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Norman Epstein

Norman B. Epstein

Professor Emeritus, Family Science

Norman B. Epstein, PhD, is widely recognized internationally as a leader in the field of couple and family therapy. In particular, he is a pioneer in the development of cognitive-behavioral therapy with couples and families. His research, writing, teaching, and training of clinicians have focused on the role of cognitive, emotional and behavioral processes in relationship adjustment and dysfunction; assessment of intimate relationships; couple and family coping with stress; development and evaluation of treatments for distressed couples and families, including couples experiencing partner aggression; anxiety and depression in the relationship context; cross-cultural studies of couple and family relationships; and culturally sensitive adaptations of Western-derived models of family therapy.


(301) 405-4013


Areas of Interest


Dr. Epstein is an author or editor of five books, including Depression in the Family (1986), Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy with Families (1988), Cognitive-Behavioral Marital Therapy (1990), Enhanced Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Couples: A Contextual Approach (2002), and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Sexual Dysfunction (2018). In addition, he has published 71 journal articles and 70 chapters in edited books on aspects of couple and family relationships and therapy.

He currently has a contract to write a book on treatment planning in couple therapy. Dr. Epstein has presented 140 research papers, as well as 95 training workshops on couple and family therapy, at national and international professional meetings. One special focus of his international work has involved eight trips to China to present training seminars and workshops, as well as to collaborate with Chinese colleagues on research and on the development of family therapy training in China.

In 2008, graduate students from the University of Maryland’s Couple and Family Therapy program traveled with Dr. Epstein to Beijing for a joint class on family therapy with faculty and CFT graduate students of the Institute for Developmental Psychology at Beijing Normal University (BNU). Subsequently, Dr. Epstein and University of Maryland CFT students participated in the Sino-American Forums on Marital and Family Therapy at BNU in 2012 and 2014. Dr. Epstein also has presented training workshops on cognitive-behavioral individual, couple and family therapy to school counselors in Shanghai, as well as mental health professionals in South Korea, Japan, Germany, and France.

Dr. Epstein is interested in cultural sensitivity in the practice of couple and family therapy, including the adaptation of Western-derived therapy models for appropriate use in other cultures. He also has collaborated with Korean colleagues on research studies investigating risk and protective factors for adolescent emotional and behavioral problems in Korea. 

PhD, Clinical Psychology

University of California at Los Angeles

Cognitive Therapy Training

Dr. Aaron Beck’s Center for Cognitive Therapy, University of Pennsylvania

FMSC431 Family Crises and Intervention

FMSC610 Research Methods in Family Studies

FMSC641 Couples Therapy, Theory, and Techniques

FMSC645 Sexuality: Issues in Family Therapy and Service Delivery

FMSC650 Ethical, Legal, and Professional Principles in Marriage and Family Therapy

FMSC658 Supervised Clinical Practice of Marriage and Family Therapy

FMSC810 Theory in Family Systems and Family Health

Fellow, American Psychological Association

Clinical Fellow and Approved Supervisor, American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy

Founding Fellow, Academy of Cognitive Therapy

Diplomate, American Board of Assessment Psychology

Epstein, N.B., Schlesinger, S.E., & Kim, H. (2018). Cognitive-behavioral family therapy. In P.C. Kendall (Ed.), Cognitive therapy with children and adolescents: A casebook for clinical practice (pp. 301-328). New York: NY: Guilford.

Epstein, N.B. (2018). Cognitive-behavioral couple therapy. In R.L. Leahy (Ed.), Science and practice in cognitive therapy: Foundations, mechanisms, and applications (pp. 194-213). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Kim, J.E., Epstein, N.B., & Kim, J. (2017). Life stresses in adolescents with problematic media use: The role of anger management in cyberbullying. Family and Family Therapy, 25, 227-249.

Epstein, N.B., & Falconier, M.K. (2017). Shame in couple relationships. In J. Fitzgerald (Ed.), Foundations for couples’ therapy: Research for the real world (pp. 374-383).  New York: Routledge.

Epstein, N.B., Dattilio, F.M., & Baucom, D.H. (2016). Cognitive-behavior couple therapy. In T.L. Sexton & J. Lebow (Eds.), Handbook of family therapy (4th ed., pp. 361-386). New York: Routledge.