Journal of Marital and Family Therapy Award Winners

2020 Award Winners

To view all 2020 JMFT Award Winners, click here!

The year 2020 was filled with unknowns and transitions for everyone. The COVID-19 Pandemic forced many of us into the world of teletherapy and had us delivering our services online. Changing from a face-to-face modality also affected those of us who teach or provide clinical supervision. Many of us learned that online therapy is a suitable option for our services, and we understood the need to offer services this way to accommodate our clients. For some of us, the shift was permanent. I have friends and colleagues who have, since the transition to online therapy, given up their brick and mortal practices and embraced the cyberworld fully.

It was also a year where many, if not most, of our coping strategies, were stripped away. Some of these were hidden. I never knew how much my morning and evening commutes and listening to music or the news, contributed to me recharging my emotional batteries until they were taken away. In the past year in clinical supervision, my students would often ask, “How are we supposed to be helping people deal with the fallout of the pandemic, if we’re not doing well dealing with it ourselves?” I never had a good answer for this question beyond things like, “self-care, boundaries, acknowledge that what we’re going through is so odd and (hopefully) a once in a lifetime circumstance…” Indeed, it has been a year of what my friend and colleague, Pauline Boss, has long studied- ambiguous loss.

Every year the editor, in consultation with the advisory council, selects an article to honor as the “Article of the Year.” I went through last year’s published articles and selected 15 articles that I believed made “above and beyond” contributions to the field. I then sent these articles to members of the advisory council and had them rate and rank their top five articles. I asked them to consider impact, originality, and quality of the scholarship in each manuscript. I am pleased to announce that JMFT’s 2020 “Article of the Year” goes to Standing and Responding in Solidarity with Disenfranchised Immigrant Families in the United States: An Ongoing Call for Action, written by authors Elizabeth Wieling, Andrea N. Trejo, Jo Ellen Patterson, Kaethe Weingarten, Celia Falicov, Ana V. Hernández, Laurie Cook Heffron, Monica Faulkner, and José Rubén Parra-Cardona. One of our reviewers indicated that this manuscript outlines a “critical issue in our country…the authors did a great job [of] laying out the sociopolitical issues and toll. It is a unifying article written by a diverse collection of authors with important viewpoints and experiences.” Another reviewer indicated that this article “…is timely and needed.” Still, another reviewer expressed their support of this article in a rather exuberant manner, “I couldn't agree more with the premises of this article, and think it deserves to be shouted from the rooftops. The treatment of immigrant families isn't a political issue, it's a human rights issue.”

There were two other articles that received honorable mentions. The advisory council agreed that both of these manuscripts are worthy of recognition. We present them here in no specific order. The first is a well-designed and articulated study on one of family therapy’s evidence-based models, Multisystemic Therapy for Child Abuse and Neglect: Do Parents Show Improvement in Parental Mental Health Problems and Parental Stress? Written by Stephanie Hefti, Tania Pérez, Ute Fürstenau, Bruno Rhiner, Cynthia C. Swenson, and Marc Schmid. One reviewer indicated that, “this is an important text of an adapted intervention for a novel population. The study was rigorous, and the findings help us understand best practices.” The second honorable mention article is especially poignant in light of 2020’s sociopolitical climate and the discussions we were (and were not) having around race relations in the United States; What White Mental Health Professionals Need to Understand About Whiteness: A Delphi Study, by Timothy Baima and Michael E. Sude. Reviewers who commented on the contribution of this article pointed to the climate in which this manuscript was published. One shared that this “article seemed to be ahead of its time in promoting [the] evaluation of social justice.” We at JMFT extend our sincere gratitude to these authors for submitting such high-quality writing to the Journal. Further appreciation is extended to the members of the advisory council for their service in making recommendations for these awards.

In considering reviewers of the year, I thought it appropriate to recognize two scholars who consistently gave detailed and helpful reviews. Neither of these colleagues shy away from providing solid and critical feedback. Their reviews are detailed and respectful. Each of them takes their reviewer role seriously. This year we want to recognize Drs. Allen Barton of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Christi McGeorge of North Dakota State University as our reviewers of the year. Both have served on the board for multiple years. It just so happened that in 2020, both reviewers were called on to provide service to the Journal that really went above and beyond what is typical.

We would also like to recognize as apprentice reviewers of the year, Andrea Trejo from the University of Georgia and Zach Trevino from Texas Tech University. These doctoral students represent our field’s future research leaders. We also express our appreciation for all the other apprentice reviewers and their mentors for their volunteer efforts with the Journal.


We have an accomplished and respected editorial board comprised of reputable and dedicated scholars within and outside of the discipline of marriage and family therapy. Their names and institutional affiliations appear in the masthead of each JMFT issue. We are indebted to them for their voluntary service to JMFT and the field. Each one of them has agreed to provide up to six peer reviews during the year. Often, it works out to be more than six because they also agree to work through the revise and resubmit process. They take their responsibilities and duties seriously. I would like to publicly thank each and every one of them for their efforts and service.

Andrea Trejo, MA University of Akron, 
Apprentice Reviewer of the Year

Zachary Trevino, Texas Tech University 
Apprentice Reviewer of the Year

Allen Barton, PhD, University of Illinois
Reviewer of the Year

Christi McGeorge, PhD, North Dakota University  
Reviewer of the Year

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