Our Team


 Dr. Rhea Almeida

Dr. Rhea Almeida

MS, Ph.D, LCSW

 Dr. Rhea Almeida

Dr. Rhea Almeida

MS, Ph.D, LCSW

Rhea V. Almeida, MS, Ph.D., LCSW, founder of IFS, is a family therapist and Columbia Graduate. She has over 30 years experience as a trainer, therapist, activist, and author.

Creator of the Cultural Context Model, Dr. Almeida is the author of three books and numerous journal articles and book chapters. Her upcoming book Liberatory Healing Practices is due to come out in 2017.

Dr. Almeida has published numerous articles and is the author of her fourth book on Liberation-Based Healing Practices. Dr. Almeida has served on the editorial boards of several distinguished journals in the field including The Journal of Cultural Diversity and Mental Health, The Journal of Marital and Family Therapy and The Journal of Feminist Family Therapy. She currently serves as Consulting Editor for the White Privilege On-line journal and serves on the Council for Racial and Economic Diveristy at the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Dr. Almeida is a member of the American Family Therapy Academy and a clinical member of the American Association of Marital and Family Therapists. Dr. Almeida has served on numerous boards including the Council for Contemporary Families, The American Family Therapy Academy, the National Association for Social Workers and Orthopsychiatry. She is also an Approved Supervisor for the Association of Marital and Family Therapists. She serves on committees for doctoral students interested in pursuing research in the area of liberation based healing.

She has been featured in the Los Angles Times, CNBC, National Public Radio, USA Today and Pure Oxygen.

You can reach her or the IFS faculty at WeCare4UIFS@gmail.com

All IFS faculty are postgraduates trained in Family Systems Therapy, the CCM, and Liberation-Based Healing. Dr. Almeida received the American Family Therapy Award for Innovative Contributions to Family Therapy. She is annually honored by the Award from the Domestic Violence Hotline for her work with women and families with domestic violence. She is nationally and internationally recognized for her work with women and families with domestice violence. She is nationally and internationally recognized for her work with men who experience a range of challenges.

She is nationally and internationally recognized for her standpoint on Intersectionality and Liberatory Healing Practices.


Diana A. Melendez Romero

Diana A. Melendez Romero

MSW, LCSW

Diana A. Melendez Romero

Diana A. Melendez Romero

MSW, LCSW

Diana was born in Mexico and currently is Director of Progresando en Comunidad at IFS, which integrates Spanish speaking clients into the therapeutic community and process through dual-immersion practices. Diana received her MSW from NYU following earning a dual degree in Social Work and Psychology-Honors from Seton Hall University and subsequently completing the Post-Graduate Training at IFS, where she is now faculty. Diana has served on the Board and committees of her professional organization and has experience working within the education system, child welfare system, mental health system and juvenile justice system. She is currently the Director of the Child and Adolescent Ambulatory Services at the Behavioral Health Department for Trinitas Regional Medical Center. Diana is also an organizer with the northeast anti-racist alliance of the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, as a trainer of the “Undoing Racism- Community Organizing” workshop.

Diana's current areas of interest include expanding on liberation-based practices that move towards systemic and relational equity.


/>Dr. EunjungRyu

Dr. EunjungRyu

PhD, LMFT,LCSW

/>Dr. EunjungRyu

Dr. Rhea Almeida

PhD, LMFT,LCSW

Eunjung Ryu, PhD, LMFT, LCSW, has over 20 years of clinical experience working with families. Her doctoral thesis from Drexel University researched the Cultural Context Model. Her dissertation was on "sponsoring change in self and others: Female sponsors in the Cultural Context Model". Dr. Ryu was a member of the Affinity Counseling Group beginning in 2005 providing the Cultural Context Model of family therapy to high-risk youth their families and communities. She has presented nationally and internationally on domestic and community violence, and transformative family therapy. Dr. Ryu's publications are in the area of Spousal Use of Pornography and Its Clinical Significance for Asian-American Women: Korean Women as an Illustration on the Journal of Feminist Family Therapy (20004), and on Korean American Families in Ethnicity & Family Therapy in 2005.
Dr. Ryu was honored as Therapist of The Year with The Essential Piece Award, by the Family Support Organization of Middlesex County and Coordinated Family Care in New Jersey in 2007.

