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In addition to our active research labs, The Family Institute at Northwestern University cultivates academic inquiry and scholarship among faculty, fellows, graduate students and staff.

Academic Leadership

Anthony Chambers is President-Elect of the American Academy of Couple and Family Psychology and on the board of directors of Family Process Institute and the American Board of Couple and Family Psychology.

Eric Beeson is President-Elect of the American Mental Health Counselors Association.

Learn more about the scholarly interests of our faculty, fellows and staff

Dr. Anthony Chambers engages in scholarly writing, teaching and public speaking aimed at disseminating the latest knowledge about how to have a healthy relationship. He is the author of numerous book chapters, journal articles, and national presentations devoted to summarizing the science behind assessing and treating common couples’ problems (i.e., communication, trust, intimacy, parenting, conflict resolution). He has also published and lectured extensively on additional topics including the transition to marriage, the transition to parenthood, African American couples and inter-racial couples.

Dr. Chambers is on the Board of Directors of several academic and professional organizations devoted to strengthening couples and families. He is also on the editorial board for the journal Family Process, and is the Associate Editor for the flagship journal Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice.

Couple and family therapy, and more broadly psychotherapy, have featured what often are competitive and contrasting views of effective practice. Furthermore, these different methods are often practiced in various places with few opportunities for connection across differing viewpoints. Dr. Jay Lebow has devoted much of his career to exploring ways to transcend differences in approaches and bring a strong basis in empirical evidence to practice.

Dr. Lebow has also edited for the last seven years Family Process, the most prominent journal in the history of couple and family therapy. During his tenure that journal has focused on publishing important research about couples and families, and important papers about clinical practice, always keeping in focus the relationship between science and practice.

I have several lines of research, including: (a) how to develop a sense of community in online education, (b) the development of neuroscience-informed cognitive behavioral therapy, (c) exploration of neuromyths and neuroscience knowledge among professionals, and (d) evaluation of a group intervention for cancer caregivers.

My research interests are related to multiculturalism and cultural competence in the education, training and practice of mental health professionals. My current research is a qualitative exploration of how racial identity impacts African American therapists’ experience of their clinical work with same-race counseling dyads. The desired future impact for my body of research is increasing the efficacy of counselor preparation for a more multicultural and diverse society. To that end, I am interested in developing a scale concerning African American therapists and same-race counseling dyads based on theories derived from my current study.

My research investigates behavioral and interpersonal models of stress and depression among individuals who are members of cultural and ethnic minority groups. The overall goal of this research is to identify the social and psychological mechanisms by which cultural change and adaptation occur and their relationship to mental health, particularly depression.

My primary research area of interest is focused on family therapy education and training — specifically how to facilitate meaningful teaching practices and learning experiences for graduate MFT students. I also write about the impact of video gaming and technology on relationships.

I conduct research on Artificial Intelligence (AI), its clinical applications, and future, existential implications of this technology. We recently completed a randomized controlled trial (RCT) that tested the efficacy of a psychological AI in the treatment of anxiety and depression.

I have been working on understanding therapist factors in psychotherapy for the last 10 years, including studies investigating: the relation between microskills over a session and client goals, self-perceived strengths and limitations of therapists, influences of growth and development of therapists. I am also interested in psychotherapy integration, and on social determinants of health, mental health and gender. Finally, I am starting a new project studying progressive changes over time in trainees as therapists (role-identity and role-performance) as well as identifying factors that facilitate or impede trainees' development.

My research interests include cultural competencies, LGBT issues, ethical practices in both counseling and counselor education and clinical supervision. I have participated in grant-funded projects related to workforce development for counselors working with a variety of populations, such as at-risk youth, clients affected by same-sex intimate partner violence and fostering healthy relationship skills.

My primary research interests are in multicultural competencies (particularly with LGBT clients), spiritual integration in counseling and supervision, clinical supervision and best practices in distance counseling/training. I recently completed a content analysis of best practices for rural counseling, and am working on completing an interpretive phenomenological analysis of perceptions of supervisors' preparation of school counselors. Presently, I am revising publications addressing the use of language in online learning, and gatekeeping practices in distance counselor education programs. Concurrently, I am developing a model for training LGBT allies based on the Multicultural Social Justice Counseling Competencies.

In my qualitative study I take a phenomenological approach to understanding how counseling professional values are experienced in different cultures by counseling professionals connected through international counseling associations. The main research questions are: How do counseling professionals connected through international counseling associations experience counseling professional values within different cultural contexts?

I am conducting research related to a new course taken by student counselors, social workers and marriage & family therapists. The goal is to determine how the development of specific skills or aptitudes might be impacted by course content and experiences. I am also a part of a research team that has been interviewing first-generation, undocumented college students related to their educational challenges and barriers. The goal is to paint a portrait of the lived experiences of these students so that educators may be more empathic and resourceful in addressing the complex needs of this student population.

My program of research is aimed at understanding how and why family members provide care and support for one another, especially in times of distress. I am particularly interested in how therapeutic processes can facilitate emotionally attuned responses. I have conducted both quantitative and qualitative research about the expression of compassionate love and plan to examine emotional responsiveness in family caregiving contexts. My overall goal is to find ways the most effective ways to empower caregivers so they can provide consistently sensitive care to their loved ones.

My work is devoted to the exploration of self in the context of intimate relationships. I am curious about the power of romantic love — how it triggers vulnerabilities and provides a catalyst for personal growth and evolution. I am passionate about taking an integrative approach toward helping people better understand how to navigate what love stirs up.

My research interests include best practices in a digital or online learning environment, specifically creating a sense of community with online students and gatekeeping in an online educational delivery method. My recent research is a grounded theory study identifying ways we gatekeep in online counselor education programs. I interviewed 11 counselor educators and supervisors from 5 of 24 online CACREP accredited counselor education programs to identify ways we perform gatekeeping in an online learning environment.

My research focuses on children and families. Specifically, I conduct research clarifying how counselors and counselor educators may best increase services and initiatives for children and families impacted by neurodevelopmental disorders.

My research focus is on LGBTQ counseling issues, specifically on training counselors to provide affirmative therapeutic treatment.

My research interests include: chronic pain and its impact on relationships, female-enlisted veterans with chronic pain, and their definitions of chronic pain while enlisted and after discharge. I am also interested in the impact of chronic illness on the family system and the role of neuroscience in understanding chronic pain.