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.

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Upcoming Workshops, Short Courses & Webinars

  • Summer Clinical Practicum

    This one-month program taught by Walter Vega, LCSW, offers an opportunity to develop specific skills in family therapy through lecture, discussion, case studies, and live family interviews. Students work as co-therapists conducting therapy interviews while also working as part of a clinical consultation team. The program focuses on learning relational interviewing skills and systemic approaches to change.

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  • Personal Best Summer Intensive: Adult Development and Sensitive Parenting for At-Risk Families with Young Children 

    This intensive workshop taught by Judy Grossman, DrPH, OTR, prepares participants to implement Personal Best, a 16 session group curriculum and Home Visiting Guide for individual sessions. The training will focus on adult development as well as parent-child and family relationships. Personal Best is a theory-driven prevention program that promotes parent mental health, social support, healthy coping and sense of self-efficacy in multiple roles. Sessions are divided into four modules that address different areas of role functioning: (1) role strain, (2) parenting, (3) relationships, and (4) work/productive activity.

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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 with the guidance of Sue Johnson, EdD and George Faller, LMFT 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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  • Bright Beginnings Summer Intensive: Early Child Development and Parenting Processes

    This intensive workshop directed by Martha Edwards, Ph.D, prepares participants to implement Bright Beginnings, a parenting curriculum that consists of group sessions and individualized video review for parents and their infant or toddler.  This manualized intervention helps parents support their children’s social, emotional and cognitive development and develop school readiness. The Bright Beginnings manual includes: 1) detailed session guides for conducting pregnancy groups and parent-child groups for parents with children 2 to 36 months of age, and 2) guidelines for videotaping parent-child play interaction and reviewing with the parent to enhance the parent’s reflective capacities and parenting skills.

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  • Addressing the Challenges of Stepfamily Relationships: What Family, Couple and Individual Therapists Need to Know

    “Blended family” relationships are intense and they are complex. First-time family principles are unhelpful and even destructive. This workshop, presented by Patricia L. Papernow, EdD provides a roadmap for meeting the significant challenges stepfamilies create for forging intimate, satisfying relationships. Whether you work with families, couples, individual adults, or children, participants will learn key practices on 3 different levels (psychoeducational, interpersonal, and intrapsychic) for helping step couples to build and maintain vital connection, helping children navigate their losses and loyalty binds, managing discipline, navigating floods of differences, and dealing effectively with ex-spouses.

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  • Introduction to Family Therapy

    This workshop is for participants who are new to family therapy. It covers some of the foundational concepts and practice of psychotherapy from a family systems perspective and explores the clinical implications of shifting from an individual to a family-relational framework. Julia Chan, LCSW will instruct participants on the evolution of family therapy and the family lifecycle, the “jump” from intrapsychic to systems thinking the contextualization of the presenting problem (intergenerational, social, cultural, and political), and much more.

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  • Secrets in Families and Family Therapy

    Secrets have existed throughout time. In every culture, beliefs about secrecy, privacy and openness contribute to a crucial decision – should I keep a secret? Should I open a secret? As therapists, we are witnesses to the complexity of our clients’ secrets. Whether shaped in the interior of a family fifty years ago or yesterday, secrets carry powerful new meanings in today’s culture. In this workshop, led by Evan Imber-Black, PhD, participants will learn a multi-systemic model for working effectively with secrets.

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  • Thinking and Doing Couples Therapy: The Ackerman Relational Model

    Very often clinicians want to see unedited interviews in an effort to track how a senior family/couples therapist got to the “aha” moments in therapy. Rarely is there the opportunity to “learn” the thinking that leads a therapist to pursue a line of questioning or to make one clinical choice over another, or to conduct the interview in a way that each member of the couple feels understood and safe enough to be challenged. Based on the Ackerman Relational Approach, Marcia Sheinberg, LCSW, and Fiona True, LCSW, will offer the opportunity to learn from and explore the treatment of a couple in depth.

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  • Writing for Publication in Couple and Family Therapy

    This course, led by Evan Imber-Black, PhD, will teach participants how to write for publication in couple and family therapy. The aim over seven months will be to have a fully realized manuscript for either a scholarly journal or the popular press. Participants are expected to write in between class meetings and to share their work with class colleagues. The course methods will include lecture; experiential writing exercises; sharing writing samples with class colleagues; working in pairs on one another’s writing; being accountable with your writing and deadlines; and class and instructor feedback. Participants are expected to write in between classes, even if this is a small amount, and to send writing to the instructor and to one another. We will not only talk about writing – we will write!

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