Frequently Asked Questions

What is family therapy?

Family therapy is a method of understanding and treating emotional problems and personal crises by working with family members, rather than the individual. Therapy sessions focus on aiding families in developing more effective, less stressful patterns of living.

Why work with the whole family?

Ackerman family therapists try to understand individuals' thoughts, feelings and behavior not only as a personal expression, but within the context of their families. The goal is to harness and strengthen existing resources, and help family members work collaboratively towards inventive solutions of their problems.

What will our first therapy session be like?

Just as all families are different, each family's first session will differ. However, the therapist will be interested in having all of you talk about your problems, how they developed, what you have tried to do about them, and what changes you would like to see happen. The therapist will also give you feedback about how he or she understands your family and set a plan for treatment.

Who are the therapists?

Family therapy is provided by psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers on the Ackerman faculty, and by clinicians in post graduate training and supervision at Ackerman. Many of the Ackerman faculty have national and international reputations, and their workshops, training tapes and publications set standards for the profession.

What is the reputation of the Ackerman Institute?

Founded in 1960 by Dr. Nathan Ackerman, the Ackerman Institute for the Family is the foremost institute of its kind in the U.S. In addition to helping families through treatment, Ackerman trains family therapists in New York City, the U.S., and throughout the world. Ackerman also conducts research independently and with major forces for change such as universities and other educational institutions, hospitals, and social service agencies.

What kinds of problems does Ackerman treat?

The Treatment Center helps families with a broad spectrum of problems including, but not limited to, school difficulties, childhood and adolescent troubles, marital issues, divorce, life cycle changes, bereavement, learning disabilities, family violence, substance abuse, child abuse and incest, chronic medical illness including AIDS, and infertility.

Why family therapy works

Arthur Maslow, who was a member of the faculty at the Ackerman Institute for many years and former chair of the Board of Directors, once said: “Family therapy works because it's reality. The greatest support a child can get is from the family.”

In family therapy, family members work together to reconnect, harness and strengthen existing resources and find inventive solutions to tough problems. The connection that takes place may be between parents and children, between siblings or between couples. The issue that brings a family to therapy may be a problem a child is having in school, the serious physical illness of a family member, depression in an adolescent or dissatisfaction in a marriage.

Some of the families that come to the Ackerman Institute are traditional nuclear families. Others are single parent families. Some are families headed by gay couples or families in which the parents are straight and the children are gay. Some are intergenerational families or stepfamilies or families with mixed ethnic or religious backgrounds. At the Ackerman Institute, we are committed to recognizing diversity in all of its forms and working with all kinds of families in ways that are sensitive to their specific needs.

Family is a powerful concept. The word family can be highly charged because while many of our problems can stem directly from our family relationships, just as often, the solution to our problems lies within our family relationships.

This is because the one thing all families have in common is that fact that each family is the single most powerful resource available to all of its members as they try to cope with all kinds of concerns and issues at all stages of life. Family therapy works because no matter who you are, no matter where you come from and no matter where you want to go … it all starts with the family.

For more information about family therapy please contact our Intake Department at (212) 879-4900, ext 122.

Who is eligible?

Families from all five boroughs of New York City and from the larger tri-state area are welcome.

How can we make an appointment?

Please call the Intake Department at (212) 879-4900, ext 122, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

What hours are available for therapy appointments?

Appointments (subject to the therapist's availability) are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

How can I pay for family therapy?

Fees are on a sliding scale based on income. Ackerman is an in network provider for Oxford, HIP, MetroPlus, and Health First.

What happens if we miss an appointment?

If you know in advance that you will not be able to keep your appointment, it is very important to contact your therapist. If you do not come for a scheduled appointment and do not contact your therapist, you will be charged for the session.

How do we get to the Ackerman Institute?

Ackerman Institute for the Family is located on the second floor of an office building between 22nd and 21st Streets, at 936 Broadway. It is within one block of the F, M, N, R, and 6 trains. New York City buses M1, M2, M3, M5 run on 5th and Park Avenues and the M23 runs cross town on 23rd Street.

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