College of Education and Human Development

Family Social Science

Steven Harris


PDF icon Curriculum Vitae

PDF icon Advising Statement


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


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 2022 in the Ph.D. program.

Research & Discovery

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.

Recent News

"What is discernment counseling," Mary Hanson Show, MCN

"What you need to know about couples therapy,"

"Marriage and divorce during the pandemic," MPR News with Angela Davis

"Marriage & Divorce amid pandemic: couples challengs abound," AP News

"Your relationships and COVID-19," Minnesota Undergraduate Research Journal (MURJ): In Focus

"How to protect your marriage from becoming another coronavirus victim," Institute for Family Studies blog. 

"COVID and Marriage," U of M Alumni Association interview with Jon Ruzek, vice-president of engagement. 

Harris named Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, published by American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy

Are All Divorces Necessary? via Institute for Family Studies (IFS)

Harris contributes to IFS blog

Harris publishes book for couples considering divorce

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.

Teaching & Learning

FSOS 4104W Family Psychology

FSOS 8034 Marriage and Family Therapy Supervision

FSOS 8039 Clinical Interventions for Couples

Honors & 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

Select Publications

See CV for complete list


  1. 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.

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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