Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

Eating Disorders in Couples Therapy

0 Commentsby   |  03.13.12  |  Uncategorized

By: Loren Morcomb

Since high school I have been very interested in the effects of eating disorders on individuals, and more recently, the effects of eating disorders on marriages and families.  One of my high school friends has a severe eating disorder and has attended several rehabilitation centers.  As she continues to suffer from the addiction, I have noticed the dramatic emotional, physical, and social effect the condition has had on her life.

Eating disorders involve extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors surrounding weight and food issues.  According to the National Eating Disorder Association (2011), there are three main types of eating disorders: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder.  As the most common eating disorder, anorexia nervosa is characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss.  Individuals with anorexia nervosa fear gaining weight or being “fat”, feel “fat” regardless of dramatic weight loss, and concern with body weight and shape.  Eating large amounts of food in short periods of time, then getting rid of the food and calories through vomiting, laxative abuse, or over-exercising characterizes bulimia nervosa.  Individuals with bulimia nervosa have repeated episodes of binging and purging, feel out of control during a binge and eating cycle, diet frequently, and have extreme concern with their body weight and shape.  Lastly, binge eating disorder is portrayed primarily by periods of uncontrolled, impulsive, or continuous eating beyond the point of feeling comfortably full.  While there is no purging, there may be sporadic fasts or repetitive diets and often feelings of shame or self-hatred after a binge (National Eating Disorder Association, 2011).  The cause of eating disorders is believed to be a combination of biological, psychological, and/or environmental abnormalities.  However, the exact cause of eating disorders is unknown.

Overall, individuals suffering from eating problems experience difficulty in emotional connectivity and attachment in intimate relationships.  Specifically, individuals display characteristics consistent with anxious and avoidant patterns in attachment, low levels of satisfaction, fear of intimacy, distance with partners, and poor sexual functioning.  According to Cockett (1995), therapists should not assume that an individual suffering from an eating disorder will have marital problems, however, there are implications for both spouses and children, which, while often resolvable, should not be ignored.  Long term, individuals who are experiencing or have experienced an eating disorder will suffer from relationship and depression difficulties.

Clinically, treatment varies depending on the severity of the eating disorder and marital problems.  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy proves effective in changing the individual’s feelings and behaviors towards self-image and control.  According to Evans and Wertheim (2005), “attachment theory, which examines emotional regulation and subsequent behavioral reactions in interpersonal functioning, may offer an additional valuable framework to examine the processes by which women with an eating disorder relate in intimate romantic relationships” (pg. 286). Proving most effective, Interpersonal Psychotherapy addresses clients’ interpersonal processes and aims to moderate emotional reactions to interpersonal events.  Additionally, non-traditional therapy such as music therapy, recreation therapy, and art therapy have provided alternate means for improving martial relations.

In conclusion, partners (male or female) with an eating disorder cause emotional and psychological strain in a marriage.  Specifically, attachment, intimacy, and satisfaction are inhibited.  Although some researchers believe an eating disorder does not automatically cause marital dysfunction, implications in the marriage should be addressed.  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, attachment theory, and interpersonal psychotherapy are effective interventions to be used.



National Eating Disorders Association (2011). What is an eating disorder? Some basic facts. Retrieved from

Evans, L., & Wertheim, E. (2005). Attachment styles in adult intimate relationships: Comparing women with bulimia nervosa symptoms, women with depression and women with no clinical symptoms. European Eating Disorders Review, 13, 285-293.

Cockett, A. (1995). Eating disorders and marriage – The couple in focus. [Review of the book Eating disorders and marriage – The couple in focus by Woodside, D.B., Schekter-Wolfson, L., Brands, J., & Lackstrom, J.]. European Eating Disorders Review, 3, 56-58.

