College of Education and Human Development

Family Social Science

Steven Harris

  • Professor, Couple and Family Therapy Specialization

Areas of interest

Relational Decision Making
Prevention of Unnecessary Divorce
Couples and Intimacy
Family Therapy Ethics and Professional Development

I am accepting new advisees for fall 2024 in the PhD program.


Ph.D., Marriage and Family Therapy, Syracuse University
M.A., Marriage and Family Therapy, Syracuse University
B.S., Family Sciences, Brigham Young University


Advising statement

Minnesota Couples on the Brink: The mission of the Minnesota Couples on the Brink Project is to develop, disseminate, and evaluate best practices to help couples at high risk for divorce who are uncertain whether to divorce or to try to rebuild their marriage, and to enhance the capacity of therapists, lawyers, clergy, and other professionals to work effectively with these couples.

Outreach & Engagement

Seven Letters That Will Bring You Closer to Your College Student: Harris co-authored this simple and heartfelt guidebook to help parents connect to their college student. Unlike any other send-your-kid to college book, the authors outline a letter writing exercise that parents follow through their child’s first years of college; the time when parents and children begin to relate to one another more as adult peers than they do as parent and child. Each specifically-themed letter is designed to strengthen and enrich family relationships. Learn more.


Doherty, W. J. and Harris, S.M. (2022). Relationship-undermining statements by psychotherapists with clients who present with marital or couple problems, Family Process, Volume 61, Issue 3, September 2022, pages 1195-1207.

Harris, S.M., & Wickel, K. (2014).  Ethical Guidelines for Conducting Clinical Research in Relationship-Focused Therapy.  In L. Johnson & R. Miller (Eds.), Advanced Methods in Family Therapy Research:  A Focus on Validity and Change. New York: Routledge.

Harris, S. M., & Bean, R. A. (2012). Seven Letters That Will Bring You Closer to Your College Student. Self Published.

Schramm, D. G., Harris, S. M., Whiting, J. B., Hawkins, A. J., Brown, M., & Porter, R. (2013). Economic Costs and Policy Implications Associated with Divorce: Texas as a Case Study. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 54, 1-24. DOI: 10.1080/10502556.2012.725354.

Szarzynski, A., Porter, R., Whiting, J. B., & Harris, S. M. (2012). Low-Income Mothers in Marriage and Relationship Education: Program Experiences and Beliefs about Marriage and Relationships. Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, 11, 322-342. DOI: 10.1080/15332691.2012.718972.

Daire, A.P., Harris, S.M., Carlson, R.G., Munyon, M.D., Rappleyea, D.L., Beverly, M.G., & Hiett, J. (2012). Fruits of Improved Communication: The Experiences of Hispanic Couples in a Relationship Education Program. Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, 11, 112-129. DOI: 10.1080/15332691.2012.666498.

Harris, S.M., Adams, M.S., Zubatsky, M., & White, M. (2011). A Caregiver Perspective of How Alzheimer’s and Dementia Related Disorders Affect Couple Intimacy. Aging and Mental Health.

Springer, P., & Harris, S.M. (2010). Attitudes and Beliefs of Marriage and Family Therapists Regarding Psychotropic Drugs and Therapy. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 36, 361-375.

Harris, S. M., Brown, A., Dakin, J. B., Lucas, B., Riley, L., & Bulham, R (2009). Are Case Notes Really That Important? The Dearth of Research and Practice Guidelines in MFT Literature. American Journal of Family Therapy, 37, 373 - 387.

Harris, S. M., & Harriger, D. J. (2009). Sexual Attraction in Conjoint Therapy. American Journal of Family Therapy, 37, 209-216.

Teaching and Learning

FSOS 4104W Family Psychology

FSOS 8034 Marriage and Family Therapy Supervision

FSOS 8039 Clinical Interventions for Couples

Honors and Awards

2008 Outstanding Service, Twogether in Texas, Texas Healthy Marriage Initiative, Texas Health and Human Services Commission

2005 Meritorious Service Award, Texas Association for Marriage and Family Therapy

1999 Outstanding Instructor, Texas Tech University, Department of Human Development and Family Studies