Welcome To IFS
WELCOME.The Institute for Family Services (IFS) is a team of family therapists committed to producing change that embraces safe, respectful, nurturing and empowering relationships for all individuals, communities and families.
The Institute is well known throughout New Jersey and the nation for its innovative programs. These programs support family members around issues of loss, chronic illness, substance abuse, marital conflict, divorce, post-divorce, single parenthood, youth, children and parenting in crises, workplace challenges and mental health in New Jersey. The programs also encourage healing by embracing life-affirming choices, based on a strong foundation of empowerment and accountability. Mindful of the resilience embodied by those who struggle, our therapeutic process anchors the problems presented within a system of support, care, and action strategies.
Liberation Based Healing
Our view of healing and therapeutic practices:
Liberation-based Healing is a combination of practices of therapy grounded in decolonial scholarship, critical social learning, and family therapy interventions. This process of critical learning and dialogue around presenting issues is developed through innovative use of social media, culture circles, and community sponsors. Sponsors are men, women and adolescents who have had transformative experiences with this approach and ally with new clients in their efforts to heal.
The step-by-step building of social capital makes this therapeutic approach sustainable over time. This approach to healing departs from traditional practices of pathologizing clients, or focusing solely on symptom reduction. While being symptom-free is important, therapeutic focus is on building and strengthening foundations of resistance and resilience. Therapists at the Institute work towards creating and sustaining a community of helpers, clientele, friends, and professionals.
"It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams."-Gabriel García Márquez
Dr. Rhea Almeida,
MS, Ph.D, LCSW
Founder of IFS
The Liberation-Based Healing Conference
The Liberation-Based Healing conference was first envisioned by Dr. Rhea Almeida, director of the Institute for Family Services in NJ. She and her colleagues, Lisa Dressner, Judy Lockard, Pilar Hernandez-Wolfe, and Andrae Brown developed and expanded the conference over the past years with many others having collaborated with this initiative. They include, Mabel Quinones, Rebecca Chaisson, Judy Lewis, Nocona Peweewardy, Cornel Peweewady, Marilyn Armour, Gail Rice, Diana Melendez, Jose Paez, Willie Tolliver, Carolyn Tubbs...and the list continues to grow.
The conference grew out of a general disillusionment by scholars and those they were serving, with mainstream conferences in the mental health fields (psychology, family therapy, counseling).
We, like many others, wanted to connect with a critical mass of liberation-based healing scholars and young minds to work towards building a scholarship that departed from the dominant discourse situating life affirming and transformative experiences within historical, present and future trajectories of life
In the spirit of shared spaces and shared communities, we chose to travel the conference inviting various localities to co-host with us. This has provided multiple regions and communities including the east and west coast of the United States, Puerto Rico and Calgary, Canada with the opportunity to experience and participate with this exciting conference.
Books & Publications
Transformative Family Therapy:...
Book Review "Transformative Family Therapy: Just Families in a Just Society is a triumph! Ba...
Expansions of Feminist Family ...
xpansions of Feminist Family Theory Through Diversity reconstructs feminist family therapy to includ...
Transformations of Gender and ...
Book Review "Rhea Almeida and her collaborators are to be commended for this insightful coll...