Log in
Log in
  • Home
  • Family Therapy Institute: The Ackerman Relational Approach

Family Therapy Institute: The Ackerman Relational Approach

  • May 17, 2019
  • May 18, 2019
  • 2 sessions
  • May 17, 2019, 8:30 AM 3:00 PM (PDT)
  • May 18, 2019, 8:30 AM 12:00 PM (PDT)
  • UW School of Social Work, Rm #305 4101 15th Ave. NE. Seattle 98105
  • 81


(depends on selected options)

Base fee:
  • Friday, May 17th & Saturday, May 18th
  • General public-
    Friday, May 17th
  • Students- Friday, May 17th & Saturday, May 18th
    Bring student id to registration
  • Students- Friday, May 17th
    Bring student id to registration
  • Premium Associate & Associate- Friday, May 17th & Saturday, May 18th
  • Associate & Premium-Associate Members-Friday, May 17th
  • General, Premium, Emeritus, Out-of-State Members- Friday, May 17th
  • General, Premium, Emeritus, Out-of-State: Friday, May 17th & Saturday, May 18th

Registration is closed

Choose between attending the full day or a day and a half of family therapy institute learning the Ackerman Relational Approach.

Day 1, Friday, May 17th will focus on implementing the ideas from family systems theory into your therapeutic approach to work more effectively with children, families, and couples with complex struggles. 

Day 2, Saturday, May 18th will focus on treating children and families who have experienced relational trauma and therapeutic model to help heal these relational wounds.

Day 1, Full-Day Workshop: Family Therapy -The Ackerman Relational Approach

Implementing ideas from family systems theory and the Ackerman Relational Approach (ARA), clinicians will develop their ability to think systemically and work more effectively with children, families and couples presenting with a range of complex struggles.   Participants will learn the key elements of the Ackerman Relational Approach, including contextualizing the presenting problem, tracking cycles of interaction, asking relational questions, engaging in decision dialogues and forming complex systemic hypotheses. Participants will develop their capacity to explore how family members’ organizing beliefs and premises inform family interactions and behaviors. Throughout the training, attention will be paid to how issues of class, race, gender and culture impact the therapeutic relationship and family struggles.

The workshop’s interactive format will provide opportunities for active participation.  Content will be explored through case presentation with videos and exercises to observe and practice the application of family therapy concepts and techniques.

Learning Objectives

1) Participants will be able to contextualize a family’s presenting problem by honoring multiple perspectives, and exploring the interplay between the presenting problem and the family’s cycle of interaction, inter-generational themes, stage of family life cycle, and larger sociopolitical influences.

2) Participants will understand the use of systemic/relational hypothesis as a roadmap to organize and guide the therapy.

3) Participants will learn about how to use a decision dialogue to explore relational constraints and to weave in individual sessions with joint sessions, and vice versa.

4) Participants will be more mindful about how the self of the therapist, including the social locations of the therapist (i.e. age, race, class, gender), may impact the therapeutic process with families.

Day 2, Half Day Workshop: Treating Children and Families Who Have Experienced Relational Trauma

Working with children and adolescents whose sense of emotional and/or physical safety has been ruptured within their family is a challenge family therapists must often confront.  When this rupture is the result of traumatic events within the family itself – sexual abuse and/or domestic violence, placement in foster or residential care, premature death of a parent - this challenge becomes even more daunting. Fiona True will describe a recursive model of therapy linking individual and family modalities into a seamless systemic therapy that provides safety for the child while not usurping the primacy of the protective parent/s.  Clinicians will learn the recursive therapy model and how to use a “decision dialogue” to link the family and individual modalities.  Videotape of clinical work will be shown.

Learning Objectives   

1) Participants will develop their understanding of the definition of relational trauma.

2) Participants will expand their understanding of the relational binds experienced in families post trauma.

3) Participants will learn the steps of a decision dialogue.

4) Participants will develop their ability to ask relational questions.


Fiona True, LICSW is a member of the senior teaching faculty of the Ackerman Institute for the Family. She is Co-Director of the Center for Children and Relational Trauma, a clinical research program that has addressed issues of family violence and relational trauma since 1992. She has authored several papers on the subject of intra-familial sexual abuse and the clinical methodology, which the center developed, to address the dilemmas and impasses that this set of presenting problems generates.

Fiona directed the Ackerman’s International and Community training programs for twelve years, developing programs in Hong Kong, Argentina, Chile and Japan. She regularly consults and trains in community mental health agencies and providers of residential care. She has presented the work of the Center both internationally and within the United States. She maintains private practices in both New York City and Connecticut. Fiona was the recipient of the American Family Therapy Association (AFTA) Award for Contribution to Theory and Practice, together with Marcia Sheinberg and Peter Fraenkel in 2004.

CEU's Offered

5 ceu's full day session, 8 ceu's  full & half day sessions


Friday, May 17, 2019 (full day)
Registration: 8:30am
Morning session: 9:00am - 12:00pm
Lunch: 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Program Ends: 1:00pm - 3:00pm

Saturday, May 18, 2019 (half day) Must attend first day to attend second, half day
Registration: 8:30am
Program Begins: 9:00am
Program Ends: 12:00pm

Meeting Location
UW School of Social Work, Room #305 A
4101 15th Ave. NE,   Seattle  98105

The School of Social Work is on the corner of 41st and 15th Avenue N.E. in the University District, directly across from the Meany Parking Garage.

Parking is readily available on the street, in the parking garage, or on street level parking lots.

Refund Policy Fees may be refunded up to two weeks prior to the event minus a $25.00 administration fee and any online transaction fees.

Direct inquiries to


**If you register and are unable to attend, please keep us informed so we can properly adjust our reservation. It is important as we engage in the community WSSCSW is regarded as good stewards of the places that we meet.

Washington State Society for Clinical Social Work
14201 SE Petrovitsky Rd Ste A3-269 Renton, WA 98058 •

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software