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Chicago | Assistant Professor, Couple and Family Therapy

Dara Winley, Ph.D., LMFT



My primary goal is not to teach students what to think but rather how to think. My role as an educator is not to have all the answers but to encourage students to ask the questions. As I provide structure and clarity in the curriculum, I hope to provoke curiosity, creativity and empowerment in one’s voice. No matter what lecture is being taught, I hope students feel motivated in both their personal and professional lives to challenge theories, ask thought provoking questions and being inspired by the field at large.

It is important to me to create a culturally curious environment that engages real world application. As a Black women instructor, I am passionate about helping students develop cultural awareness and competence in their training. I value the importance of incorporating a collection of diverse narratives in my lectures and syllabuses. I also believe that learning is deepened through personal reflection and application. Using experiential and didactic learning methods and guest lecturers, I want students to be able to concretely apply the course material to their current clinical practice and future careers.

Being informed by my advanced training in Person of the Therapist and Attachment Based Family Therapy, I am attuned to process issues that occur in the classroom and use the space as a practice ground for students to understand interactions between self and others. In this process, I hope my sensitivity in providing students with a safe, accountable and productive environment for discussing the sociopolitical challenges impacting families can be sustained. I hope to reinforce the idea to students that their peers are people whom they can learn from and grow with, just like their clients, so they can build a lifelong community with one another.

Please email me at [email protected] or call me at 312-662-4315 if you have any questions or would like more information about me.



  • Ph.D., Couple and Family Therapy, Drexel University
  • M.A., Couple and Family Therapy, Drexel University
  • Bachelor of Science, Family Science, University of Maryland, College Park
Areas of Expertise and Academic Research Interests

Areas of Expertise and Academic Research Interests

  • Person of the therapist training
  • Attachment Based Family Therapy
  • Couples in conflict
  • Friendship and communication patterns
  • Black women, mental health and racial discrimination
  • Person of the therapist training (the impact on personal and professional lives post graduate degree)
  • Examining couples in conflict specifically in Black families and relationships
  • Exploring how family of origin experiences impact adult romantic relationships and friends
Professional and Academic Positions of Note

Professional and Academic Positions of Note

  • Director of Clinic and Community Programs at The Family Institute at Northwestern University
Professional Memberships

Professional Memberships

  • AAMFT, Clinical Fellow and Approved Supervisor
  • Mental Health First Aide, Certified Instructor
Select Publications

Select Publications

  • The 24 most influential Articles in Social Justice and Diversity in Family Therapy: A Collaboration Between Family Process and the Journal of Family Therapy 1980-2019 Edited by Yang Yang The and Dara Winley
  • Ewing, E. S. K., Hunt, Q. A., Singer, J. B., Diamond, G., & Winley, D. (2020). Youth Suicide: Risk, Prevention, and Treatment. The Handbook of Systemic Family Therapy, 2, 343-367.
  • Winley, D., Adedokun, E., & Chou, J. (2019). Fair Fighting in Couple Therapy. Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy, 1004-1005.
  • Rahim, F., Winley, D., Adedokun, E., & Chou, J. (2019). Blamer Stance in Couples and Families. Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy, 289-290.
  • Harris-McKoy, D., Gutierrez, D., Strachan, T., & Winley, D. (2017). Women of color in marriage and family therapy programs. Journal of Feminist Family Therapy, 29(1-2), 28-44.
Select Presentations

Select Presentations

  • “Treating Unresolved Grief in Black Families” Talk presented at Evanston Public Library
    February 2022.
  • “Unpacking Black Women’s Experience in the Workplace and Treating Depression in Therapy.” Talk presented in Grand Rounds meeting at The Family Institute, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, Nov. 4th. 2019.
  • “To Self-Care or Not to Self-Care” workshop presented in annual Acts Six Midwest Convention Conference, Loyola University, Chicago, IL. Aug 3rd 2019.


  • 2018-2020: Clinical Scholar Postdoctoral Fellow, The Family Institute at Northwestern University
  • 2016: SAMHSA Dissertation Completion Fellow, Minority Fellowship Award, AAMFT
  • 2015: International Travel Award, Drexel University
  • 2014: Clinical Excellence Award, Drexel University

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Located in the heart of the city, the Chicago Campus was designed to provide and inspire the learning and living experience. To that end, we have created an environment that caters to your mental, emotional, and intellectual growth. Our classrooms are bright and spacious with windows to the outside world and the latest technology. In our Library, you will find every resource you need to research, form, and shape your journey. At Adler University, we have more than enough room to share your thoughts and flex your intellect.

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