Dr. John Van Epp

John Van Epp

John Van Epp, PhD is the author of How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk, published by McGraw-Hill, which blends in-depth research with humorous stories to provide a map for making healthy relationship choices.

Dr. Van Epp has had extensive experience in pastoral ministry, counseling (he had a twenty-year private practice that he retired in 2009), and teaching as an adjunct professor where he taught marriage and family coursework and reviewed extensive research in premarital, marital and family relations.

In the late 1990’s, Dr. Van Epp began training and certifying others in a program that he had developed, How to Avoid Falling for a Jerk (prior to the publication of the book). This program unpacked his Relationship Attachment Model (RAM) which he had been using in his counseling to help couples and individuals understand and improve their relationships.

Dr. Van Epp continued to develop additional relationship programs with the RAM that have been taught to more than half a million, and used by non-profit and community organizations, high schools and universities, social agencies, juvenile and correctional facilities, churches and faith-based organizations, and in all fifty states, ten countries and by more than 10,000 instructors certified by Dr. Van Epp. For an overview of his programs and the research validating the effectiveness of them, go here.

Dr. Van Epp and his innovative Relationship Attachment Model, book and relationship programs were awarded the Smart Marriage Impact Award in 2008, and have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, Psychology Today, O Magazine, and Cosmopolitan; and he has appeared on the CBS Early Show, the O’Reilly Factor, Fox News, and Focus on the Family.

He continues to write and develop relationship materials, train others to facilitate relationship programs, and provide coaching services on relationships. He has been happily married for over thirty-eight years and is the proud father of two daughters.


• Van Epp, J.C. (2006). How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk: the foolproof way to follow your heart without losing your mind. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
• Ponzetti, James (editor) (2016). Evidenced-based approaches to relationship and marriage education. Relationship Attachment Model (RAM) programs: PICK and LINKS (chapter 15). Routledge Publishers.
• Chimsky-Lustig, Mark (editor). (2010). The Healthy Imbalanced Marriage, in Creating a Marriage You’ll Love. Sellers Publishing.
• Alexander, Susanne (editor). (2010). Compatibility and Friendship; Follow Your Heart Without Losing Your Mind; Check Out the Family, in All-in-One Marriage Prep: 75 Experts Share Tips and Wisdom to Help You Get Ready Now. Barringer Publishing.


• Bradford, K., Stewart, J. Pfister, R, & Higginbotham, B. (2016). Avoid falling for a jerk(ette): effectiveness of the premarital interpersonal choices and knowledge program among emerging adults. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy.
• Van Epp, M.C., Futris, T.G., Van Epp, J.C., & Campbell, K. (2006). The Impact of the P.I.C.K. a Partner Relationship Education Program on Single Army Soldiers. Family & Consumer Sciences Research Journal. Vol 36, 4, June 2008.
Journal articles in preparation for publication
• Van Epp, J.C. and Cutlip, M.C. The Relationship Attachment Model: An integrated theory of attachment.
Other publications
• Cutlip, Morgan (2013). A qualitative examination of the relationship attachment model (RAM) with married individuals. Dissertation for Doctor of Philosophy.
• Futris, T.G., Van Epp, M.C., & Van Epp, J.C. (2005). The Effectiveness of a Premarital Education Program on Single U.S. Soldiers: Premarital Interpersonal Choices and Knowledge (P.I.C.K.) Program. Final Report Prepared for Deputy under Secretary of the Army, Operations Research.