Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Introducing Alec Haverstick: The Ackerman Institute’s Newest Board Member

Alec's office reflects his personal values. There are university photos, photos of his family, his three daughters, his son, his wife of 34 years, and, of course, the New York Yankees. His children went to Princeton, Yale, and Georgetown.

Alec Haverstick is the newest member of the Ackerman Institute's board. He has spent more than thirty years listening to and creating solutions for private clients. As Chief Executive Officer of Boxwood, he oversees all client relationships.

Alec grew up largely in Manhattan, on the Upper East Side, and lived in a family community with his maternal grandparents at the center. Alec’s grandfather’s story is one of success. He moved in 1915 to New York at a time when it was unusual for someone from the South to be involved in the New York financial world. Over time he became one of the most successful business men of his generation. He became the chairman of the Guaranty Trust Company, which he helped merge with JP Morgan, was a key figure behind the forming of Coca-Cola, and succeeded Averill Harriman as Chairman of the Illinois Central Railroad. "My parents were divorced so I was raised by my grandmother. I went off to boarding school, then to Yale, Columbia Law School, and after 8 years of law practice in New York City I moved into finance."

Alec began his career as a Trusts & Estates attorney in New York City, and went on to join the financial service side of Wall Street, where he focused on creating financial solutions for wealthy individuals. He was, successively, a Managing Director at Kidder Peabody, Prudential Securities, Lehman Brothers and Deutsche Bank. In this latter role he created the client services area for families with wealth in excess of one hundred million dollars and led the development of risk mitigation, liability management and liquidity provision techniques for individuals with concentrated and/or inherited wealth.

Alec formed Boxwood Wealth Management in June 2007 as a family advisory firm providing a wide array of expertise to individuals, families and their companies. In May 2008, he refocused the firm as Boxwood Strategic Advisors, LLC.

Alec first encountered the Ackerman Institute through a meeting with Peter Steinglass at Deutsche Bank in a program they ran together on wealth and responsibility. His interest in the work of the Institute was further fueled when he met the current President and CEO, Lois Braverman. Family values run through all aspects of Alec’s life. "I've always focused on being an essential part of a family. I created a business that is based on family principles and works with families... I strongly believe that connectivity is the key to an integrated lifestyle."

Alec is excited to join Ackerman's board and help shape its future. "I am more of a change agent than a quiet participant. And I hope that’s okay. I don't just think outside the box; I tend to operate outside the box as well." His main interest lies in helping the Institute distribute its intellectual capital to the world. He feels that the Ackerman Institute's role in helping families is key to solving the larger economic and social crisis in America. The Institute is “one of the birth places of family therapy… American society is going like this (Alec widens his arms) and the Ackerman Institute can bring it together, in a high impact sort of way in New York City, which is the economic center of the world."
The Ackerman Institute is happy to have Alec Haverstick on its board and looks forward to his help in shaping a vision for the Institute’s future.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ackerman Institute's 50th Anniversary Gala

Ackerman 2010 GalaThe Ackerman Institute for the Family held its fourth annual Tribute to Families on October 19, 2010, commemorating its 50 years of service. Over 350 people attended the event, co-chaired by Linda Dishy and Judith Stern Peck, and hosted by Actor Sam Waterson. The Gala, held in Gustavino’s near the East River, raised more than $650,000.

In honor of its 50th anniversary, Lois Braverman, President and CEO, paid a leadership tribute to the Ackerman Institute's board chairs that have carried the Institute through each decade of its work. "Every one of them has brought to their role at Ackerman great depth of knowledge and understanding of our work and our challenges. Without them, we could not have grown and thrived as we have for half a century," Braverman remarked. The board chairs honored at the event included Gregory Rogers (2008-present), Jane Donaldson (2003-2008), Arthur Maslow (1999-2003), Donna Laikind (1996-1999), Edwina Millington (1987-1996), Carol Maslow (1982-1987), and Mike Gladstein, the first Board Chair of the Ackerman Institute in 1960 through 1964.

