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

  • Expanding Sexual Frames in Theory & Practice in Couples Therapy

    This workshop will provide expansive models of sexual response, how to conduct a therapeutic sexual history, and co-creating expansive therapeutic frames that include new approaches to standard sex therapy techniques. Case material will illustrate the integration of systems, psychodynamic, and cognitive behavioral thinking as well as the nuances of working with same sex and gender variant couples.

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  • Increasing the Capacity for Love

    To navigate a relationship skillfully, one’s brain must be wired in ways that that enable mood-regulation, self-soothing, response-flexibility, empathy and attentiveness. The neural mechanisms that enable such aptitudes cannot be willed at a moment’s notice, but hundreds of studies suggest that they can be strengthened through practice just as the mechanisms that enable complex musical or athletic movements. In this workshop, you will learn step-by-step methods for motivating clients to engage in daily exercises that cultivate the aptitudes that are needed for love. After demonstrating powerful methods for cutting through blame and resolving old resentments, Dr. Atkinson show you how to design and guide clients in implementing personalized reconditioning programs.

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  • Treating Adolescent Attachment-Trauma: The Challenge of Connection

    Traumatized adolescents struggle with self-regulation. They are dysregulated across systems–neurologically, cognitively, physically, emotionally, behaviorally, socially, and spiritually. Anxious and vigilant, and unable to trust themselves or caregivers, they may experience even loving relationships as confusing and frightening. But to learn self-soothing, they must first be able to rely upon others, and discover the joy of co-regulation. They benefit from relationships with adults that provide them with the psychological (and physical) sense of containment they cannot supply themselves. In this presentation—accompanied by case descriptions, video clips, experiential exercises, and lively discussion—Dr. Straus will describe Developmental-Relational Therapy (DRT), an attachment-based model of trauma treatment. You will learn and practice mindful, empathic strategies that help teens feel more secure, connected, present, and regulated.

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  • Facilitating Relational Resilience in Couples and Families: Recovery and Positive Growth from Crisis and Challenge

    In this workshop, Froma Walsh presents her practice approach to strengthen resilience in couples and families struggling with serious crises, trauma, or loss; disruptive transitions (e.g. separation, divorce); or chronic, multi-stress conditions (e.g. serious illness; unemployment; at-risk youth). Distilling research and practice advances from the new 3rd edition of her classic book, Strengthening Family Resilience, she provides a valuable conceptual framework and offers assessment and intervention principles, tools, and guidelines for clinicians to target and mobilize key processes in resilience.

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  • Family Therapy with Adolescents

    This workshop will address this challenge by describing a treatment model that focuses primary attention on the creation of a safe context within which both child and family can experiment with new ways of behaving. In particular, the presenter will describe interventions that can bring clarity and calmness to the process of combating alienation in even the most severely disturbed family situations. Dr. Goldstein has spent the last 35 years developing his model for working with adolescents and their families.

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  • The Money Factor and Couples Therapy: How to Enhance a Relational Hypothesis by Pursuing This Thread

    Looking at everyday, unaddressed money issues in a new and direct way provides a window to understand relational patterns that can make or break couples. It gives new perspectives on life cycle events like death, divorce and remarriage, and allows for reconfiguring how we both constructively manage and communicate, or destructively act-out financial matters. Participants will leave this workshop with tools to pursue financial discussions with couples, and an understanding of your own personal relationship to money. The Ackerman Relational Approach is employed, with specific focus on money, gender and the nature of relationships.

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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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