Dr. Mathis Kennington is a licensed marriage and family therapist who specializes in couples therapy with high-conflict couples and couples thinking about divorce. With a training background in systems theory, Dr. Kennington teaches advanced couple and family therapy courses.

Dr. Kennington received his masters in marriage and family therapy from Abilene Christian University and his Ph.D. from Virginia Tech. He is an alumni of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration's Minority Fellowship program, a board member for the Texas Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and a recipient of the American Family Therapy Academy's inaugural Al Gurman Memorial Scholarship. Dr. Kennington trains emerging family and couple therapists in his role as faculty and clinical supervisor for the Austin Family Institute and provides public and professional presentations in the Austin community.

Personal Statement

My passion is to educate, mentor, and train emerging couple and family therapists for competent and ethical care in Austin and beyond. My courses are student-centered and experiential, focused on enhancing efficacy within students who will soon be my colleagues.

Academic Appointments

  •   Adjunct Professor, Master of Arts in Counseling, St. Edwards University, 2014-Present.
  • Adjunct Professor, Master of Marriage and Family Therapy, Abilene Christian University, 2013-2015
  • Adjunct Professor, Master in Couple and Family Therapy, Mercy College, 2013-2015
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant, Department of Human Development, Virginia Tech, 2009-2013

Year Started



  • Ph.D. in Couple and Family Therapy at Virginia Tech, 2013
  • M.MFT in Marriage and Family Therapy at Abilene Christian University, 2009
  • B.A. in Religious Studies at Abilene Christian University, 2007

Achievement & Involvement

Honors and Awards

  • Al Gurman Memorial Scholarship, American Family Therapy Academy, 2014
  • Minority Fellow, American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, 2010-2012
  • New Writer’s Fellowship, Family Process Institute, 2013

Community Service

  • Volunteer, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Austin, TX

Organizations, Boards and Memberships

  • Board Member at Large, Texas Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, 2015-2017


  • Quint State Conference, Blacksburg, VA, 2012.
  • Human Rights Forum, College of Liberal Arts, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Blacksburg, VA, 2012.
  • National Council on Family Relations Minneapolis, MN, 2012.
  • American Association of University Professors, Washington, D.C., 2010.
  • Texas Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, San Antonio, TX., 2010.
  • Texas Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, Fort Worth, TX., 2009.


My dissertation research studied the impact of life after prison for formerly incarcerated men and their families. In partnership with Chrysalis Ministries in San Antonio, TX, I developed a community based participatory studies and discovered that life outside prison criminalizes men through discrimination, job and career restriction, social isolation, and community parole and probation. Families and spouses or partners are additionally criminalized through close proximity to former offenders. 

External Grants

Previously Awarded Grants

  • Kennington, M. V. Funding Award for Attendance to the 2013 AAMFT Leadership Conference $1000. (March 2013). American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Selection based on submission from a competitive application pool.
  • Kennington, M. V. Minority Fellowship Research Grant, $3000. (July 2012 – July 2013). Minority Fellowship Program: American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • Kennington, M. V. Minority Fellow. $20,000 annual support. (October 30, 2010-May 30, 2012). Minority Fellowship Program: American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Publications & Articles


  • Kennington, M. V. (2012). Just Therapy. In A. Rambo, C. West, A. Schooley, & T. Boyd (Eds.), Family Therapy Review: Contrasting Contemporary Models. New York: Routledge.
  • Kennington, M. V. (2011). [Review of Six Steps to Successful Child Advocacy.] New York: Sage


  • Arditti, J. A., Kennington. M. V., Grzywacz, J. G., Jaramillo, A. L., Isom, S., & Quandt, S. (In press). Fathers in the fields: Father involvement among Latino migrant farmworkers. Journal of Comparative Family Studies.
  • Goff, J., Kennington, M. V., & Halstead, J. (2009). Dual relationships in professional mental health counseling: Secular versus religious contexts. Public Knowledge, 1(2). Retrieved from http://pkjournal.org/blog/?page_id=542


Class Preparation

My coursework is always experiential. Come prepared by reading the material you are assigned. Without it, you will not be able to engage the course. My courses are not built around disseminating information, but rather, crystallizing your expertise based on the material you've read. Whether you are taking an advanced or basic theories course with me, expect to engage through discussion and creative experience.

Outside the Classroom

I sometimes partner with students when I give presentations in the community. This is commensurate with the student's professionalism and diligence in the classroom. This is measured by the extent to which you engage, participate, and are dedicated to mastering the course material. In addition, I take one supervisor at a time. Each supervisee commits to a minimum two-year apprenticeship in which I cultivate your couple therapy skills and business acumen. 

Why I Teach

The field needs competent care professionals. My passion is to help students cultivate their expertise to provide exceptional care and to become successful themselves.