The night consisted of silent, reverse, and live auctions, as well as a performance by the Tokens, the music group behind the hit song, The Lion Sleeps Tonight. The Tokens helped mark the significance of the event as they also turned 50 years old this year as well.

Each year the Ackerman Institute acknowledges a key individual that has contributed to its long standing growth and achievement with its Distinguished Service Award, as well as honoring companies whose business are committed to families and value-centered living. This year, Dorie Kempner was honored with the Ackerman Distinguished Service Award, the Ackerman Corporate Partner Award was given to Dirk Jungé on behalf of Pitcairn, and the Ackerman Family Partner Award was presented to Jay Hughes.

Dorie Kempner has been a member of the Ackerman Institute’s Board since 1996. The Kempner Lecture Series was established at the Ackerman Institute in honor of her late husband, Carl, providing funding for an annual lecture on work in the area of family therapy and chronic or life-threatening illness. She accepted the award for Distinguished Service: "I never imagined that standing up here in front of 400 people would feel like a family reunion, but that's just what it feels like, and, in fact, it's just what it is… I have been involved with many fine causes, but none has resonated as deeply as Ackerman."

Current Board Chair, Gregory Rogers, presented the award to Pitcairn, a financial management company that is a pioneer of the multi-family office. Dirk Jungé, Chairman and CEO of Pitcairn, accepted the Corporate Partner Award on the company’s behalf. Rogers spoke about Pitcairn’s commonalities to the Ackerman Institute: "Dirk Jungé has said that wealth management involves more than just numbers. He believes that family dynamics, particularly improving communication between members of all generations to skirt potential conflicts or face and solve existing ones, is the most critical issue facing the health of a family business today."

The Ackerman Family Partner Award was presented by Gala Co-Chair, Judith Stern Peck, to Jay Hughes, attorney and author of Family Wealth – Keeping It in the Family and his latest Family: The Compact among Generations. Jay Hughes is a well known leader in the wealth management community for his industry-changing ideas. John L. Ward, Clinical Professor of Family Enterprises at the Kellogg School of Management, calls him "the wisest of counselors to successful families" and Judith Stern Peck added that, "he is also the wisest of mentors to me as well as to my professional colleagues."

Over the past year, the Ackerman Institute has experienced unprecedented demand for clinic services: 5,500 clinic sessions – over 1,500 more than the year before. Most of the families are from economically and socially marginalized communities and face increased stress in this tough economy, but no family is ever refused services because of an inability to pay. The Annual Gala helps support these services.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Feet First into Social Work and Diversity Internship

An Intern's Perspective of the Diversity and Social Work Training
By Denise Munoz

Summer came and went. With a summer internship and a summer class, I can say that with the exception of the warm months, summer, as conceived by students on break, was never mine. With the beginning of classes and my first day of internship fast approaching I could only think "I'm not ready…just 2 more weeks." Interestingly, I wasn’t nervous about beginning my internship, just anxious about creating a schedule that would allow for self care. Giving up your Friday evenings and Saturdays is part of the Social Work Diversity Internship. This is not to say that my weekends were free prior to beginning Ackerman, but I had options. Now, for the next nine months my weekends would be spent at 149 East 78th street.

I was not worried about my sessions being taped or that a team would be watching me through a two way mirror observing my work, but I was curious and anxious about who my co-therapist would be. Yes, co-therapist: the Diversity and Social Work Internship is unique in that it requires students to work in teams. Two therapists per family/couple treated, a true example that two heads are better than one. Never having worked in this manner and understanding that energy flows between two people may possibly affect the therapeutic relationship, I was obsessing about my potential co-therapist. I perceived this person as my partner for the next 9 months, for better or for worst, in the process that is the diversity training program.

