About the developer: Dr. Don Gordon
My early years were spent growing up in a Navy family, where I developed my love for travel. I was graduated from the University of Virginia, and the University of Alabama in the course of earning my doctoral degree and and completed an internship in clinical child psychology at the Oregon Health Sciences Center. During the Viet Nam War, I served as a psychologist in the US Army at Fort Campbell, KY and treated families with problem children. Later, I taught graduate students at Emory University to work with children with emotional and behavioral problems; my research there included studying parent-child interactions. In 1978 I moved to Ohio University in southeast Ohio, where I was challenged by the impoverished and underserved families of rural Appalachia. My interests turned to treating families of juvenile delinquents, and consulting with juvenile courts and social service agencies. Employing my graduate students, and paraprofessionals, we conducted numerous research studies on the effectiveness of Functional Family Therapy with families of delinquents. Noting the high incidence of divorce, and its concomitant stress among these families, I became interested in developing prevention-oriented parent education programs for divorcing parents. Along with colleague Jack Arbuthnot, we produced a workbook and video program, Children In The Middle, which showed parents how to reduce loyalty conflicts for their children during divorce. Jack and I frequently present seminars to domestic relations judges that emphasize what courts can do to minimize the harmful effects of divorce on children. Our program has won several parenting awards and is widely used in over 800 court programs in the U.S. and other countries.
During the 1980s, I conducted many agency trainings in FFT in an effort to increase the number of children receiving appropriate services. Then in the early 1990s, after seeing the benefits of videotaped modeling as a method of improving parenting for large numbers of parents, I turned my attention to developing more advanced programs using interactive multimedia. Along with a team of other professionals in different disciplines as well as my own, I focused on parenting skills which would reduce children's risk for behavior problems, delinquency, aggression, and substance abuse. The team wanted to devise a program that would be used for prevention as well as treatment. All of my doctoral students were conducting controlled evaluations of the resulting interactive-video, CD-ROM program (Parenting Wisely). As we conducted more and more workshops on this exciting technology, we learned more about the different ways practitioners could use Parenting Wisely, as well as the challenges agencies face when innovation is introduced.
Most of the research I've conducted has been supported by grants from federal, state, and private foundation sources. The research has been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and in chapters for edited books. To date over 60 journal articles and chapters have resulted from this research on children and families. I am continuing to develop improved versions of Parenting Wisely and new CD-ROM programs, with increasingly generous grant support. Currently, I divide my professional time between dissemination and program development and evaluation. That is, when I'm not busy being a husband to my wife of 20 years, and father to a daughter and son.