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William J. Doherty Ph.D.


William J. Doherty, Ph.D., is Professor of Family Social Science and Director of the Citizen Professional Center at the University of Minnesota. He is also a practicing marriage and family therapist and co-founder of The Doherty Relationship Institute, LLC, a new venture designed to help engaged couples through couples on the brink. See

Bill is a past-President of the National Council on Family Relations, the oldest interdisciplinary family studies organization in North America. He has received the Significant Contribution to the Field of Marriage and Family Therapy Award from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

He is a national leader in the movement to solve the problem of overscheduled kids and underconnected families. Prominent in this work are four community initiatives focused on reclaiming family time in the hurry-up world of contemporary childhood.

He has appeared in a wide range of national media outlets about this issue, including Oprah, The New York Times, USA Today, all of the major network morning shows and evening news programs, Time, and National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation.

His book, The Intentional Family (Avon) highlights the problem of time famine in families and the decline of family rituals. It shows readers how to use everyday rituals―dinners, bedtime talks, outings―to reclaim family balance in an out of control world.

His book Take Back Your Kids: Confident Parenting in Turbulent Times (Sorin Books) is a call for parents to assume leadership in their families, instead of anxiously surrendering children to the peer culture and the consumer culture. It won Forward Magazine’s Parenting Book of the Year Award for books from independent publishers.

His book Take Back Your Marriage: Sticking Together in a World That Pulls Us Apart (Guilford Press), describes how marriage has been undermined by the me-first consumer culture, by frenetic busyness, and by over-indulgent parenting, and shows how couples can take back their marriages through rock-solid commitment, rituals of connection and love, and participation in communities that support their marriages. It won the Self-Help Book of the Year Award for books from independent publishers.

His most recent book, co-authored with his daughter Elizabeth Doherty Thomas, MS, is Take Back Your Wedding: Managing the People Stress of Wedding Planning (BookSurge). It explains the most complex part of planning a wedding―the family dynamics―and shows engaged couples how to plan a wedding that is people-smart and people-sensitive and that embodies their deepest values. See

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