Clinical Externship in Family Therapy

Ackerman’s most intensive program, the Externship Program 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.

Students who complete the Clinical Externship receive a certificate at graduation and are invited to continue their professional and educational relationship with the Institute by joining the Ackerman Alumni Association. In addition, selected trainees are eligible for specialized training through one of Ackerman’s five Thematic Centers (e.g., health, work, relational trauma, etc.)

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 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 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 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. 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 sequence 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 videotapes, 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 Center, 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.

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.

Social workers, marriage and family therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists who have completed Foundations in Family Therapy and Live Clinical Supervision courses. Admission operates on a rolling basis

How to Apply:

Learn more and to apply for the Day Program:
Clinical Externship Day Program

Learn more and to apply for the Evening Program:
Clinical Externship Evening Program


Click here to pay the $60 application fee and apply to Clinical Externship in Family Therapy 

More Information:

Ackerman Training Department
212 879-4900, ext 111

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