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 and Fiona True will offer the opportunity to learn from and explore the treatment of a couple in depth.  Each week participants will look closely at a session with commentary by the therapists.  Concepts addressed include questions that bring forward relational information; using oneself on behalf of connecting; transparency and relational interpretations; developing a relational hypothesis; unpacking escalations in arguments and interrupting escalations; utilizing relational information in the family of origin and the impact of the larger system; and offering specific suggestions to the couple and “holding” both members of the couple.

The participants will learn to:

  • interview to bring forward a relational hypothesis
  • navigate the competing interests of the couple
  • unpack and de-escalate arguments
  • intervene to move the couple from reactivity to reflection

Marcia Sheinberg, LCSW is a Senior Teaching Fellow and the Co-Director of Ackerman’s Center for Children and Relational Trauma. She was the former Director of the Ackerman Institute Training Program and Clinic (1995-2016). She is the founder and Director of the Institute’s Interfamilial Sex Abuse Project and is a co-author with Peter Fraenkel of The Relational Trauma of Incest: A Family-Based Approach to Treatment, (Guilford, 2000). Ms. Sheinberg was also a co-founder of Ackerman’s Gender and Violence Project. An advisory editor for Family Process, Ms. Sheinberg has published widely in professional journals on the treatment of chronic illness in the family, the role of gender in relationships, the treatment of obsessional disorders, domestic violence, larger systems, incest, and clinical innovations in couples and family therapy

Fiona True LCSW is a member of the senior teaching faculty of the Ackerman Institute for the Family. She is Co-Director of the Center for Children and Relational Trauma, a clinical research program that has addressed issues of family violence, incest and other relational traumas since 1992. She has authored several papers on the subject of intra-familial sexual abuse and the clinical methodology, which the center developed, to address the dilemmas and impasses that this set of presenting problems generates.

Date: 5 Wednesday classes: September 13; October 11; November 15; December 13; and January 10
Time: 3:15 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.
Tuition: $375
CE Contact Hours: 7.5


To register by phone or fax click here
If you are an Ackerman alumni of the Externship or current Ackerman student, please contact the Training Department to register.

Damaly Ferreira
212 879-4900, ext 111