September 10, 2012

Professor Norman B. Epstein and thirteen graduate students from the Department of Family Science's Couple and Family Therapy (CFT) program traveled to Beijing, China from August 4-15 to participate in the inaugural Sino-American Forum on Marriage and Family Therapy at Beijing Normal University (BNU). The Forum was hosted by the Institute of Developmental Psychology at BNU and brought together prominent family therapy researchers and practitioners from across China and several U.S. universities. The Maryland CFT students (Jodi Cobb, David Curtis, Andrew Dauler, BreAnna Davis, Ebony Edwards, Nicole Ehlert, Tara Gogolinski, John Hart, Stephen Mortensen, Elizabeth Ott, Stephanie Powell, Deanna Pruitt, and Robin Smith) participated in group discussions with graduate students from family therapy training programs at BNU and other U.S. Universities, focusing on cultural similarities and differences that affect the application of Western-derived family therapy approaches with Chinese families. The Maryland students also had opportunities to visit major cultural sites in the Beijing area, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven, the Lama Temple, and the Beijing Opera.

At the conference, Dr. Epstein presented two full-day workshops on cognitive-behavioral therapy with couples and families, as well as a paper on strategies for conducting process and outcome research on family therapy in China. Chinese scholars presented talks on topics such as the history and current developments of family therapy in China, family time and collective healing in the wake of the Wenchuan earthquake, family therapy for anorexia nervosa in China, cultural adaptation of systemic family therapy in China, treating loss and grief in Chinese families, and the current status of family therapy training in China. The Forum was an excellent opportunity for the development of collaborative relationships for research and clinical training among the U.S. and Chinese participants.