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

2015 Gala Recap Video


Upcoming Workshops & Short Courses

  • Ambiguous Loss and the Myth of Closure

    This workshop involves discussion about relational and contextual assessments and interventions, as well as cultural differences regarding the need for closure. Boss’ six therapeutic guidelines to increase the resiliency to tolerate, and even embrace ambiguity, focus on meaning, mastery, identity, ambivalence, attachment, and hope. Dr. Boss includes a case analysis and time for self-of-the-therapist reflection..ships.

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  • Embracing Difference: Creating Openings for Racial Dialogue in Couple Therapy

    Race, as a socially constructed idea, influences how individuals feel about themselves and others and how they make meaning of their experience in their relationship. Sometimes these experiences are visible to the couple, yet often times these experiences are invisible and remain unaddressed in couple therapy. Experiences of race-based oppression can create strain in the relationship and leave each member of the couple feeling misunderstood, unheard, and unseen by the other. In this workshop, Ackerman's Multi-Racial Family Project will help the couple therapist learn how to conceptualize and facilitate difficult conversations across race in couple therapy.

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  • Don’t Ask Me to Forgive You! A Radical Approach to Healing Interpersonal Wounds

    This workshop invites you to participate in an experience designed to help you or your patients rise above a violation, repair the rupture within yourself, and consider forgiving the person who hurt you. For those of you who have wronged someone else, it will offer you concrete steps for earning that person’s forgiveness – and your own.

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  • Family-Centered Treatment: A Clinical Model for Working with Parents and Children with Special Needs

    Parents who have children with special needs experience cumulative stress and an urgency to help their child function optimally in school and at home. They often feel depleted or inadequate as they attempt to sustain healthy family relationships and family routines. This workshop will highlight the bi-directional impact of a child’s disability on parent and family well-being. The faculty will present a multilayered framework to guide clinical practice which includes Ackerman’s systemic-relational approach as well as approaches from attachment theory, resilience research and brain science.

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  • Working with Young Adults

    This workshop will present a narrative approach for working with young adults that focuses on helping them identify the problem and to notice and challenge the expectations. We will explore ways to help young persons seek allies and connect with their preferred identities. The workshop will include presentation, discussion, and video of work with young persons.

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  • Working with Reactivity in Couples and Families: A Buddhist Psychological Approach to Strong Emotions

    Emotions in Buddhist psychology are passing states that are the result of current conditions, which come and go.  When not managed skillfully, emotions can cause a great deal of suffering. Over the course of 2,000 years, Buddhist psychology has developed a specific set of practices that decrease suffering and cultivate wellbeing. Through the use of didactic presentation, experiential exercises and videotape, this workshop will explore ways to work skillfully with aroused emotional states.  We will explore the practices of mindfulness, patience, compassion and gratitude.

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  • Therapeutic Choice Points in Complex Couple Therapy: How and When to Intervene

    In this workshop, I will demonstrate interviewing for expanded openings; redefining and amplifying a presenting problem; selecting a path and correcting it when it proves ineffective; marking a critical subject, leaving it and returning to it at a more optimal time; selecting from among multiple requirements that a couple may present; reflecting on your work while you are doing it in session; avoiding triangulation with the couple; creating effective metaphors that capture a couple’s imagination; reviewing your work between sessions; reading immediate non-verbal feedback and making use of it in the session; understanding and making use of responses to prior sessions, homework, and crucial changes that may occur between sessions; and challenging a one-size fits all model of therapy.

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  • Addressing Collective Trauma in Clinical and Community Settings

    Collective Trauma, the shared injuries to a population’s social life, may damage the bonds that attach people and impair their sense of belonging and communality. Whether the disruptions are a result of war, persecution, disaster, forced migration, chronic poverty, or endured by individuals and families as in cases of rape, abuse, and traumatic loss, the workshop will demonstrate useful clinical and community engaged approaches based on a resilience framework. Videotapes, expressive art exercises, case studies, and organizational staff care models will be used to illustrate how this approach is widely applicable to families of various classes and cultures.

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  • Ackerman’s Annual Spring Conference
    Deepening Clinical Practice: Race in Couple and Family Therapy

    Please join us for this groundbreaking conference. Now in our sixth decade, the Ackerman Institute for the Family invites you to this innovative day. In the morning, we will reach outside the boundaries of family therapy to hear the sociopolitical commentary of Charles Blow in conversation with family therapy theorist and practitioner, thandiwe Dee Watts-Jones. We will then witness the work of the Multi-Racial Family Project, and hear responses to their work by Charles Blow. In the afternoon, participants will choose from original workshops by the renowned Ackerman faculty, who have been working to bring invisible issues of race in to the consulting room in ways to enhance our practice.

    In keeping with the Ackerman Institute’s commitment to training the next generation of family therapists, we welcome students for $75.
    We look forward to seeing you.

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  • Integrating Family Systems & Sex Therapy For Assessment & Interventions in Couples Therapy

    Many couples and family therapists feel unprepared and untrained when addressing sexual issues in a couple. In this workshop Sari Cooper will cover the most common sexual issues with which couples struggle and how to assess them using a bio-psychosocial lens. She will review the Diagnoses in the recent DSM5 and the clinical reasons why some Diagnoses are no longer included, and those that are still being considered for future DSMs (such as compulsive, addictive or out of control sexual behaviors). She’ll concentrate on three parts of clinical practice: Assessment, Diagnosis/Hypothesis/Treatment Planning, Clinical Intervention. Sari will review the holistic way in which sexual problems are healed including understanding how and when referrals to other helping professionals should be included. She’ll review the importance of viewing each case as a unique experience, tailoring the treatment to the clients’ specific needs and adaptations for change.

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  • Externship in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy

    Through a combination of lecture, videotape, observation of live interviews and exercises, participants will learn to identify the basic stages and steps of Emotionally Focused Therapy and to help couples recognize and deescalate problematic cycles of interaction. Participants will also learn to help couples create or restore the emotional bond between them once the negative cycle, and the attachment needs that drive it, has been understood.

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