Core Curriculum Admissions Policies

Last Updated: June 6, 2023

The following policies and procedures pertain to admissions and enrollment in the Ackerman Institute for the Family’s Core Curriculum Training Program (from here on referred to as “Training Program.” 

The Ackerman Institute for the Family is a New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) Article 31 outpatient and telehealth behavioral health clinic dedicated to the care of couples and families from diverse backgrounds in NYC. We are committed to the highest standards of excellence and ethical care as defined by the code of ethics of all behavioral health licensing organizations.The Ackerman Institute is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and recognizes the historic nature of racism and its role in health and mental health disparities. 

Section A: Program and Admissions

1. Program Philosophy

The Training Program embraces diversity and believes in the inherent value and dignity of every human being. We affirm socially just treatment of individuals, families, and communities through a focus on social context, trauma, and oppression. We value strong conceptual and clinical knowledge and the highest standards of professional conduct, including record keeping.  

2. Program Goals

Training Program goals are standards of achievement that derive from and are congruent with the Ackerman Institute’s mission and diversity statements along with educational and professional requirements pertaining to the field of couple and family therapy. 

Program goals relate to achievements in the areas of knowledge, practice, multiculturalism, and professionalism toward which trainees are expected to demonstrate competence. These goals are as follows: 

  1. Promote relational/systemic thinking and therapy, including the Ackerman Relational Approach (ARA). 
  2. Attend to self of the therapist and social location/identities. 
  3. Prepare trainees for couple and family therapy practice. 
  4. Foster trainees’ commitment to upholding professional integrity and high ethical standards, especially as it relates to record keeping and adherence to legal regulations and requirements. 
  5. Create an inclusive environment that supports a diverse body of trainees, faculty, supervisors, and clients. 
  6. Support an understanding of how research informs clinical practice. 

3. Program Diversity Statement

The Training Program is committed to providing a welcoming, inclusive, and respectful learning environment for trainees, faculty, supervisors, and the clients we serve. We strongly believe that such an environment promotes trust and strengthens our ability to live and work in a diverse society. Our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is fundamental to the educational and clinical experiences in the program. Acts of discrimination, harassment, and bias in any form are unacceptable. Disagreements, rigorous debate, and different points of view should be conducted in an atmosphere of tolerance and mutual respect.  

4. Ackerman Institute Diversity Statement

The Ackerman Institute values diversity, equity, and inclusion and strives to have these values reflected in all operations of the Institute. We are committed to the recruitment, enrichment, and retention of clinicians and families who embody many perspectives and points of view. We strive to create and foster an atmosphere of openness where all dimensions of diversity, beliefs, and values can be explored and discussed. Our focus on providing high quality culturally sensitive services affirm the value and humanity of all people. The Ackerman Institute is committed to social justice.

5. Non-Discrimination Policy

The Ackerman Institute for the Family provides equal opportunities to all individuals without regard to race, religion, national origin, disability, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, veteran status, or any other status protected by law. It does not discriminate based on any status protected by law. This policy applies to all employment, education, volunteer, and clinical care related activities or in any other aspect of the institute’s operation. Black, Indigenous, and people of color; trans, non-binary, and intersex people, especially transwomen; those from poor and working-class backgrounds, immigrants, people with disabilities; as well as people at the intersections of these experiences are highly encouraged to apply. 

The Training Program does not discriminate based on race, ethnicity, nationality, culture, sexual orientation, relationship status, gender identity, social class, socioeconomic status, religious and spiritual beliefs and/or affiliation, national origin, age, gender, health status and disability with regard to the recruitment, admission, codes of conduct, hiring, retention, or dismissal of students, faculty, and supervisors or other relevant educators and/or staff.  

6. American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Ackerman’s Commitment to Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination for Individuals with Disabilities

The Ackerman Institute is committed to complying with the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and its related Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as applicable. The Americans with Disabilities Act defines “disability” as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual.  

The Ackerman Institute does not discriminate based on disability in administration of its programs and any other services. The Institute is committed to providing qualified trainees with disabilities an equal opportunity to access the benefits, rights, and privileges of its services, programs, and activities in an accessible setting.  

