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Douglas Sprenkle, PhD

Research Interests

Common factors in psychotherapeutic change, common change mechanisms in marriage and family therapy (MFT), the process of supervision in MFT, outcome research in MFT, and progress research in MFT

Biography

Doug received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in Family Social Science in 1975, but also took extensive course work in psychology enabling him to be licensed both as a clinical psychologist as well as a marriage and family therapist. As part of his doctoral dissertation, he was one of the co-developers (with David Olson and Candyce Russell) of the Circumplex Model of Marital and Family Systems. Healthy and dysfunctional couple and family functioning remain one of his ongoing lines of clinical interest and research. Doug has the longest tenure of any active faculty member—37 years in the Department. He has had many areas of interest over the years including couple communication, couple sexuality, marriage and family therapy and spirituality, family businesses, progress research, outcome research, and mft research methods. He is the author of over 130 refereed journal articles and book chapters, as well as 10 books. He was twice selected by his major professional organization (The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, AAMFT) to edit the "decade review" of research on the efficacy and effectiveness of marriage and family therapy interventions. In the past 10 years he has devoted much of his scholarly attention to common factors in marriage and family therapy interventions, and is the first author of a book on this topic that is under contract with Guilford Press.

Doug’s students have gone on to become a veritable "who’s who" in the profession of marriage and family therapy; with 17 serving or having served as faculty members at AAMFT accredited programs; seven current or former directors of AAMFT accredited programs, and eight winners of the AAMFT Research Award. Twenty-five percent of the current Board of Directors of AAMFT is comprised of Doug’s former advisees.

Recent Publications

Books

  • Storm , C.L. and Sprenkle, D.H. (in press). The complete systemic supervisor: Philosophy, context, and pragmatics (revised, 2nd ed., Chinese translation). Taipei, Taiwan: PsychGarden Publishing Company.
  • Sprenkle, D. H., & Chanail, R. (Eds.) (2012). Effective research in marriage and family: A decade review. Alexandria, VA: The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. (2012 publication anticipated, with chapters also published as articles in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy.
  • Sprenkle, D. H., & Piercy, F. P. (2005). Research Methods in Family Therapy (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford.
  • Sprenkle, D. H. (Ed.) (2002). Effectiveness research in marriage and family therapy. Alexandria, VA.: The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

Refereed Journal Articles

  • Davis, S.D., Lebow, J. & Sprenkle, D.H. (in press). Common factors of change in couple therapy. Behavior Therapy,(impact factor 2.875)
  • Wittenborn, A.K., Keiley, M.K. & Sprenkle, D.H. (in press). The evaluation of a multiple couplegroup intervention for couples transitioning to marriage: a mixed-methods pilot project. Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy.
  • Sprenkle, D.H. (2010). The present and future of MFT doctoral education in research-focused universities. The Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 36, 270-281. 
  • Karam, E., & Sprenkle, D.H. (2010). The Research Informed Clinician: A Guide to Training the Next Generation MFT. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 36, 307-319. 
  • Ruff, S., McComb, J.L., Coker, C.J., & Sprenkle, D.H.(2010). Behavioral couples therapy for the treatment of substance abuse: A substantive and methodological review. Family Process, 49, 439-456.
  • McComb, J. L., Lee, B. K., & Sprenkle, D. H. (2009).  Conceptualizing and Treating Problem Gambling as a Family Issue.  Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 35, 415-431.
  • Blow, A. J., Sprenkle, D. H., & Davis, S. D. (2007). Is who delivers the treatment more important than the treatment itself: The role of the therapist in common factors. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 33, 298-317.
  • Sprenkle, D. H., & Blow, A. J. (2007). The role of the therapist as the bridge between common factors and therapeutic change: more complex than congruency with a world view. Journal of Family Therapy, 29, 109-113.
  • Morgan, M. M., & Sprenkle, D. H. (2007) Toward a common factors approach to supervision. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 33, 1-17.
  • Zody, Z., Sprenkle, D., MacDermid, S. M., & Schrank, H. (2005) Drawing the line: How are boundaries between family and business systems related to their strengths and performance? Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 27, 185-206.
  • Sprenkle, D. H., & Blow, A. J. (2004). Common factors and our sacred models. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 30, 113-130.
  • Sori, C. F., & Sprenkle, D. H. (2004). Training family therapists to work with children and families: A modified Delphi Study. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 30, 479-496.
  • Sprenkle, D. H., & Blow, A. J. (2004). Common factors are not islands-they work through models: a response to Sexton, Ridley, and Kleiner. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 30, 151-158.

