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Local Marriage and Family Therapist Wins Prestigious Award

Oceanside CA— Barbara Clark Diekman has received Pi Beta Phi® Fraternity for Women’s prestigious Carolyn Helman Lichtenberg Crest Award in honor of her professional achievements. Barbara has served women and families for 56 years as a licensed marriage and family therapist. Many of her clients have included military personnel, veterans and their families.

The Carolyn Helman Lichtenberg Crest Award is presented annually to distinguished alumnae of Pi Beta Phi who exhibit excellence and outstanding leadership in their career or volunteer service to their communities. The award is named for past Pi Beta Phi President Carolyn Helman Lichtenberg, who was instrumental in forming Pi Beta Phi Foundation during her term from 1985 to 1991. Essential Fraternity initiatives, like leadership development programs and literacy, are supported through the stewardship of the Foundation.

Barbara studied child development at the University of New Mexico. After graduation, she taught parent education in the community and instructed new teachers.

Soon thereafter, Barbara moved to Oregon. In her new community, she saw a need to help women returning to college and the workforce after raising families, so she began teaching classes to assist in this transition. She conducted similar training in the business community that included guest speakers and management seminars.

Barbara earned her graduate degree at the University of Oregon with an emphasis on gerontology. She took her skills into the community and provided psychotherapy at local senior facilities and the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. Simultaneously, Barbara worked as a career counselor at National University, assisting students in pursuing the right career and finding a job. She taught seminars in resume writing, job searching and interviewing skills.

Barbara later moved to North County San Diego and operated a private practice in marriage and family therapy. Because she lived near Camp Pendleton, she often worked with active-duty military members and veterans who had been deployed in war zones and had suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Her goal was to improve communication so families remained intact and together.

Barbara also volunteered her counseling services at various community organizations. She counseled special needs students at Oceanside High School, adults in local retirement facilities and individuals through Palomar Family Counseling Service, a comprehensive not-for-profit counseling agency for people struggling with a range of emotional, behavioral and social issues.

She also served on the Board for the San Diego North County Chapter of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.

“I am most proud of my work in keeping families intact, particularly the many military families I’ve worked with,” Barbara said. “Their capacity to learn skills that improved family life will continue to benefit generations to come.”

About Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women

 Founded in 1867 at Monmouth College in Illinois, Pi Beta Phi has installed 204 collegiate chapters and nearly 300 alumnae clubs worldwide. Pi Beta Phi promotes friendship, develops women of intellect and integrity, cultivates leadership potential and enriches the lives of members and their communities. The Fraternity believes in the power of reading and through its philanthropy, Read > Lead > Achieve, promotes a lifelong love of reading that can unlock true potential. For more information, visit or follow Pi Phi on Twitter and Facebook.