Alumna directs Loma Linda University Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic
Barbara Couden Hernandez, PhD, LMFT, director of clinical education, clinic director, and associate professor for the department of counseling and family sciences, SST, poses for a photo in the clinic’s play therapy room. The clinic also houses eight therapy rooms for adults.
She never thought she would be back at Loma Linda, but since July, Barbara Couden Hernandez, PhD, LMFT, has been the director of clinical education and associate professor for the department of counseling and family sciences, School of Science and Technology.
“I have a strong belief that the Lord wanted me here,” shares Dr. Hernandez. “No one is more surprised than me.”
She started her career in nursing. But after a year in the field, Dr. Hernandez chose to follow one of her passions: music performance, writing, or psychology.
“I just love people and love to learn who they are,” shares Dr. Hernandez. “Since most high points of a person’s life as well as the low points typically revolve around a relationship or another person, I wanted an education that would uniquely prepare me with relational lenses to view the significance of these events. Marriage and family therapy has afforded me that.”
In 1992, Dr. Hernandez graduated with her master’s degree from LLU’s department of counseling and family science. After that, she received her PhD in family social science from the University of Minnesota in 1993.
Since earning her PhD, she has worked for LLU School of Public Health until 1998; taught at the University of Minnesota, Indiana State University, and Walla Walla College; as well as having a private practice in marriage and family therapy.
“It’s refreshing to be back and teach in a thriving program,” says Dr. Hernandez. “It makes me very excited when I see the students’ enthusiasm.” She also notes the positive difference in how the department uses a mentorship model with the students, compared to other universities at which she has taught.
Her goals for the department include developing two clinical interest areas: 1) gerontology and families of the elderly, and 2) home-based family therapy, both important areas for research and practice in the field.
“I hope that when students leave here,” she adds, “they will be well-versed in a variety of approaches and be knowledgeable in the pros and cons of theoretical models.”
When not on the job, Dr. Hernandez likes to entertain, hike, backpack, read, write, travel, and spend time with her family.
For more information about the Loma Linda University Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic on Hospitality Lane, you may call (909) 558-4934, or visit the web at <www.llu.edu/ llu/grad/mfam/clinic>.
By Patricia Thio