Clinical Externship in Family Therapy

Our signature externship in couple and family therapy can now be completed in two years.

Applications for the 2024-2025 academic year are now open.

Clinical Externship in Family Therapy​

Our signature externship in couple and family therapy can now be completed in two years.

Applications for the 2024-2025 academic year are now open. 

About the Externship Program

Applications for the 2024-2025 academic year are now open.

Ackerman’s most intensive program, the Clinical Externship in Family Therapy, 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.

The externship is a two-year program that includes ample vacation time and holidays. Classes are scheduled once per week. An additional four (4) hours per week of clinical work with families is scheduled during evenings or on Saturdays. The Person of the Therapist Seminar (POTT) complements the trainee’s clinical and supervisory experience.

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 Ackerman alumni.

The fastest way to become eligible for the Clinical Externship is by completing our 12-month Dual Program. After successful completion of this prerequisite, trainees can apply to the Clinical Externship.

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. Group supervision allows the opportunity to receive both supervision of individual cases and to observe the supervision of others. Supervision highlights issues in the family and situates these in the larger social-cultural context. 

Treatment Hours:
Working in Ackerman’s treatment clinic, externs treat four clinical cases for 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.

Group Seminar Learning:
Externs participate in weekly group seminar meetings to expand their learning experience. First-year externs participate in Person of the Therapist Seminar (POTT), which helps clinicians make the fullest use of their personal selves in all aspects of the therapeutic process. Second year externs participate in Clinical Seminar.

Mondays | 3:00–4:30 pm
First Year Externs

Person of the Therapist Seminar (POTT) is a weekly online course which prepares first-year externs to make active and purposeful use of who they are personally and professionally, in all aspects of the therapeutic process—relationship, assessment and intervention—regardless of modality.

The person-of-the-therapist model is based on the premise that the conscious, active, and purposeful use of self by the therapist, is essential in establishing an effective therapeutic relationship with the client.

Through lecture, class presentations and clinical experiences, the POTT seminar will focus on knowledge and awareness of self, including trainees’ signature themes or core issues within their clinical experiences. The clinical experiences will be an opportunity for trainees to view video snippets of their clinical experiences to observe how they used self in those clinical encounters; or to do so through role plays where the trainees will engage the role-play clients in clinical encounters, which will be supervised by the trainer to help them become aware of how they consciously or not used self in the clinical role-play encounter.

Wednesdays | 3:15–4:45 pm
Second Year Externs

Through clinical case presentations, the second-year Clinical Seminar will focus on demonstrating how to use self in the therapeutic process. This experience will consist of trainees presenting their cases through video in order to receive training about how to use selves therapeutically in the clinical process, or of trainees working with clients role playing their personal issues, which will be supervised so trainees can learn how to purposefully use their personal selves within their professional roles to more effectively engage clients in the therapeutic process.

About Course Meetings:

Ackerman courses are primarily held online. Based on cohort size, Clinical Externship in Family Therapy will have an in-person option. 

What you Need to Apply:

Clinical Externship Course Dates

Begins September 2024
All meetings are in Eastern Time (EST).

Supervision Sections:

Tuesdays | 10:00 am–2:00 pm (online)
Tuesdays | 10:00 am–2:00 pm (in-person)
Thursdays | 10:00 am – 2:00 pm (online)
Thursdays | 5:00 pm–9:00 pm (online)

Person of the Therapist Seminar (POTT):

Mondays | 3:00–4:30 pm (online)
First Year Externs

Clinical Seminar:

Wednesdays | 3:15–4:45 pm (online)
Second Year Externs

Treatment Hours:

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

Clinical Externship Tuition

Tuition: $9,500.00 per year

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.

Advertised tuition rates are for the current academic year and are subject to change annually.

View our Financial Policies.

Clinical Externship Eligibility

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

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

Externs must hold New York State Licensure in a mental health discipline.

Clinical Externship FAQ