Three weeks into my internship I can say that although I am aware that as cases are assigned the semester becomes more demanding, for now the experience has been a smooth transition. The passing weeks have been filled with connecting with my fellow colleagues and supervisors, foundations class, videos, and our first case. Since I don’t have any cases yet, I do not know who will be my co-therapists. (Co-therapist plural, because I will a different co-therapist for each of the 3-4 cases I am assigned.) I look forward to working with any of my colleagues; the past 3 weeks has allowed me to get to know them and show me how much I can learn from each.

I have fantasized about training at Ackerman Institute since taking my first course in family therapy 5 years ago, and, yes, the professor was Ackerman trained (hmmmm, what would Freud have to say about that one). Has my time at Ackerman (to this point) met my expectations, fantasies and all? Yes, and I am loving every minute of it. Although I must admit, Mondays I'm at Ackerman from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and while we do get breaks, by the end of the day my mind feels scrambled. I guess in the big picture of life a scrambled brain is worth the training.

Standing along a pool of water, timid, with one toe barely touching the water, I am now ready to jump wholeheartedly, feet first.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Diana Fosha Speaks on Healing Affects and Interactions in AEDP

Dr. Diana Fosha (second from right) with Candace Goldberg, Brenda Shrobe and David Kezur

Dr. Diana Fosha, one of the leading contributors to contemporary affect theory, addressed the process of change and its role in therapy at a packed Alumnae/i Association lecture at the Ackerman Institute on January 29.

Dr. Fosha said that while the development of psychotherapy has supported the creation of a lexicon to explain how things change for the worse (i.e., the theory of the development of psychopathology), there is far less understanding and less of a vocabulary to explain how change actually takes place, the process and specific mechanisms of change. To do so, she introduced the motivational construct of "transformance" as the counterpoint of resistance. She said that psychic processes, which operate under the umbrella of "transformance," tend to be "progressive, expansive, energetic and fueled by hope." Transformance-informed processes are always accompanied by positive affect, Dr. Fosha explained, although that does not necessarily mean happiness. She said that the positive affect that grows out of transformance is closer to a sense of peace or rightness.

Dr. Fosha led her audience through a discussion of the seven fundamental aspects of AEDP (accelerated experiential dynamic psychotherapy): healing, attachment, dyadic affect regulation, experience, emotion, positive affects and positive affective interactions, and transformation.

Healing addresses the idea that people are not just "bundles of pathology," but beings with innate, wired-in dispositions for self-healing, Dr. Fosha said. Because AEDP is healing oriented, rather than psychopathology-based, the therapy seeks to entrain adaptive affective change process in which the therapist and patient work together to harness the healing potential of change.

Attachment recognizes that people are wired to care, Dr. Fosha said. She explained that the AEDP therapist works to facilitate and co-construct a patient-therapist relationship characterized by secure attachment. This relationship is the secure base from which fear, shame and distress can be dyadically regulated.When operating optimally, she continued, dyadic affect regulation is a process that ultimately ensures that the patient in therapy is not alone with intense emotional experiences, but able to share them with a partner (the therapist), who can support, be there and help in the processing of these emotions to completion.

The overall goal of AEDP, Dr. Fosha said, is to facilitate a new healing experience that involves a transformation achieved through the moment-to-moment tracking of bodily-rooted emotional experience. The experiential method allows the patient to have an experience in which the body is involved and tracking moment-to-moment fluctuations is the emotional experience of the patient, therapist, and dyad.

Emotion or the visceral experience of core affects is the central agent of change in AEDP. Positive affects and positive affective interactions are both the constituents and the wired-in affective markers of healing transformational processes and adaptive experiences.

In the end, Dr. Fosha noted that focusing on, affirming, and experientially exploring the experience of transformation led to the discovery that the experiential exploration of transformation is, in itself, an affective change process.

Dr. Fosha used a 45-minuted tape of her work with a young female patient to illustrate many of her points. Although the session was short, it demonstrated clearly how Dr. Fosha, using the techniques she described earlier, was able to help her patient move from a very angry, emotionally withdrawn state to one in which she was able to access her feelings, let go of a good deal of her anger, and emerge in a place of calm, ease, self-acceptance and new understanding, almost a wisdom of sorts.

