Skip to Main Content

MFT Theory

Guide to accompany MFT summer theory courses: Bowen, Brief, Experiential, Internal Family Systems, Narrative

Search for Articles

Step 1:  Start your search for scholarly articles in an article database such as PsycINFO or Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection.  

Step 2:  Search for one or more of the terms from your topic, such as bowen theory

The Thesaurus can help you identify what term is used in that particular database to describe your concept/theory. For example, a search for Bowen in the Thesaurus tells you to use the term Family Therapy instead:


    • Separate the terms using AND (to find articles with all terms) or OR (to find articles with either term).  
    • Using an asterisk (*) will truncate the ending of a word and search for all variations (i.e. divorc* would find divorce, divorced, and divorcing).
    • Limiting to Subjects will narrow your search to articles on that topic, rather than those that may mention the term.

Step 3: When searching for topics related to marriage and family, it can be helpful to limit to a subset of articles on those topics.  To do that, type in 295* or 3313 and change the drop-down menu to Classification.  Doing so searches those areas in the PsycINFO Classification Codes (locate them on the Advanced Search page or on the APA website).

2950 Marriage & Family 
2953 Divorce & Remarriage 
2956 Childrearing & Child Care  

3313 Group & Family Therapy 

Step 4:  Check the box for Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals on the left under Source Types and click the Update button. Use additional ways to narrow your results as needed using the facets on the left.

Step 5:  If you find too few results, try broadening your search by using an asterisk (divorc*), listing synonyms or related words (therapy or treatment), or changing the drop-down menu to TX All Text, which will search within the full text of documents.

Step 7:  When you find a helpful article, look at the Cited References and Times Cited in this Database to find more articles on the same topic. Or search for the article in Google Scholar, and choose the Cited By link to see what other books/articles have cited it. 

Step 8: Don't see the full text of the article? Try these options:

  • Click check for full text to link directly to the article or search SPU Primo and see if we have the journal full text in print or in another database.  
  • Search Google Scholar and Google or other search engine by article title to see if it is available freely online.
  • Request via Interlibrary Loan and you'll receive it within about a week.

Set up your Ebsco account

Set up your Ebsco account to save articles in folders across all Ebsco databases (e.g. Academic Search Complete, Business Source Complete).

  1. Open an Ebsco database, such as Academic Search Complete or APA PsycInfo (list of all SPU databases)
  2. Choose Sign In at the top of the screen. An Ebsco database search box with Sign In link circled at top of page
  3. Click on Create a new Account to set up your personalized Ebsco account (not your SPU username and password).My Ebscohost sign in page with option to sign in or Create a new account
  4. Fill out the short form to create a new account. 
  5. Remember to always sign in when adding articles to folders or they will not be saved! Example article description with folder circled on right side of article title