Book Chapters

  • Sprenkle, D. H. (in press). What is responsible for therapeutic change?: Two ways of viewing. In D.H. Sprenkle, S.D. Davis, & J. Lebow, Common factors in relational therapy. New York: Guilford Press.
  • Sprenkle, D. H. (in press). Common factors that are unique to relational therapy. In D.H. Sprenkle, S.D. Davis, & J. Lebow, Common factors in relational therapy. New York: Guilford Press.
  • Sprenkle, D. (2005) Systemic assessment. In M. Cierpka, V. Thomas, & D. Sprenkle, Family assessment: An integrated approach (pp.211-230). Seattle, WA: Hogrefe Publishers.
  • Sprenkle, D. H., & Piercy, F. P. (2005). Pluralism, diversity, and sophistication in family therapy research. In D. H. Sprenkle & F. P. Piercy (Eds.), Research methods in family therapy (2nd ed.) (pp.3-18). New York: Guilford.
  • Lyness, K. P., Walsh, S., & Sprenkle, D. H. (2005). Clinical trials research in family therapy. In D.H. Sprenkle & F.P. Piercy (Eds.), Research methods in family therapy (2nd ed.) (pp. 297-317). New York: Guilford.

Education

  • PhD, 1975, Major: Family Social Science, Minor: Psychology, Advisor: Dr. David Olson, University of Minnesota.
  • MA, 1973, Major: Family Social Science, Minor: Psychology, Advisor: Dr. Richard Hey, University of Minnesota.
  • MDiv, 1967, Princeton.
  • BA, 1963, Major: Government, Minor: Economics and History, Wesleyan University (Connecticut).

Courses Recently Taught

  • CDFS 676: Professional Writing for Child and Family Educators
  • CDFS 685A: Seminar in Adult Intervention Research on MFT Enrichment and Therapy
  • CDFS 669: Practicum in Family Therapy

Honors

  • Outstanding Contribution to Marriage and Family Therapy Award, 2012, The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT)
  • Award for Significant Contribution to Family Therapy Theory and Practice, 2010. The American Family Therapy Academy (AFTA)
  • Doug won the Osborne Award, a national award given bi-annually for outstanding teaching in family studies by the National Council on Family Relations.
  • He is the past Editor of the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, the largest scholarly family therapy journal in the world.
  • In recognition of lifetime career achievements in his discipline, he was awarded the Significant Contribution to Family Therapy Award from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) for both his scholarly and professional contributions to the field.
  • The professional accomplishment of which is most proud is that AAMFT also awarded Doug its Cumulative Career Contribution to Marriage and Family Therapy Research award at the AAMFT Annual Meeting in 2000.
  • Finally, he won the Training Award (for teaching) from AAMFT in 2002, making him the first person ever to win all three national career achievement awards in his discipline: in service, research, and teaching.
  • He was a plenary speaker at the Annual Meeting of AAMFT in 2001 and again in 2005—one of only several people asked to give two plenary addresses.

External Grants

  • Keiley, M., Sprenkle, D. H., & Moon, S. M. (1998). Development of the Purdue affect regulation scales for the gifted. Ester Katz Rosen Award from the American Psychological Association (APA) ($25,000).
  • Lewis, R., Sprenkle, D. H., Piercy, F. P., & Trepper, T. (1984-1990). Family Therapy for Drug Abusing Adolescents. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (N.I.D.A.) ($1,000,000).

Professional Service

American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy

  • Journal Editor (2000-2007)
  • Treasurer and Member of the Board of Directors (2008-current)
  • Commission on Accreditation – Commissioner (1984-1990)
  • Research Committee (1980-1984)
  • Chair, accreditation team for numerous site visits
  • Fellow (elected 1984)

Indiana Association for Marriage and Family Therapy

  • President (1987-1989)
  • Secretary (1985-1987)
  • Board of Directors (1985-1989)
  • Nominating Committee

International Family Therapy Association

  • Board of Directors (1998-2004)
  • Treasurer and Comptroller (1998-2004)