Ph.D., Family Studies, University of Connecticut
M.A., Child Development and Family Relations, University of Connecticut
M.A., Theology, St. Paul’s College
B.A., Philosophy, St. Paul’s College

Honors & Awards

2008 Don Bloch Award for Contribution to Collaborative Family Health Care

2005 University of Minnesota Outstanding Community Service Award

1997 Award of Merit for Outstanding Service to Agriculture and Related Sciences and Arts, Gamma Sigma Delta, Honor Society of Agriculture, Minnesota Chapter, April

1994 Bellagio Study Center Residency Fellowship, Rockefeller Foundation, Bellagio, Italy, April 15 - May 14

1992 Significant Contribution to the Field of Marriage and Family Therapy Award, American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy

1990 MacFarland Award for Creative Teaching, College of Human Ecology, University of Minnesota

1982 & 1983 Teacher of the Year Award, Department of Family Practice, University of Iowa

Teaching & Learning

FSOS 8039 Clinical Interventions for Couples

FSOS 8275 Clinical Consultation with Couples and Families

Research & Discovery

Family Formation Project - The goal of this five year project is to find effective strategies to support urban unmarried new parent couples who aspire to form families and who say that marriage is a goal for their relationship. We are using community-based action research methods to involve community stakeholders at every stage of the project, and plan to provide mentor couples to participants in the project, along with helping them access community services. The Family Formation Project is supported by grants from the U.S. Administration on Children and Families and the State of Minnesota through the Department of Human Services. The project began in September, 2004.

Parenting Together Project - This study examined whether a group educational intervention during the transition to parenthood can enhance the quality of father-child interaction and increase father involvement with their children. A randomized experimental design was used to evaluate an 8-session program with 165 couples who were first time parents, beginning during the second trimester of pregnancy and ending at 5 months postpartum. Outcomes were assessed via time diaries, coded observations of parent-child play, and self reports of fathers and mothers. The intervention had positive effects on fathers’ skills in interacting with their babies and their involvement on work days but not home days. We conclude that a relatively brief intervention during the transition to parenthood can improve fathering, and we explore possible reasons for differential effects on areas of parenting. Reference: William J. Doherty, Martha Farrell Erickson, and Ralph La Rossa (in press). An Intervention to Promote father attitudes and skills with infants during the transition to parenthood. Journal of Family Psychology. This study was conducted with support of a grant from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Services Research Administration, U.S. Department and Health and Human Services (5R40 MC 00141-03).

Community Engaged Parent Education - Community Engaged Parent Education is a new paradigm and methodology for parent education with this basic premise: because all parenting issues have public (community) dimensions, comprehensive parent education must address both the personal and public dimensions of parenting. As citizens in their communities, parents have the opportunity and responsibility to shape their communities by coming together to reflect, discuss and act on issues that deeply concern them. In Community Engaged Parent Education, parent educators mentor parents in conversing and acting as citizen parents. This process is woven into everyday parent education, not appended as a separate module. It develops in a steady, non-dramatic way as parents look at their communities and the broader culture, and explore how their parenting concerns are part of this common ground. What emerges in parents is a civic consciousness and readiness to act publicly, in small and large ways, on issues that affect the well being of children and families. Actions can be small and personal (such as studying an issue in more depth outside of class or writing a letter to a public official), or large and collective (such as organizing with other parents to change a community center). A McKnight Foundation Grant (supplemented with funds from the General Mills Foundation) has provided a three-year grant to disseminate Community Engaged Parent Education in Early Childhood Family Education Programs in the Twin Cities and other places in Minnesota. This process centers around a mentoring relationship between seasoned Community Engaged Parent Educators and parent educators who want to expand their practice in this energizing direction.

Outreach & Engagement

Minnesota Couples on the Brink, Project Director

The Families and Democracy Project - Citizen Health Care


  1. McDaniel, S.H., Doherty, W.J., & Hepworth, J. (2014). Medical family therapy and integrated care. Second edition. Washington, DC:  American Psychological Association.

  2. Mendenhall, T., Berge, J., & Doherty, W. (2014). Engaging communities as  partners in research: Advancing integrated care through purposeful partnerships. In J. Hodgson, A. Lamson, T. Mendenhall, & D.R. Crane (2014).  Medical family therapy: Advanced applications. (pp. 259-282). New York: Springer. 

