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Couples & Family Institute (CFI)

We believe the family unit and strong couple relationships represent the foundation and core of society. Our mission is to partner with couples and families in an effort to help, support, guide, and heal as they journey through life’s challenging circumstances and events.

We created the Couples & Family Institute of MPB Group, Inc. to provide comprehensive programs that address issues germane to couples and families.

The journey towards healing relationships may need guidance, the CFI team is ready and able to help you navigate the struggle through the maze, road, or circle you may find yourself in.

Specialized CFI Programs

  • Family Therapy Program
    • Adoption, Foster care and Guardianship Program
    • Blended Family Program
    • Parent-Child Reunification Program
    • LGBTQ+ Family Psychoeducation & Support Program
    • Integrative Services Family Support Program
    • Traumatized Child – A Family Systems Approach
  • Couples Program
    • Pre-Marital Counseling
    • Discernment Counseling (Mixed Agenda Couples)
    • 2 Become 1 (2Be1) – A Singles Program


2be1 Logo

2Be1 – A Singles Program

The Couples & Family Institute’s 2 Become 1 (2B1) Program’s mission is to ensure couples and families discover, develop and live contented and fulfilling lives. We want to guide and facilitate unattached and fully available singles towards a meaningful monogamous relationship that leads to an everlasting marriage.

We are not meant to be alone. Fellowship, friendship, love, and connection is part of our DNA (disclosure – I am not a scientist). The CFI team wanted to build something different from online dating apps. Our goal is to help singles navigate the dating world by hosting meetings, sharing our expertise, and guiding singles into couples.


  • Unattached & fully available singles
  • 26 years old or older
  • Singles seeking a monogamous relationship


  • A Singles Program with a twist
    • A team of trained couples & family therapists guide singles into couples


  • Once per quarter @ 8:00
    • November 30, 2023
    • March 28, 2024
    • June 27, 2024
    • September 26, 2024
    • November 28, 2024


  • 6440 Dobbin Road, Suite D, Columbia office

Cost per meeting $45.00 pay via this link

If you want to begin meeting singles in a safe and welcoming space, simply click on this link below to complete the screening/submission form.

*If you are bringing a friend, please be sure to complete the transaction for your registration ($45) AND the fee to bring a friend ($35).

Singles Program

Singles Program *Bring A Friend

Graduating to the Couples Program

Singles graduate to the couples’ program. We meet once per quarter and will work through crucial topics for couples to develop a solid and lasting relationship.

  • December 14, 2023
  • March 24, 2024
  • June 13, 2024
  • September 12, 2024
  • December 12, 2024


  • Newly formed couples seeking to maintain a solid monogamous relationship


  • A team of trained couples & family therapists guide the couples towards marriage


  • The 2nd Tuesday of the last month of a quarter
    • December 14, 2023


  • 6440 Dobbin Road, Suite D, Columbia office

Cost per meeting $95.00 pay via this link

Couples Program

CFI Think Tank

Much like the cafes in Paris circa 1870 or Vienna early 1900s, CFI Think Tank is a gathering of Marriage & Family Therapists and other Systemic Thinkers who share experiences, collaborate on cases, connect with others and advance knowledge in a passionate and lively way. While our spirited sharings unfold, we enjoy food, spirits and beverages that round out our monthly meetings.

There are two ways of joining our get togethers – virtually every 1st Thursday of the month at 10:00 am and/or in person every 1st Thursday of the month at 7:30 in our Columbia office – 6440 Dobbin Road, Suite D, Columbia, MD 21045.

snakswineA decorated dining table with lot of food

We offered free membership through the end of 2022, however, if you are joining us for the first time, your first visit is free. We know you will enjoy and grow from the experience, that you will gladly join our membership. Please click the link below to join.

CFI Think Tank

The CFI Think Tank continues to grow in membership. Nearly for a year now, systemic thinkers have gathered to collaborate and share techniques in a friendly and welcoming comradery that is truly special. We invite you to join our next meeting, please email

Annual membership is $155.  Online payment is available with this link:

For more information contact us at: 410-730-2385 or email
Cash, Maryland Medicaid & CareFirst Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance accepted

Team Bios

Mary Blackwood

Mary Blackwood

LCMFT, Program Director

Mary Blackwood, LCMFT serves as the Program Director for the Couples & Family Institute. Mary envisioned and created the Couples & Family Institute in 2018, a program that focuses on providing comprehensive and systemic care for families and couples.

She received her MS in Marriage & Family Therapy from Capella University. She completed the 18-month process to become an AAMFT Board Approved Supervisor. Mary’s love and respect for the family positioned her to share this passion with MPB Group, Inc. for the last ten + years. From an intern to Program Director, the focus has always been on providing stellar systemic services by training future dedicated family therapists that help and guide couples and families to discover or rediscover their own family harmony. She has worked extensively with families of adoption, foster care, and guardianship. This vulnerable population and the lack of resources for the families is the first program under CFI where extensive training was developed and introduced to every clinician. MPB Group is now an Adoption Competent Agency.

Mary continues to incorporate different model trainings to better prepare the CFI team to work with the various challenges couples and families bring to the clinic. Discernment Counseling, Pre-marital Counseling and Trauma-informed Family Therapy to name a few.

