Department of Counseling

Kirsten Murray



Personal Summary

Kirsten Murray is a Professor in the University of Montana's Department of Counseling. Her passion is training counselors in foundational skills to work effectively with individuals, couples, and families in multiculturally competent ways. Kirsten has been practicing as a licensed counselor since 2004. She believes strong core relationships are necessary for healing and health, and that counselors should have the necessary training to transform clients' most intimate relationships. Her book, Strong Couples, explores a transtheoretical model of basic counseling skills to work effectively with couples.

Kirsten also enjoys work with Counselor Education and Supervision doctoral students, conducting research and teaching in the areas of qualitative research, clinical supervision, and pedagogy practices. She is currently a partner on grants addressing interprofessional partnerships in the treatment of family caregivers, and another project addressing rural mental health health disparities.





Doctor of Philosophy Counselor Education and Counseling, Idaho State University, August 2007                                                                     

Major:  Couple, Marital, and Family Counseling                                      

Core Emphasis:  Social and Cultural Foundations, Helping Relationships, Professional Orientation and Ethics, Group         


Master’s of Counseling Marriage and Family Counseling, Idaho State University, May 2004                             


Bachelor of Science Psychology, University of Idaho, May 2002

Minor: Interpersonal Communication                        

Courses Taught

COUN 550 Family Counseling, COUN 575 Multicultural Counseling, COUN 695 Qualitative Research, COUN 512 Counseling Fundamentals, COUN 650 Pedagogy & The Professorate, COUN 530 Counseling Practicum, COUN 635 Clinical Supervision


Teaching Experience

Professor, University of Montana, 2019 - present

Associate Professor, University of Montana, 2013 - 2019

Assistant Professor, University of Montana, 2011 - 2013

Assistant Professor, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 2007 - 2011

Instructor, Graduate Teaching Assistant, Idaho State University, 2004-2007                              

Research Interests

Couples Counseling, Supervision, Family Caregiver Health, Multicultural and Social Justice Counseling



Eliot, A., Murray, K., Downey, J., Koltz, R. (2019). Rural Mental Health Professional Preparation, Pathways, and Placement. Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration Grant                              Program, Department of Education, Funded. Award Amount: $2,300,000.00.


Field of Study


Couple and Family Counseling

Counselor Education and Supervision

Selected Publications

Murray, K.W. (2019). Strong Couples: Basic Skills that Elicit Connection and Transform Relationships. New York: Routledge.


Murray, K.W. (2019). Strong Couples: Basic Skills that Elicit Connection and Transform Relationships. New York: Routledge.

Off, C., Griffin, J., Murray, K., Millman, L. (2019)Interprofessional caregiver education, training, and wellness in the context of a cohort model for aphasia rehabilitation. Topics in Language Disorders.

Sommers-Flanagan, J., & Sommers-Flanagan, R., Murray, K.W. (2018). Family Systems Theory and Therapy. In Sommers-Flanagan, J. & Sommers-Flanagan, R. (Eds.), Counseling and Psychotherapy Theories in Context and Practice (311-338). Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.

Murray, K.W., Desmond, K.J., Parmanand, S. (2015). The impact of counselor education training on student parents. The Journal of the Pennsylvania Counseling Association, 14(2), 71-78.

Shaw, S. & Murray, K.W. (2015). Incorporating Feedback Informed Treatment into Counseling. Counseling Today. 

Sommers-Flanagan, J., Murray, K.W., Yoshimura, C. (2014). Filial Play Therapy and Other Strategies for Working with Parents. In Capuzzi, D. & Stauffer, M.D. (Eds), Foundations of Couples, Marriage, and Family Counseling. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.

Shaw, S. & Murray, K.W. (2014). Monitoring alliance and outcome with client feedback measures. The Journal of Mental Health Counseling 36(1), 43.

Murray, K.W. & Sommers-Flanagan, J. (2013). Addressing Sexual Attraction in Supervision. In Luca, M. (Ed), Sexual Attraction in Therapy: Clinical Perspectives on Moving Beyond the Taboo - A Guide for Training and Practice. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.

Murray, K.W. (2012). The Power of Working with Family Relationships in the Moment. In Sommers-Flanagan, J., & Sommers-Flanagan, R. Counseling and Psychotherapy Theories in Context and Practice, Study Guide (322-323). Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.

Murray, K.W. (2012). Family Systems Therapy: One hour counseling demonstration. In

Sommers-Flanagan, J., & Sommers-Flanagan, R. Counseling and Psychotherapy Theories in Context and Practice: Skills, Strategies, and Techniques, Training Video. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.

Murray, K.W., Sommers-Flanagan, J., & Sommers-Flanagan, R. (2012). Family Systems Approaches. In Sommers-Flanagan, J. & Sommers-Flanagan, R. (Eds.), Counseling and psychotherapy theories in context and practice (405-439). Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.

Murray, K.W. & Desmond, K.J. (2012). What I Would Have Said. In Fawcett, M. & Evans, K. (Eds.)  Activities for Multicultural Competency Development (105-109). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 

Desmond, K. J. & Murray, K.W. (2012). People Watching with a Cultural Lens. In Fawcett, M. & Evans, K. (Eds.)  Activities for Multicultural Competency Development (125-126). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 

Murray, K.W. & Desmond, K.J. (2012). Poster Party. In Lara, T. M., Pope, M. P., & Minor, C. W. (Eds.) Experiential Activities for Teaching Career Counseling and for Facilitating Career Groups, Volume III (245-250)Tulsa, Oklahoma: National Career Development Association. 

Murray, K.W. & Kleist, D.M. (2011). The impact of counselor training on students’ couple relationships: A qualitative inquiry. The Family Journal: Counseling and Therapy for Couples and Families, 19 (2),122-131.

Murray, K.W. (2007). The experience and process of the impact of counselor training on counseling students’ couple relationships (Doctoral dissertation, Idaho State University, 2007). Dissertation Abstracts International, 68, 349.

Murray, K. (2006). A call for feminist research: A limited client perspective. The Family Journal: Counseling and Therapy for Couples and Families, 14, 169-173.


American Counseling Association, Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, Multicultural Counseling Assocation, International Association of Marriage and Family Counseling, Rocky Mountain Association for Counselor Education and Supervision.


Professional Experience


Counselor, Big Sky Aphasia Program, 2015 - present

Counselor, Family Psychological Associates, 2008 - 2011

Parent Educator, Focus on The Children, 2005-2007

Counselor, Bannock Youth Foundation, 2003-2007

Counselor, Bright Tomorrows, 2003-2006                                                    

Psycho-Social Rehabilitation Specialist, 2002 – 2004

International Experience

International Liason with Royal Thimphu College, Bhutan, 2015 – 2020

Honors / Awards

Women’s Leadership Initiative, Inaugural Cohort Member, The University of Montana, 2015-2016.

Center for Teaching Excellence Faculty Recognition Award, General Practice, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 2010-2011.


Kirsten enjoys time with her family, and as the mother of 7 and 10 year old boys current hobbies include legos and reading Harry Potter. She finds quiet time to herself practicing yoga, hiking some great Western Montana trails, and reading cook books while occassionally trying out a few recipes.