Dr. Fosha said that as a person processes transformation, another change process is launched. This processing of that which is therapeutic, or metatherapeutic processing, makes the implicit explicit and the explicit experiential. It leads ultimately, Dr. Fosha explained, to a core state of openness, compassion and self-compassion, and a sense of things feeling right.

If you would like to learn more about Dr. Fosha’s AEDP, please visit http://www.aedpinstitute.com/.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Bright Beginnings/Personal Best Awarded Renewal Grant from Robin Hood Foundation

Bright Beginnings and Personal Best – two programs developed by the Ackerman Institute’s Center for the Developing Child and Family – have been awarded a $200,000 renewal grant from the Robin Hood Foundation. This latest grant brings the total of Robin Hood support for these programs since 2004 to $1 million.

Bright Beginnings and Personal Best are both prevention programs for families with young children. Bright Beginnings, developed by Center Director Martha Edwards, PhD, is designed to promote the children’s mental health and school readiness. Originally developed and implemented in the New York City public schools, Bright Beginnings consists of a manualized curriculum of 36 sessions, starting in pregnancy, and then continuing until the child is three years old. Personal Best, developed by Center Associate Director Judy Grossman, DrPH, is a 16-session curriculum designed to help parents enhance their parenting skills and to promote their mental health, social support and self-efficacy.

Both curricula are part of a continuum of programs developed by the Center for the Developing Child and Family to help parents of infants, toddlers, preschool and elementary school children strengthen parent-child and family-school relationships. The Center’s goal, through all of its activities, is to support families and schools to nurture children’s developmental competencies, school readiness, and school success.

"We are deeply grateful for the very generous support the Robin Hood Foundation has provided to us," Martha Edwards commented. "Our goal was to train and provide support to program staff in community agencies so that they actually are the ones implementing the programs with families at a high level of quality. We wanted these skills to reside in the community agencies so that the programs can be sustained in the future. Not only have the Robin Hood grants enabled us to accomplish that goal, they also provided support for an independent evaluation that documented that staff has developed a high level of expertise in implementing Bright Beginnings/Personal Best."

With support from Robin Hood, the Center has trained staff at three agencies: the Coalition for Hispanic Family Services, University Settlement House, and Child Center of New York.

Founded in 1988, the Robin Hood Foundation is dedicated to supporting programs and organizations that fight poverty in New York City. On its website, the Foundation states that "Our philosophy is simple: to significantly affect people living in poverty you have to attack its root causes. That’s why Robin Hood focuses on poverty prevention through programs in early childhood, youth, education, jobs and economic security."

The Foundation notes that Bright Beginnings/Personal Best "… aims to improve parents' ability to nurture their children, an approach shown to reduce child abuse and neglect as well as improve children's cognitive development and later achievement." The Foundation says that Bright Beginnings/Personal Best realizes that goal by promoting "…two key outcomes that improve the chances of a child graduating from high school: a high-quality home environment and a strong parent-baby relationship."

"The data collected at the three sites supported by Robin Hood shows that Bright Beginnings/Personal Best has a definite positive impact on families struggling with poverty," Lois Braverman, President of the Ackerman Institute, said. "We know that the family is the single greatest resource available to individuals coping with all kinds of concerns, including the wide variety of challenges caused by poverty. Bright Beginnings/Personal Best is playing a significant role in helping families harness and strengthen their existing resources and make a stronger community."

If you would like to support the implementation of these programs in other sites around New York City, click here, and select Center for the Developing Child and Family from the drop down box on the Donations Page.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fresh Start Program Receives $75,000 Grant from HELP USA

Dr. Peter Fraenkel
Dr. Peter Fraenkel, Director of
Ackerman's Center for Work and Family
The Fresh Start for Families Program has received a $75,000 grant from HELP USA, the organization that operates the homeless shelter where Fresh Start is provided.