Working with Couples Who Adopt in Therapy

0 Commentsby   |  02.27.12  |  Uncategorized

By: Amy Passmore

Raising children can be a daunting task for any parent, but there are special challenges faced by couples that choose to adopt children who they did not bear themselves.  One such challenge is explaining to a child that they are adopted (Jones & Hackett, 2007).  Jones and Hackett (2007) found the story of a child’s adoption, or “adoption narrative,” to be quite complex, involving the perspectives of the adoptive parents, the adopted child, the birth parents, and at times a placement agency.  These stories are often filled with sensitive topics such as infertility, young pregnancy, and physical or substance abuse.  Though these topics can be emotionally charged, the adoptive parents’ openness in relaying the adoption account impacts how well the child will adjust to this new information (Jones & Hackett, 2007).


Brodzinsky (2011) believes it is best for adoptive parents to make the discussion of adoption with their children a process, not a one-time event.  It is important to consider the emotional and cognitive development of the child in determining appropriate information to disclose at various ages (Brodzinsky, 2011).  This allows the child to process and understand the adoption and to receive continued support from their adoptive parents, rather than being prematurely flooded with information and left to sort through their feelings themselves.  Adoptive parents should begin the sharing process early, include their child’s questions in the discussion, and avoid making negative judgments on the child’s biological parents.  Emphasizing that children are created biologically and then become part of families creates a smooth transition to introducing adoption, helping to normalize the adoption process for the child (Brodzinsky, 2011).  Following Brodzinsky’s guidelines may help ease adoptive parents’ anxieties in anticipating adoption talks with their children.


Wright and Flynn (2006) studied families with adopted children to determine factors that produced a “successful” adoption in the eyes of the parents.  Three main markers emerged: being a family, providing the adoptee with a good quality of life, and ensuring for the adoptee’s life to remain of good quality in the future.  When the adopted children meshed well with the rest of the family and shared an emotional connectedness with other family members, the adoptive parents experienced a collective sense of “family.”  Being a family is also tied to parents’ realistic expectations about bonding with an adopted child and finding joy in being a parental figure (Wright & Flynn, 2006).  Being confident that they have provided a better life for the adoptee than they would have otherwise had, believing they have built a solid foundation for the child’s future are also characteristics of parents in successful adoptions (Wright & Flynn, 2006).

For couples that choose to adopt international children, medical, psychological, and development challenges are often experienced (Paulsen & Merighi, 2009).  In Paulsen and Merighi’s (2009) study, adoptive parents who prepared for adoption by researching the child’s country and involving their families in corresponding cultural activities experienced fewer challenges overall.  Couples who adopted children under the age of two as opposed to older children also experienced fewer mental and physical challenges while raising their children (Paulsen & Merighi, 2009).



Brodzinsky, D. M. (2011). Children’s understanding of adoption: Developmental and clinical

implications. Professional Psychology: Research And Practice, 42(2), 200-207. doi:10.1037/a0022415

Jones, C., & Hackett, S. (2007). Communicative openness within adoptive families:

Adoptive parents’ narrative accounts of the challenges of adoption talk and the approaches used to manage these challenges.

Adoption Quarterly, 10(3-4), 157-178. doi:10.1080/10926750802163238

Paulsen, C., & Merighi, J. R. (2009). Adoption preparedness, cultural engagement, and

parental satisfaction in intercountry adoption. Adoption Quarterly, 12(1), 1-18. doi:10.1080/10926750902791540

Wright, L., & Flynn, C. C. (2006). Adolescent adoption: Success despite challenges. Children

and Youth Services Review28(5), 487-510.


College of Biblical Studies Dinner: Honoring Christian Servants and Leaders

0 Commentsby   |  10.24.11  |  Uncategorized

By: Jaime Goff

The Towel Award is given to unassuming people who act as Jesus in the world. As the king of the universe took the towel to show servant hospitality, likewise this person follows Jesus’ command to ‘do as I have done’ by serving the world the love of God (John 13:14-17). I am honored to present the first Towel Award this evening to Eniabitobi Kuyinu (Koo-Yi-Nu). Tobi received her Master’s of Marriage and Family Therapy from ACU in 2007. Prior to that time, Tobi completed a BA in theology and a BS in microbiology. Her work at ACU was funded entirely by the International Ford Fellows program, which provides advanced study opportunities for social justice leaders worldwide. Since returning to Nigeria after her studies at ACU were completed, Tobi has been continuing her work to transform the lives of disadvantaged women and children in Nigeria through her development and direction of two Non-Government Organizations, The Educator and Wholistic Outreach.

