About Us2021-04-27T16:53:33+00:00

About CFINE

Co-Founders Nancy Knudsen and Jack LaForte are a married couple who came together professionally to establish The Couple & Family Institute of New England (CFINE) in 2017 at a stage in their careers when giving back was of utmost importance. Both trained as family therapists in the 1980s, they are each committed to the value of seeing human beings in the context of their families and communities. Nancy Knudsen is the current Director of CFINE.

Meet the Founders

Nancy Knudsen

Nancy Knudsen, LMFT, is a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice in Northampton, MA with over 35 years experience in the field. She has used a family systems orientation over the years to work with individuals, couples, and families on a wide range of issues. Over the past 10 years, Nancy’s primary clinical modality has been Emotionally Focused Therapy. She first became a certified EFT therapist in 2011, then a certified EFT Supervisor in 2014, and served two years as the Assistant Director of the New England EFT Community. Nancy has taught a number of workshops on EFT for professionals. Historically, her areas of professional interest have been structural family systems, Bowen family systems theory, trauma, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).

Nancy earned a master’s degree in Counseling and Consulting Psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1984. From there she attended a two-year certificate program at the Kantor Family Institute in family therapy which emphasized a thorough knowledge base of each of the major family therapy models. She developed an interest in family related trauma in the 1990’s, and sought out training in EMDR in order to learn to address unspoken emotional states, completing EMDR training in 1997 and becoming an EMDR Institute Facilitator in 1999. To strengthen her background in family systems theory, Nancy completed a year long post-graduate program at the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family in 2008. She has been a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Massachusetts since 1991. Additionally, she is a Past President of the Massachusetts Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and an AAMFT Approved Supervisor. Her most recent enterprise is Co-Founding and Directing the Couple and Family Institute of New England located in Northampton, MA.

Contact Nancy: (413) 586-9424; email

Jack LaForte

Jack LaForte, PhD, LMFT, has worked with literally thousands of clients during his career as a psychologist, licensed marriage and family therapist, life coach and consultant. With over 35 years experience, he has developed an integrated client-focused approach which combines family systems, positive psychology, communications theory, cognitive behavioral therapy, and emotionally focused therapy. In his work he tries to engender trust, hope, openness, warmth, respect, and a sense of humor. In March, 2016, he had the honor of receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Massachusetts Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

Dr. LaForte earned his doctorate in counseling and consulting psychology in 1983 from the Union Institute. He is a licensed psychologist, a licensed marriage and family therapist and Past President of the Massachusetts Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. He received his Clinical Membership in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy in 1979 and became an Approved Supervisor 1984. In addition to his private practice Dr. LaForte has served as a consulting psychologist to mental health and social service agencies in the Pioneer Valley. Dr. LaForte has supervised and trained marriage and family therapists, taught at the graduate level and lectured on various topics related to relationships systems. He has also authored two chapters on Emotional Triangles.

Dr. LaForte has been a member of the American Psychological Association, American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, American Family Therapy Association, the Massachusetts Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and the Family Firm Institute.

Contact Jack: (413) 388-3595; email

Meet the Instructors

These instructors offer therapeutic services independent of CFINE; CFINE is not responsible for contacting them on behalf of anyone seeking therapy or other related services. Please refer to their bios for website or other contact info. For information on CFINE’s clinical services, please visit our Clinical Services page.

Nalini Calamur

Nalini Calamur bio picNalini Calamur, LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has extensive experience working in Community Mental Health. She has a strong commitment to empowerment and healing in and for both multiply-stressed communities of color and queer communities. She also serves on the Diversity Committee for the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy (ICEEFT). Ms. Calamur is interested in helping couples and families support one another more effectively in the face of systemic and internalized oppression. She sees clients in her private practice and primarily works with Black, Brown, and multicultural individuals and/or cross-cultural relationships and families that are struggling with high conflict, trauma, substance use, and/or suicide.

Christiana Ibilola Awosan

Dr. Christiana Ibilola Awosan is an Assistant Professor at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York, in the Marriage and Family Therapy program and an Associate Faculty with the Eikenberg Academy of Social Justice. She’s also the Founder of Ibisanmi Relational Health and a licensed Couple and Family Therapist. Dr. Awosan conducts national and international trainings and seminars on issues of related to understanding sociocultural trauma such as racial trauma on the mental, emotional and relational lives of People of Color. Her research focuses on diversity, inclusion and social justice. She has published several book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals, including “Therapy with heterosexual Black couples through a racial lens” (2019, New York, NY: The Guilford Press) and “Emotionally Focused Therapy: A culturally sensitive approach for African American heterosexual couples” (2019, Journal of Family Psychotherapy).

