Institute for Marital Healing

Meet Our Staff

The Institute of Marital Healing is staffed by a group of professionals whose clinical expertise is matched only by their compassion and their desire to promote healthy marriages. We warmly invite you to learn more about the people in our the practice.


Richard Fitzgibbons

Picture of Richard Fitzgibbons

Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons is the director of the Institute for Marital Healing outside Philadelphia and has worked with several thousand couples over the past 34 years. Trained in psychiatry at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Child Guidance Center, he participated in cognitive therapy research with Aaron T. Beck. In 1986 he wrote a seminal paper on the psychotherapeutic uses of forgiveness in the treatment of excessive anger and in 2000 coauthored Helping Clients Forgive: An Empirical Guide for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope with Dr. Robert D. Enright, University of Wisconsin, Madison, for American Psychological Association Books. APA Books also offers a DVD on forgiveness by him and Dr. Enright.

Dr. Fitzgibbons is a marital educator and has given many annual conferences on growth in marital self-giving at Familyland,, in Bloomingdale, Ohio, as well as other marital conferences in New York, Philadelphia and Washington. In addition he leads the marital education webinars offered by the Institute for Marital Healing.  He has also given many conferences to priests in dioceses and religious communities and to spiritual formation teams of seminaries. At the International Institute for Culture,, in Philadelphia and in other locations he has lectured on identifying and resolving emotional conflicts in children.

He has worked extensively with helping married men to grow in mature manhood and in their self-giving, particularly by resolving weakness acquired in these areas from negative paternal modeling, selfishness, excessive anger and anxiety. His video discussion on fatherhood is available at

He has given many conferences to educators on addressing excessive anger in classroom and coauthored Learning to Forgive in the Classroom for the American School Board Journal.  Also, he is on the Pediatric Psychosocial Development Committee of the American College of Pediatricians,

He is a consultant to the International Forgiveness Institute's research projects of addressing excessive anger in elemenatary and middle school children in Belfast, N. Ireland and in central city Milwaukee with Robert Enright, Ph.D., Univeristy of Wisconsin, 2002 - the present.

Dr. Fitzgibbons is an adjunct professor at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at Catholic University and is board member of the International Institute for Forgiveness,  He is also a consultant to the Congregation for Clergy at the Vatican.

Peter Kleponis

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Peter C. Kleponis completed his doctorate in psychology at Capella University.  He is a Licensed Clinical Therapist and is Nationally Certified Counselor. He has extensive clinical experience in working with married couples and with adults and adolescents with excessive anger, controlling conflicts, sexual conflicts, depression and anxiety disorders.   His doctoral thesis evaluated the relationship between narcissism and spiritual well-being in 200 Roman Catholic seminarians.

Peter has participated in the development of a new DVD series with Catholic Familyland on the addiction that is most damaging to marriages and families today - internet pornography. This series is based on Bishop Robert Finn's pastoral letter on pornography, Blessed Are The Pure In Heart: A Pastoral Letter on the Dignity of the Human Person and the Dangers of Pornography, February 21, 2007,   More recently, Peter was featured in a documentary on the dangers of pornography, "What's that purple building Daddy?" that was produced by the King's Men.  In June 2010 he gave two conferences on understanding and healing pornography conflicts to all the priests of the Archdiocese of New York.

Peter has participated in the marital conferences and in the marital education webinars of the Institute of Marital Healing. He has also given many conferences on marriage and family issues to Legatus chapters.   Peter also participates in evaluating candidates for the priesthood and religious life.  Also he has given conferences on same sex attractions for Courage, Peter is a member of the Catholic Medical Association and is listed on

Neal Niznan

Picture of Neal Niznan

Neal is a master's level licensed social worker. He also holds a master's degree in Pastoral Ministry from Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University. He received certificate training in family therapy from the Multicultural Family Institute of New Jersey.

Over the past fourteen years Neal has provided therapy for individuals, couples, and families throughout northern New Jersey and the Southeastern Pennsylvania. He recently expanded the scope of his clinical practice to individuals and families coping with life threatening illness and issues of bereavement through his affiliation with the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

Thomas O'Brien

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Dr. O'Brien received his graduate degrees from Villanova University, Immaculata University, Saint Joseph University, Southwest University and Holy Family University. His majors include: Counseling Psychology, Educational Administration and Leadership, Counseling, Guidance and Student Services, Elementary and Secondary Education and Pastoral Theology. He is licensed to practice in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Dr. O'Brien holds several certifications in both states that include elementary, secondary, supervision, administration and superintendency. As a life-long educator and learner, he has taught at all levels of education including elementary, secondary, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral level courses. He has served on dissertation committees and as Chair. He has been recognized as a Nationally Certified Psychologist. He is a member of many boards and commissions and has authored several articles in addition to giving numerous workshops and conferences. Dr. O'Brien was previously the Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and is presently an associate Dean at Immacualta University.  He was ordained a deacon in 1988.

Karen Rumore

Picture of Karen Rumore

Karen has 15 years of clinical experience working with individuals and couples with anxiety, depression, anger, eating disorders and marital conflicts. She works with parents in helping them understand their parenting style and in encouraging them to avoid the prevalent permissive parenting style and to embrace responsible parenting. Her clinical practice is strongly influenced by the school of positive psychology with its focus upon growth in virtues in treatment of emotional and character conflicts. Karen has her Masters in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania and is a member of the International Positive Psychology Association and She also had 7 years experience in youth apostolate helping teens to learn who they are in Christ and to live out the fullness of their destiny.  She has given many conferences to adolescents. 

Carolyn DeFer, Office Administrator of the Institute for Marital Healing

Picture of Carolyn DeFer

I have worked with Dr. Fitzgibbons for twenty years and, over the years, I have seen the wonderful results of people who have come to our office looking for help in improving their marital relationship. I truly believe that the Lord wants to heal marriages and families and that can assist in that healing process.