Tobi founded The Educator in 1998 after witnessing a security guard at her home leading a ten-year-old girl into his gatehouse to rape her. Tobi intervened, and through this experience she began a project called Journey to Self Discovery, in which she would bring young street girls into her home each week, feed them, and talk with them. She invited others to talk with these girls about discovering themselves, identifying their talents, excelling academically, and guarding themselves against sexual assault. Thirteen years later, The Educator continues to be dedicated to empowering and developing young people and disadvantaged women in Nigeria. The mission of The Educator is “to ensure that we have a generation of young people who understand how to build and develop healthy relationships and uphold sexual integrity.” The Educator has two arms, one that serves youth and one that serves disadvantaged women.

The Educator’s youth-oriented programs include youth rallies, retreats, and peer education programs. At the Frank Talk Youth Rally, issues relating to sexual integrity and self-development are addressed with adolescents and young adults. Tobi has also developed curriculum called Accelerated Success and Achievement Program, or ASAP. This program includes teaching youth essential learning and success-building skills to promote self-motivation and self-confidence. Peer educators are trained to deliver modules on goal-setting and motivation, career planning, active listening, note taking, health and wellness, time management, relationship skills, and etiquette and social responsibility.

The Educator’s program to help disadvantaged women is called the Purple Lydia Project. In 2007, while Tobi was on a mission trip to the Niger Republic, she encountered young women in prostitution who wanted to escape this lifestyle but lacked meaningful vocational skills.  The Purple Lydia Project was born, consisting of a rehabilitation center for women where they are empowered by learning income-generating and life skills. The services encompassed within the Purple Lydia Project include offering training to help women become nannies, housekeepers, or hairdressers; providing education on etiquettes, social behaviors, and manners so women can secure employment with upper class clients; HIV/AIDS education and sexual decision-making; providing literacy education; and providing housing and childcare so the women in the program can focus on their learning. Tobi has partnered with Eternal Threads to provide products made by women in the Purple Lydia Project, such as silk scarves and the bracelets that I’m wearing.

In addition to her work through The Educator, Tobi serves as Executive Director for another NGO, Wholistic Outreach, a faith-based organization whose goals are (1) to create awareness and mobilize the church to promote abstinence; (2) to eradicate unwanted pregnancy and HIV/AIDS among teens and young adults by providing them with skills and opportunities to make good life choices; (3) to provide rehabilitation programs for victims of moral decadence who desire to change their lives; (4) to conduct outreach in hotels, brothels, bars, and under bridges; and (5) to organize programs and seminars to reach out to families within and outside the church. One woman who was a beneficiary of the work of Wholistic Outreach had this to say about her experience in the program:

Through all the struggles of life after being a victim of sexual molestation and rape at a tender age, I developed a very thick skin and a hardened heart. It was about two years after I left home that I met the father of my child. He was the first and only person that showed me love or so I felt.  This was another turbulent period in my life as his family objected to our being together based on stories heard about my family. When the stress became unbearable, I took my child and left. I didn’t have anywhere to go so I just walked away and slept outside buildings for a while until I met a team of Wholistic Outreach members who sent me to the home for rehabilitation. To God be the glory! It was that day God arrested me, and today I am singing a new song everyday. My daughter and I have a new testimony. I am presently in the University (thanks to the Ministry) and reading Law.  I want to become the best God wants me to be. I also hope and pray my daughter and I are absorbed into a family so we will not have to worry about facing rejection EVER AGAIN.


