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

  • From Impasse to Intimacy: An Advanced Consultation Group for Couples Therapists

    In this intimate consultation group, participants will learn how to use the Vulnerability Cycle (VC) as a major anchor and tool in their clinical work with couples. Based on an integrative framework outlined by Michele Scheinkman, LCSW and cases presented by participants, the focus will be on how to use the VC to: • Diagram couples’ impasses and relational dynamics • Collect critical interactional, intra-psychic and multigenerational information • Define short and long term goals for the therapy

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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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  • Social Location in Therapy: Opening the Door and Going In Webinar

    This webinar will focus on the process of location of self (LOS) in therapy, its foundational assumptions, the fears and hesitation about doing so, and the risks of not doing so. It will address how the therapist can make LOS a part of an overall approach to therapy, mindful of how oppression can show up in the room and engaging clients in a reflective process about this, allowing therapist and client to think about how they want to position themselves vis a vis their privilege or subjugation.

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  • Working with Challenging High-Risk Adolescents: An Individualized Family Therapy Approach

    Many clinicians today are increasingly being referred challenging high-risk adolescents coming from multi-problem families with extensive treatment histories. This workshop presents an eco-systemic, strengths-based integrative family therapy approach that targets interventions at the adolescent, family, social network, school, juvenile justice, and community levels. Participants will come away from this workshop having learned a plethora of empirically supported therapeutic tools and strategies for a wide range of serious adolescent behavioral difficulties.

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  • Increasing Family Engagement in Your School

    Competent Kids, Caring Communities (CKCC), a social-emotional learning program of Ackerman Institute for the Family, is delighted to offer a workshop that will focus on deepening participants’ understanding of what it means for families to be “engaged” with educators and what it means for educators to be “engaged” with families and their communities. Furthermore, this workshop will provide practical tools for family engagement, which educators, parent coordinators, and school mental health professionals can bring back to their settings.

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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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  • Two to Tango: Deepening Clinical Skills and Practice Working with Couples

    Why is it that the people closest to us are also the ones whom we have some of our greatest conflicts? Such is the power of a couple’s relationship. While many therapists have the tools for working with individual clients, they often encounter challenges when there is another person in the therapy room. This workshop will place an emphasis on how social locators such as race, gender identity, sexual orientation, and culture exert an influence on a couple’s relationship as well as the therapist-client relationship.

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  • Loving with the Brain in Mind: A Relational-Neurobiological Approach to Couple Therapy

    This workshop explores individual, interpersonal, intergenerational, cultural, and neurobiological factors fueling couple distress. Informed by research from relationship science and interpersonal neurobiology, Dr. Fishbane will explore the neuroscience of couple impasses, and will offer techniques to help clients bring prefrontal thoughtfulness to emotional reactivity, develop relational resilience, and co-create more satisfying relationships. Her approach is one of relational empowerment, helping partners to gain skills of emotion regulation and empathy, and to cultivate positivity, gratitude, and generosity in their relationship. The dynamics of habit and change will be explored, informed by research on neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to change.

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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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  • 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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