Clinical Externship in Family Therapy

The deadline to apply has been extended to June 4th, 2021.

Ackerman’s most intensive program, the Clinical Externship, is designed for experienced practitioners. It provides rigorous clinical training in family therapy, with an emphasis on creating a relational understanding and practice that connects the presenting problem to the family members’ current relationships and their relationships over time. Different concepts and approaches to change are taught and used according to the “fit” of each family.

Trainees who complete the Clinical Externship receive a certificate of completion at graduation and are invited to continue their professional and educational relationship with the Institute as Ackeman alumni.

To accommodate the varying schedules of our practicing clinicians, the externship is offered in two ways. Both programs run for 12 months and include ample vacation time and holidays. The Day Program allows students to complete their training within two years. Classes are scheduled from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm one day a week. An additional four (4) hours per week of clinical work with families during evenings or Saturdays is required. The Evening Program allows students to spread their training out over three years. Classes are scheduled in the afternoon and evening from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm once a week, with an additional requirement of three (3) hours per week for clinical work with families, also during evenings or on Saturdays. The didactic seminar course must be completed in the first two years.

Program Components:

Clinical Practicum and Supervision
Intensive supervisory groups meet each week throughout the year in small groups to observe treatment sessions directly, to review each extern’s video recordings, and to discuss cases in detail.

The program supports the belief that individual learning is enhanced when one can observe a colleague being supervised. In our program there is the opportunity to both receive individual supervision and to observe supervision. In this context learning is maximized. Supervision highlights issues in the family and situates these in the larger social-cultural context. The role of the therapist and her or his development is emphasized.

Treatment Hours
Working in Ackerman’s treatment clinic, externs treat three to four cases in ongoing family therapy. Externs are expected to complete a minimum of 250 clinical hours during the course of their studies at the Institute.

Professional Skills Training
Externs will master practical skills required by the family therapy profession, including treatment plans, progress notes, ethical practices, navigating financial conversations with clients, and more. Trainees will be responsible for maintaining clinical documentation required by our state-licensed mental health clinic.

Didactic Seminar
First Year: This weekly seminar focuses on Ackerman Institute’s Training Guide through didactic presentations, videotape illustrations, role play and discussion. Students will learn the Ackerman Institute model and its applicability to their supervision experience.
Second Year: This year is devoted to presentations of current work by senior clinical faculty on Ackerman’s ongoing research projects. Students also present their own work to each other, their supervisors and the Director of Training.

Our response to COVID-19:

All Ackerman courses will be held online for the remainder of 2021. Pending the Institute’s reopening due to COVID-19, this program may be offered as a hybrid learning model with both online and in-person classes. Applicants will indicate their preferred learning model: online-only, or hybrid, at the time of application.

Our hybrid learning model will become available when the Institute can safely reopen under the guidance of the New York State Department of Health. While the Institute is eager to return to in-person training, applicants understand that their course may remain online indefinitely. Our standard refund policy applies.

Course Dates

Clinical Externship:

Begins September 21, 2021
All meetings are in Eastern Time (ET).

2021-2022 Supervision Sections:

Tuesdays | 9:00 am–3:00 pm (Day Program)
Tuesdays | 5:00 pm–9:00 pm  (Evening Program)
Second and third-year groups meet Thursdays 5:00 pm–9:00 pm

Didactic Seminar:

Didactic Seminar I: Tuesdays | 3:15 pm–4:45 pm
Didactic Seminar II: Thursdays | 3:15 pm–4:45 pm

Treatment Hours:

Externs will treat three to four family therapy cases in the Ackerman clinic. Externs are expected to complete a minimum of 250 clinical hours and complete clinical paperwork during the course of their training.

The deadline to apply has been extended to June 4th, 2021.


Clinical Externship:

Evening Program: $5,750 per year (3 Years)
Day Program: $8,500 per year (2 Years)

About Tuition Fees:

The Ackerman Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that relies on donors and earned revenue to work toward our mission. The full expense of training an Ackerman therapist is subsidized by the generosity of our donors. Your tuition fees cover only a small portion of this expense. We thank you for investing in your professional future and for supporting the Ackerman Institute for the Family.

Tuition rates are for the 2021-2022 academic year and are subject to change annually. Tuition payments are due in full in advance of your first class date.

View our Refund Policy.


Clinical Externship:

Prerequisite: Successfully completion of Live Clinical Supervision or the Dual Program. Applicants must request a recommendation from their Live Clinical supervisor to be sent to

Applicants must hold a Master’s Degree in social work, marriage and family therapy, psychology or any other mental health profession.

What you Need to Apply:

✓ Completed Application Form

✓ Copy of License & NPI number

✓ Resume

✓ $100 Application Fee

✓ Statement of Purpose:

  • Part I – Describe a family/couple you worked with in Live Clinical Supervision. Include a genogram, the presenting problem, your hypothesis, a description of the treatment, and its outcome. Make sure to also include how you integrated issues of power, and social location in your thinking and work with this family. Do not reveal full names. (250 words)
  • Part II – Describe your family of origin as a system, especially during one or two periods of transition. (250 words)

Begin Application

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