In addition to her work with The Educator and Wholistic Outreach, Tobi provides counseling to individuals, couples, and families and consults with churches regarding their family-related needs. You might think there isn’t possibly more that Tobi could do, yet she plans to return to the States next fall to begin a Ph.D. program in Counselor Education and Supervision at Mercer University. Her goal with this new venture is to return to Nigeria to train others to provide mental health and relationship counseling.

As you can tell from my description of Tobi’s work, she is a woman whose passion for the kingdom of God compels her to make a significant difference in her community and in the world. Tobi exemplifies what God asks of God’s people in Isaiah 1:17, from the theme scripture of Summit, “Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” Tobi’s life and work demonstrates the accomplishment of ACU’s mission to educate students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world.

Our award recipients this evening are receiving the symbols of servant leadership as portrayed by Jesus when he washed his disciples’ feet. These bowls have been hand-sculpted by ACU alum, Brandon Phillips, now a studio potter and instructor at Hardin Simmons University. Brandon specializes in creating usable pieces that are made with local materials. Tobi, please come forward to receive your award.



2011 Annual AAMFT Conference

0 Commentsby   |  10.05.11  |  Uncategorized

The 2011 AAMFT annual conference was recently held September 22-25th. This year it was held locally in Fort Worth Texas at the Fort Worth Convention Center. Themed The Science of Relationships, a variety of sessions and plenaries were offered encompassing numerous fields outside of MFT.  This partnership amalgamated rich information from areas such as anthropology, neuroscience, and technology with applicability within the MFT context. The Exhibit Hall and COAMFTE Showcase were filled with organizations, services, and institutions available to serve our community.  Thank you to all who stopped by ACU’s booth at the COAMFTE Showcase. It was great to see you and catch up on what you’re doing!


Many of our alumni attended, and we would like to hear from you. What sessions did you attend? Which did you find particularly beneficial? Please share your experience!



Dr. Blakeslee Quoted in Abilene Reporter News

0 Commentsby   |  09.21.11  |  Uncategorized

Here’s the complete story:

Abilene, Wylie schools let parents view grades online

Students’ progress now easier to track


Parent Sarah Zell willingly sifts through her son’s grades at Wylie Junior High online, even though she understands why some students might find the capability frustrating.

But for her, the ability to check on his progress is wonderful, she said, whether or not it creates occasional tension.

“I think waiting for the big ‘surprise’ grade at the end of the six weeks would cause a lot more tension then seeing one bad grade that might be able to be corrected if it is caught in time,” Zell said. “This lets me keep up with how he is doing throughout the six-week grading periods so I can encourage him to keep up with his assignments and his studying.”

Both Wylie and Abilene’s school district offer tools for parents to check on students’ academic progress, and those at both districts say the tools have proved popular.

Wylie ISD superintendent Joey Light said parents and teachers appreciate the added level of transparency the district’s “Family Access” system brings.

“The philosophy behind this is that the parent and the school are partners in the education of their child,” he said. “The more a parent knows about the progress of their child, the better.”

Such tools keep “everyone accountable,” Light said, and tend to give parents a chance to look at a variety of information, not just grades.

For example, parents in AISD can look up assignment calendars, check disciplinary actions and even see the number of tardies and absences students have logged.

But information on class grades, report cards and course completion is a big part of what’s available in the district’s “FrontRunner” system.

Secondary campuses have provided a more or less real-time grade book option for several years, said Phil Ashby, AISD spokesman. Elementary schools added the capability this year.

Kimberly Turnbull, a health science instructor at Holland Medical High School, uses the system as both as a teacher and a parent.

“As soon as the students turn in their work and it is graded, I record these grades so the student and parents can see the progress,” she said, noting that she can also use the tools to explain assignments and inform parents of missing work.

Kim McMillan, a fifth-grade math teacher at Wylie Intermediate School, said such tools, ideally, allow teachers to work as a team with families.

