Kristen Benson, (Ph.D. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)
Office Phone: 701-231-5879
Core Area: Couple and Family Therapy
Dr. Kristen Benson is an Associate Professor in Human Development and Family Science and faculty in the Couple and Family Therapy Ph.D. Program. Her research involves inclusion of marginalized populations in family therapy and family science research, with specific focus on gender identity and sexual orientation. She approaches teaching, learning, research, and clinical work through a feminist social justice lens. Her clinical training approach is informed by hooks’ and Freire’s engaged liberatory pedagogies.
Dr. Benson’s current research explores the experiences of parents raising transgender and gender expansive children. She is looking at the ways in which parents offer support to one another, how parents of transgender and gender expansive children experience their extended family, and transyouth inclusive family therapy practices. She collaborates with Dr. Brad van Eeden-Moorefield at Montclair State University on projects concentrating on same gender couples and families. Dr. Benson also collaborates with Drs. Stone Carlson and McGeorge on the Equal Opportunity Therapy: Providing Affirmative Therapy Services to LGBT Individuals in Rural Communities.
Dr. Benson is a Clinical Fellow of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AMFT) and an AAMFT Approved Supervisor. She is a professional member of the National Council on Family Relations and is a Certified Family Life Educator. She currently serves as the chair of the NDSU Equity and Diversity Committee of the Faculty Senate and as the qualitative research representative on the NDSU IRB.
Research Interests: Gender identity and family/partner relationships; Diversity issues in family therapy; Collaborative approaches to family therapy education and training; Qualitative methodology.