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Meet Your UAMFT Board of Directors

Lauren Barnes, PhD, LMFT
UAMFT President


Lauren Barnes grew up in Washington and Oregon. Dr. Barnes is currently the Director of Clinical Training and an Associate Clinical Professor for BYU’s MFT graduate program. She maintains a small private practice where she primarily works with individuals struggling with body image, disordered eating, and other comorbidities. Prior to her faculty appointment at BYU in 2013, she worked as a therapist at Center for Change. She is married to Aaron and they have two young children.

Tony Alonzo, DMFT, LMFT

UAMFT President Elect


Tony Alonzo is originally from Los Angeles, CA. He is currently the owner of Crossroads Therapeutic Services and enjoys assisting individuals, couples, and families as they work towards change. He received his master’s degree from Brigham Young University, and his doctorate from Loma Linda University. He has been privileged to work in a wide variety of professional settings, and appreciates the opportunities to learn from his clients over the last 20+ years as an MFT. When not working, he can be found playing guitar, hosting board game nights, and painting miniatures.

Ryan B. Seedall, PhD, LMFT
UAMFT Treasurer


Ryan Seedall is associate professor in the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at Utah State University, having received his training from Brigham Young University (MS) and Michigan State University (PhD). He is an AAMFT Approved Supervisor and Clinical Fellow. His research focuses on understanding and improving relationship and change processes through examining interaction and support processes. He is also interested in protective family dynamics and prevention, including ways to reduce mental health disparities. He has conducted research on identifying specific interventions that are useful when working with couples (e.g., enactments) and therapist- and client-related factors that are strongly associated with process and outcome in therapy.

Dr. Megan Story Chavez (she/her), PhD, LMFT
UAMFT Secretary 

Megan is happy to be back in Utah after pursuing career opportunities in other states. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the MFT program at Utah Valley University and loves interacting with the students at her alma mater. Her research focuses on the biopsychosocial-spiritual framework and she is currently working with students to complete a qualitative study on resiliency in mixed-faith couples. She has specialized training in Medical Family Therapy and has worked clinically in Utah, Texas, & Nebraska. In addition to her role as a professor, she works as a therapist at Progressive Paths Therapy in Orem. She specializes in working with interracial and interfaith couples as well as emerging adults with depression, anxiety, gender and sexual identity challenges, and relationship issues. Megan and her husband, Joel have two toddlers that keep them busy

Dr. Kayla Mennenga, PhD, LMFT
Board Member & Media and Communications Chair


Kayla grew up in Waco, Texas but calls Utah home. She is currently the Co-Owner and Clinical Director of Grace Therapy & Healing in Provo. She received her master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Abilene Christian University and her PhD from Brigham Young University. Kayla has a strong background in working with pre-marital couples and couples who are working through betrayal and trust issues. Outside of therapy, Kayla loves sitting by a fire, practicing the piano, and enjoys a little adrenaline rush.

Aaron Jeffery, PhD, LMFT
Board Member & Membership Chair


Aaron Jeffrey is an AAMFT Clinical Fellow and AAMFT Approved Supervisor. He earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from Syracuse University in New York. After graduate school Aaron became an associate professor in a CACREP accredited mental health counseling program in Mankato, MN before moving to Utah in 2014. He practiced as an MFT in the Weber State University Counseling and Psychological Services Center and served as the Associate Director of Clinical Services. Aaron has done part-time private practice throughout his career and in 2022 left Weber State to build his clinical practice. He enjoys working with individuals and couples in building meaningful relationships in all aspects of life.

Jesse Higgins, PhD, LMFT
Board Member & Continuing Education Chair


Dr. Jesse P. Higgins is the Clinical Director for the Utah Juvenile Justice and Youth Services system. He received his MS in Marriage & Family Therapy from a joint program of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and University of Nebraska Medical Center. He also has a PhD from Utah State University in Human Development & Family Relations with specializations in adolescent development and parenting. He has practiced individual, couple, and family therapy for over 10 years and is a Clinical Fellow and Approved Supervisor with the American Association of Marriage & Family Therapy. On the weekends, he likes to read comic books and consume Snickers and gummy bears.

Board Member & Conference Chair


DJ Zolman is happy to represent UAMFT as the Conference Chair. He graduated from USU in 2016 and moved to Southern Utah. He is the Director of Behavioral Health at Family Healthcare where he oversees the integration of behavioral health in a primary care clinic. He uses his skillset to help patients who present with chronic medical and behavioral conditions to help them improve their overall health and quality of life. He loves being able to supervise and encourage integrated approaches with his team of 8 mental health clinicians.

