Journal of Marital and Family Therapy doi: 10.1111/jmft.12083 July 2014, Vol. 40, No. 3, 269–271
JMFT BEST ARTICLE OF THE YEAR AWARD: SPOTLIGHTING EXCELLENCE WITHIN A CONTEXT OF EXCELLENCE Fred P. Piercy Editor
In Garrison Keillor’s (2014) ﬁctional Lake Wobegone, “. . .all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.”1 The “above average” part is also true of the articles in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy (JMFT). All are worthy of publication in the largest-circulation family therapy journal in the world, the ﬂagship journal of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. At the same time, this does not mean that we should refrain from calling special attention to certain speciﬁc JMFT articles from time to time. The “JMFT Best Article of the Year Award” is a new recognition designed to honor one or two articles each year because of their quality, meaningfulness, and promise to advance our ﬁeld. This year’s “best article” honors two very diﬀerent articles. One by Jason J. Platt, Alliant International University-Mexico City Campus; and Tracey A. Laszloﬀy, Private Practice, Norwich, Connecticut, is titled, Critical Patriotism: Incorporating Nationality into MFT Education and Training. In it, the authors reﬂect and extend our profession’s sensitivity to issues of diversity, and our commitment to address marginalization and oppression. Platt and Laszloﬀy (2013) apply a critical lens to the concept of nationalism, a problematic extreme version of patriotism. The authors maintain that it is easy to marginalize and oppress through our own (often invisible to us) ethnocentric nationalism. They provide useful suggestions to address the negative eﬀects of such nationalism in both practice and training. Here are a few comments from JMFT Editorial Council members regarding this paper: • “The more I have traveled internationally as a family therapist educator. . ., the more I realize how many US-centric ideas permeate our training, writing, and thinking. This is true of our discussion of diversity in the US as well. The problem is that a ﬁsh doesn’t see water, so very few people in the US write about how our discussion of diversity-related issues can be very one-sided, narrow and privileged. What I love about this article is that I have rarely, if ever, heard the ideas in it discussed. . .. I don’t know that it was on anyone’s radar in the US, yet as someone who lives in a very diverse community. . . I think it is imminently relevant. I enjoy ﬁnding articles that challenge the norm as fundamentally as this one. . .” • “This paper has the potential to really make a diﬀerence in the ﬁeld of MFT. The COAMFTE [Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education] draft of Version 12 [accreditation] standards asks accredited programs to include international issues in their curriculum but I have not seen this issue addressed clearly previous to this paper. This paper really made me stop and think about how nationalistic attitudes may be inﬂuencing my teaching and clinical work. I think the paper has promise to advance the ﬁeld.” • “This paper is very well written. The authors have tied nationalism to many aspects of a clinician’s life (i.e., DSM) and take the conversation about values in therapy to another level. It is also creative in the sense that I had not thought about nationalism as a concept underlying therapeutic value. I think it has the potential to be a great teaching tool, particularly within the context of diversity. . .” • “Given the direction of COAMFTE accreditation, this article will help MFT educators think about ways to integrate international concepts and awareness into their programs. . .” July 2014
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“I just cited this article in one of my papers and I LOVED it! The ﬁeld desperately needs this type of scholarship to privilege the subjugated voices of diverse populations and nonUS nations. . .” The second winner of the JMFT Best Article of 2013 Award is by Andrea K. Wittenborn, Michigan State University; Megan L. Dolbin-MacNab, Virginia Tech; and Margaret K. Keiley, Auburn University, and is titled, Dyadic Research in Marriage and Family Therapy: Methodological Considerations. Wittenborn, Dolbin-MacNab, and Keiley (2013) introduce marriage and family therapy researchers to dyadic research methodology and discuss the advantages of dyadic designs that help the researcher examine couple and family relational and therapeutic processes. A few JMFT Editorial Council member comments about Wittenborn et al. (2013) article include: • “This article makes an important contribution to the ﬁeld by encouraging a higher standard in conducting dyadic research. How to collect and analyze data from couples has long been a challenge for many researchers in the ﬁeld. The authors identify the most important methodological considerations, identifying advancements in design and analysis strategies that improve research in which dyads are the unit of analysis. The article is well written [and] informed by personal experience conducting dyadic research.” • “This article is an extraordinary and truly needed contribution to the ﬁeld. . .” • “. . .MFT research cannot move forward without more dyadic research. I love that