Fresh Start for Families is a program developed by the Ackerman Institute’s Center for Work and Family. The Center provides programs for families living in homeless shelters, including families surviving domestic abuse and recent immigrant families. The Director of the Center is Dr. Peter Fraenkel. "Fresh Start helps poor mothers cope more successfully with the challenges of homelessness, life in homeless shelters and making the transition from welfare to work," Dr. Fraenkel explained. The program is offered at HELP Harbor, a domestic violence shelter in Manhattan, administered by HELP USA, well-known as one of the primary providers of housing and support services for the homeless in the United States.

In the Ackerman Institute – HELP USA partnership, HELP operates the homeless shelter and its employment, social service support and housing placement programs, while the Center for Work and Family provides the family support program and research evaluation. The partnership was initiated after HELP USA discovered that parent-child relationship difficulties often impede the ability of mothers in shelters to take full advantage of housing and employment services. Distracted by difficulties managing their own and their children's behavioral and emotional problems, the women often did not complete job readiness courses, job training or placements, missed crucial meetings with social service staff and did not follow through with housing appointments. Fresh Start was designed to fill a critical need for family emotional support and parent guidance.

"Our program is unique because most shelter programs focus on education or job training, and almost none address mental health issues from a family systems perspective,” Dr. Fraenkel said. “Fresh Start at HELP Harbor uses a variety of activities to help the families examine the emotions they experience and explores ways that they can manage difficult emotions, individually and as a family. The Program helps increase mothers’ awareness of their children’s emotions, expand the children’s ability to express themselves, and enhance the entire family’s ability to cope with stress."

"We are very pleased that HELP USA continues to partner with Ackerman at HELP Harbor," Lois Braverman, President of the Ackerman Institute, said. "The Institute has been involved in community programs for many years and the Fresh Start program allows us to work with some of New York City’s most vulnerable families. Most traditional programs dealing with domestic violence are expert-driven models in which therapists teach parenting and coping skills. The drop-out rate from such programs can be high, as the women involved often feel they are being ‘talked down to’ and being taught skills that they already know. Fresh Start makes use of a collaborative and respectful stance that discovers and supports women’s hidden strengths, and allows them to teach and support each other. As a result, women simultaneously learn new skills and regain their sense of competence and pride."

In addition to helping families, Fresh Start provides a unique opportunity to train the next generation of mental health professionals in community-based work with underserved families. During its 12 years, the program has been staffed by more than 100 Ackerman students and alumni, and graduate students in counseling and clinical psychology at The City College of New York, where Dr. Fraenkel is an associate professor. An upcoming article in the American Family Therapy Monographs by Dr. Fraenkel and his staff describes how students learn important skills and develop greater appreciation of the challenges and strengths of highly stressed families.

"This project has produced several outstanding dissertations and Masters theses," Dr. Fraenkel said, "but more importantly, it’s inspired many young professionals to dedicate their careers to work with families in poverty."

If you would like to support the Fresh Start program, click here, and select Center for Work and Family from the drop down box on the Donations Page.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Robert Ruckh Joins Ackerman Board

Robert Ruckh joined the Ackerman Institute Board of Directors in December 2009.

Mr. Ruckh brings major, significant financial experience to the Board. With more than 27 years of experience in the field, he is one of the more experienced Transaction Advisory Services partners in Ernst & Young’s New York office. He joined Ernst & Young in 2002 after almost 20 years at Arthur Andersen in audit and transactions practices.

Mr. Ruckh's primary private equity clients include Lindsay Goldberg, CCMP Capital, Cerberus and Onex. His corporate clients include General Electric. Mr. Ruckh's transaction specific experience includes work in industrial and consumer products and services, distribution businesses, healthcare, service businesses and technology. In addition to direct platform investments made by private equity clients, Mr. Ruckh has also worked with the management teams of many portfolio companies. He has participated in diligence projects in more than 15 countries, and has extensive experience with SEC securities offerings and 144A private placements of both US and non-US companies.