“Good communication with our parents is an essential tool we depend on to ensure student success,” she said, noting that the online tools also allow teachers to easily access parents’ contact information.

“The technology makes it much easier to communicate with parents on a daily basis,” she said.

Parent Michael Murphy has used Wylie’s Family Access to track the progress of his four sons.

“For parents, the Family Access option to check grades can be a very valuable tool,” he said. “Of course, like all such tools, it is only as good as the input.”

Murphy, who is chief executive officer of Abilene Regional Medical Center, said most teachers take the time to keep grades updated on a timely basis — making it frustrating “when you do encounter the occasional teacher that can’t or won’t keep the grades current.”

Such technology, when properly used, allows parents a chance to engage children in discussions about a variety of problems, ranging from test anxiety to learning disabilities to other issues, such as bullying, that may factor into low performance in the classroom, said Sara Blakeslee, an assistant professor with Abilene Christian University’s department of marriage and family therapy.

But parents should remember to offer their children acceptance and love, regardless of grades, she said.

“Healthy relationships are formed and maintained when children are confident they can approach their parents with no fear of rejection or emotional abandonment,” she said.

However, this does not mean parents should accept poor grades that are clearly below their child’s capabilities, Blakeslee said, noting that parents and children should ideally use the tools to collaborate on ways to improve academic performance.

Welcome Class of 2013!

0 Commentsby   |  09.05.11  |  Uncategorized

School is in session and with it comes 23 new students! That’s right! The new first year students total 23 smiling faces. The second years welcomed them by hosting a party held in the McGothlin Student Center’s Living Room. Introductions were shared over hot dogs and brats. Games were an inviting way for the cohorts to mingle.  Corn-hole and the “Oreo-face” game turned out to be crowd pleasers. Toward the end of the festivities, everyone circled together for formal introductions as well as words of encouragement. Everyone shared their fears for the coming semester and second years (as well as second year spouses) shared advice and words of comfort for the apprehensive.

Now that the first week of classes is over everyone is beginning to settle into their schedules. The new class is making themselves at home and is figuring out the ins-and-outs of the clinic. Though perhaps feeling overwhelmed, new beginnings are also exciting. Welcome class of 2013 not only to a new realm of education, but also to a time of growth, new experiences, and friendships.

Class of 2013

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Sweet Goodbyes

0 Commentsby   |  08.29.11  |  Uncategorized

Another school year has come to an end, another class departing, and another about to begin. As all cohorts who come and go, the MFT class of 2011 will be missed. Friends and family gathered to honor the 2011 graduating class at the annual graduation celebration on August 11, 2011. This year it was held at the Lytle Bend Ranch and was catered by Joe Allen’s Barbecue. Barbeque, live entertainment, and the smell of the outdoors were enjoyed by all, but the memories of the past two years will be cherished forever. Kind words were offered for each graduate, individually appreciated for their God-given gifts and character. Class representatives spoke heartfelt words of encouragement, gratitude, and lifelong friendships. Special recognition was also given to the following: First Year Class Representative, Brittany Brumit; Second Year Class Representative, Elizabeth Brown; Outstanding First Year, Austin Brown; Outstanding Intern, Blake Berryhill; Spirit of the Therapist Award, Sybil Vess and Tyson Alexander; and Up Off the Mat Award, Kent Akers.

As these graduates disperse into the world, whether moving out of state, out of country, or staying in the area they will all be taking a piece of ACU’s MFT program with them. During the two years of the program, each class laughs, cries, quarrels, grows, strengthens, and matures together. This class has shared in countless wedding engagements, weddings, as well as family additions. Congratulations class of 2011 MMFTs! May God bless you and keep you all.


