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, 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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  • Friday, April 20, 2018

    The Sexually Well-Informed Clinician: Beyond Masters &amp Johnson

    Sex is a topic that is invariably on your clients’ minds, but to what extent does it enter the clinical conversation? Most of us haven’t been trained in helping couples freely explore their sexual needs, fears, fantasies, and desires. Nor do we know about the latest advances in treating common sexual problems. All this is unfortunate, as the current field of sex therapy has a body of practices that integrate very well with individual psychotherapy and couple therapy. In an effort to bridge this gap, this workshop led by Ian Kerner PhD, LMFT, will discuss the exponentially expanding science of sexuality, current tools for assessment and treatment of common sexual issues through a biopsychosocial inter-relational lens, dealing with the therapist’s anxiety and counter-transference about sex, and understanding the unique issues in working with LGBTQ couples

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  • Tuesday April 24, 2018

    Family Therapy with Young and School-Aged Children: Challenging Children and Challenging Parents

    Our children have a way of pushing out buttons like no other. Just like couples, parents and children can get into negative cycles. For example, some families get into a cycle that starts with the child misbehaving, followed by punishment, followed by more misbehaving and then more punishment. Another typical cycle involves over-involvement on the parent’s part and helplessness on the child’s part. This workshop presented by Martha Edwards, PhD will explore these difficult cycles between parents and their children and what we can do in family therapy to understand and shift these into more positive cycles. The workshop will use videotapes of family therapy sessions to illustrate family assessment tools to identify family patterns and therapeutic strategies to help families make positive changes.

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  • Friday, April 27, 2018

    Talking Race and Racism

    Conversations about race and racism in this country end too often when there is a chance to begin such dialogue, especially in cross-racial settings. At the same time, the dynamics of race and racism impact us in every facet of our lives. Aquilla Frederick, MBA, LCSW, and Frank Wells, LCSW, will support participants in developing stronger clinical skills in cross-racial dialogues with colleagues and clients alike. Specifically, as a cross-racial faculty team, they will introduce participants to the language and foundations of the conversation about race and racism by sharing their experiences and strategies for engaging in difficult cross-racial dialogue.

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  • Saturday, April 28, 2018

    Beyond The White Gaze: A Sanctuary for Therapists of Color

    This workshop will share ideas and findings generated by the Therapists of Color Consultation Project at the Ackerman Institute. The training will address the impact of internalized racism on therapists of color, including the themes of learned voicelessness, “covering” (Yoshino, K. 2007), and shame. The project team will describe how this exploration creates a within-group sanctuary that allows for more generative conversations about race and racism, greater safety in sharing vulnerability, and the de-centering of whiteness. This sanctuary empowers therapists of color to facilitate conversations on race and racism in clinical practice with families.

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  • Tuesday, May 1, 2018

    Clinical Interventions for Children Presenting with Behavioral Challenges

    In this full-day workshop presented by Dr. Zina Rutkin, participants will explore ways to understand and address challenging behaviors that consider factors arising from both nature (biological endowment including temperamental and genetic factors). Particular attention will be paid to how clinicians can help families understand and support their challenging children, including preventative routines that families can employ to bolster children’s functioning as well as specific intervention tools for use when problems and crises arise..

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  • Friday, May 4, 2018

    An Introduction to Theraplay: Treating Trauma and Attachment Issues with Children and Parents

    Children who have lived in unsafe environments, with inconsistent/ impaired caregivers or who to overcome these traumatic experiences without some type of intervention. Theraplay is a psychotherapy that focuses on the parent-child relationship as a vehicle to heal problems of trust, hyperarousal and connection in both children and parents. In this workshop Dafna Lender, LCSW will teach how theraplay is effective in building the attachment relationship and treating trauma. When trauma has occurred within a relationship, it takes a healthy relationship to heal it. Trauma can disrupt the parent-child relationship, and disruption (unplanned separations, untreated depression) can cause trauma. Treatment involves caregivers so that disrupted relationships can be repaired or new relationships developed. By nurturing the parent-child relationship, Theraplay creates a safe haven in which the child can feel wanted and valued and can develop their own unique personality.

    • 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 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

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