What We Do

Founded in 1960, the Ackerman Institute for the Family is one of the premier institutions for family therapy and one of the best-known and most highly regarded training facilities for family therapists in the United States. The Institute serves families from all walks of life at all stages of family life.


About Us

Short Conversations Series


Upcoming Workshops, Short Courses & Webinars

  • Friday, December 15, 2017

    Helping Adolescents and Young Adults with ADHD

    Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is the most common reason for mental health referrals in young children and among the most prevalent childhood conditions. Studies have established that ADHD is a chronic, lifespan condition, and adult ADHD is now the fastest growing area of research and treatment development. Yet few evidence-based approaches exist for helping adolescents and young adults with ADHD and associated conditions. Join Tim Verduin, Ph.D as he discusses working with teens and young adults with ADHD and related conditions.

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  • Tuesday, December 19, 2017

    Clinical Interventions for Children Presenting with Behavioral Challenges

    In this full-day workshop led by Zina Rutkin, Ph.D, Director of CKCC, participants will explore ways to understand and address challenging behaviors that consider factors arising from both nature (biological endowment including temperamental and genetic factors). Particular attention will be paid to how clinicians can help families understand and support their challenging children, including preventative routines that families can employ to bolster children’s functioning as well as specific intervention tools for use when problems and crises arise.

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  • Friday, January 5, 2018

    Systemic-Motivational Family Therapy for Substance Use Disorders

    This workshop is designed to introduce participants to one of the most comprehensive family-based treatment approaches for substance abuse disorders (SUDs)—the systemic-motivational family treatment model (SMFT) developed by Peter Steinglass, MD and his colleagues at Ackerman’s Center for Substance Use Disorders and the Family. This model focuses on how family reorganization around alcohol and /or drug use alters family behavior and why using a combination of interactional and motivational interviewing techniques in working with the whole family is critical to treatment success not only during the assessment and detoxification phases of treatment, but also during rehabilitation/recovery.

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  • Friday, January 12, 2018

    The Money Factor and Couple Therapy

    As therapists we almost always shy away from pursuing the thread of financial matters with clarity and purpose. When revealed, this last taboo of therapy tells a compelling story that sheds light on ingrained patterns of interaction and operating premises of couples. Judy Stern Peck, LCSW, will look at unaddressed money issues in a new and direct way to provide a window to understand relational patterns that can make or break couples. This workshop will give new perspectives on life cycle events like death, divorce and remarriage. The Ackerman Relational Approach will be used, with specific focus on money, gender, and the nature of relationships.

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  • Friday, January 19, 2018

    Dímelo en Español: Collaborative Therapeutic Conversations with Latino Immigrant Families

    Despite the wish to maintain cultural awareness in therapy, Latino families are frequently faced with approaches that are incongruent to their cultural needs. Latino families often have to adjust to pre-established mainstream model attending to their unique situations. As the Latino population continues to grow, therapists need to work from a multicultural framework that embraces a deeper understanding of the Latino immigrant experience. It is fundamental for therapists to cultivate a compassionate understanding of the Latino youth experience in relation to their families, their sense of self and their socio-cultural contexts. Using cultural humility and a collaborative stance, Silvia B. Espinal, LCSW, and Genoveva Garcia, LCSW will clarify the concerns that bring families to therapy, unpack the meanings attached to the family’s migration narratives and help families discern the challenges of parenting and being parented in a bilingual/bicultural environment.

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  • Friday, January 26, 2018

    “Why is this Happening to My Child?” Family Therapy with Young Adults with Serious Mental Illnesses (SMI)

    The onset of a serious psychiatric illness such as major depression or bi-polar illness is a powerfully complex experience for young adults and their families. The young adult and members of the family are often unprepared to deal with the symptoms that impair day-to-day functioning. Managing the emotional reactions to the troubling behaviors that are consistent with a psychiatric disorder, while helping a young adult handle them, can be overwhelming, often leaving family members feeling confused, guilty, angry, and frightened. Using cases and research from evidence-based and systemic-relational therapies, this workshop led by Mary Brewster, Ph.D and Lois Braverman, LCSW, will demonstrate how therapists can help family members, and the young adult struggling with the emergence of a serious mental illness, regain a sense of control, competence, and connection.

