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Journal Article

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Australian & New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy





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School of Arts and Humanities


Amorin-Woods, D., & Imber-Black, E. (2024). The ackerman institute: A journey of culture and diversity over six decades. A conversation with Evan Imber-Black. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 45(1), 93-108.


The Ackerman Institute for the Family, established in 1960 by Dr Nathan Ackerman, stands as one of the oldest and most respected family therapy institutes in the United States. Ackerman pioneered the integration of systemic insights into group settings, emphasised the crucial role of family in therapy, and advocated for the advancement and acceptance of family therapy. ‘The Ackerman’ played a pivotal role in launching Family Process, the first journal dedicated to academic activities in family therapy. Diversity and inclusion have been central tenets of Ackerman philosophy, evident in its programs, training courses, and staff composition. This commitment has produced a veritable cadre of family therapy leaders who have contributed significantly to both the Ackerman Institute and the profession, influencing policy decisions and clinical practices. One of the most esteemed and respected thought leaders and innovators of our field, who played a vital role in the legacy of several institutions, including the Ackerman, is Dr. Evan Imber-Black. She served as a long-time faculty member and director of the Ackerman Center for Families and Health. Her expertise encompasses the exploration of family rituals and family secrets, with a focus on the importance of rituals in providing meaning, identity, and connection across diverse cultures and family life cycles. As editor of Family Process for 8 years, she highlights the importance of examining scholarly work in the context of cultures as a requirement – we do not stand outside the culture – we are active participants. This paper is based on a conversation with Dr Evan Imber-Black, held in June 2023, delving into her personal and professional experiences, her connection to the Ackerman Institute, and her influential work on family rituals and secrets. Through this exploration, the paper sheds light on her commitment to diversity and the lasting impact of Dr Imber-Black's contributions to family therapy.



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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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