Illinois. He is interested in campus health promotion and in providing services that reach, serve and support the success and health of UMBC's diverse population.

Soonhee Lee, Ph.D

Interim Assistant Director/Training

Dr. Lee is a licensed psychologist who graduated from the University of Rochester with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. She completed her doctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Rochester Counseling Center and then worked at the University of Delaware as a staff psychologist before joining UMBC. Dr. Lee uses a mindfulness-based integrative approach in therapy that includes modern brief psychodynamic therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, emotionally-focused therapy, and dialectical behavior therapy. Her special interests include couples/relationship issues, immigration and acculturation, anxiety-spectrum disorders, life transition, grief, group dynamics, and supervision/training.

Kris Sagun, Ph.D.

Associate Director/Coordinator of Clinical Services

Dr. Sagun is a licensed psychologist who graduated from Temple University with a Ph.D. in counseling psychology. She completed her doctoral internship at the Johns Hopkins University Counseling Center and a post-doctoral fellowship at the Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt Hospital in Baltimore. In addition to her training and professional experiences in college counseling at a variety of institutions, Dr. Sagun has experience working in other college student affairs settings including residential life, disability services, and health promotion. Dr. Sagun maintains an affirmative and integrative orientation towards therapy that utilizes a humanistic, cognitive-behavioral, and psychodynamic foundation. Her special interests include college adjustment, anxiety, family of origin issues, LGBTQ identity development, working with student athletes, supervision training, and clinical service administration.

Chinedu Varma, M.D., M.P.H

Consulting Psychiatrist

Dr. Varma is an undergraduate alumnae of UMBC, where she was a Meyerhoff Scholar. She was an Interdisciplinary Studies major, with a focus on Biomedical Ethics. She graduated from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and earned her Master’s of Public Health degree, with a focus on Epidemiology and Biomedical Statistics from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She completed a General Psychiatry residency at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and a Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship at New York-Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell. Dr. Varma joined the UMBC Counseling Center in 2016 and provides psychiatric consultation and medication management. She is also a consulting psychiatrist at the Counseling Center at Bowie State University.

Patricia Wick, Ph.D.

Staff Psychologist, Externship Coordinator

Dr. Wick is a licensed psychologist who graduated from Stony Brook University and received her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Miami, in Coral Gables, FL. Dr. Wick completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Eating and Mood Disorders at the Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital and then worked in the Sheppard Pratt Health System for six years. She has taught undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Miami and Towson University and supervised clinical students at Towson as well. Prior to coming to UMBC, she worked in the Student Health and Counseling Center at Goucher College. Dr. Wick has maintained a private practice in the Baltimore area for over 20 years.

Counseling Center Doctoral Interns

Brett Kirkpatrick, M.S., Ed.S.

Brett is a doctoral candidate in Counseling Psychology at the University of Kentucky, although he was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and completed his master’s degree here in Baltimore. Brett’s previous clinical experience has included working at a state psychiatric hospital, a state prison, and a university counseling center. Brett is passionate about social justice issues, and believes that all of psychology should recognize, appreciate, and celebrate diversity. In his work, Brett strives to create genuine relationships with his clients by trying to understand how their life experiences inform their beliefs and feelings. Brett’s clinical interests include trauma, resiliency, mindfulness, and positive psychology. His research interests include making Whiteness, White culture, and White privilege visible.

Kavita Pallod Sekhsaria, Psy.M.

Kavita is a doctoral candidate in Clinical Psychology at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. She has broad experience working with individuals across developmental stages, as well as in different systems, including couples, group, and family settings. She is interested in psychoeducation and outreach as prevention measures in increasing the wellbeing of the UMBC campus. Kavita values cultural sensitivity in all that she does, and works to create a safe and open space that can empower all of her clients. She works with an integrative frame, using psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, and emotion-focused therapy to best meet the needs of her clients. She is particularly interested in working with couples, multicultural/diversity issues, and identity development.

Ryan Shea, M.S.

Ryan is a doctoral student at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He received his Master’s of Science in Counseling Psychology at Loyola University Maryland and his Master’s of Psychology at the George Washington University’s Professional Psychology Program. He previously trained at the United States Naval Academy’s counseling center in Annapolis, Maryland. Ryan applies an integrative approach to therapy, including interpersonal, psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, and mindfulness based orientations. His interests include multicultural concerns, identity development, anxiety and depression, working with LGBT identified students, and working with student athletes.

Other Counseling Center Trainees

Psychology Externs

Scott Peck, M.A.- American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University
Lydia HaRim Ahn, M.S.Ed- University of Maryland College Park

Social Work Intern

Amber Long, B.A. - University of Maryland, Baltimore

Counseling Center Administrative Staff

Dotty Fefel

Administrative Assistant II - Dotty started work at the Counseling Center in 2017. She provides general office support to the Counseling Center along with greeting and scheduling students for appointments.

Je'Nae C. Parker, MS

Je'Nae joined UMBC in October of 2017. She is a graduate of the University of Baltimore and Coppin State University's collaborative program with a Master's in Human Services Administration. She supervises the administrative staff at the Counseling Center, providing support to the clinical staff. Her experience includes supervising call center staff, insurance, billing and front desk operations.

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