Texas Tech University

Couple, Marriage, and Family Therapy Alumna Wins 2020 Outstanding Research Publication Award

Ashely Brister

November 15, 2021

Rachael Olufowote says that Ph.D. program prepared her for her current role

Rachael Olufowote says that Ph.D. program prepared her for her current role

College of Human Sciences alumna Rachael Olufowote Ph.D. won the AAMFT Research and Education Foundation's Outstanding Research Publication Award in 2020 for her article titled, “How Can I Become More Secure? A Grounded Theory of Earning Secure Attachment.” The article was published in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy in 2019 and based on part of Rachael's dissertation covering a grounded theory study on how adults earn secure attachment.

“This study was groundbreaking in that it was one of the first of its kind to empirically examine how people become more securely attached after having an insecure childhood,” Olufowote said.

The clinical application of her article includes the importance of clinicians to be surrogate attachment figures for clients, and for building secure attachment and resilience at a community level. The implications of this study suggest that there is a need to understand the attachment process better for minorities and people who are not trained therapists. 

“It was an incredible honor to receive this award, as there were many incredible publications that year. I am hopeful to continue that path of research and expand this theory to capture the experiences of Black men and women who have earned security and better understand the sociocultural mediators of attachment security for Black adults in the United States.”

Racheal earned her Ph.D. in Couple, Marriage, and Family Therapy from Texas Tech University in 2018 and holds certifications as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Indiana, a AAMFT Clinical Fellow and Approved Supervisor, as well as an Advanced EFT Therapist. She chose to study at Texas Tech because of its solid reputation, proximity to family, and the opportunity for program completion in three years. 

“I would recommend the Ph.D. program in Couple, Marriage, and Family Therapy at Texas Tech because of the incredible leadership of Dr. Stephen Fife,” Olufowote said. “The program also has other incredible faculty who are making big strides in research for the field of marriage and family therapy to study under these faculty is a great privilege.

In her free time, Rachael enjoys reading, playing with her children, and hanging out with her husband. She serves on the local board of her town as well as the worship and hospitality ministries at her church. Rachael recently launched a joint business with her husband, MixedMessages Consulting, LLC, which is aimed at helping people create a third culture at home and in the workplace. 

“We specialize in working with intercultural/interracial families and helping institutions improve their diverse hiring and retention practices.”

Racheal is currently an Assistant Professor of Couple and Family Therapy at Alliant International University. She teaches, mentors, conducts research and leads research teams, and serves on program and university committees. Next fall she will take on doctoral classes and dissertations in the University's PsyD of Marriage and Family Therapy program. Racheal said her time at Texas Tech made her appreciate the privilege of her position as a faculty member of Alliant International University. 

“I do believe the Ph.D. program prepared me for my current role. I learned invaluable research and mentorship skills at Texas Tech that I use every day. I also had the incredible and rare opportunity to take specialized qualitative research courses such as one entirely devoted to Grounded Theory, which is almost non-existent in other Research 1 universities.”