Lauren Barnes, PhD, LMFT
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.
Justin K. McPheters, PhD, LMFT
UAMFT Past President
Justin McPheters worked in a program for autistic children and a residential treatment facility for teenagers during his undergraduate studies at Brigham Young University. He then received master’s and doctoral degrees in marriage and family therapy from Syracuse University in Upstate New York. He went on to complete a doctoral fellowship focused on families, illness, and collaborative healthcare at the Chicago Center for Family Health. Currently, He works for Family Services as a Group Manager overseeing operations outside of North America. He also maintains a private clinical practice in Bountiful, UT. He loves to get outside to hike canyons and mountain peaks with his five children and to run as a couple with Katrina Dart McPheters.
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
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), Ph.D., LMFT
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. Daniel Colver, DBH, MA, LMFT
Board Member & Media and Communications Chair
Daniel Colver has dedicated his educational and professional career to serving others and helping people live healthy, fulfilling, and meaningful lives. After receiving an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force in 2004, he went on to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in Behavioral Science with a Sociology Emphasis at Utah Valley University in 2010, a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy at Argosy University in 2013 (COAMFTE Accredited Program), and an applied/professional Doctor of Behavioral Health – Clinical Concentration degree at Arizona State University in 2018. He became a Utah Approved MFT Supervisor in 2021 and his love of learning keeps him busy with workshops and trainings in other EBT modalities he can integrate into his approach in therapy. He believes that patient-centered health care is best facilitated via mutually respectful relationships between patients, providers, and their families. Daniel has a passion for compassionate team-based care. He is currently spearheading behavioral health integration with co-located services at a hospital in rural Utah (Uintah Basin Medical Center, Roosevelt, UT), where in addition to his clinical practice and program development he loves supporting new professionals in their education/formation including having been appointed as Adjunct Instructor at University of Utah and on-site Doctoral Project Consultant for a student at Weber State University. Outside of work he loves spending time with his wife and children, enjoys playing guitar/bass, and riding his motorcycle (when it’s not too cold).
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.
DJ Zolman, MMFT, LMFT
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
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.
Jenny Maldonado, LMFT
Jenny Maldonado was raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin and Sandy, Utah. She is married to a Marine veteran, and together love their blended family of 5 grown children and grandchildren, camping along rivers, music, and travel. Jenny is a graduate of Argosy University’s (Draper) Master of Marriage and Family Therapy program. Currently working as the Clinical Director of a private practice in Sandy, Jenny approaches her clinical work from a systemic, strength-based perspective, exploring their commitment to personal values, autonomy, and congruence within themselves.
Along with her experience working with individuals, Jenny has a strong background working with adolescents, couples, and families experiencing crisis, life transitions, and grief. Jenny’s clinical background includes resolving complex issues of trauma, beliefs about autonomy, spiritual crisis, and perfectionism. Working in private practice, Jenny has recognized a growing need for support of Men’s issues, practical family life skills, and challenging exclusivity and rigid belief systems.
Jenny implements systemic interventions using Solution Focused Therapy, Internal Family Systems, and Acceptance and Commitment modalities. She has worked in not-for-profit, corporate residential, and private clinical settings. Jenny is an approved MFT Supervisor with the Utah Association of Marriage and Family Therapy.
OPEN POSITION -- Associate Board Advisor
Jenna Nash, MFTi
Student Advisor to the Board for Southern Utah
Jenna Nash is a Marriage and Family Therapy master’s student at Dixie State University and an MFT intern at Authentic Hearts Counseling in St. George, Utah. Originally from South Florida, Jenna and her husband, along with her three children, moved to St. George to start a family business in 2015. After taking some time off from her educational career to raise a family and start a new business, Jenna began to pursue her career ambitions of becoming a licensed marriage and family therapist. The idea she loves most about obtaining this degree is that the systemic approach offers an opportunity to explore social relationships, behavioral patterns, growth and development, emotions, as well as many other moving parts that affect one another in a family system. Jenna loves to work with couples who may struggle with intimacy and marital conflict issues, as well as families who are affected by neurodevelopmental disorders. Inspired by personal experience within her family, she aspires to help families and couples with children who have neurodevelopmental disorders—specifically, Autism and ADHD, and couples affected by those disorders within their marriage. She sees a great need for mental health services for parents who go through the initial diagnosis process and navigate challenging situations that arise throughout developmental phases. She enjoys relaxing with her family during her downtime, researching random topics, and taking scenic photos while exploring the roads less traveled in her Jeep.
Thomas Yeung, MFTi
Student Advisor to the Board for Northern Utah
Thomas Yeung is a Marriage and Family Therapy student at Utah Valley University. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Recreational Management, with an emphasis in Recreational Therapy from Brigham Young University in 2018, and has been working as a recreational therapist in a behavioral health hospital. Thomas is passionate about serving the underserved population, especially interracial marriages. He enjoys sharing dad jokes which he finds on Reddit with his partner and his two children.
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, games, dogs, and all forms of potatoes.
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