Before joining Ernst & Young, Mr. Ruckh helped start Arthur Andersen's Transaction Advisory Services practice. Prior to that, he worked in Andersen's audit practice for 12 years, serving a number of Global 1000 and other multinational clients.

Mr. Ruckh is a 1982 graduate of Fordham University and a former Member of the Dean’s Advisory Board for the Fordham University Schools of Business.

He lives in Pound Ridge, New York with his wife Shari and daughter Amelia.

"We are thrilled to have Robert Ruckh join the Ackerman Board," Lois Braverman, President of the Ackerman Institute, commented. "His interest in our work is very strong, and his expertise in finance helps strengthen the Board significantly."

Meet Our Board: Paul H. Rich

Pual H. Rich
New Board Member Paul H. Rich
The ideal Board of Directors of a non-profit organization includes individuals with expertise and experience in a variety of fields, including law, finance and real estate. Paul H. Rich, who joined the Ackerman Institute Board of Directors in 2007, is a seasoned consultant who has worked for many years with family-owned and closely-held businesses. As a co-managing principal of the Rothstein Kass Business Consulting Group, Mr. Rich provides a wide range of strategic business counseling services. He is an expert in succession planning, structuring and negotiating mergers and acquisitions, facilitating as an executive coach for business owners and high net worth individuals. In addition, he has extensive experience securing bank and private financing and rendering IPO and private placement advisory services. Mr. Rich’s success is the result of a passion for his clients, clarity of mind, an appreciation of service, and, most importantly, empathy that he combines with his technical expertise. These traits also serve Mr. Rich well in his role as a member of the Ackerman Institute Board of Directors.

Mr. Rich recalled that he first heard about the Ackerman Institute from his wife Diane, a social worker, and her colleagues.

"They all knew about the work of the Institute and thought very highly of it," Mr. Rich explained. "Then Judith Stern Peck told me about her involvement and the great respect she had for the Institute. Eventually, I met Peter Steinglass and Lois Braverman and learned more."

"I've always been interested in psychology," Mr. Rich said, "and I found the Institute’s work very meaningful. My interest only increased as I learned how much the Institute helps the community."

Mr. Rich’s enthusiasm for the Ackerman Institute grew as he enrolled in the core Foundations course.

"I took the course for one year as a learning and growth experience," he said. "The teaching was amazing and the open thinking and depth was mind expanding. I fell in love with the level of education as well as with the value of the community work."

A native of Paterson, New Jersey, Mr. Rich is a graduate of New York University. He also enrolled in graduate courses at Pace University. Mr. Rich’s family had a business, which he was involved in for a time, where he gained valuable business knowledge as well as insight into some of the emotional issues endemic to family businesses. After he liquidated that business he became a certified public accountant, eventually becoming co-senior equity partner of a large regional accounting firm which was the result of a merger of a medium-size CPA firm that he co-founded. He also co-founded a successful management consulting firm, which now operates as Rothstein Kass' Business Consulting Group.

"In accounting, many of the issues you face, even though they are business issues, have psychological underpinnings," Mr. Rich said. "I am very interested in the psychology of business, how decisions that appear rational on the surface often come from a deep emotional place."

As a Board member, Mr. Rich focuses on financial concerns, but he also is very involved with planning.

"The most fun is being part of the long-range planning committee," he remarked. "We are trying to answer questions such as, where is the future of Ackerman? How can we help the community? How can we grow? I believe Ackerman needs to grow because it offers so much to the community and can really benefit so many families."

Jane Phillips Donaldson Receives 2009 Arthur Maslow Distinguished Service Award

Jane Phillips Donaldson
Jane Phillips Donaldson (pictured here with Lois Braverman), the recipient of the Arthur Maslow Distinguished Service Award, joined Ackerman’s Board of Directors in 2000 and served as Chair from 2003 to 2008. During her tenure as Chair, she successfully guided the Institute in succession planning, steered it through the current economic downturn, expanded its international presence and helped attract vibrant new Board members to help Ackerman meet the challenges of the future.

