Dr. Ham is one of our most experienced and distinguished couples therapists. She was awarded Fellow Status in the American Psychological Association (APA). "Fellow status" is an honor bestowed upon APA members who have shown evidence of unusual and outstanding contributions or performance in the field of psychology, requiring that a person's work has had national impact on the field of psychology beyond a local, state or regional level. A high level of competence or steady and continuing contributions are not sufficient to warrant fellow status. National impact must be demonstrated.
Dr. Ham was born in California during World War II.
Growing up, her name was "Maryanna Domokos." Her Mother was of Hungarian-Transylvanian heritage, and tried to convince her daughter that she was not Chinese at all. Her long black hair and high cheekbones, her Mother explained, were "Hungarian." "It's common there..." to look the way her daughter did. Children would tease her for being Chinese, but she was not, because her Mother said so.
Dr. Ham learned her father's last name and race at a college farewell dinner with her family. After dinner, she would catch an 8pm plane from California to New York to start college at an elite private school.
"Cheng" was his name. The children had been right. She was Chinese after all.
The secret was kept because her Mother was fearful. She was afraid that if her daughter knew her true identity, it would bring a stigma to both of them during the war years.
This began a lifelong exploration of biracial identity and exploring the impact of cultural differences. The entire engaging story is told in a chapter she wrote in a book used to train Marriage and Family Therapists by Monica McGoldrick and Ken Hardy entitled: Re-visioning Family Therapy.
Dr. Ham enjoys working with couples that have powerful differences between them that are causing chronic relationship stressors. She has a long history of working with couples that present with issues around adoption, (including transnational adoptees,) chronic fighting, icy distance, and differing parental styles. She also treats same-sex couples, both men and women, as well as couples where one member of the couple was transitioning or were transgendered.
From 1977 on, she served in various capacities, first as a Guidance Counselor in Spencerport, New York, as a Counselor in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and a Staff Psychologist in a Psychiatric Clinic in Lowell, Massachusetts. She later became Director of Adult Services in that same clinic. She was also in a private practice setting in Lexington, Massachusetts from 1985-2005. And more recently Part-time Psychologist at ServiceNet. Inc., in Northampton, MA.
Dr. Ham has worked in various capacities in the Department of Counseling and School Psychology, Graduate College of Education, at the University of Massachusetts Boston, MA, from 1985-2005, spending one year as Associate Dean, and five years as Chair of the Department of Counseling and School Psychology, Graduate College of Education, before establishing The Family Therapy Program in 2002.
As Program Directors she successfully navigated the grueling process of bringing a fledgling Family Therapy Program through the rigors of Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education for the Family Therapy Program. Most states in the USA use schools who are certified by AAMFT as a "stamp of approval" for licensing as Marriage and Family Therapists. They often grant students who have graduated from such programs advanced standing in the licensing process.
In 1996-1997 she was a Clinical Instructor of Psychology, Department of Psychiatry, Couples and Family Training Program, Cambridge Hospital, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.
Houser, R.A., Wilczenski, F., & Ham, M.D. (2006). Culturally Relevant Ethical Decision-Making in Counseling. Pacific Grove, CA: Sage
• American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
• American Family Therapy Academy, Inc.
• American Psychological Association:
• Division 43, Family Psychology;
• Division 45 Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues
• Asian American Psychological Association
1998-Present Journal of Journal of Systemic Therapies
1992-Present Journal of Feminist Family Therapy.
1990-1993 Journal of Strategic and Systemic Therapies.
In 2015, Dr. Ham was awarded the Divisional Contribution Award by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) at their Annual Conference.
In 2014 the Massachusetts Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (MAMFT), Awarded Dr. Ham the Major Contribution to the Field of Marriage and Family Therapy at their Annual Conference.
In 2012, the American Psychological Association (APA) Division 43-Society of Family Psychology awarded Dr. Ham the Carolyn Attneave Diversity Award, in acknowledgement of her special contributions to the promotion of diversity in family psychology.
She was also awarded a Research Fellow: Five College Women's Studies Research Center, at Mt. Holyoke College in Massachusetts.
Ham, M.D. (2003). Asian American racial and ethnic intermarriage: A socio-political construction and a treatment dilemma. In V. Thomas, T. Karis, & J. Wetchler (Eds.) Clinical issues with interracial couples: Theories & Research (pp. 151-162). Binghamton, NY: The Haworth Press.
Wu, S.J., Enders, L., & Ham, M.D. (1997). Cross-cultural practice with couples and families: Social constructionist inquiry in family therapy with Chinese Americans. Journal of Family Social Work, 2, 111-128.
Houser, R., Konstam, V., & Ham, M.D. (1990). Coping and marital satisfaction in dual-career couples: Early stage dual-career couples as college students. Journal of College Student Development, 31, 325-329.
Houser, R., Seligman, M., Konstam, V., & Ham, M.D. (1992). A technique for enhancing behavioral marital therapy. Advances in Behavioral Research and Therapy, 13, 215-225.
Ham, M.D. (1987b). Counselor empathy. In G.A. Gladstein (Ed.), Empathy and Counseling, (pp. 21-30). New York: Springer-Verlag.
Feb. 2014 Symposium, “Couples on the Edge: Working with Relationships from Multiple Perspectives.” Massachusetts Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, Northampton, MA.
Oct. 2012 Conference, “MAMFT Fall Ethics Conference.” Massachusetts Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, Springfield College, Springfield, MA.
Feb. 2012 Workshop, “Narrative Therapy: A Possible Therapeutic Approach with Borderline ‘Problem Saturated’ Families.” Massachusetts Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, Northampton, MA.
Aug. 2011 Roundtable, Transgenerational family narratives: A process for coping, healing, and thriving as multicultural women, Presenters: Ham, A., Ham, M.D. & Bacigulupe, G. Annual Conference, American Psychological Association, Washington, DC.