7. Accommodations for People with Disabilities

A reasonable accommodation that does not cause the organization “undue hardship” as defined by law would be provided to a trainee with a disability upon request. Any trainee requiring consideration for accommodation must make the request in writing and send supporting documentation to Ackerman Director of Student Life. Such a request should be made voluntarily prior to the start of classes. All information shared in the request for accommodation will be confidential unless with the expressed permission of the trainee. Only the faculty or supervisor for which the trainee is being accommodated will be notified of the specific accommodation granted. Please note that the essential requirements of courses or supervision will not be altered. 

8. Religious Observance and Accommodations

Ackerman Institute for the Family and the Training Program support an environment that respects the religious observances of others. Trainees who feel that they will need accommodation for academic or clinical work due to a religious observance are required to contact faculty, supervisors, or clinic personnel in advance to make mutually agreed-upon arrangements. Trainees will continue to be responsible for any assignments due. 

Section B: Application and Admissions Decisions

9. Admissions Criteria

All applications for the Core Curriculum Training Program are thoroughly screened by the Ackerman Admissions Committee. Admission decisions are based on a review of all materials submitted with the program application and consider all applicant criteria, including their goals. Live Clinical Supervision applicants are required to attend, a group interview conducted by the admissions committee. 

The Core Curriculum is committed to addressing issues of social justice, which are essential to family therapy training, practice, and research. We emphasize a systems/relational approach in preparing trainees to work with diverse families, including those from marginalized and oppressed communities. Self of the therapist work is crucial to therapeutic effectiveness. Trainees must be open to self-interrogation, engage in discussions of power and privilege, consider social locations/identities, and adhere to the code of ethics of the profession. 

We encourage individuals from diverse backgrounds, especially underrepresented and underserved communities to apply to the program. 

10. Out-of-State and International Applicants

As part of our commitment to diversity and serving families and communities in all regions of the world, we invite applicants from all states and countries. An individual with an international university degree in the mental health field can apply to Foundations of Family Therapy and Live Clinical Supervision programs. In compliance with the New York State Office of the Profession and New York state law, Clinical Externship in Family Therapy program (online and in-person formats) requires a trainee to have a current New York State license in a mental health discipline to see clients in the state of New York. 

The Ackerman Institute does not sponsor trainee visas. International trainees are responsible for arranging their own sponsorship/visa to attend in-person courses. 

11. Program Eligibility and Application Requirements

The Core Curriculum is comprised of four components: Foundations of Family Therapy, Live Clinical Supervision, Dual Program, and Clinical Externship in Family Therapy. Application and admissions decisions are specific to each component. Applicants to the Live Clinical Supervision alone and Clinical Externship in Family Therapy are required to complete a prerequisite program. Clinical Externship in Family Therapy program (online and in-person formats) requires a trainee to have a current New York State license to see clients. See course descriptions for complete eligibility requirements.

12. Online and In-Person Courses

All Foundations of Family Therapy course sections, Person of the Therapist Seminar I, and Person of the Therapist Seminar II will be online only. Live Clinical Supervision and Clinical Externship in Family Therapy will be offered in both online and in-person formats. All clinical sections will start as online courses. Pending clinic re-opening as we deem safe, some clinical online sections will continue to be online, whereas other clinical online sections will move to the in-person format. All trainees choosing an in-person course are required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 and will be asked to submit documentation.

13. Application Instructions

Application materials must be submitted through the online application form. Email submissions will not be accepted. Failure to submit complete and accurate application documents will result in cancellation of admission. We encourage you to submit your application as early as possible.

Questions about the application process may be submitted to the Admissions Office

14. Supervisor Recommendation for Clinical Externship in Family Therapy

Upon receiving a completed externship application, the Ackerman Admissions Office will contact the trainee’s live clinical supervisor to collect a recommendation. Supervisors must submit recommendations to the Admissions office within five (5) business days of the request. Failure to receive a recommendation within the five-day request period will result in cancellation of the trainee’s application.