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  • Friday, February 2, 2018

    Expanding Sexual Frames in Theory and Practice in Couples Therapy

    Sexuality issues are often the elephant in the room in couple therapy. Some couples therapists feel unprepared to delve into sexual issues because they have not had sufficient training in human sexuality. Others feel challenged by the complexities and mysteries of common presenting problems such as the effects of trauma on sexuality or the influence of desire on couple sexuality. Suzanne Iasenza, PhD will provide expansive models of sexual response, how to conduct a therapeutic sexual history, and co-creating expansive therapeutic frames that include new approaches to standard sex therapy techniques. The presentation will use case material to illustrate the integration of systems, psychodynamic and cognitive behavioral thinking as well as the nuances of working with same-sex and gender variant couples.

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  • Friday, February 9, 2018

    Working with Asian American Families

    Asians are one of the fastest growing populations in the United States and are diverse, representing over 60 different nationalities. Using the basic tenets of critical race theory, this workshop led by Kiran Shahreen Kaur Arora, PhD, and Tazuko Shibusawa, MSW, PhD, will provide an overview of the experiences of East and South Asian immigrant families in the United States. Participants will learn how to recognize cultural dynamics that may be unique to Asian families. In addition, ways to work effectively with Asian clients and their families will be explored through case discussions.

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  • Friday, February 16, 2018

    DBT Principles and their Application to Treating Couples and Families

    Dialectical Behavior Therapy is known for its use of dialectics and its focus on emotion regulation, which makes it highly applicable in working with dysregulated, high conflict couples and families. Christine Foertsch, Ph.D, will demonstrate basics of DBT including the parent theories of behaviorism, zen and dialectics, targets, modes, and strategies of therapy and DBT skills. The application of this model to couples and families, especially relying on Fruzzetti’s model outlined in The High Conflict Couple, will be explained. Clinical demonstrations and role play will be emphasized throughout the day.

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  • Bright Beginnings Read More

    Director: Martha Edwards, PhD

    Bright Beginnings is a theoretically based intervention for families making the transition to parenthood, consisting of group discussions and parent-child activities. Developed by Dr. Martha Edwards, it is designed to help parents promote their children’s social and emotional development and school readiness through a curriculum that includes a prenatal component for expectant mothers, a group component for parents with their infant or toddler, a video review component, and a home visiting component.

  • The Gender & Family Project Read More

    Director: Jean Malpas, LMHC, LMFT

    The Gender & Family Project (GFP) empowers youth, families and communities by providing gender affirmative services, training and research. GFP promotes gender inclusivity as a form of social justice in all the systems involved in the life of the family. GFP is directed by Jean Malpas, LMHC, LMFT, who has trained and published nationally and internationally on issues of gender and sexuality.

  • Foster Care and Adoption Project Read More

    Directors: Catherine Lewis, LCSW & Andrea Blumenthal, LCSW

    The Foster Care and Adoption Project (FCAP) integrates ideas from family therapy, interpersonal neurobiology, and trauma studies to develop a model of working with families and agency workers who are impacted by or who interact with families involved with foster care and adoption.

  • The JUSTICE Project Read More

    Directors: Sarah Berland, LCSW & Courtney Zazzali, LCSW

    Nearly seven million Americans are under some form of correctional supervision (incarceration, parole, probation). The JUSTICE Project provides therapeutic support to families involved with or impacted by the criminal justice system.

  • The Latino Youth and Family Immigration Project: Dimelo en Español Read More

    Directors: Silvia B. Espinal & Genoveva Garcia

    The Latino Youth and Family Immigration Project (LYIP): Dímelo en Español provides a specialized framework of family therapy to First and Second generation Latino youth and their families. This project is led by family therapists Silvia B. Espinal, LCSW, and Genoveva Garcia, LCSW.

    El Proyecto Juventud y la Familia Latina Inmigrante: Dímelo en Español.

    La población hispanoparlante de los Estados Unidos está definida como la minoría de mayor crecimiento en el país (U.S. Census Bureau 2012).

    El Proyecto Juventud y la Familia Latina Inmigrante: Dímelo en Español ofrece servicios especializados de terapia familiar a familias con jóvenes provenientes de Primera y Segunda generación.

  • Competent Kids, Caring Communities Read More

    Director: Dr. Zina Rutkin

    Competent Kids, Caring Communities (CKCC) is an exciting program that helps schools build a strong social and emotional support system for student learning. The program provides schools with two essential ingredients for academic success: tools to teach social emotional competencies and strategies to involve parents directly in their children’s learning.

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