Brent Atkinson

When I began my training to be a couples therapist almost 40 year ago, I was disappointed with the lack of scientific proof behind many of the methods that therapists were using. In fact, I considered changing careers. Instead, I chose to join the legion of scientist practitioners who were developing scientifically-based methods (see “Our Story”). Forty years later, thanks to some of the best studies in psychology, we have these methods.

Over the years, I’ve invited select therapists who understand the secrets of successful partners to join me at the Couples Clinic. Not only are they expert in their knowledge of relationships and how to help people change, they walk what they talk. Sometimes relationships are hard, and these therapists have done the hard parts in their own relationships. They speak with confidence because they have been there. They have done the work, and they know how good it feels to get the results. I trust each of them completely.

These days, my time is mostly spent teaching our Couples Clinic methods to therapists around the world, but I still reserve a portion of each week for helping couples heal and strengthen their relationships.”
-Brent Atkinson

About Dr. Atkinson:

Brent Atkinson is a widely-known teacher, researcher, and therapist.

He is the principle architect of Pragmatic/Experiential Therapy — an approach which translates new knowledge about how the brain processes emotion into practical methods for improving relationships and increasing personal success.

His enthusiasm is contagious, and partners are inspired by the confidence he exudes in each of them.

You can experience first-hand his ability to present complex ideas in compelling and easy-to-understand ways by reading two recent articles describing his therapy with couples, The Emotional Imperative, and Brain to Brain.

Dr. Atkinson is Professor Emeritus of Marriage and Family Therapy at Northern Illinois University.  He received a Marriage and Family Therapy from Texas Tech University, a Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Wisconsin, and a Master of Arts in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary.

He is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and is a Clinical Member and Approved Supervisor of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT).

Dr. Atkinson’s thoughts on emotional health and therapeutic process have appeared in professional journals such as the Journal of Marriage and Family TherapyFamily Process, the Journal of Family Psychotherapy, the Journal of Systemic Therapies, and others. Click here for a list of his publications. Dr. Atkinson is also a frequent keynote speaker at professional conferences.

Brent is past-president of the Illinois Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and has served on the editorial boards for the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, the Journal of Systemic Therapies, and Family Therapy Case Studies.  Brent’s methods for helping couples have been recently described in The Washington Post, The Oprah Magazine, Cosmopolitan and The Complete Woman magazine. 

His therapy with couples has been featured in numerous articles in the Psychotherapy Networker magazine.