15. Malpractice Insurance

Psychiatrists and medical doctors enrolled in Live Clinical and Clinical Externship programs must provide their own malpractice insurance. All other trainees are covered by the Ackerman Institute for the Family’s malpractice insurance.    

16. Application Fee and Review

A non-refundable $100 application fee is required.

17. Notification of Admission

Applicants will be notified of admission and financial aid decisions by email. Acceptance letters include the admissions checklist and enrollment agreement. Applicants must confirm their admission within five (5) business days of receiving their acceptance letter.  

Due to a high volume of applications, priority is given to applicants who confirm their enrollment by the deadline. Delayed enrollment confirmations may result in cancelled enrollment.

18. Denial of Admission

The Ackerman Institute thoroughly considers all submitted credentials and application materials. Unfortunately, we are unable to accept all qualified trainees, as competition is great for the limited number of spots in our program each year. Applicants may be denied admission for any reason, including not meeting the Core Curriculum’s competitive admissions criteria.

19. De-Enrollment

Failure to complete the enrollment process including, accepting admission, and completing financial and clinic enrollment requirements before the deadline will result in de-enrollment. If you encounter an issue completing enrollment requirements defined in the above policy, please notify the Admissions Office.

Section C: Admissions Events

The Ackerman Institute hosts a variety of informational events for prospective trainees. Online registration is required. 

20. Annual Open House

We host an informational open house event for prospective trainees to learn more about the Ackerman training program.

21. Information Sessions

We offer information sessions with Ackerman Director of Training, Marlene F. Watson, PhD. View upcoming Q&A dates.

Section D: Enrollment and Orientation

22. Enrollment Deadline

Accepted applicants must make an initial tuition deposit, configure their Ackerman email account, and complete the enrollment process by the specified deadline to secure their seat in the program. Failure to complete the enrollment process on time will result in de-enrollment. 

Applicants will receive a link to an online enrollment form after paying the enrollment deposit. Any issues pertaining to clinical enrollment documents or HIPAA training must be emailed to the Clinic Department within five (5) business days of receiving the enrollment form. Send questions about clinical documentation to:

CourseEnrollment Deadline
Foundations of Family TherapyJune 15, 2023
Live Clinical SupervisionJune 15, 2023
Dual ProgramJune 15, 2023
Clinical ExternshipJune 15, 2023

23. Enrollment Checklist: What You Need to Enroll

Foundations of Family Therapy  
  • Emergency Contact Information 
Live Clinical Supervision  
  • Emergency Contact Information 
  • Clinic Manual Attestation 
  • Clinic Non-Discrimination Policy Attestation 
  • Protection of People Special Needs Act – Code of Conduct by New York Justice Center 
  • Completion of HIPAA Training (If completed within 2 years, proof of training is required.) 
  • Proof of COVID-19 Immunization for trainees selecting an in-person program.
Clinical Externship in Family Therapy  
  • Emergency Contact Information 
  • Clinic Manual Attestation 
  • Clinic Non-Discrimination Policy Attestation 
  • NPI Number 
  • Justice Center Fingerprinting 
  • Child Abuse Screening 
  • Medicaid (for LCSW and Psychologist Only) 
  • Protection of People Special Needs Act – Code of Conduct by New York Justice Center
  • Intake Questionnaire and Scheduling Availability 
  • Completion of HIPAA Training (If completed within 2 years, proof of training is required.) 
  • Proof of COVID-19 Immunization for trainees selecting an in-person program.

24. Enrollment Status

An applicant will be considered an enrolled trainee at Ackerman Institute for the Family after meeting the enrollment requirements. For questions about enrollment status, contact the Admissions Office

25. Trainee Welcome Packet

Trainees will be emailed an informational welcome packet after completing enrollment. The welcome packet includes vital information to help trainees begin their academic experience at the Ackerman Institute.

26. Trainee Orientation

All trainees are required to attend an online orientation session, as posted in the academic calendar. Trainee orientation is an introduction to our Ackerman community and the training program. More information about the orientation session will be sent after the enrollment process is complete. 

