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MFT Theory

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

Theory-specific video tutorials for locating library resources

As you consider each "lens"...

...(e.g. developmental, socioeconomic, etc.) of the critique, you may have a difficult time finding sources if you search only for very straighforward terms like "socioeconomic." Keep these suggestions in mind as you search:

  • Keep a broad perpective.

Ask yourself, "Does this article or book offer insight as to how the theory addresses (or fails to address) any aspect of this concept?"

  • Search for sources from the starting point of the lens, rather than the theory.

A handbook on men in therapy might shed light on the gendered lens. A handbook on multicultural psychology may offer clues on the cultural lens. Check the index for terms relating to your theory.

  • Use a variety of terms to search for elements of the concept. 

This is very important, as sources are tagged with only the most precise subject term (i.e. Family Socioeconomic Level instead of the broader term Socioeconomic Status). 

The Thesaurus (PsycINFO) or equivalent in other databases can give you ideas of other terms to try. Use Explode to search for a term and all its narrower terms at the same time or explore related, broader, and narrower terms.


If you search using the subject terms but find few results, use them as the basis of a broader search. Remove the "DE" [descriptor] prefix from each term and search within within Select a Field or All Text instead. Or try fewer words, and use an asterisk when necessary (e.g. income OR class OR socioeconomic OR SES OR disadvantage* OR poverty, etc.)

More time-saving suggestions...

  • Save sources in folders so you can find them later (sign in to your personal account every time) 
  • Export citations to RefWorks or other citation management tools (e.g. EndNote, Zotero, etc.)


Image Credit: MyPortfolio taster session by Heath Sawyer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.