Current Winner

Carl A. Whitaker Award

The Carl A. Whitaker Award is given to an MFT who has distinguished themselves by contributing to the field of Marriage and Family Therapy in creative or innovative ways. It is named after Carl Whitaker because he was a pioneer in the marriage and family therapy field. Through his experiential family therapy, he was personally engaged in helping families bring about change and flexibility in the family system.


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Martha Kauppi

Martha Kauppi, LMFT, is a marriage and family therapist, educator, author, speaker, and AASECT-certified sex therapist and supervisor. She has a private practice in Madison, Wisconsin, specializing in complex relational therapy, a broad range of sex issues, diverse sexual expression, LGBTQIA+, and alternative family structures.

Martha has advanced training in and teaches the Bader/Pearson Developmental Model of Couple Therapy. This systemic model weaves together concepts of attachment, differentiation, and neuroscience to create a cohesive view and concrete strategies for helping effectively with particularly difficult relational dynamics.

As the founding director of the Institute for Relational Intimacy, Martha offers unique training opportunities to help therapists all over the world become comfortable, confident, and competent working with sex issues. She is a frequent presenter and workshop leader for therapists at every level of experience, and provides articles, blogs, vlogs, webinars, and online and in-person courses in order to make her work accessible to all. She is the author of the groundbreaking new book Polyamory: A Clinical Toolkit for Therapists (and Their Clients) (Rowman/Littlefield).

Martha Kauppi has a lifelong career in sexual health, counseling, and creative education. In her first career as a midwife, she worked with families experiencing transitions around pregnancy and childbirth. In this role she attended over 350 births, developing strong skills with family systems counseling and gaining experience guiding and witnessing miracles. Before leaving that career, she replaced herself many times over by developing a 600-hour curriculum based on role play and using it to train midwives to excel with an immeasurably complicated skill set.

Martha then returned to her first love, art. She combined multiple hot-glass forming techniques in order to explore light, shadow, refraction, and the magic that shifts us from darkness to hope, lifting us up.

All of the threads of Martha’s previous careers come together now as she works directly with clients and trains therapists. Her creativity and interest in the miracle of healing and change persists. Her dream is to debunk myths and prominent cultural beliefs that disrupt intimate connections between partners and help create a world where it is easy to find a therapist who can work effectively with relational intimacy challenges.