When he is not in the clinic he can be found on the local hiking and biking trails, working on some type of project on their homestead in Hurricane, and enjoying quality time with his wife and two sons.

Roberto De Giorgio, LMFT

Legislative Chair


Roberto De Giorgio, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the State of Utah. Roberto’s career as an MFT started in 2015, shortly after receiving a Master Degree from Argosy University. His work centered on helping families and individuals living with an addiction, and guiding them through a recovery journey. In addition, Roberto has dedicated the majority of his work to domestic violence and trauma focused treatment, working primarily to serve the underinsured and underserved populations in both Salt Lake and Weber Counties. He has received trainings in the Gottman Method for Couples Therapy (Level 2), TEAM-CBT (currently pursuing level 2 certification), as well as specialized training in families in Trauma and Addiction Recovery. Roberto has been employed at Weber Human Services, in Ogden UT and started in 2015. As a public employee, he has witnessed firsthand the impact that the current opioid epidemic has on Utah’s underserved and underinsured population. As such, he has become very passionate about advocating for policy changes at both the local and national levels, to ensure the advancement not only of the MFT profession, but of Mental Health professionals as well, to aide in resolving this crisis. He is passionate about legislative issues and advocating for change that ultimately will improve the quality of lives of professionals and consumers alike. He hopes to bring a fresh perspective centered on public work, to assist the Board in carrying its mission.


Liza Telford, LMFT
Election Chair


Liza studied at Argosy University and received her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from North Central University. She owns a private practice in Layton as an affiliate of the Aspire Counseling Network, where she is also a co-owner and Executive Board Member. She attributes her enthusiasm for the work she does in our field to the insights and tools gained through doing her own therapeutic work. She is passionate about helping individuals, couples and families navigate life's challenges.

Liza is a seasoned board and committee member having served on The Road Home annual Chili Affair event, the Aspire Network of mental health companies board of directors, and the Morgan Schools Community Council. Liza is at her best in a collaborative environment where clarity of communication and consensus drive organizational objectives.

She enjoys anything that involves spending time in the sun with her family and friends...on a mountain or a beach! She loves good food (sushi), mountain biking, hiking, reading, shopping, surfing, skiing, and traveling. She also loves to watch live theater (particularly Broadway musicals) and just about any type of dance.

UAMFT Advisors

Stacy Reynolds, LAMFT

Associate Board Advisor


Natalie Wennergren, MFTi
Student Advisor to the Board for Southern Utah


Natalie is a Marriage and Family Therapy student at Utah Valley University and an MFT intern at Connections Family Wellness. Natalie earned her Bachelors degree in Psychology from Utah State University as a non-traditional returning student. Natalie and her husband John, with their four kids, call Utah County home. Natalie especially enjoys working with couples and teenagers. Some specific areas of interest are faith crisis and expansion, mixed-faith relationships, unwanted pornography use, and ADHD. In her free time, she enjoys cycling, reading, and buying clothes she doesn’t need.

Kaitlyn Zito, MFTi

Student Advisor to the Board for Northern Utah


Kaitlyn Zito is a Master's student at Utah State University. She loves playing the cello and exploring National Parks.


Celeste Esplin (she/her), MS, LAMFT  

Executive Director UAMFT


Celeste Esplin works in a group private practice at Arcadia Counseling in Lindon. She especially loves working with teens and couples, even though they occasionally give her headaches. Before graduating from BYU (go Cougs!), Celeste grew up on a dairy farm in rural Idaho, surrounded by potato fields, family, and cows. When not seeing clients, she enjoys a good show on Netflix, shopping at thrift stores, baking, piano, sewing, games, dogs, and all forms of potatoes. 

If you are interested in serving on a committee or running for an elected board position, please email uamftadmin@gmail.com


UAMFT is an independent professional home for systems-oriented mental health clinicians in Utah! If you want to join and become a UAMFT member, this is where you do it. We hope you will join today.

We need you and your strengths. We are a volunteer organization most of us therapists who are passionate about our profession, our clients, and the future of marriage and family therapy in Utah. This is our professional home. We connect with, support, and learn from each other. Our annual memberships provide high value at a reasonable cost. We look forward to associating with you.



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