About Us : Who We Are

Who We Are

The Brief Strategic Family Therapy® Institute The Premier Center for Development and Testing of Minority Family Therapy Interventions

José Szapocznik, Ph.D.

BSFT® Program Director and Developer.
Chair, Department of Public Health Sciences


José Szapocznik, Ph.D. has received over $100 million in NIH funding, and is among the best 100 NIH-funded investigators in the world. With over 250 scholarly publications, he is PI and Director of the Miami Clinical Translational Science Institute, Chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences and Director of the Center for Family Studies. He pioneered the national effort to prevent and treat adolescent drug abuse and related behavior problems in Hispanic youth developing and testing family-based, evidence-based approaches. Szapocznik has a profound interest in the role of context in development, behavior and health outcomes, dedicating his career to studying culture, family, neighborhood and the built environments as important contexts influencing minority populations.

Joan Muir, Ph.D.

Executive Director
Brief Strategic Family Therapy® Institute

Dr. Joan Muir received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Fordham University in New York City. She completed her internship at Yale University in 1993 and a post-doctoral fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychology at Columbia University in 1995. Dr. Muir served on staff at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and subsequently joined University of Miami in 1997 as a Research Assistant Professor. In 2007, she was appointed Associate Director of the Brief Strategic Family Therapy® (BSFT®) Institute. In 2013, she was appointed Executive Director. Dr. Muir has expanded the dissemination of the BSFT model in the United States and Europe, where the intervention has been used to prevent placement of youth in juvenile justice and child welfare systems. In addition, Dr. Muir has developed an implementation model built on the clinical intervention, to effectively engage community organizations to implement the BSFT model.

Stephen “Kris” Denny, R.M.H.C.I.

Model Manager
Brief Strategic Family Therapy® Institute

Stephen (Kris) Denny graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology in 2001. His therapeutic work has focused on youth and families since that time. In 2007, he became a BSFT® therapist at Crosswinds Youth Services and was then selected as a BSFT On-Site Supervisor that same year. Mr. Denny successfully led the award winning Crosswinds BSFT team in Florida for 5 years. He is currently a BSFT Model Manager for the BSFT Institute. In addition, Mr. Denny is the program coordinator for the BSFT programs funded by New York City Administration for Children’s Services.

Michael E. King, M.S.I.T.

Business Development Consultant
Brief Strategic Family Therapy® Institute

Michael E. King began his 25 year career as an enlisted soldier in the United States Army. During his service to the military, Mr. King was exposed to many occupations to include Communications Specialist and Military Intelligence Agent. Mr. King spent the last 8 years of his career as Business Manager for his unit and the last 2 years of his tour of duty as Manager for the entire Battalion during the entire unit’s tour of deployment. From 2001 – 2008, Mr. King maintained personnel and medical records, soldier accountability, wrote unit standing operating procedures, maintained accountability for fitness records, served in the approval chain for soldier payroll, maintained unit supply inventory, produced unit strength and retention reports, prepared individuals for military schools and deployment during both peacetime and in conflict. After retiring from the U.S. Army in 2008, Mr. King graduated from the University of Phoenix in 2012, receiving a Master of Science degree in Information Technology. In 2013, Mr. King joined the Brief Strategic Family Therapy® (BSFT®) Institute as Business Development Consultant.

Seth Schwartz, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Public Health Sciences
Brief Strategic Family Therapy® Institute

Dr. Seth J. Schwartz received his Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Florida International University in 2000 and a post-doctoral fellowship in Family Research from the University of Miami in 2001. Dr. Schwartz has been involved in research on acculturation, psychosocial functioning, HIV risk behaviors, and ethnicity for more than 10 years. Dr. Schwartz is also interested in identity, culture, family functioning and parenting, as well as positive and negative outcomes in adolescence and young adulthood. Dr. Schwartz is a Tenured Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences, Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami. Dr. Schwartz partners with the BSFT® Institute in the production of scientific articles and treatment manuals.

Jackie Lopez

Executive Assistant
Brief Strategic Family Therapy® Institute