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

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

    Parents who have children with developmental, learning and behavioral challenges experience cumulative stress and the need to make meaning and cope with the impact of their child’s disability on family life and family relationships. Using a relational-systemic lens, the Resilient Families: Children with Special Needs project faculty will discuss family-centered interventions that can promote child, parent and family resilience. Teaching methods include videotape, live family therapy sessions and participant case consultation to illustrate the challenges, principles and practices working with families who have children with autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, learning disabilities, sensory processing disorder and other developmental disabilities. 

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  • Bolstering Learning through Building Social-Emotional Capacities and Family-School Partnerships

    The four individual workshop sessions on “Bolstering Learning through Building Social-Emotional Capacities and Family-School Partnerships” will offer an in-depth look at the dynamics between family-school relationships, social-emotional skill-building and children’s success in school and in life. Research linking academic success to these two areas will be highlighted, including current perspectives on how social-emotional skill-building and common core standards align. Developmental issues will be addressed through the lens of how transactions between the individual child and his/her multiple relationships and contexts influence social-emotional development. We will consider the complexity of social-emotional development with a focus on the urban environment. Professionals will come away with a deeper conceptual framework as well as practical techniques to apply in their work with children..

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

    Emotions are filters for how we experience the significant people in our lives. When in the grip of a strong emotion, there is a narrowing of attention, which inhibits our capacity to see things clearly. This is particularly true with the compelling nature of negative emotions. When we feel injured, threatened, or shamed, we are at risk of using our thoughts, language and action unskillfully. Drawing on a Buddhist influenced psychological perspective, this workshop presented by David Kezur, LCSW will focus on the nature of emotional experience and the way it can cause havoc and harm in relationships.

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  • Working with Muslim Individuals and Families: Culturally Competent Care

    The Muslim community within the United States. is one of the largest growing communities and is diverse in its immigration history, educational background, socioeconomic status, beliefs and values, and other cultural identities. This has prompted the need to develop culturally competent and effective assessment and intervention strategies while working with Muslim families. Rupa M. Khetarpal, MA, MSW, LCSW will provide an experiential overview of some of the characteristics that contribute towards the Muslim identity including geography, migration, historical roots, religious beliefs, ethnic and cultural identity issues, leading to the current experience of Muslim families as they live within a highly politicized environment, exposed to consistent and indiscriminate negative attitudes and emotions directed at themselves and to Islam.

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  • Teens Who Hurt: Strategies for Helping Troubled and Aggressive Adolescents

    Under the best of circumstances adolescence is a stressful and challenging stage of life, and when teens are exposed to conditions that are traumatic and wounding, the normative challenges of this life stage are greatly exacerbated. Tracey Laszloffy, LMFT, PhD, will present and discuss a model for understanding the aggravating factors that underpin the anger and aggression that leads some adolescents to harm others or themselves. Strategies will be presented that therapists, teachers, parents and other concerned adults can employ to engage troubled adolescents and to address and heal the aggravating factors that contribute to their distressed emotions and behaviors.

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  • Breathwork and Meditation for Therapists: Integrate Stress-Reduction Techniques into Your Practice

    Psychotherapists can benefit greatly from mind-body practices rooted in yoga, Qigong and Buddhist meditation. Coherent Breathing with gentle movements and Open Focus Attention Training are highly effective self-regulation techniques that help relieve anxiety and insomnia, improve mental focus, increase feelings of well-being, activate social engagement systems, and enhance capacities for bonding, closeness, and empathy. The neuroscience of breath practices and supporting research will be presented by Richard P. Brown, MD,  and Patricia L. Gerbarg, MD. The discussion of how to integrate these practices with psychotherapy will include case examples. Those interested in learning how to teach these practices to clients will obtain information on tools and opportunities for such training.

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  • Externship in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT)

    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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