James L. Hawkins II

Dr. James Hawkins, ‘Doc Hawk’, is a Licensed Counsellor with 11 years of experience and an ICEEFT certified trainer, supervisor, and therapist. He obtained a Master’s in Marriage and Family Counseling and a PhD in Psychology and Counseling. He currently serves as a Clinical Coordinator at a non-profit counseling practice in Northwest Arkansas. James is the founder of Healing Conversations, a training program developed to equip organizations and communities to have productive conversations about race. He is the co-host of two podcasts, The Leading Edge in Emotionally Focused Therapy, and The Leading Edge: Transforming Leadership Through Attachment Science. James is a part of the online training program, successinvulnerability.com developed to help EFT therapists and supervisors gain more focus in their clinical work. Doc Hawk brings a passion for helping individuals, couples, families, and communities in relational distress. James is married to his wife, Nicola, and together they have five daughters.

Gail Palmer

Gail Palmer, MSW, RMFT is one of the Founding Members of the Ottawa Couple and Family Institute and Co-Director of the International Center of Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy. She holds a Masters degree in Social Work and is a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist in Canada. Over the past 30 years, Gail has worked closely with Dr. Sue Johnson, creator of Emotionally Focused Therapy, and is an experienced supervisor and trainer in EFT. She currently offers workshops, externships, and core skills trainings to mental health professionals in a variety of different settings across the world. She chairs the ICEEFT Education Committee and is responsible for mentoring and training EFT trainers internationally. Gail is an adjunct faculty member at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Canada and a sessional lecturer at Oxford University, Oxford, England.

Gail has a particular interest in applying the model with work with families. For the past decade, she has been one of the lead EFT trainers who have developed and expanded on Sue Johnson’s EFFT method. The definite text co-authored by Gail Emotionally Focused Family Therapy: Restoring Connection and Promoting Resilience is now available. Gail’s work has included EFFT trainings across North America, Europe, and Australia/New Zealand, presentations at EFT summits, workshops at the Networker and AAMFT, publications in the EFFT workbook and casebook, articles in professional journals and the ICEEFT newsletter. Professionally, Gail’s primary passion is to help therapists who are both new to EFT and trained in EFT, to bring the powerful interventions and skills of this model to the family therapy room. Visit Gail’s website www.gailpalmerefft.com.

Marjorie Nightingale

Marjorie-Nightingale-headshotMarjorie Nightingale, PhD, JD, LMFT is in private practice in Washington, D.C. where she specializes in couple and sex therapy. She received her master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy from LaSalle University. She received her doctorate in Couple and Family Therapy at Drexel University where her research focused on racially sensitive interventions for African American couples. Additionally, she teaches in Marriage and Family Therapy programs at University of Maryland, College Park. She has extensive clinical experience working with diverse couples. In addition, Ms. Nightingale spent several years as a family law and child welfare attorney in Baltimore where she worked with marginalized populations. As a scholar-practitioner, she has a special interest in addressing the intersection of sex and race in therapy for people of color. She recently received the 2020 AAMFT Foundation’s Outstanding Research Publication Award for her first academic article: Emotionally Focused Therapy: A culturally Sensitive Approach for African American Heterosexual Couples.

Paul Guillory

Paul Guillory, PhD is an Associate Professor at the University of California, Berkeley in the Clinical Science Program, Psychology Department. He has taught courses on Emotionally Focused Therapies at U.C. Berkeley. He is certified trainer, supervisor, and therapist of Emotionally Focused Therapy. He is the author of “Emotionally Focused Therapy with African American Couples: Love Heals” Routledge, August 2021. Dr. Guillory has presented at a number of recent workshops including “Emotionally Focused Therapy in a time of Racial Reckoning” with the Couple & Family Institute of New England; “Race and Couples Therapy Conference” with the Eikenberg Academy For Social Justice; and “Deep Roots: Attachment & Culture” with the LA Center of EFT. He has recently produced two EFT training videos that dynamically integrate Emotionally Focused Therapy with a cultural lens for working with race-matters in couple’s therapy. He is the former chairperson of the Northern California Community of Emotionally Focused Therapy. Dr. Guillory was the psychological consultant to the Oakland Raiders professional football team and the National Football League for 14 years. He has also been a consultant to the Sacramento Kings professional basketball team, and is a selected provider for the National Basketball Players Association. He served as Director of the Center for Family Counseling in Oakland California for ten years. He is a life-time member of the Association of Black Psychologist. And he is a life-time member of the USA Masters Track & Field Association. He has been in private practice in Oakland California for over 30 years. For more info about Paul, visit www.paultguilloryphd.com.

