Date of Graduation

Spring 2010


Master of Science in Counseling


Counseling, Leadership, and Special Education

Committee Chair

Joseph Hulgus


family, family psychology, family psychologist, family systems, common factors

Subject Categories



In the emerging field of family psychology, a lack of information makes defining the term "family psychologist” difficult. To examine what it means to be a family psychologist requires exploring literature from multiple disciplines, including family psychology, marriage and family, dyadic therapy, social work, and a combination of general, cybernetic, and ecosystems theories. First literature determines what is common among practitioners and what is unique to the field of family psychology. Second, it provides information needed to create a clearer picture of a family psychologist and to develop training programs in family psychology. A survey of Division 43 of the American Psychological Association (The Society for Family Psychology), using four qualitative questions, establishes how members define "family psychologist”. Independent reviews of data uncovered common themes among respondents. These respondent themes indicate that a family psychologist focuses on working in a systemic paradigm with more advanced training than other practitioners who work with families. Respondents will receive this study's results for a future study to refine these themes and gain further understanding vital to the development of family psychology programs


© Chris Loyd Carver

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