Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Spotlight on the Board: Mary Bijur

Mary Bijur joined the Ackerman Institute for the Family's Board of Directors in 2013.

Prior to joining the board, Mary Bijur headed a residential interior design firm for thirty five years, retiring in 2000.  She has always had a passionate interest in education and the life of the city neighborhoods in which she has lived.

During the 70’s and 80’s Mary served on the board of Goddard Riverside Community Center on Manhattan’s upper west side.  During that time she became chair of the board and worked with the newly formed community board on the de-designation of the urban-renewal area and the building of Phelps House, a section 8 senior residence and new home for the community center.

She became a trustee of St. Lawrence University in ’87.  She ended her 25 years of trusteeship as Vice Chair of the board.  She was appointed emerita trustee in 2012.  She has also served on the boards of Outward Bound and Expeditionary Learning (a national education reform organization) serving as Vice-Chair of the latter.

Mary and Jeff Bijur married in 1965 and have two children; Matthew an adolescent psychologist practicing in Burlington VT and Katherine Renard an English teacher and administrator in a private bi-lingual Parisian school.  They have four grandchildren.

Spotlight on the Board: Nina Taselaar

Nina Taselaar is lending her leadership to the Ackerman Institute for the Family's Board of Directors for a second term. Rejoining the board in 2013, Nina previously served on the Board of Directors in 2006. 

A certified career counselor and psychotherapist, Nina received her MSW from Columbia University in 1987. She also has completed postgraduate studies in career counseling techniques, cognitive behavioral therapy and family therapy.
Nina has developed and led numerous workshops on adjustment reaction disorders and culture shock. As a member of Access international, she has been a guest lecturer on structuring an international job search. Currently, she is in private practice and is affiliated with the Ackerman Institute for the Family. Nina also is assisting Strategic Workforce Solutions’ outplacement counseling program and conducting workshops on stress management in response to September 11th. Nina has had a faculty appointment, supervising fourth year psychiatry residents, at the Child Study Center at New York University for five years.

Dr. Kenneth Hardy Presented to Ackerman Institute for the Family's Alumni Association

The Ackerman Institute for the Family proudly hosted Dr. Kenneth Hardy in presenting “Children, Families, and Trauma: A Relational Approach.”

Dr. Hardy discussed the ways that trauma underpins the everyday life experiences of most children and families involved in therapy. He highlighted the ways ignoring the impact of the trauma on the client's family overlooks powerful dynamics that are crucial to treatment outcome. Alumni explored ways to involve the trauma sufferer's partner and other family members as resources in the healing process. 
Participants also learned how to better educate clients about the typical symptoms of trauma, the stages of trauma recovery, how to help family members both soothe and set limits with the traumatized person, and the typical pitfalls families encounter-including the depleting response of "enough already"-as a family member tries to heal from a trauma. The presentation devoted special attention to examining the critical intersection that often exists between trauma and the dynamics of socio-cultural oppression.
Dr. Kenneth Hardy is an internationally recognized clinician, author, and trainer. He is also the Director of the Eikenberg Institute for Relationships in New York City where he maintains a private practice specializing in working with traumatized and oppressed populations.

Dr. Evan Imber-Black Presents "Therapeutic Choice Points in Complex Couple Therapy: How and When to Intervene"

On January 24, 2014, The Ackerman Institute for the Family Alumni Association proudly hosted  Dr. Evan Imber-Black in presenting "Therapeutic Choice Points in Complex Couple Therapy: How and When to Intervene”.  First presented at Harvard’s “Treating Couples” conference in November, Dr. Imber-Black’s lecture was one of only two lectures ever to receive a standing ovation at the event. The Ackerman Alumni Association was pleased to host the presentation where Dr. Imber-Black discussed a broad swath of key decision making factors therapists face in couple therapy.

The presentation covered and highlighted the moment by moment decisions made by therapists in couple therapy requiring careful thought, cognitive and emotional attunement with each member of the conflicted pair, avoidance of triangulation, and the ability to read verbal and non-verbal feedback occurring in every aspect of the session.
Dr. Imber-Black demonstrated interviewing for expanded openings, redefining and amplifying a presenting problem, selecting a path and correcting it when it proves ineffective, marking a critical subject, leaving it and returning to it at a more optimal time, and challenging a one-size fits all model of therapy, among other key areas.

