Deborah Ribera, LMFT, Ph.D.

Charter College of Education
Special Education and Counseling - EDSC
Office Location: KH C1031
Phone: 343-4281 Email:


Deborah Ribera is a full time Assistant Professor with the School-Based Family Counseling (SBFC) program at Cal State LA, a master's degree program that integrates marriage and family therapy training with school counseling credential training. She is a proud alumna of the SBFC program and earned a bachelor's degree in Sociology from the University of San Diego as well as a doctorate in American Culture Studies from Bowling Green State University.

Dr. Ribera is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of California and works with victims of crime, providing in-home counseling services to children and their families. She also holds a Pupil Personnel Services credential with advanced authorization in Child Welfare and Attendance. She has worked as a dropout prevention counselor and socio-emotional counselor in various school settings.

As founder and CEO of the educational nonprofit organization Beyond the Block, Dr. Ribera has written, produced, and directed three educational travel documentaries, using these videos as the cornerstone of a global awareness curriculum based on critical, anti-racist pedagogy and cultural theory. She teaches this curriculum at urban middle and high schools with a high percentage of students at-risk of school dropout. 

As an educator, counselor, and nonprofit professional, Dr. Ribera has dedicated her career to serving youth who struggle with various risk factors and their families. She is passionate and positive about our ability to create a more just world through individual development and systemic change and is committed to training and empowering the students at Cal State LA to carry out this work.


Dr. Ribera has previously taught classes in Personal Development, Ethnic Studies, and Cultural Pluralism. Her courses in the Special Education and Counseling department at Cal State LA include:

Multicultural Counseling

Human Sexuality

Diagnosis and Treatment in Clinical Counseling

Group Counseling 

Individual Counseling Strategies

Family Counseling Lab

Fieldwork Supervision in School Counseling and Child Welfare and Attendance

Research Interests

Dr. Ribera's research interests reflect the interdisciplinarity of the School-Based Family Counseling field. Broadly, she draws from the fields of cultural studies, education, and counseling in order to examine and interrogate the material consequences of affective exchange in various locations: intrinsic, interpersonal, institutional, and via media. Specifically, she conducts research aimed at understanding the impact diversity education has on students of color at risk of school dropout. She is also interested in how prevention programming is conceptualized and utilized in K-12 urban public schools and relatedly, how school-based family counselors can contribute to creating more culturally responsive school climates.


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