Jasmine Jenkins

Jasmine Jenkins


Jasmine Jenkins is a licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist. She joined MPB Group as an intern; that is when she made an indelible impact upon the CFI team. After completing her MA degree at Capella University, she returned to MPB Group. Jasmine combines her early child development professional experience with training in family therapy using Structural Family Therapy to realign families that need adjustment. Addressing challenges such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, parenting skills and communication, she works with children, adolescents, and teens within the family system to help parents and children better communicate and find their family harmony. She is an Adoption Competent Therapist. She particularly enjoys working with couples facing all sorts of challenges through the lens of Attachment Theory: infidelity, discernment, and trauma.

She earned her new title after the hard work and dedication to the CFI Team. She is now an AAMFT Board Approved Supervisor Mentee. In 18 months, she will be fully certified as an AAMFT Board Approved Supervisor.

Krystal Cooper

LGMFT, CFI-Bowie Clinical Team Lead

Krystal is a Licensed Graduate Marriage and Family Therapist in Maryland who completed her Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy from Capella University and obtained her Bachelors in Theatre and Dance, practicing somatic movement from Alfred University. She started as an intern at MBP Group and is ecstatic to return.

Krystal is passionate about working with couples, setting the atmosphere for neutrality and empathy. Krystal utilizes Emotionally Focused Therapy, an attachment-based approach highlighting the connection with others, which concentrates on emotional processes, emotional engagement, and experience. She works with couples facing challenges such as lack of communication, depression, intimacy issues, infidelity, discernment counseling, life-stage distress, general trauma, and pre-marital counseling. Working with families from a Structural Family Therapy approach, Krystal assists in improving family interactions between all members during developmental life stage challenges by highlighting productive family-driven solutions. She assists families with behavioral regulation, parenting skills, and strengthening familial support. Krystal utilizes a holistic and culturally sensitive approach to meet families and individuals where they are. Her philosophy is healing from the inside out creates small change, which leads to more prominent evolution in our relationships. Operating from these evidence-based treatment models, she encourages mindfulness, open dialogue, and wholeness for true transformation in couples and families!

Krystal works in the Columbia and Bowie offices as well as virtual.


Lorain Gabriel

LGMFT, Clinical Manager

Lorain Gabriel is a Licensed Graduate Marriage and Family Therapist in Maryland and the Clinical Manager. Lorain attended Capella University where she earned her Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy and Graduate Certificate in Psychology with a focus in Play Therapy. Lorain completed her internship requirements here at MPB Group and returned as a full-time team member ready to serve her community.
Lorain is passionate about play therapy and enjoys working with children of all ages, her big box of toys shows her joy for her work. She also enjoys working with families and individuals from a systemic lens. Her main therapeutic modality is Narrative therapy. Narrative therapy is a postmodern approach to psychotherapy that is rooted in the notion of social construction and considers the impact of society's contributions to the issues we all face in life. She works with families and individuals experiencing relational discord, emotional distress, trauma, depression, anxiety, ADHD, grief and loss. Her modality helps clients see their problem as separate from themselves and develop a less problem-saturated perspective that is better aligned with their sense of self.

Jennifer Staten


Jennifer Staten is a Licensed Graduate Marriage and Family Therapist who earned her degree at National University. Jennifer started as an intern at MPB Group and returned after passing her boards. Jennifer specializes in child and adolescent family therapy. For her therapy work with families, she uses a structural family therapy approach combined with solution-focused brief therapy activities.

Jennifer has her certificate for The National Adoption Competency Mental Health from the Center for Adoption Support and Education. Jennifer’s goal is to become a licensed play therapist. In her free time, Jennifer enjoys playing video games, watching anime, and cosplaying, which aligns with her creative and dynamic approach to children, adolescents, and families.

Zachary Jones


Zachary is a Licensed Graduate Marriage and Family Therapist who graduated with his Marriage and Family Therapy Master's degree from Capella University. He began as an intern at MPB Group and has returned to continue the challenging, yet rewarding work of restoring and strengthening marriages and families. Zachary uses the Structural Family Therapy model as a framework to explore the family system and he uses various interventions to help families become unstuck from the unhelpful, repetitive patterns that bring them to therapy. He is a person of faith who believes there is hope for everyone to find Peace and reconciliation. Zachary enjoys working alongside families, couples, and individuals as they explore family histories, discover new aspects of their families and themselves, and experience positive change.

Brian image

Bryan Encarnacao


Bryan is a Licensed Graduate Marriage and Family Therapist who earned his master's degree from National University. Bryan started as an intern at MPB Group and returned after passing his Boards. Bryan enjoys working with families, especially those who are experiencing behavioral issues, ADHD, depression, anxiety and trauma. His specialty is working with younger children and teens as they develop their own personalities within the family system. Helping individuals launch into adulthood is one of his many passions. Bryan’s goal for the therapy process is to create an empathetic, safe and authentic space for the family, couple or individual to grow and find their strengths and abilities to live life to their fullest. Working from a Structural Family Therapy model, Bryan helps the family to discover and adjust their roles, dynamics and patterns for a positive living experience at home through essential change.

Bryan works in the Columbia and Bowie office as well as virtual.

Multiracial group of business people having a meeting

Our Interns

This is a picture of our current MFT intern team. We invite MFT interns from all universities and colleges who are seeking an MFT license in the state of Maryland to reach out to Mary Blackwood, Program Director, if interested in joining the CFI team. If you read the bios of our licensed clinicians, you will see a pattern – interns want to return.