Kristen Benson

MFT Program Director
Associate Professor

Ph.D., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
M.A., Appalachian State University
B.S., Florida State University

  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
  • Clinical Fellow, American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy (AAMFT)
  • AAMFT Approved Supervisor

Email:  krbenson@vt.edu
Phone:  540-231-5434
Office:  840 University City Blvd, Suite 1
Blacksburg, VA 24060

» Curriculum Vitae

» Interview on Prairie Public Radio
» Radical Therapist Podcast

About Kristen:

I identify as a scholar-practitioner and seek to conduct research that informs inclusive clinical practice with LGBTQ+ people and relationships; a population that seeks out therapy at higher rates, yet therapists report minimal competency training. I am motivated to be engaged in timely research with the intention of changing clinical practice and informing policies and legislation to better serve marginalized communities.

My teaching and clinical training philosophy is guided by collaborative practices that focuses on the liberation of historically underrepresented groups, informed by the works of Palo Freire and bell hooks. I firmly believe that teaching and learning practices that critically address socially marginalized groups helps therapists-in-training to be competent in their work with all clients.

Selected Publications:

McGeorge, C., Coburn, K., Benson, K.E., Nguyen, H., & Walsdorf, A. (in press). Ethics in working with LGBTQ clients. In K. Brown (Ed.), AAMFT ethics in systemic family therapy textbook. American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

Heiden-Rootes, K., Benson, K., Capshaw, E., & Carmichael, A. P. (2023). Understanding transgender and non-binary youth mental health through the family resilience framework: A literature review. Contemporary Family Therapy. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10591-023-09688-3

Hartwell, E. E., Belous, C. K., Benson, K. E., Cox, L., Iantaffi, A., McGeorge, C.R., Shipman, D., & Twist, M. L. C. (2022). Clinical guidelines for LGBTQIA affirming marriage and family therapy. American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

Bermea, A. M., Fraenkel, P., Benson, K., St. James, C., & Bowen, M. (2022). Intimate partner violence: A focus on queer families, families and substance use, and military couples. In S. Browning & B. van Eeden-Moorefield (Eds.), Treating contemporary families: Toward a more inclusive clinical practice (pp. 93–126). American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/0000280-005

Cox, L., Benson, K.E. & Iantaffi, A. (2022). Transgender couple therapy. In M. Murphy & R. Harvey (Eds.), Handbook of LGBT-affirmative couple and family therapy (2nd ed.). Taylor and Francis.

McGeorge, C., Walsdorf, A., Edwards, L., Benson, K. E., & Coburn, K. (2020). Sexual orientation and gender identity: Considerations for systemic therapists. In K. S, Wampler, R. B. Miller & A. J. Blow (Eds.), Handbook of systemic family therapy. Wiley.

Benson, K. E., Westerfield, E. M., & van Eeden-Moorefield, B. (2018). Transgender people’s reflections on identity, faith, and Christian faith communities in the U.S. Journal of Sex and Relationship Therapy. (33)4, 395-420. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681994.2018.1472375

Iantaffi, A. & Benson, K. E. (2018). Sex is for every body: Trans affirming sex therapy. In S. Greene & D. Flemons. Quickies: The handbook of brief sex therapy (3rd ed). W. W. Norton & Company.