Dr. Josh R. Novak is an assistant professor in the Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) program within the department of Family, Consumer, and Human Development (FCHD) at Utah State University (USU). He teaches both undergraduate and graduate classes in FCHD and MFT. His research focuses on (a) couple processes and health behaviors/outcomes; and (b) the processes that make therapy successful. He has been practicing MFT for the past 6 years and enjoys working with couples, families, and individuals in therapy. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his wife, engaging in physical activity and anything that involves being outdoors - cycling, camping, hiking, fishing, canoeing, etc. Together they love traveling, tending to their homestead, watching movies, cooking/baking, and playing with their puppy, Bentley.
- PhD, Brigham Young University, Marriage and Family Therapy, 2015
- MS, Texas Tech University, Marriage and Family Therapy, 2012
- BS, Anderson University, Psychology, 2010
My program of research is on the nexus of couple relationships and health behaviors, specifically with how couple processes might attenuate negative health outcomes. I also am interested in understanding how health and wellness (or lack of) influence relationship processes. I aim to understand these by studying how couple support processes (coping, communication, responsiveness, etc.) may help to improve engagement in healthy behaviors (such as diet, exercise, mindfulness, etc.) through improving emotional and mental health. Finally, I am passionately curious about the processes of change within therapy that can lead to positive therapy outcomes. I aim to understand the sequential unfolding of therapeutic interventions and how clients respond to them.
- Differentiation and Sex in Intimate Relationships
- Support Processes and Attachment Behaviors
- Committed Relationships and Health Behaviors
Academic and Applied Interests
I love working with both undergraduate and graduate students and aim to help push them to become better clinicians, researchers, and scholars. I have enjoyed helping students learn about the process of research and how to take projects from conceptualization to completion. I also enjoy walking students through research methodology and statistics.
Being a therapist most definitely enriches my life. I consider it a huge privilege to learn from my clients and hear their stories. I have had a variety of clinical experiences in which I draw from that inform my clinical work. I’ve worked with many couples, families, and individuals through a variety of presenting issues, including LGBTQA issues, faith crises, depression, anxiety, addiction, marriage and romantic relationship conflicts, infidelity, grief and loss, eating disorders, parent/adolescent relationship difficulties, communication troubles, sex related issues, blended/mixed families, and health related concerns. I strive to create a safe environment where individuals, couples, and families can learn to experience a loved one or family member in a new way through openness, boundaries, and recognition of each other's emotional needs. I believe it is through this “connectedness” where healing and growth take place. I am trained in Emotion Focused Therapy and use attachment theory and neuroscientific principles to create and sustain change.