Welcome to
the institute for family services

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 & families …

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19th Annual Liberation Based Healing Conference to be held in Washington, DC on November 1st and 2nd

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About us

The institute for family services

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.

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Dr. Rhea Almeida
MS, Ph.D, LCSW, Founder of IFS

Our view of healing & therapeutic practices

Liberation based healing

Dr. Rhea Almeida
MS, Ph.D, LCSW, Founder of IFS

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

What we do

Therapy services

Our philosophy is to embrace the resilience that all families and individuals bring to therapy and create a landscape of liberation in resolving life’s struggles. We do not define our clients by the particular identity of their presenting problems but rather by their multiple and complex identities.

Family therapy

The structure of families today range from the traditional nuclear families, single parent families, extended families, etc. living together, each with different and similar challenges including ...

Post-graduate training/internship

Liberation Based Practice Trainees receive didactic and live supervision in the clinic, working with wide trajectories of families, including Spanish language clients, that are navigating multiple systems ...

Organizational change training

Please contact us if you would like to discuss a tailored workshop for your organization. Our team has experience working with youth & adolescents, educators, social workers and mental health ...

Conference

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 Pewewardy, Cornel Pewewardy, 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) …

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