Class of 2011

Class of 2012





MFT Department Welcomes Dr. John Cattich

1 Commentby   |  05.09.11  |  Uncategorized

We are excited to announce that Dr. John Cattich will be joining ACU’s Department of Marriage and Family Therapy in a post-doctoral position for the 2011-2012 academic year. Dr. Cattich has an M.Div. from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (1999), an MS in Marital and Family Therapy from Fuller Theological Seminary (2004), and a Ph.D. in Marital and Family Therapy from Loma Linda University (2010). Most recently, he has been working as an adjunct professor in the MA in Christian Counseling program at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in North Carolina, where he holds licensure as an MFT. Dr. Cattich’s research interests focus on the use of spiritual coping in therapy. He and Dr. Carmen Knudson-Martin recently published an article in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy entitled Spirituality and Relationship: A Holistic Analysis of How Couples Cope with Diabetes. He has an article based on his dissertation under review by Pastoral Psychology entitled Three Models of Clergy Systems: An Analysis of Couple Processes and Spiritual Meaning. In his clinical work, he enjoys the integration of Bowen Family Systems and Internal Family Systems. As a supervisor, he states that he enjoys helping supervisees develop their “internal therapist.” Dr. Cattich will begin his work with us on August 1, and we look forward to welcoming him to Abilene and to our MFT family!

AAMFT Leadership Conference

0 Commentsby   |  03.25.11  |  Uncategorized

While students were enjoying a spring break from classes, ACU professor, Dr. Sara Blakeslee traveled to Washington D.C. to participate in the AAMFT Leadership Conference. This annual event is typically limited to AAMFT leadership and division leaders representing each state, but four invitations were extended to Minority Fellowship Program alumni as well. The purpose of this is to keep MFP alum involved and allow their voice to be heard. In addition, one of the goals for AAMFT for the weekend was to convey to lawmakers the need to keep the same level of funding for the SAMHSA Minority Fellowship Program in a political climate of budget cutbacks.

Dr. Blakeslee attended meetings discussing the needs of clinical associates and student members. One full day was devoted to lobbying for MFT interests, and Dr. Blakeslee joined with TAMFT president James Morris to visit with Texas Senators John Cornyn and  Kay Bailey Hutchison about MFT interests. Topics of discussion include asking for support for including MFTs in Medicare (Senate bill S604 and two upcoming House bills), maintaining the same level of funding for the MFP, and modifying statute language to allow MFTs to work in schools as counselors.

The big topic of discussion at the Conference was the proposed change of  member categories. This proposal would allow members of other counseling professions to be members at different levels. The vote for this proposal will be held in the spring. If you would like to read more about the proposed changes or participate in a discussion about it, you can find more information on the AAMFT website here.

Students Prepare Research to Present at TAMFT 2011 Conference

4 Commentsby   |  02.28.11  |  Uncategorized

Next week is a big week for Texas MFTs and students. All 32 students from ACU’s MFT program will be joining professionals from around the state at TAMFT’s 2011 Conference in Austin. In addition to the conference, many students will also be attending Day at the Dome, where they will join with other professionals to deliver a unified message to state legislators regarding marriage and family therapy and client welfare.

The second year class will be presenting the results of their various research projects at Thursday evening’s President’s Exihit Hall Reception and Social. The following are the various groups and the abstracts of their research. If you are attending the conference, be sure to check out the poster presentation. Students will appreciate your interest and be happy to share more about the results of their hard work.

A Phenomenological Study of Family Adjustment of Refugees, by Emily Savage, Amie Campbell, and Scott Rampy

This presentation covers a study which examined the experiences of refugee families in West Texas. The study assessed areas of strength and need as well as determined risk and protective factors that affect the adjustment of refugees related to their relocation to the United States. In particular the study explored the changes in relational dynamics between generations within refugee families. This study provides an understanding of the experience of refugee families so that community resources and therapeutic interventions can be designed to better meet the needs of the population thus helping Marriage and Family Therapists be more effective in treating such families.

