Faculty & Staff
Ryan Henry, PhD, LMFT
Professor of Instruction/
Marital distress; use of technology to develop training tools for beginning therapists; new ways of conducting web-based self-directed marital therapy
One of the fastest growing fields in the national health care system, marriage and family therapy (MFT) has evolved from an auxiliary profession into a field of its own. Blending the resources and contributions of medical and non-medical fields into a uniquely integrated discipline, marriage and family therapists are able to successfully address myriad relationship and family problems. Paralleling the growth of the MFT field, the use of technology for professional education and development in mental health counseling has also been slowly and steadily increasing.
The director of the Marriage and Family Therapy Certificate Program, Dr. Ryan Henry teaches professionals in mental health, rehabilitation counseling, counselor education, social work, psychology, and other human service fields to diagnose and treat mental, emotional, and relationship disorders. It is just one of the many graduate certificates offered within the Department, which is one of the oldest Rehabilitation & Mental Health Counseling programs in the state of Florida.
In recent research published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, Dr. Henry, in concert with colleagues from Alliant International University, Brigham Young University, and Utah State University, conducted a meta-analysis of the literature to determine the prevailing belief that women had less marital satisfaction than men. They found that that wives in marital therapy were substantially less satisfied with their marriages than their husbands. This suggests that marital distress most commonly lies with the wife becoming dissatisfied in the relationship and that wives are more likely to seek marital therapy. The finding also suggest that in a nonclinical sample there is no difference between husband and wives satisfaction with the marriage.
An earlier study, published in the International Journal of Aging and Human Development, examined marital satisfaction in later-life marriages. Using the USC Longitudinal Study of Generations, Dr. Henry and colleagues from Brigham Young University and the University of Southern California, found that the number of problems may not be as important as the types of problems commonly reported by each gender. Disagreements over health issues and household concerns differentiated happy from unhappy older couples. Although leisure activities were also a source of disagreement for both happy and unhappy couples, unhappy couples reported this issue twice as often.
In an article published in Rehabilitation Research, Policy, and Education, the journal of the National Council on Rehabilitation Education, Dr. Henry and departmental colleagues gathered data from almost 40 years of alumni to assess the effectiveness of the program in achieving its mission, goals, and objectives and to address program areas that may need improvement.
Dr. Henry also is interested in the use of technology to develop training tools for beginning therapists and to provide new ways of conducting web-based self-directed marital therapy. Over the past several years, he has received two technology grants to implement the use of iPads and Articulate software in online teaching. He has developed the department’s first on-line course and since then has helped other faculty to develop their own online courses.