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As part of The Family Institute's mission, we are committed to using clinical science to improve the effectiveness of our interventions. Clinical Science Insights, a quarterly publication series, distills our research expertise in a way that is relevant to both clinical practice and everyday life.

In this forum, our postdoctoral fellows, clinical staff and affiliates share their expert knowledge on a variety of topics relevant to families today – from child development, to innovative treatments for depression and anxiety, to best parenting practices, to the latest research on what works in couples therapy – just to name a few. These succinct summaries of the latest empirical research and theory on issues relevant to families are written for professional and lay audiences alike.

International Adoption: Broadening How We Build Families

In 2008, 17,438 children were adopted internationally by American parents, according to data from the U.S. Department of State. Parents who choose to bring a child into their family through international adoption experience far-reaching impacts, because they must both negotiate the usual tasks of parenting while also meeting the specific cultural and social challenges presented by adoption.


There are many different definitions of mindfulness, but a commonality exists among all the definitions. Mindfulness, a form of meditation, contains three key ingredients: 1) focused attention on an object, 2) observing moment by moment, and 3) observing nonjudgementally.

Child Obesity Prevention and Intervention

The rate of childhood obesity has risen dramatically over the past twenty-five years – an alarming trend when considering its adverse effects on physical, psychological and social functioning.

The Challenge of Prosperity

Ours is the most affluent society in the history of the world, and yet wealth does not protect children from being at risk. Everyone knows someone whose child has seriously faltered, who has fallen into addiction, depression, or a more amorphous sort of “failure to thrive.” Current research shows that affluence itself is a risk factor in adolescent development — not just having money, but how having money can distort values, parenting practices and interpersonal…

Crossing the Threshold to Health

A man faces a dilemma when he decides to enter psychotherapy, whether it is on his own or with his partner or family. Research shows that men are generally hesitant to seek counseling (Cheatham, Shelton & Ray, 1987), and when a male-female couple begins counseling, it is usually the woman who initiates the process (Silitsky, 2000). Why are men often reluctant to seek the treatment they need? Some experts theorize that problems with our culture’s socialization of men and…

Cross-National Marriages

Today’s world is characterized by increasing mobility, as more people migrate to new countries and adapt to new situations for professional, educational, political, or familial reasons. Marriage between people of different nationalities is a growing phenomenon.

Teenagers, Dating and Sex, Oh My!

Research on adolescent romantic relationships is a burgeoning field. It has only been in the past twenty years that researchers have started to investigate normative development in these early, often fleeting, relationships. Teens are often excited to experiment with romantic love and dating. Parents, on the other hand, often find themselves anxious about what to expect, worried about how to manage their teen’s increasing sense of independence without being overprotective…

The Importance of the Relationship with the Therapist

Research shows that many factors affect whether treatment is successful, including the severity of the problem(s) being treated, the patient's belief that the counseling will work and the skill level of the therapist. However, research over the past fifty years has demonstrated that one factor — more than any other — is associated with successful treatment: the quality of the relationship between the therapist and the patient.