Dr. Sarah C. Stuchell, PhD, LMFT
Chief Executive Officer
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist SC License MFC4614
Dr. Sarah is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) with over 16 years of experience counseling individuals, couples, and families. She earned her Doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy from Loma Linda University, and her Master's in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University. She is licensed in California, Wyoming, and South Carolina.
About The Marriage and Family Research Institute
The Marriage and Family Research Institute is founded on a set of beliefs that the current emergence of systemic, holistic, relational, family approaches to counseling are far superior to traditional individual-based orientations. We believe in counseling as a client-centered and collaborative effort between therapists and clients to co-create meaningful, personal, and lasting changes.
As active participants in the field's clinical and research communities, Marriage and Family Research Institute creates cutting-edge therapeutic approaches that work, from a deeply caring perspective.
The quality of relationships is intrinsic to people's well-being.
MFRI offers therapy in a traditional office setting or in your home. We also customize in-home treatment programs for chronic conditions, such as substance abuse, eating disorders, or physical ailments.
Our in-home treatment programs are an ideal fit for those struggling with chronic issues, or those in need of aftercare services from a residential inpatient treatment setting. Our therapists recreate the treatment setting in your home, so there is a smooth and flawless transition between the inpatient setting and returning home. We currently offer services in Beaufort County.
Our outpatient clinics allow for clients to come in for more traditional therapeutic services, including individual, couple, family and group therapy. Our clinics are located in Beaufort, Bluffton, and Hilton Head, South Carolina.
As a non-profit organization, we are dedicated to making our services affordable for families and their loved-ones. We accept insurance, Medicaid/Medicare, and private pay. We offer a sliding scale to help meet the financial needs of our clients.
Dr. Sarah works as an Evidence-Based Clinician and is able to integrate her interests in the social context of problems, with therapeutic techniques and skills that help individuals grow in their relationships, develop their strengths, and solve personal and emotional problems. Her expertise lies in viewing problems from a systemic perspective, which inevitably leads to healing for not just the individual themselves, but their loved ones also. Her Doctoral work focused on gendered power and marital equality, and linking women's and men's mental health and substance abuse issues to the relational or familial context, as well as the larger social context.
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, Supervisor LISW-CP, S
Paige Smith, LISW-CPS, has more than 15 years of experience as a Mental Health Professional and Counselor, and is a Certified Licensed Clinical Social Worker Supervisor. She has extensive experience providing behavioral health services to people of all ages, including individuals with developmental/intellectual disabilities and mental health diagnoses experiencing a crisis situation at home and providing case management for families with developmentally disabled and aging members. Prior to joining Marriage and Family Research Institute, Smith was a mobile crisis team and crisis support home team leader/behavior specialist with Benchmark Human Services. She received her master’s in social work from Savannah State University and her bachelor’s degree from Armstrong State University.
Creating a sustainable culture
Healing communities one family at a time
Dr. Sarah has over 15 year’s experience creating programs and leading behavioral health organizations. She is known for thinking outside of the box and creating innovative programs that are tailored to diverse populations and complex needs. She is entrepreneurial, innovative, creative, and focused on exceptional clinical care.
Licensed Master's Social Worker
Leigh Diotalevi, LMSW, received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of New England and has provided counseling services to adults, children, adolescents, families and couples with a variety of mental health and relational concerns. Leigh is a wife, mother and step-mother, and is sensitive to the needs of blended, adoptive and non-traditional families. She has experience treating alcoholism and addiction with compassion, firmness and focus on individual and family recovery. Leigh’s post Master’s continuing education has focused on trauma, and she is a trained EMDR trauma therapist. She has a passion for helping clients overcome their past to live their best lives. Leigh has experience treating depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, personality disorders, self-harming behaviors, conduct disorders, substance use and process addictions, challenges of aging and caring for aging parents, grief and loss. Leigh is a positive and empowering therapist.
Master's Social Worker
Alicia received her Bachelors of Arts in Criminal Justice from San Diego State University with a minor in Sociology. After graduation she worked as a Deputy Sheriff for the County of San Diego. During this time a majority of her work was with inmates in the psychiatric unit. This period made it clear to her that unfortunately many of those inmates were not receiving adequate mental illness care to their unique situations. It was then that she decided to return to school to pursue a career in mental health services. Currently enrolled at Walden University with course work and practicum complete, Alicia is now onto the final phase of her Masters Degree and is undergoing her Internship phase. Here at Marriage and Family Research Institute she provides counseling services to children, adolescents, and families. She is a military spouse who understands the culture as well as the stress brought upon those families from relocations, and the frequent absence of a spouse due to deployments. Additionally, Alicia is fluent in English and Spanish and is comfortable and able to conduct counseling sessions in either or both languages.