Faculty Profiles

Clinical Mental Health Counseling

COE Dr. Carman Gill is Department Chair and Professor of Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Florida Atlantic University. She has extensive counseling and related experience including crisis services manager, inpatient unit counselor, crisis services clinician (covering three hospital emergency departments), and UNC-G university clinic counselor. Dr. Gill has presented locally, nationally, and internationally on a variety of theoretical and research based topics, with her primary area of research being spirituality and counseling. She is a co-author of DSM-5: Learning Companion for Counselors, a textbook published by the American Counseling Association (ACA). Dr. Gill is a member of ACA, the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES), and the Association for Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Values in Counseling (ASERVIC). She has worked for ASERVIC as newsletter editor, secretary, board member, membership committee co-chair, conference committee co-chair and is a past president of that organization.

Email Dr. Gill.

Research Interests:

  • Wellness theory for counselors
  • Ethical issues and distance supervision in counseling
  • Spirituality and religion in counseling
  • Substance use disorders
  • Spiritual Competency Scale (SCS)

COE Dr. Brian S. Canfield is Professor of Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Florida Atlantic University. He received his B.A. in psychology and M.A. in counseling from Louisiana Tech University, and his doctorate in Counseling and Guidance from Texas A&M University at Commerce. Dr. Canfield is a licensed marriage and family therapist (FL and LA,) a licensed professional counselor (LA,) a licensed psychologist (AR,) a certified master addiction counselor, and a clinical fellow and approved supervisor of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy.

Dr. Canfield’s research and scholarly contributions are widely cited in the professional literature and his co-authored book Group Work: Cybernetic, Constructivist and Social Constructionist Perspectives is used in a number of clinical training programs throughout the USA and abroad. He is regularly invited as a keynote speaker and presenter at state, national, and international conferences. His international activities in the field of counseling have included presenting workshops and consulting with professional groups in Mexico, Rwanda, Australia, Malaysia, Cyprus, Bahamas, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Turkey.

Throughout his career, Dr. Canfield has been active in professional association leadership. He is a past president of the International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors (IAMFC) and currently serves as IAMFC Director of International Education and Development. For the past 15 years, he has organized and directed the IAMFC summer Family Counseling Institute, currently held at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford University. Dr. Canfield is a Fellow and served as the 56th President of the American Counseling Association (ACA.)

Email Dr. Canfield.

Research Interests:

  • Marriage counseling and dyadic relationship therapy
  • Professional practice issues
  • Intercultural counseling
  • Applied Cybernetics in counseling
  • Family of Origin and intergeneration transmission theory

COE Dr. Paul R. Peluso is Senior Associate Dean for the College of Education and Professor of Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Florida Atlantic University. He received his doctorate in Counselor Education and Human Development and Ed.S. in Professional Counseling from Georgia State University. Dr. Peluso is a licensed mental health counselor and marriage and family therapist, a national certified counselor, as well as a qualified supervisor in MHC, MFT, and AAMFT in the State of Florida. In addition, he currently serves as the editor-in-chief of Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, as well as acts as President of the International Association for Marriage and Family Counselors (IAMFC), a division of the American Counseling Association (ACA).

Dr. Peluso has authored several books, including Advanced Principles of Counseling and Psychotherapy: Learning, Integrating, and Consolidating the Nonlinear Thinking of Master Practitioners.  An award-winning researcher, he has received recognitions from organizations such as IAMFC, ACA, and the Association for Assessment in Counseling and Education (AACE). Dr. Peluso has lectured both nationally and internationally, and has also been featured in several media outlets including The Wall Street Journal and Counseling Today.

Email Dr. Peluso or visit his faculty pageGoogle Scholar, and Research Gate profile.

Research Interests:

  • Adlerian counseling and crisis intervention
  • Couples counseling and infidelity
  • Individual psychology
  • Evidence-based psychological practices and therapist training
  • Mathematical modeling of the counseling relationship:  i.e. studying the impact of affect and emotional behavior of counselor and/or client on the therapeutic relationship

COE Dr. Kelly Emelianchik-Key is Associate Professor in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program and serves as the practicum coordinator. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Florida Atlantic University, her Master's and Educational Specialist degrees in Mental Health Counseling from the University of Florida, and her Doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision from Old Dominion University.  As a licensed mental health counselor and nationally certified counselor, Dr. Emelianchik-Key has experience working with diverse populations, such as children, teens, couples, college students, and families. She has worked in a variety of capacities and settings, including but not limited to: inpatient facilities, community agencies, and private practices.

Dr. Emelianchik-Key is an engaged member of the counseling community via her work with clients, teaching, research, providing clinical supervision, and serving on editorial boards.  She is an active member of several national and state professional organizations, in addition to having several peer reviewed journal publications, book contributions, and national presentations.

Email Dr. Emelianchik-Key.