these authors went beyond writing about how to analyze existing dyadic data sets [and oﬀer] suggestions for MFTs who are wanting to design dyadic research projects. . . ..this paper should be required reading [in] MFT doctoral programs. . . • “I appreciated the authors’ attempts to make dyadic research relatable and understandable. The examples and their ability to break down complex concepts were impressive. Honorable mentions include Kirstee Williams and Carmen Knudson-Martin’s (2013) article, Do Therapists Address Gender and Power in Infidelity? A Feminist Analysis of the Treatment Literature. Williams and Knudson-Martin (2013) analyzed 29 scholarly articles and books on inﬁdelity treatment published between 2000 and 2010 to identify how gender and power issues were or were not part of treatment. The authors see the ﬁndings as a foundation for the development of a sociocontextual framework for inﬁdelity treatment. A second honorable mention is Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples: The Client Change Process and Therapist Interventions, by Dino Zuccarini, Susan M. Johnson, Tracy L. Dalgleish, and Judy A. Makinen, (2013). In this article, Zuccarini, Johnson, Dalgleish, and Makinen (2013) use process research to study a forgiveness and reconciliation model, the Attachment Injury Resolution Model (AIRM), within the context of emotionally focused therapy for couples (EFT). The authors identify key EFT interventions used in successful attachment injury resolution. A third honorable mention was for Lisa A. Benson, Mia Sevier, and Andrew Christensen’s (2013) paper, The Impact of Behavioral Couple Therapy on Attachment in Distressed Couples. In this article, Benson, Sevier, and Christensen (2013) examined whether increases in attachment security predict improvements in marital satisfaction during behavioral couple therapy, which would suggest that change in attachment style may be a key process variable even for a nonattachment-focused treatment. Moreover, the authors conclude that, “. . .changes in satisfaction may lead to changes in attachment rather than the reverse and that change in attachment may not be the mechanism of change in all eﬃcacious couple therapy” (p. 407). This article was followed by engaging responses by Johnson and Greenman (2013), and Gurman (2013), and a reply to these commentaries by Benson, Sevier, and Christensen (2014). The idea for the above recognitions came from the JMFT Editorial Council, a small advisory group of the following professionals: Richard Bishoﬀ, Sean Davis, Jennifer Hodgson, Katherine Hertlein, John Miller, Thorana Nelson, Ruben Parra-Cardona, Sandra Stith, and Joseph Wetchler. Essentially, I nominate 4–5 articles (which the Editorial Council can add to), and then, the JMFT Editorial Council members evaluate each and forward their ratings to the JMFT editorial assistant who compiles the results.
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If all published JMFT articles are indeed corollaries to Lake Wobegon’s “above-average children,” when some receive special recognition our entire professional family stands a little taller. Congratulations to the above authors!
If you are not familiar with Garrison Keillor’s long-running radio show, Prairie Home Companion, see http://prairiehome.publicradio.org/about/. Fred P. Piercy Professor Marriage and Family Therapy Program, Department of Human Development, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia E-mail: [email protected]
REFERENCES Benson, L.A., Sevier, M., & Christensen, A. (2013). The impact of behavioral couple therapy on attachment in distressed couples. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 39, 407–420. Benson, L.A., Sevier, M., & Christensen, A. (2014). Reply to the commentaries: Of course, we do not yet know what it is all about, but functional contextualism is a good place to start. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 40, 1–4. Gurman, A.S. (2013). Functions and factions: A reﬂection on possibilities for couple therapy integration. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 39, 424–426. Johnson, S., & Greenman, P. (2013). Commentary: Of course it is all about attachment!. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 39, 421–423. Keillor, G. (Host) (2014). Prairie home companion. Minneapolis, MN: Prairie Home Productions. Platt, J.J., & Laszloﬀy, T.A. (2013). Critical patriotism: Incorporating nationality into MFT education and training. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 39, 441–456. Williams, K., & Knudson-Martin, C. (2013). Do therapists address gender and power in inﬁdelity? A feminist analysis of the treatment literature. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 39, 271–284. Wittenborn, A.K., Dolbin-MacNab, M.L., & Keiley, M.K. (2013). Dyadic research in marriage and family therapy: Methodological considerations. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 39, 5–16. Zuccarini, D., Johnson, S.M., Dalgleish, T.L., & Makinen, J.A. (2013). Forgiveness and reconciliation in emotionally focused therapy for couples: The client change process and therapist interventions. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 39, 148–162.
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