Health & Wellness

Two Researchers Honored for Contributions to Marriage and Family Therapy

Kay Bradford is a contributing author to the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy's 'Article of the Year.’

Two Utah State University researchers were recently recognized by the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, one of the most influential peer-reviewed journals in their field.

Kay Bradford was a contributing author to the journal’s Article of the Year, which took a new perspective on not only what factors contribute to success in therapy, but also how those factors interact. “The Therapeutic Pyramid: A Common Factors Synthesis of Techniques, Alliance and Way of Being” showed real promise for advancing the field, according to reviewer comments.

“Some years ago, my friends and I were talking about our experiences as directors of marriage and family therapy programs at our respective universities,” Bradford said. “Being in the business of training — and doing research about training — family therapists, we discussed ‘what is it about the best therapists that makes them good?’ We each had our opinions, but we agreed that some ‘active ingredients’ at the core of good therapy include a strong, safe relationship and a good person. The person (who and how the therapist is with others generally) not only matters, but it ties into important aspects of training and therapy outcomes. … From that conversation, an article started taking form.”

Megan Oka was named Emerging Scholar of the Year, based on an article offering a new perspective on domestic violence and nonviolent aggression. Oka was the lead author of a paper arguing that violent offenders are not demons — and that many people use the wrong means to get a romantic partner’s attention.

“We tend to think of this domestic violence as being very separate from us,” she said, “as if there are people who hit their partners and children, and then there are the rest of us. …

“When a person does not feel secure in his or her relationship with a partner, he or she acts out in various ways, including violence. … Or in the case of my research, sometimes it is emotional or psychological aggression that people use to try to get their partners to respond to them.”

Her article is entitled “Insecure Attachment Behavior and Partner Violence: Incorporating Couple Perceptions of Insecure Attachment and Relational Aggression.”

Both Bradford and Oka are faculty members in the Family, Consumer, and Human Development Department within the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services at Utah State.

Related links:

Contact: Megan Oka,

Contact: Kay Bradford.

Writer: JoLynne Lyon, 435-797-1463

Megan Oka was named Emerging Scholar of the Year by the 'Journal of Marital and Family Therapy.'


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