Research Interests:

  • Gender issues
  • Dating and intimate partner violence
  • Self-injurious behavior
  • Clinical supervision and ethics
  • Career development with marginalized populations

COE Dr. Adriana C. Labarta is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Florida Atlantic University. She received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Master of Education in Mental Health Counseling, and Specialist in Education from the University of Florida, and a Doctorate in Counseling from Florida Atlantic University. As a licensed mental health counselor and national certified counselor, Dr. Labarta has experience working with diverse clients in residential, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, outpatient, and university counseling settings. Her primary clinical and research interests include eating disorders and body image concerns in marginalized communities. Dr. Labarta is an actively engaged member of several counseling organizations and was selected as an Emerging Leader by the Southern Association for Counselor Education and Supervision and the Association for Assessment and Research in Counseling.

Email Dr. Labarta

Research Interests:

  • Eating disorders and body image concerns
  • Addressing eating disorder treatment disparities
  • Culturally responsive counseling approaches
  • Self-compassion and wellness

Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling

COE Dr. Michael Frain is Professor of Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling and a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC). He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. He is a published leader within the field of Rehabilitation Psychology, and has produced over 50 peer reviewed journal articles.

Email Dr. Frain, or visit his faculty page.

Research Interests:

  • Vocational evaluation and rehabilitation
  • Developmental disabilities, assessment, and claims
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Disability discrimination and the workplace
  • Life care planning and personal injury consulting

COE Dr. Ayse Torres is Associate Professor of Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling at Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Torres has worked in various counseling and leadership roles in public rehabilitation counseling settings. As a certified rehabilitation counselor, she has gained extensive experience in working with individuals with a wide range of physical and mental disabilities. Dr. Torres’s research has focused on investigating evidence-based practices in clinical rehabilitation counseling, and on the integration of veterans with disabilities into communities. She developed a motivational interviewing training for rehabilitation counselors and trained counselors throughout the State of Florida. In recognition for the contribution from her research to the field of Counselor Education, her dissertation recently won the 2018 Florida Atlantic University, College of Education, Outstanding Dissertation award.

Email Dr. Torres.


Research Interests:

  • Outcome research on clinical rehabilitation counseling interventions
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Chaos Theory as a model for life transitions counseling
  • Community integration for veterans with disabilities

School Counseling

COE Dr. Elizabeth Villares is Professor of School Counseling in the Department of Counselor Education at Florida Atlantic University. She has worked as a teacher, school counselor, and guidance director at the secondary level. Her area of specialization includes counseling children and adolescents, integrating technology in school counseling programs to improve data driven practices, and collaborating with school counselors to develop action research, outcome research, and program evaluation projects. Dr. Villares is also interested in the implementation of school counselor led evidence-based programs that lead to an improvement in student achievement.

Email Dr. Villares or visit her faculty page.

Research Interests:

  • Counseling children and adolescents
  • Improving social/emotional skills
  • Improving school counseling action and outcome research
  • Evidence-based programs that improve student achievement
  • Impact of positive psychology on academic, social and emotional performance

mariani Dr. Melissa Mariani is Associate Professor of School Counseling in the Department of Counselor Education at Florida Atlantic University, where she also received her Ph.D. in Counseling. She has a wealth of experience in the field of school counseling, having worked as a school counselor and guidance program/testing coordinator for close to a decade. Currently, she is on the editorial board of a number of peer-reviewed journals, including Journal for Counselor Preparation and Supervision, Journal of Employment Counseling, and Journal of School Counseling.

Recently, Dr. Mariani was recognized by Florida Atlantic University and the FAU College of Education as the 2016 Scholar of the Year (Assistant Professor level). She has presented regionally, nationally, and internationally on the subjects of student success skills, school counseling interventions and outcome research, evidence-based guidance programs,  higher education and K-12 collaboration, and cultural sensitivity in school counselor education.

Email Dr. Mariani.

Research Interests:

  • Evidence-based and data-driven school counseling practices
  • College and career readiness skills
  • Effects of student success skills on pro-social and bullying behavior
  • School district-university research partnerships
  • Cultural sensitivity in school counselor education

COE Dr. Hannah Bowers is Assistant Professor of School Counseling at Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Bowers has been working with children and families for the past seven years, both as a marriage and family therapist and a school counselor. Her research thus far has focused on investigating school counseling programs and interventions that are aligned with the ASCA National Model, and which advocate for the school counseling profession, and engage the entirety of the school system. Dr. Bowers was recently selected as an Emerging Leader for the Association of Humanistic Counseling and promoted to Associate Editor of the Journal of Humanistic Counseling. She is excited for her recent return to South Florida and looks forward to further engaging with the local and regional counseling community.

Email Dr. Bowers.

Research Interests:

  • Evidence-based and data-driven school counseling practices
  • School, family, and community collaboration
  • Interventions that improve social and emotional learning and cognitive functions.