Sejal Mehta Barden, Ph.D., NCC, LPC, ASC

Associate Professor and Executive Director

Counselor Education, UCF Marriage and Family Research Institute

Office: ED 322H

Professional Summary

Dr. Sejal M. Barden is an Associate 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.


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

Areas of Expertise

  • Counselor Education
  • Marriage, Couples and Family Therapy
  • Wellness

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

Recent Honors and Awards

  • UCF Reach for the Stars Award, 2017
  • Association for Assessment in Research and Counseling Exemplary Practice Award, 2016
  • UCF Research Incentive Award, 2015
  • UCF Teaching Incentive Portfolio, 2015
  • UCF Scholarship for Teaching and Learning Award, 2015

Recent Publications

Barden, S. M., Gutierrez, D., Gonzalez, J., & Ali, S.(in press). Calidad de Vida: An exploratory investigation of Latina breast cancer survivors and intimate partners. Journal of Health Disparities: Practice and Research.

Barden, S. M., Sherrell, R., & Matthews, J.M. (2017). A national survey on multicultural competence for professional counselors: A replication study. Journal of Counseling and Development, 95(2), 203-212.

Barden, S. M., *Gutierrez, D., *Gonzalez, J., & *Ali, S. (2016). Healing faith: A qualitative exploration of Latina breast cancer survivors. Counseling and Values, 61(2), 142-158.

Barden, S.M., Carlson, R., Daire, A., Finnell, L., Christopher, K., & Young, E. (2015). Investigating the influence of relationship education on parental attitudes. Marriage and Family Review, 51(3), 246-263. DOI:

Barden, S. M., Conley, A. H., & Young, M. E. (2015). Integrating health and wellness in mental health counseling: Clinical, educational and policy implications. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 37(2), 152-163. DOI:

Current Funded Projects

Barden, S. M., Principal Investigator, Taylor, D., Co-Investigator & Young, M.E., Co-Investigator (2015-2020). Project Harmony (90FM0078-01-00). Department of Health and Human Services: Office of Family Assistance. $9,627,622.00

Professional Organizations

  • American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, 2015-present
  • American Educational Research Association, 2014-present
  • Chi Sigma Iota Honors Society, 2009-present
  • Association for Counselor Educators and Supervisors, 2009-present
  • Southern Association for Counselor Educators and Supervisors, 2008-present
  • Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development, 2007-present
  • American Counseling Educations, 2007-present
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