Dr. Imber-Black examined multiple sessions with a couple coping with life-shortening illness, cross-cultural issues, and years of marital discord.  Using these complex cases, Dr. Imber-Black examined therapeutic choice points, formulated direction for couples who present with multiple dilemmas, demonstrated methods to make effective therapeutic choices in a session and across sessions, and how to fashion meaningful questions that provide openings and to shift when these do not.

Evan Imber-Black, PhD, is the Director of the Center for Families and Health and a faculty member at the Ackerman Institute for the Family in New York City. Evan is currently the Acting Program Director of the Marriage and Family Therapy Masters Program at Mercy College.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Ackerman Launches Linkedin Networking Group!

The Ackerman Institute launched the first ever LinkedIn Networking Group this past winter. The group was created as a forum to allow all those in the Ackerman community to share opportunities and resources, to network and to strengthen ties to each other.  

Open to all alumni, faculty, trainees and workshop attendees, all those interested in joining the group may send an invitation request to the group administrator on LinkedIn or an email request to video@ackerman.org , including "LinkedIn Networking Group" in the subject line.

Walter Vega and Students Launch Supportive Space--a Forum for Ackerman Therapists of Color

The Ackerman Institute has initiated a brand new group called Supportive Space for all Ackerman therapists who identify as therapists of color. Supportive Space is an exciting collaboration amongst Ackerman trainees, faculty, and alumni of color who seek to have a forum to share their unique experiences at the Institute and in the field of family therapy.  Piloted by a group of student trainees and facilitated by Ackerman faculty member, Walter Vega, Supportive Space offers students and alumni the chance to build a supportive community within and outside of the Ackerman training and alumni programs.
"The group has been meeting monthly and offers students and alumni the opportunity to network with other therapists of color, receive mentoring, explore the significance of racial identity both within and outside the Ackerman  Institute for the Family's training program and build a supportive community," says Walter Vega, Supportive Space's faculty advisor.
All Supportive Space meetings take place on the third floor of the Ackerman Institute for the Family on Friday evenings from 6PM-8PM. Scheduled meetings dates in 2014 are:

February 21
March 7
April 4
May 2

For anyone who would like more information about Supportive Space at the Ackerman Institute for the Family, inquiries can be directed to WalterVega@ackerman.org

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ackerman's Parenting Best for Teens Selected as 1 of 15 Exemplary Programs Helping Youth Thrive by Center for the Study of Social Policy

This week, the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) announced the winners of its national search to identify initiatives making a critical difference in the lives of youth who are in foster care or involved with child welfare systems.  Ackerman’s Personal Best for Teens Program, lead by faculty member Judy Grossman, has been selected as one of the 15 exemplary initiatives doing innovative work to help youth thrive.
Judy Grossman’s team - Martha Edwards, Sabina Fila, Chris Reynolds and Brenda Nikelsberg - have been active collaborators as they adapted the original Personal Best curriculum for pregnant and parenting youth in foster care.
The selection process included 130 nominees, involved proposal review, telephone interview, and site visits at Ackerman and community agencies to meet with key stakeholders and observe group sessions with youth. 
"These 15 programs represent organizations and agencies that are achieving outcomes that are improving the well-being of vulnerable youth by understanding their unique challenges, creating opportunities and sticking with them, no matter what," said Susan Notkin, associate director at CSSP. 
Without effective intervention, research shows that many young people in the child welfare system will face serious problems as they transition to adulthood - higher rates of school failure, unemployment, teen pregnancy, homelessness and delinquency - than more advantaged peers.   CSSP evaluated approaches that addressed developing five factors in young people (age 11-26) that help mitigate or eliminate risk and promote healthy development and well-being. 

Research about what makes these programs successful will be used to help influence program and public policy change across the country. The programs selected demonstrate a wide range of strategies that engage youth and support them to succeed in school and employment, develop social and emotional supports and have lasting, positive connections to family and community.