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

  • Friday, March 2, 2018

    Therapy with Mixed-Race Children and Families: Clinical Issues and Interventions

    According to the 2010 U.S. Census, roughly nine million Americans identify themselves as mixed-race, and it is estimated that the mixed-race population in the U.S. will reach 21% by 2050. In spite of this, multiracial individuals and families remain marginalized and overlooked by mainstream U.S. society and the unique racially-based issues and struggles that they face are often poorly understood by mental health and social service professionals. This workshop, led by Tracey Laszloffy, LMFT, Ph.D, will explore how race organizes reality in the U.S., and the implications this has for how mixed-race people understand and negotiate their racial identities. The unique dilemmas and challenges facing mixed-race children and families will be identified. Participants will learn methods for assessing how race may be related to the issues that bring clients to therapy, and recommendations for clinical interventions will be provided.

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  • Wednesdays: March 7, 14, 21, 28 and April 4, 11, 2018

    Family-Centered Treatment: Working with Parents and Children with Special Needs

    Parents who have children with developmental, learning and behavioral challenges experience cumulative stress and an urgency to help their child function optimally at home and in school. They often feel depleted or inadequate as they attempt to sustain healthy family relationships and family routines. This course will explore the bi-directional impact of a child’s disability on parent and family well-being.

    In this short course, the Resilient Families: Children with Special Needs Project team led by Director Judy Grossman, DrPH, OTR, along with project faculty Judi Aronowitz, RN, LCSW; Sara Goldsmith, NCSP; Elissa Kirtzman, LCSW; and Tracy Ross, LCSW will use case presentations to illustrate the structure, process and therapeutic goals of family work.

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  • Friday, March 16, 2018

    A Sociocultural Approach for the Understanding and Treatment of Young Latinas Experiencing Self-Harming Behavior

    In the search for answers to the disproportionate rates of attempted suicide among young Latinas, research has identified family conflict, racial and ethnic discrimination, and immigration-related traumas as factors in the sociocultural environment that play a role in their decisions to attempt suicide. This workshop, led by Gloria Lopez-Henriquez, DSW, LCSW, will further and complicate the conversations about these research findings by bringing a diversity of perspectives including young Latinas’ voices found online. By bringing young Latinas’ digital presence to the discussion, the connection between the brutality of their environment and their self-inflicted violence becomes real and concrete.

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  • Friday, March 23, 2018

    Deepening Sexuality & Gender Expression:
    Couple Therapy in the 21st Century
    Ackerman’s Seventh Annual Spring Conference

    Please join us at the Ackerman Institute’s Seventh Annual Conference, “Deepening Sexuality & Gender Expression: Couple Therapy in the 21st Century.” This year’s innovative and bold conference will present a full day of learning to integrate fresh ideas of sexuality and gender expression into your Couple Therapy practice.
    The morning will feature a keynote by Shannon Sennett, AASECT certified sex therapist, educator, and LGBTQ Family Therapist. The afternoon will feature original workshops by the distinguished Ackerman faculty and valued colleagues. Conference participants will select from concurrent workshops designed to expand theory and practice in Couple and Sex Therapy.

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  • Friday, April 6, 2018

    Ambiguous Loss and the Myth of Closure

    Ambiguous loss is loss without closure, and thus its grief also has no closure. When loved ones cannot be found or healed from an illness, when families are uprooted and separated by forced migrations, or when loss makes no sense (suicide, homicide), the lens of ambiguous loss helps therapists as they work with families when there is no clear solution. While lingering grief from ambiguous loss is akin to that of complicated grief, it is a normal reaction to an abnormal type of loss. Traditional grief and PTSD therapies are thus insufficient.
    Using case analysis and self-of-the-therapist reflection, Pauline Boss, PhD, will discuss relational and contextual assessments and interventions, as well as cultural differences regarding the need for closure.

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  • Friday, April 13, 2018

    Narrative Therapy with Children and Adolescents

    This workshop will focus on work with children and adolescents, using externalizing as a practice while noticing how the culture influences both children and their parents. The “problem” is seen as an “effect” of ways of thinking. What children are experiencing is constructed as problematic, rather than being seen as something that makes sense in their lives. Victoria C. Dickerson, PhD, will use videos to assist the participants in how they might work with their own young clients.

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  • Tuesday, April 17, 2018

    Mindful Parenting

    Professionals working in close contact with parents and children have a unique role in helping parents manage their feelings and deciding what action to take when caring for their child. When the child behavior or the caregiver’s response is extreme or seemingly incomprehensible we often lose our freedom of response and resort to a rigid reaction and at the same time we lose our connection with self and other. Mindful parenting is a specific state of mind and set of activities that enables caregivers to respond, instead, from a thoughtful and intentional mind state, rather than a mind state of distress and reactivity.

    In this full day workshop presented by Sabina Fila, LCSW, participants will explore how their own reactions as professionals are informed by their cultural and family beliefs, their early experiences, and their desires and fears for parents and children.

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  • Parent Workshop: An Unexpected Journey Between Sorrow and Personal Transformation Read More

    Tuesday, February 13, 2018
    9:30-11:30 a.m.

    Parents of children with special needs take an unexpected journey that brings forth many emotions – confusion, uncertainty, grief, surprise, compassion and pride. Come join us and hear Dr. Judy Grossman, Director of Ackerman’s Special Needs Project, and a panel of parents discuss the joys and challenges of raising children with special needs.

    Ackerman Institute’s President and CEO,
    Lois Braverman, will step down as of August 1, 2018 after 12 years of leadership.

    Read the press release here. Phillips Oppenheim, a nationally renowned search firm working with nonprofits, will lead the search for Ackerman’s next President & CEO. To view the job description, please click here.

  • 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.

    Ackerman Institute’s President and CEO,
    Lois Braverman, will step down as of August 1, 2018 after 12 years of leadership.

    Read the press release here. Phillips Oppenheim, a nationally renowned search firm working with nonprofits, will lead the search for Ackerman’s next President & CEO. To view the job description, please click here.

  • 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.

    Ackerman Institute’s President and CEO,
    Lois Braverman, will step down as of August 1, 2018 after 12 years of leadership.

    Read the press release here. Phillips Oppenheim, a nationally renowned search firm working with nonprofits, will lead the search for Ackerman’s next President & CEO. To view the job description, please click here.

  • 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.

    Ackerman Institute’s President and CEO,
    Lois Braverman, will step down as of August 1, 2018 after 12 years of leadership.

    Read the press release here. Phillips Oppenheim, a nationally renowned search firm working with nonprofits, will lead the search for Ackerman’s next President & CEO. To view the job description, please click here.

  • 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.

    Ackerman Institute’s President and CEO,
    Lois Braverman, will step down as of August 1, 2018 after 12 years of leadership.

    Read the press release here. Phillips Oppenheim, a nationally renowned search firm working with nonprofits, will lead the search for Ackerman’s next President & CEO. To view the job description, please click here.

  • 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.

    Ackerman Institute’s President and CEO,
    Lois Braverman, will step down as of August 1, 2018 after 12 years of leadership.

    Read the press release here. Phillips Oppenheim, a nationally renowned search firm working with nonprofits, will lead the search for Ackerman’s next President & CEO. To view the job description, please click here.

  • 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.

    Ackerman Institute’s President and CEO,
    Lois Braverman, will step down as of August 1, 2018 after 12 years of leadership.

    Read the press release here. Phillips Oppenheim, a nationally renowned search firm working with nonprofits, will lead the search for Ackerman’s next President & CEO. To view the job description, please click here.

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