27. Clinic Orientation

Trainees enrolled in Live Clinical Supervision and Clinical Externship in Family Therapy (1st year) will attend a mandatory clinic orientation. Please refer to the academic calendar for dates. The clinic orientation is an introduction to the Clinic Department, clinical processes, and the trainee’s clinical responsibilities in compliance with NYS Office of Mental Health.

Trainees will receive an invitation to attend the orientation from the Clinic Department in their Ackerman email after the enrollment process is completed. Trainees are expected to read Ackerman’s Guide to Clinic prior to orientation. 

28. Change of Contact Information

The Admissions Office communicates with applicants primarily through email. Applicants are responsible for updating their contact information with the Admissions Office to ensure they receive essential information about their application status.

29. Course Section Change Request

If a trainee is unable to attend the course section they originally selected, they must submit their request for a section change to the Admissions Office no later than July 30, 2023. We will try our best to accommodate a request but cannot guarantee placement. Section change requests must be made before the course begins.

Section E: Deferment, Leave of Absence, and Withdrawal Requests

30. Deferral of Admission

Accepted applicants may defer their enrollment for up to one year. Requests for a deferment form must be submitted in writing to the Admissions Office. Deferment forms must be completed within five (5) business days of the request. Deferred applicants who do not enroll the year following deferral will be required to submit a new application. View financial policies.

31. Leave of Absence

Trainees may request a leave of absence for medical or personal reasons. Without exception, trainees requesting a leave of absence from either or both Foundations of Family Therapy and/or Live Clinical Supervision, will resume their training at the beginning of the course upon return. Courses begin in September each calendar year. Trainees who do not return the academic year following a leave of absence will be considered to have withdrawn and must reapply for future admission. Any leave of absence is subject to the tuition policy regardless of the reason for the requested leave of absence.

Leave of Absence Request Process:
  1. Discuss the intended leave of absence with your instructor and/or supervisor.  
  2. Submit a request for leave of absence to the Director of Student Life in writing and complete a form.  
  3. Trainees enrolled in the Live Clinical Supervision and Clinical Externship in Family Therapy programs must meet with the Clinical Director to complete all recordkeeping and close clinical cases according to the Clinic’s guidelines.  
  4. Trainees in the Live Clinical Supervision and Clinical Externship in Family Therapy programs must coordinate with Director of Video & Communications to return equipment and video files.
  5. Leave of absence is granted in writing, pending successful completion of the above criteria.

32. Withdrawal 

For a partial refund, withdrawal requests must be submitted to the Admissions Office no later than July 30, 2023. View our financial policy.

Withdrawal requests made after the start of a course must be submitted in writing to both the Director of Student Life and Director of Training. Trainees enrolled in a clinical program must complete exit requirements with the Clinic and Video departments.

Section F: Completing the Program

33. Clinical Hours, Certificates of Completion, and Graduation

Live Clinical Supervision trainees can earn up to 10 clinical hours. Trainees in Clinical Externship in Family Therapy must obtain a minimum of 250 clinical hours. Continuing Education Contact Hours are not provided for Core Curriculum courses  

Certificates of completion are granted upon completion of Foundations of Family Therapy, Live Clinical Supervision, and the Clinical Externship in Family Therapy. Only graduates of the Clinical Externship Program are offered the title “Ackerman Alumni,” and are eligible for Ackerman alumni network benefits.

A graduation event is hosted annually in July for graduates of the Clinical Externship Program.

Section G: Financial Aid

34. Financial Aid

The deadline to apply for financial aid is April 1, 2023. Financial aid requests will not be accepted after this date. A limited amount of need-based financial aid is available for Foundations of Family Therapy, Live Clinical Supervision, the Dual Program, and the Clinical Externship. Financial aid applicants are required to submit financial documentation including a tax return and Form 1099.

Financial Aid is not guaranteed and does not automatically carry forward with any trainee who is deferring admission or is granted a leave of absence; aid will be determined during the next admissions cycle. Trainees who have received past financial aid awards are not guaranteed future assistance.

