Dr. Marlene F. Watson Named Ackerman Institute Director of Training

Marlene Watson

(NEW YORK, NEW YORK) – Marlene F. Watson, PhD, LMFT, has been hired as Director of Training of the Ackerman Institute for the Family, effective June 1st, 2021. Dr. Watson is a leading educator, therapist, and writer. She is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Counseling and Family Therapy at Drexel University, and former Chair of the Couple and Family Therapy Department.

“We are thrilled to welcome Marlene Watson as the next leader of Ackerman’s world-renowned training program,” stated Ackerman President & CEO, Martha Fling. “Marlene’s experience, vision, and commitment to the next generation of family therapists will move Ackerman forward in this exciting new chapter for the Institute. Her steadfast commitment to social justice signals the impact that family therapists make in the fight for racial equity.”

Dr. Watson is President of Family Process Institute’s Board of Directors, and serves on the Editorial Review Board for the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, Journal of Family Psychotherapy, and Journal of Black Sexuality and Relationships. She is the former Chair of the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education, and the first-ever couple and family therapist to receive the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship, where she served as a senior health advisor to United States Senator John D. Rockefeller IV. She is a former columnist for Heart & Soul magazine and the recipient of the American Family Therapy Academy’s 2009 Distinguished Contribution to Social Justice Award.

“It is with great honor and humility that I join the Ackerman family,” says Watson. “Ackerman has long been recognized as one of the leading post-graduate training institutions in the field. I am purposefully committed to continuing and advancing Ackerman’s highly regarded reputation. I look forward to guiding the training program to meet current challenges, especially anti-racism, in education and family therapy practice.”

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Institute transitioned its clinic and training programs to a virtual model until its physical location in New York City’s Flatiron District can reopen. “We have learned from Covid that Ackerman’s future is in virtual learning,” stated President & CEO Martha Fling. “As we work together as a community for an innovative and sustainable future, Marlene will champion Ackerman as the industry leader in both virtual and in-person family therapy training.”

Since 1960, the Ackerman Institute for the Family has achieved national and international prominence for the development of innovative models of family therapy, professional training, and community programs for families facing major life challenges. One of the first training institutes in the United States committed to family mental health, Ackerman is dedicated to helping families at all stages of family life.

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