Acey Mercer

Acey A. Mercer, LMSW is a graduate of the University at Albany School of Social Welfare where he obtained his Master’s in Social Work. Prior to graduate school Acey studied at Radboud Universiteit in the Netherlands where his academic focus was in Gender and Sexuality Studies. These foci ignited Acey’s passion to further explore and examine human behavior, relationships and the dynamics of class, race, ability, gender and sexuality. These motivating factors drew Acey to pursue social work and ultimately to become a licensed psychotherapist and educator. Acey is currently Practice Manager at Choices Counseling & Consulting in Albany, NY where he oversees clinical referrals and is responsible for the overall daily operations. He is also a Clinician at Choices and counsels clients exploring gender identity and expression. He works with adults, youth, and their families as they navigate questions and challenges related to the social, legal and medical aspects of gender transition. Acey’s clinical lens gives a strong compliment to the professional education services he delivers as Senior Consultant of the Training Institute for Gender, Relationships, Identity, and Sexuality (TIGRIS). Acey specializes in providing clinical training and policy development as it relates to best serving transgender and nonbinary populations in medical, mental health and educational institutions. Visit his website at www.choicesconsulting.com/choices-associates/acey-a-mercer.

Joseph Winn

Joseph Winn LICSW, CST-S received his MSW from The Boston University School of Social Work in 1995. Joe has completed extensive post-graduate training in domestic violence, and family and couples therapy with a particular interest in structural, strategic, Bowenian, collaborative language systems and post-modern models of intervention. Joe is also an AASECT certified sex therapist, and AASECT certified supervisor of sex therapy. Joe has been self-employed in private practice since 2006 has a thriving supervisory practice and maintains an office in West Concord, Massachusetts. Joe works primarily with mixed gender, LGBTQQIA + individuals, couples in open and consensual non-monogamy, polyamory and kink and has a particular interest in high conflict couples, and couples looking to regain pleasure and trust-based sexuality after sexual assault and abuse. While drawing from a variety of couples therapy models including EFT, experiential, and object relations, Joe resonates most strongly with Bader and Pearson’s Development Model of couples therapy. Joe is also a member of the training faculty with The South Shore Sexual Health Center, in Quincy, Massachusetts. SSSHC is an AASECT approved training program for clinicians looking to become AASECT Certified Sex Therapists. Visit his website at www.josephwinnlicsw.net.

Sidney Trantham

Sidney M. Trantham, PhD is an Associate Professor & Division Director for the Division of Counseling & Psychology at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He received his Ph.D. in 1999 from the University of Florida (Gainesville). His doctoral work focused on exploring the impact of early childhood sexual experiences on the psychological functioning of adult males. He was a Harvard Clinical Fellow (1996-2000) at the Cambridge Health Alliance in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he completed his clinical psychology internship and neuropsychological post-doctoral fellowships, as well as engaged in research identifying early cognitive markers of HIV-related dementia. His work at Fenway Health (1999-2006) in Boston, Massachusetts included working with adults to address a variety of issues related to sexual identity development. Dr. Trantham maintains a private practice where he provides integrative psychological, neuropsychological, and gender assessment as well as mental health counseling with children, adolescents, adults, and families. Areas of clinical interest and expertise include working with transgender and non-binary children and adolescents, sexual and racial identity development, and mood disorders. Learn more about Sidney at sidneytrantham.com.

I. Scott Cohen

I. Scott Cohen

I. Scott Cohen, LICSW, LMFT is both a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. Since 1978, he has provided couples, family, individual and group therapy. He specializes in working with victims of violent crime and post-traumatic stress disorder, adolescents and their families, and substance abuse and addictions. He received his Masters Degree in Social Work from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He is the current Treasurer of The Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards, a national association which serves the MFT regulatory board of every state in the US. He served as the President of the Massachusetts Association of Marriage and Family Therapy in 1994/1995. He served at total of fourteen years as one of the two marriage and family therapy representatives to the Massachusetts Board of Registration for Allied Mental Health. He is an AAMFT Approved Supervisor and a Board Certified Diplomat in Clinical Social Work. He has taught marriage and family therapy at several training institutes and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Divorce Center, Inc. for eight years. He is also a founding member of the Greater Marlboro Sexual Abuse Hotline.

Mr. Cohen has held membership in The International Society For Traumatic Stress Studies and in the National Association of Social Workers and maintains membership in the American Association For Marriage and Family Therapy. Twice, he was awarded the Significant Contribution to the Association Award by the Massachusetts Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and in 2000, he was given a Divisional Contribution Award by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Mr. Cohen serves as a Red Cross volunteer as a Disaster Mental Health Specialist. Prior to his retirement from practice last year, he maintained and managed a private practice of four clinicians in Framingham, MA. A nationally known trainer and presenter, he has given presentations at international, national and state conferences as well as conducted numerous trainings on both a local and national level. Contact Mr. Cohen here.

Meet the Administrator

Lindsay Swan

Lindsay Swan is an artist, graphic designer, and administrative professional, originally from Brooklyn, NY. She has worked for the Couple & Family Institute since 2017. She currently lives in Cloquet, MN with her partner and 3-year-old daughter.

Contact Lindsay at admin@coupleandfamilyinstitute.com.

See Past Instructors