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

Section H: Tuition

35. Tuition Policy

Ackerman Institute Core Curriculum trainings are non-refundable and non-transferrable. All trainees are subject to this tuition policy and will be held responsible for tuition due to the Ackerman Institute. Financial obligations that are not met are subject to collection. 

  • Core Course tuition is due by July 1, 2023. Late payment will result in de-enrollment. 
  • A non-refundable deposit of $1000.00 is due by May 1, 2023. Applicants will not be enrolled if the deposit is less than $1000, or if a deposit is delayed. 
  • We accept American Express, Mastercard, and Visa. Cash and checks are not accepted. 
35.a. Monthly Payment Plan: 

The Ackerman Institute offers core curriculum trainees a 10-month interest-free payment plan.

  • Trainees enrolling in a monthly payment plan are required to pay a $1000 deposit by May 1, 2023.
  • Total tuition will be divided equally into 10 monthly installments. An automatic charge will be placed on the trainee’s credit card on the 1st of every month beginning July 1, 2023 and ending April 2024. The first monthly payment is due July 1, 2023.
  • A $25.00 late fee will be charged if a credit card is declined and not charged by the 10th of the month.
  • To request a payment, applicants must enroll on an annual basis at the time of admission confirmation with a non-refundable $100 enrollment fee.

If a trainee plans to defer admission or resume studies at the Ackerman Institute for the Family, trainee must pay full tuition consistent with the year of attendance. In case of a leave of absence, a trainee must also pay full tuition for the year in which a leave of absence is used.

36. Withdrawal Refund Schedule

Refunds based on the schedule below may be returned to the applicants or retained as a credit to their account upon withdrawal request. To receive a partial refund, requests must be submitted no later than July 31, 2023.

Until June 30Full refund, minus deposit
July 1 – July 3150% Refund, minus $1000 deposit.
August 1 – OnwardNo Refund

Section I: Due Dates

37. Admissions and Tuition Dates

Core Curriculum Application DeadlineJune 1, 2023 (Extended)
Financial Aid Application DeadlineApril 1, 2023
Acceptance Letter DateTBA
Non-Refundable $1000 Deposit DueMay 1, 2023
Online Enrollment Form Due June 1, 2023
Full Tuition DueJuly 1, 2023

Section J: Admissions Office and Method of Communication

38. Method of Communication

Questions about the application and admissions process must be submitted to the Admissions Office by email. The Ackerman Institute is not responsible for technical issues, including email filters or mail delays that prevent applicants from receiving our communications. Applicants are responsible for monitoring their junk or spam folders for communications from the Ackerman Institute. 

39. Admissions Office Contact

Admissions Office 

40. Notice of Right to Change Information

The policies and program information (including schedules, tuition, etc.,) set forth on this website are subject to change anytime without notice. Payment of enrollment deposits, tuition or attendance at any classes shall constitute a student’s acceptance of the Ackerman Institute for the Family’s rights set forth in this paragraph. 

41. Trainee COVID-19 Vaccination Policy


In accordance with the Ackerman Institute’s duty to provide and maintain a hazard-free  environment, this policy is intended to safeguard the health of Ackerman trainees and their clients; faculty; administration; and the community at large from COVID-19. This policy will comply with all applicable federal and state laws and is based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health authorities.  


All trainees are required to receive the COVID-19 vaccination(s), unless a reasonable accommodation is approved by the Ackerman Institute for the Family. Trainees who do not comply with this policy are not authorized to see clients in the Ackerman clinic, or attend in-person classes  Proof of vaccination status or documentation of reasonable accommodation must be uploaded at time of enrollment by all trainees attending in-person programs. 

Acceptable Documentation Includes: 
  • CDC COVID-19 vaccination card (scan or photo of card).  
  • Documentation of vaccination from a health care provider or electronic health record. 
  • State immunization information system record.  

Trainees are required to provide updated documentation by the Clinic and Training Program upon request pending guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health authorities. False or fraudulent documentation is subject to prosecution by federal law. The Ackerman Institute for the Family is deeply invested in the health and wellness of the community and encourages all trainees to be vaccinated for COVID-19.