Dr. Sejal M. Barden is a professor at the University of Central Florida in the Department of Counselor Education and School Psychology and Executive Director of the Marriage and Family Research Institute. She earned her doctoral degree in Counselor Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and completed her masters and education specialist degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Florida. Dr. Barden’s primary research interests include: supporting healthy relationships for individuals and couples from underserved populations; developing integrated health interventions for chronically ill persons; and conducting culturally sensitive outcome research for couples and families. Dr. Barden has been active in the areas of research, teaching and service. Dr. Barden has over 35 scholarly works in refereed and/or peer-reviewed dissemination outlets. Dr. Barden is the Principal Investigator for Project Harmony (90FM0078-01-00), a five year federally supported research grant awarded by the Office of Family Assistance. Project Harmony is a randomized control trial investigating the impact of a relationship education intervention on improving relationship satisfaction, individual distress, parental alliance, emotional regulation and economic stability for individuals and couples from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Areas of Expertise
  • Counselor Education
  • Marriage, Couples and Family Therapy
  • Wellness

Ph.D. in Counseling and Education Development
Minor: Educational Research Methodology
University of North Carolina at Greensboro (CACREP Accredited)


Research Interests
  • Sustaining healthy relationships for individuals and couples from underserved populations
  • Communication and quality of life for cancer survivors/chronically ill persons
  • Reducing mental health disparities
Current Funded Projects

Project Harmony
Principal Investigator: Sejal Barden, Ph.D.
Co-Principal Investigator: Dalena Taylor, Ph.D.
Sponsor: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Award Period: 9/30/2020 to 9/29/2025
Total Award: $7,499,995