Texas Tech University

CFAS Research Spotlight

Oak Hee Park, Ph.D.

December 9, 2021

cfas ttu research

Research in Community, Family, and Addiction Sciences (CFAS)

Summarize the overall research and creative activity being done in your department. How would you describe the scope of work in your department to those who don't do research in your area? 

The research and creative activity being done in the Department of Community, Family, and Addiction Sciences (CFAS) is focused on increasing the understanding of systemic processes involved in the development and recovery from various mental health issues. Researchers in the CFAS Department are working to advance the science of systemic clinical interventions in the mental health field. At the core, we believe that mental health and mental health treatment are best understood from a multifaceted lens that takes into account influences from the family and the community alongside psychological and biological factors. Three Centers are housed within the CFAS Department to support the research being done: The Center for Family Systems Research & Intervention, the Center for Collegiate Recovery Communities, and the Center for Addiction Recovery Research.  

In the Couple, Marriage, and Family Therapy (CMFT) program, relational health and emotional or behavioral health are seen as interdependent. Both clinical work and clinical research are being conducted at the Family Therapy Clinic with support from the CMFT Program and faculty. Research in the CMFT Program ranges from examining the efficacy of teletherapy with families and couples, understanding the therapeutic process of change, to exploring factors that impact therapy persistence or discontinuation.  

In the Addictive Disorders and Recovery Studies (ADRS) program, the focus is on behavioral disorders and behavioral addictions, ranging from substance use-related harm, at-risk populations such as incarcerated youth, behavioral addictions such as video gaming and gambling disorder, and to recovery based in a collegiate community. The Center for Collegiate Recovery Communities is one of the top collegiate recovery programs in the nation and is housed right here in the CFAS Department with support from the ADRS Program and faculty. Research in the ADRS program examines underlying mechanisms that impact the development and treatment of substance and behavioral addictions.  

What is the impact of the research and creative activity described above? The impact may be to the profession, community, a specific population, a specific problem/issue, etc.  

The CFAS department's mission is to enrich the lives of individuals, families, and communities. The impact of this work is both direct to the community through the work at the Family Therapy Clinic and the Center for Collegiate Recovery Communities (CCRC) and integrated into the course curriculum to train emerging professions in the human services field. Our curriculum is informed by our research and creative activity and designed to train emerging professionals with the practical and professional skills necessary to work in counseling or other human services jobs. Within the CFAS department, we have three Centers, each of which has a distinct mission and impact statement for the research and creative activity they support:  

Center for Family Systems Research & Intervention

  • The Center for Family Systems Research and Intervention (CFSRI) strives to produce cutting-edge neuroscience and systemic research, for advancing clinical interventions and standards of care designed to facilitate life-changing outcomes for individuals, couples, and families. Through research, intervention, education, and outreach, it is our mission to alleviate the bio-psycho-social-spiritual impact of mental illness, interpersonal and family distress, trauma, and loss in order to enhance the human condition worldwide. 

Center for Collegiate Recovery Communities 

  • The Center for Collegiate Recovery Communities provides needed support for students in Texas Tech's Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC). The Center seeks to provide guidance, information, and curriculum for universities seeking to start collegiate recovery communities nationwide, to expand international presence through study abroad and recovery-focused service trips, to offer continuing education through the McKenzie Lectureship Series, and to provide outreach and service via the Center and the Association of Students About Service (ASAS). 

Center for Addiction Recovery Research

  • The Center for Addiction Recovery Research encompasses a wide range of research labs that study a broad continuum/spectrum of addictive behaviors, their etiology and mechanisms, and aims to advance the national dialogue on addiction and recovery. The CARR is multi-faceted and collaborates with esteemed faculty from multiple disciplines to produce and disseminate basic, translational, and clinical cutting-edge addiction and recovery research.

Please share any quotes you have from faculty or students about their research and creative activity, the impact their research has, and what they enjoy about their research. 

“I love qualitative research, and I love mentoring students in qualitative projects – collaborating with them and helping them learn how to do high-quality research. I've been blessed to work with amazing students, and our collaborations on qualitative research projects have resulted in 10 journal articles and 18 presentations at national/state conferences over the past four years.” -Stephen Fife, Ph.D., LMFT, Associate Professor, Doctoral Program Director of CMFT

“As a scientist-practitioner, the research that I do both informs the clinical work that I do and is informed by the clinical work that I do. I love being able to work with clients one-on-one to support growth for their emotional and relational health, and I love that the research I do can create a broader impact on the science of mental health and mental health recovery. It's really core to systemic science and systemic intervention that the work we do has implications that are far-reaching. I feel honored to be able to do work that can impact lives of those struggling with mental and relational health concerns.” -Kristy L. Soloski, Ph.D., LMFT, LCDC, Associate Professor, Associate Chair, CFAS department

“Since high school, I have been passionate about conducting research with vulnerable populations.  In the CMFT program, I've had the opportunity to begin doing this type of research through my master's thesis. My faculty advisor, Dr. Kristy Soloski, has been a great support person to me while working on my master's thesis. She's mentored me on the process of research project development and implementation. I have enjoyed being creative with my research design and am excited to contribute to the literature through my thesis project. “ -Iliana Anaya, M.S. Student, CMFT program

Is there anything else you'd like to include in the research and creative activity highlights for your department? 

D'Aniello Receives Funding For Development & Implementation of A Mindfulness Based Intervention for Caregivers of Young Adults with Substance Use Disorders