  3. Wilde, J.L., & Doherty, W.J. (2013). Outcomes of an intensive couple relationship education program with fragile families. Family Process, 52, 455-464.

  4. Doherty, W.J. (2013). The Citizen professional: Working with families and  communities on problems people care about. Italian Journal of  Sociology of Education, 5, 111-126.

  5. Doherty, W.J., (2013). When therapy is going nowhere. Psychotherapy Networker, May/June, pp. 25-30, 62

  6. Doherty, W.J. (2013). The citizen therapist and social change. In J.A. Kottler, M.E-C., & J. Carlson (Eds.), Helping beyond the 50-minute hour: Therapists  involved in meaningful social action. (pp. 15-25).  New York: Routledge. 

  7. Beaton, J.M., Doherty, W.J., & Wenger, L. (2013). Mothers and fathers coparenting together. In A.L. Vangelisti (Ed), Handbook of Family Communication. (2nd edition). Mahway, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

  8. Doherty, W. J. (2012). One brick at a time: Therapy is more than art or science. Psychotherapy Networker, September/October, 2012, 23-29, 58, 60.

  9. Berge, J. M., Wickel, K., & Doherty, W. J. (2012). The individual and combined influence of the “quality” and “quantity” off family meals on adult body mass index. Families, Systems & Health, 30, 344-351.

  10. Berge, J.M, Arikian, A., Doherty, W.J., Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2012). Healthy eating and activity in the home environment: Results from multi-family focus groups. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 44, 123-131.

  11. Jordan, C., Doherty, W. J., Jones-Webb, R., Cook, N., Dubrow, G., & Mendenhall, T. J. (2012), Competency-based faculty development in communityengaged scholarship: A Diffusion of innovation approach. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 16, 65-95

  12. Beaton, J. M., Doherty, W. J., & Wenger, L. (2012). Mothers and fathers coparenting together. In A. L. Vangelisti (Ed), Handbook of Family Communication. (2nd edition). Mahway, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

  13. Hawkins, A. J., Willougby, B. J., & Doherty, W. J. (2012). Reasons for divorce and openness to marital reconciliation. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 53. 453–463.

  14. Doherty, W. J., Willoughby, B. J., & Peterson, B. (2011). Interest in reconciliation among divorcing parents. Family Court Review, 49, 313-321. Non-technical summary and update published in Family Law Forum, 19, 48-52.

  15. Wilde, J. L., & Doherty, W. J. (2011). Intimate partner violence between unmarried parents before and during participation in a couple and relationship education program. Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, 10, 135-151.

  16. Doherty, W. J., (2011). In or out: Treating the mixed-agenda couple. Psychotherapy Networker, September-October, pp. 45-50, 58.60.

  17. Doherty, W. J., & Sears, L. W. (2011). Second chances: A Proposal to reduce unnecessary divorce. New York: Institute for American Values.

  18. Doherty, W. J., & Craft, S. (2011). Single mothers raising children with “male positive” attitudes. Family Process, 50, 63-76.

  19. Doherty, W. J., & McDaniel, S. H. (2010). Family therapy. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

  20. Anderson, J. R., van Ryzin, M., & Doherty, W. J. (2010). Developmental trajectories of marital happiness in continuously married individuals: A  groupbased approach. Journal of Family Psychology, 24, 587-596.

  21. Doherty, W. J., Mendenhall, T, J., & Berge, J. M. (2010). The Families and Democracy and Citizen Health Care Project. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 36, 389-402.

  22. Berge, J., M., Doherty, W. J., & Mendenhall, T. J. (2009). Using communitybased participatory research (CBPR) to target health disparities. Family Relations, 58, 475-488.

  23. Doherty, W. J., Jacob, J., & Cutting, B. (2009). Community Engaged Parent Education: Strengthening civic engagement among parents and parent educators. Family Relations, 58, 303-315.

  24. Doherty, W. J., (2009). Morality and spiritual in therapy. In F. Walsh (Ed.), Spiritual resources in family therapy. 2nd edition. (pp. 215-228). New York: Guilford.

  25. See CV for more publications.