Ms. Donaldson is the founder of Phillips Oppenheim, a nationally recognized search firm that identifies and recruits staff, particularly minorities, for large foundations and other nonprofit organizations.

S. Alexander Haverstick II Receives 2009 Ackerman Corporate Award

Alec Haverstick
Alec Haverstick with
Ackerman CEO Lois Braverman
S. Alexander Haverstick II, this year’s recipient of the Ackerman Corporate Award, began his career as a Trusts & Estates attorney and later worked in financial services on Wall Street. He was, successively, a Managing Director at Kidder Peabody, Prudential Securities, Lehman Brothers and Deutsche Bank, and served as President of Morgan Stanley Trust Company.

Mr. Haverstick founded Boxwood Wealth Management in 2007 and refocused the company as Boxwood Strategic Advisors LLC in 2008. Mr. Haverstick’s approach to business encompasses the idea that individuals’ financial decisions are not made independent of family dynamics.

His ability to "think outside the box" gives him great insight into the communication and relationship issues Ackerman sees in families everywhere. Mr. Haverstick has extended himself to the Institute in countless ways, becoming a great and valued friend to Ackerman.

Tribute to Families Raises More than $495,000 in Support of the Ackerman Institute

Thanks to the generosity of its friends and supporters, the Ackerman Institute for the Family’s third annual Tribute to Families Gala raised more than $495,000 in support of the Institute’s programs and services. More than 230 guests attended the October 20th event, held at Guastavino’s. The Gala was co-chaired by Ackerman Board members Diana Benzaquen and Alan Quasha. Ackerman Board Chair Greg Rogers and his wife, Dana, were the Honorary Chairs. Law and Order star Sam Waterston was the evening’s emcee and Broadway and cabaret actress and singer Christine Andreas performed.

This year’s honorees were Jane Phillips Donaldson, former chair of the Ackerman Board, who received the Arthur Maslow Distinguished Service Award, and S. Alexander Haverstick II, Chief Executive Officer of Boxwood Strategic Advisors LLC, who received the Ackerman Corporate Partner Award.

After welcoming the guests to the Gala, Ms. Benzaquen described the work of the Ackerman Institute.

“I’ve seen the work they do at Ackerman,” she commented, “and the results are phenomenal. Ackerman helps give families the strength to communicate with each other in a way where everyone can feel connected… children to parents, sibling to sibling, wife to husband, partner to partner. It’s often hard to talk to the people we’re closest to about the things that trouble us most deeply, but Ackerman therapists have the ability to help people feel safe to open up about things they could never have told their family members before.”

The Tribute this year included a silent and a live auction. In addition, the evening featured a reverse auction, the proceeds of which benefitted the Ackerman Clinic. In his remarks, Mr. Waterston described the work of the Ackerman Institute Clinic.

“Here in New York, the Clinic is open 12 to 13 hours a day during the work week and eight hours on Saturdays, to make services available for families no matter what their schedule. On any given day, therapists may be working with a couple on the verge of divorce, a family torn apart by incest or abuse, a teenager who suffers from depression and suicidal thoughts or a child who is failing in school,” Mr. Waterston said. “The ripple effect is enormous because the repercussions of family problems echo well beyond the family circle. We bring them with us into all our relationships, into the school, the workplace, government, commercial centers, sports… into every aspect of our lives. Strong families mean strong communities… and that’s what Ackerman helps create.”

Lois Braverman, President of the Ackerman Institute, presented several video vignettes that illustrated the work undertaken with families and children at the Clinic and spoke about the value of family therapy.

“We find that when we get all family members involved in the process, whatever the problem, it gets resolved faster and family members feel more connected to one another,” she explained.

“The Ackerman Institute is very privileged to have so many generous and caring friends,” Ms. Braverman, said. “The work we do at Ackerman is vitally important and we absolutely could not do it without the support of our Board and our friends.”

Click here to view photos of the Tribute to Families.