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

  • Dímelo en Español: A Social Justice Framework in Strengthening Latinx Immigrant Families

    In this workshop, Silvia Espinal and Genoveva Garcia will examine a specialized family therapy framework that at its core adopts and attends to cultural sensitivity, intersectionality and the stance of the therapist.

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  • Clinical Interventions Working with Families and Children with Special Needs: The Family Narrative

    This workshop will focus on therapeutic interventions that promote meaningful outcomes for families who have children with developmental disabilities (e.g., autism, ADHD, learning disabilities).

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  • Identifying and Addressing Racial Trauma in Couple Therapy

    Specific attention will be devoted to the ways in which daily experiences with sociocultural trauma of racism generate destructive relational and communication patterns that block healthy emotional and relational support as well as connection between Black men and women.

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  • Conference | Strengthening Relationships, Strengthening Communities: A Socially Just Approach to Working with Families

    An all-day conference co-hosted by Ackerman and the Child and Family Guidance Center. Located in Bridgeport, CT.

    Register at cfgc.org.

  • Revisiting Systemic Thinking: A Mindful Approach

    The workshop will be informed by the word “liminal” which refers to that space, at the very moment of transition when there is an energy looking for a difference that will make a difference.

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  • The Secret Life of Families

    In this workshop, therapists will examine secrets in a multi-systemic context of culture, media, institutions, family-of-origin, household and individual selves, learn effective interviewing techniques when secrets pertain, and clarify their own ethical positions as therapists regarding secrets connected to birth, illness, incest, adultery, substance abuse, suicide, money and death.

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  • From Cultural Competence to Cultural Curiosity: Rethinking our Approach to Understanding our Clients

    Using experiential (including role play) exercises, lecture, and case studies, participants will develop their ability to reflect on unhelpful working assumptions about their clients, understand how dimensions of their own identity inform how they view clients and their problems, and engage clients in ways that help them better understand their lives.

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  • From Placement Through Adoption: Attachment Bonds, Loyalty Binds, and Questions of Identity

    In this workshop, members of Ackerman’s Foster Care and Adoption Project (FCAP) will present an approach to working with families involved in various stages of the foster care system and adoption, highlighting strategies to help foster parents, adoptive parents, birth parents, and caseworkers relieve children of relational dilemmas and the behavior problems that result from such binds.

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Research

  • The Latino Youth and Family Immigration Project: Dimelo en Español Read More

    Directors: Silvia B. Espinal and 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.

  • Foster Care and Adoption Project Read More

    Directors: Catherine Lewis, LCSW and 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.

  • 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.

  • The JUSTICE Project Read More

    Directors: Sarah Berland, LCSW and 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.

  • The Gender and Family Project Read More

    Director: Jean Malpas, LMHC, LMFT

    The Gender and 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 News

  • Recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day 

    Today on Indigenous People’s Day, we honor and celebrate the achievements and incalculable contributions of Native Americans as well as their ancestral ties in the United States. Their cultures enrich the world.

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