How Personal Values Shape the Marital Sexual Experience, by Elizabeth Brown, Sarah Musick, Jacqueline Roberts, Sybil Vess

Personal values may have a direct effect on what an individual considers to be sexually taboo. The perceived  boundaries of what is permissible sexual behavior may have an effect on overall marital satisfaction. With this research we will attempt to answer the following question: How do religious attitudes/values/beliefs impact choice of sexual behavior and sexual marital satisfaction? We hypothesize the following three outcomes: (1) there will be a significant negative correlation between religious emphasis and sexual and marital satisfaction; (2) there will be a significant difference in sexual and marital satisfaction between those engaging in conventional or unconventional sexual behaviors; (3) there will be a significant difference between men and women on marital and sexual satisfaction. Couples will anonymously complete the Sexual Behavior Checklist, Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scale, Religious Emphasis Scale, Pinney Sexual Satisfaction Inventory, and the Miller Measure of Spirituality. Descriptive data anaysis as well as regression anaylses will be employed to test the hypotheses. Researchers hope to identify possible associations between values and sexual behaviors and how both impact marital satisfaction. Researchers also hope that results may lead to further questions and research opportunities regarding the connections between healthy sexual behaviors and marital satisfaction.

The Impact of Spirituality and Religiosity on Divorce Adjustment, by Tara Stephens, Blake Berryhill, Kelsey Waskow

This presentation will focus on the results of a study examining the relationship between divorce adjustment,  religiosity, and spirituality. Research participants completed demographic questions, the Divorce Reaction Inventory (DRI-46), the Religious Emphasis Scale, and the Miller Measure of Spirituality. Participants were also asked to respond to qualitative questions regarding their experience of the divorce process and how it impacted their spiritual/ religious well-being. Previous research has indicated that many people experience divorce as a sacred loss or desecration and struggle spiritually with their divorce (Krumrei, Mahoney, and Pargament, 2009). Spirituality is also used as an adaptive coping method (Krumrei et al., 2009). The hypotheses guiding this research were as follows: (1) There will be a positive correlations between spirituality and level of divorce adjustment; (2) There will be a significant difference between participants who feel accepted by their faith community and those who do not after divorce on measures of spirituality and religiosity; and (3) Length of time since participants’ divorce will significantly impact divorce adjustment. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistical analysis, correlation analysis, t-tests, and analysis of variance (ANOVA).method of presentation.)

A Study of Men’s Pornography Addiction in Group Therapy, by Kevin Burnette, Sabrina Johnson, Tommy Johnson, and Dean Pye

Patrick Carnes’ book, In the Shadows of the Net: Breaking Free of Compulsive Online Sexual Behavior addresses the issue of sexual addiction, specifically regarding internet pornography. This is thought to be a common problem among college-age males. Accountability groups have been one common, informal way of addressing this problem. Therefore the investigators believe that formal group psychotherapy would be an effective way for the mental health community to respond to this issue. The current study seeks to examine whether different delivery formats influence the effectiveness of psychotherapy groups for treatment of internet pornography addiction. Participants will be college-age men (18-25 y/o) who identify themselves as excessive viewers of internet pornography. The formats that will be examined include same gender therapeutic dyads, mixed gender therapeutic dyads, and a solo therapist of the same gender as participants. Participants will engage in 8 sessions of group therapy. Participants will take the Internet Sex Screen Test to determine the effectiveness of each group’s therapeutic value.

Kent Akers, Morgan Myrick, Ashley Roan

This presentation will focus on the result of a study examining the relationship between the level of involvement of social support systems, including the family of origin, and the stress levels in the lives of athletes. An understanding of the correlation between the levels of social support and levels of stress, in athletes, will better equip therapists to operate under a more holistic framework when athletes present to therapy with stress related problems. The participants completed the Stressful Life Events Scale and used self report methods to describe levels and variables of support (Holmes, & Rahe, 1967). The hypotheses guiding this research were as follows: (1) There will be a negative correlation between the level of support and levels of stress for athletes; (2) Players who report to have a supportive family of origin will subsequently report significantly different stress levels from those who do not; (3) The time spent at a given level of athletic organization will have the effect of lowering stress levels.