Dr. Ryu continues her work with families in Korea using a transformative lens of family therapy: The Cultural Context Model. She is currently teaching at EwhaWomans University and Sungshin Women's University and runs an institute for family therapy training.

White Privilege Conference


Lisa Dressner

Lisa Dressner

MSW, LCSW

Lisa Dressner

Lisa Dressner

MSW, LCSW

Lisa Dressner founded Affinity Counseling Group, a private community-based mental health center, in March 2000, and replicated the Cultural Context Model to work with families impacted by incarceration. She has developed clinical programs for professionals and institutions in the areas of liberation based healing and community organizing, including the Zakee Bowser Foundation and the Raritan Bay YMCA. She is faculty and Director of Training at the Institute.

Lisa has joined Dr. Almeida in presenting nationally and internationally on domestic and community violence, creating therapeutic healing communities, juvenile justice clinical practice and reform, as well as a presenter at the national White Privilege Conference.


Dr. Carolyn Tubbs

Dr. Carolyn Tubbs

PhD, LMFT-S

Dr. Carolyn Tubbs

Dr. Carolyn Tubbs

PhD, LMFT-S

Dr. Tubbs is an Associate Professor in the Marriage and FamilyTherapy Program at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, TX. She earned her master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies at Texas Tech University and her doctorate in Child Development and Family Studies/Marriage and Family Therapy at Purdue University. Dr. Tubbs was a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Family Research Consortium III and a Research Scientist at Penn State University for the Welfare, Children and Families: A Three City-Study, a multi-site ethnographic study on welfare reform. Dr. Tubbs is an associate editor for JMFT and a member of the Taos Institute. Her research interests include qualitative research methodology, shared parenting among couples with a history of intimate partner violence, health care disparities, mental and physical health issues, and parenting in low-income populations.

Currently, she is collaborating with the Institute for Family Services on evaluation and dissemination research.

As part of her work, Dr. Tubbs has examined facilitators of family stability, family rituals, and parenting in low-income families. Dr. Tubbs has also been involved with the National Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community in researching the causes and solutions to domestic violence in African-American communities located in both urban and rural regions throughout the United States.

Dr. Tubbs has presented with Dr. Almeida at the Missouri Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, as well as the American Association for Marriage Family Therapy and the American Family Therapy Academy conferences. Recently, she presented with IFS at the 2016 Liberation-based Healing Conference.


Mabel Quiñones

Mabel Quiñones

Ph.D

Nocona Pewewardy

Mabel Quiñones

Ph.D

Mabel Quiñones is a staff clinical psychologist at the Veterans Hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico where she coordinates the Psychology Fellowship Program specialized in Women's Psychology and in Primary Care and Mental Health Integration. She also holds a private practice in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Dr. Quiñones' clinical interests are centered on gender issues and gender inequality, social power differentials, intersectionality and mind/body issues. For the past five years, she has been developing and coordinating a post-doctoral psychology fellowship program at the San Juan VA that is designed to expand psychology practice beyond traditional lines and ground psychological interventions on the concepts of intersectionality and social power differentials.


Nocona Pewewardy

Nocona Pewewardy

MSW, Ph.D

Mabel Quiñones

Nocona Pewewardy

MSW, Ph.D

Nocona Pewewardy holds and MSW from the University of Oklahoma and a PhD in Social Welfare from the University of Kansas and a law degree from the University of Oregon. Her work includes publications focused on challenging white privilege. Her scholarship has evolved to explicitly address how white privilege, as a manifestation of structural white supremacy, operates in social work practice and discourse. She is faculty at the Institute for Family Services and provides training and consultations to organizations on white privilege.


Mabel Quiñones

Giovanni Sanchez

Sponsor, Designer

Lisa Dressner

Giovanni Sanchez

Sponsor, Designer

Giovanni Sanchez is a sponsor for IFS who engages with male identified clients inviting them to disinherit toxic norms of masculinity and enter spaces of fluidity and non-binary identities.

Giovanni Sanchez is also an experienced Pattern Maker and Fashion Designer with many years of designing and making high-end women’s and men’s clothing. He owned a clothing company in Costa Rica and his work been featured in numerous fashion shows in Costa Rica and throughout Latin America, including for the Ms. Costa Rica Universe Contest. Currently, Gio’s Studio GV, in Manhattan, provides services for celebrity fashion designers, such as LaQuan Smith, theater companies, and customers in the NYC area.

He is also the resident designer of clothing for the IFS family!