Co-Founders and Co-Directors Nancy Knudsen and Jack LaForte are a married couple who have come together professionally to establish this institute at a stage in their careers when giving back is of utmost importance. Both trained as family therapists in the 1980’s, they are each committed to the value of seeing human beings in the context of their families and communities.
Nancy Knudsen, LMFT, is a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice in Northampton, MA with over 30 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 8 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 co-directing the Couple and Family Institute of New England located in Northampton, MA.
Jack LaForte, Ph.D., 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.
Acey A. Mercer, LMSW is the Practice Manager and a licensed Psychotherapist at Choices Counseling & Consulting in Albany, NY where he counsels children, adolescents and adults of all backgrounds, identities and abilities. Acey is well versed in providing support and guidance in areas related to: Gender Identity, Gender Transition, Relationships, Sexuality, Sexual Orientation, Sexual Health, Self-Esteem, Trauma, Mindfulness, Strengths-Finding, Communication Skills, General & Social Anxiety, Depression, and Stress Management.
Carolyn Broudy, MD is a board-certified psychiatrist and the Director of The Family Connections Center. She received her M.D. and M.S. from NYU School of Medicine, and completed her psychiatry residency and a fellowship in Women’s Mental Health at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She subsequently completed the Infant-Parent Mental Health Fellowship at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, and the American Psychoanalytic Association Fellowships. She has taught at the Smith School of Social Work, and worked as a consulting psychiatrist for the state-wide program Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project for Moms. Her years of experience working with new parents and young children inspired her to open The Family Connections Center as a way to bring together a team of therapists who could better serve the needs of the entire family during the early years of parenting.
Lorrie Brubacher, M.Ed., LMFT, RMFT is the Founding Director of the Carolina Center for EFT. She is certified with the International Centre for Excellence in EFT (ICEEFT) as a therapist, supervisor, and trainer. She is author of Stepping into emotionally focused couple therapy: Key ingredients of change (2018). She has worked in private practice in couple and family therapy since 1989, and currently practices in Greensboro and Winnipeg, Canada. She has an adjunct faculty appointment at UNC Greensboro, and has previously served as an instructor at 3 Canadian universities. She publishes and presents frequently on the topic of EFT, often publishing with Dr. Sue Johnson, the originator of EFT for couples. Lorrie has co-authored six chapters with Dr. Sue Johnson, published in the Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy, in the Journal of Marriage and Family Therapy and in Person Centered and Experiential Psychotherapies, and is on the editorial board for the ICEEFT newsletter.
Additionally, she teaches Emotionally Focused Individual Therapy and is co-developer, with Dr. Lillian Buchanan, of the first EFT interactive video training program, accessible at www.attachmentinjuryrepair.com. In support of that training program, J. Makinen, one of the AIRM researchers writes, “You have made the attachment injury concept, which has historically been overlooked / minimized by therapists, come alive in a way that research can never do.” For additional information about Lorrie and her work, please see www.lbrubacher.com, www.carolinaeft.com, and https://steppingintoeft.com.
Annette Cycon, MSW has over 30 years of experience as a social worker, child and family therapist and group facilitator. She is the Founder of MotherWoman, author and Master Trainer of the MotherWoman Support Group Model, which she taught nationally. She is co-founder, with Liz Friedman, of GPS Group Peer Support, LLC, a training organization building the capacity of diverse group leaders nationwide. Together Liz and Annette have designed the GPS model to be utilized with diverse populations, such as perinatal mothers at risk for or experiencing perinatal emotional complications, women in recovery, maternal health care providers, parental bereavement, faith-based and peer groups in educational settings and many others. Annette is well-known for her expertise and training in perinatal mood disorders, group facilitation skills and the application of culturally competent skills in clinical and group settings. She is co-author of the GPS model and is a GPS Master Trainer in the US and Guatemala.
Charles C. Daniels, Jr. is a noted Therapist, DRK Entrepreneur, Author and instructor who has taught at Simmons College and Harvard University. After suffering from the absence of his own father, Charles took an unexpected approach to identify the barriers that prevented his own father from remaining engaged in his life. That personal journey transformed into a mission to serve fathers nation-wide, so they can remain positively engaged in their children lives. His faith has led to the creation of Fathers UpLift, the nation’s first outpatient mental health center dedicated to paternal health and male family engagement. It offers an innovative, self-sustaining, and scalable clinical mental health care model. The programs provided by Fathers’ UpLift help fathers address their often-complicated challenges and needs associated with becoming and being a father, while also helping their children, families, and society overall.
Nancy Knudsen, LMFT, is a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice in Northampton, MA with over 30 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 is a certified EFT therapist as well as a certified EFT supervisor, 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, and has facilitated over 12 couples weekend workshops using the Hold Me Tight® Program developed by Dr Sue Johnson. 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 co-directing the Couple and Family Institute of New England.
Mirza Lugardo, LMHC has 14 years of experience as Director of the Intensive Family Services Program of Harrington Hospital working with chronically mentally ill children and their families. Her skill set includes community outreach, program development, crisis intervention, clinical supervision, prevention, dual diagnosis, co-occurring disorders and psychological assessment among other things. She is working towards her Ph.D. in Applied Psychology, Couples and Family Therapy from Antioch University New England Graduate School. Mirza is also credentialed as a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor. In addition, she has been trained as a Doula and has helped over 100 women go through labor and childbirth in hospitals and birth center settings.
Dr. Janine Roberts is Professor Emerita, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, past president of AFTA (American Family Therapy Academy), and a practicing family therapist. She is the author of Tales and Transformations: Stories in Families and Family Therapy (Norton Press); some seventy articles and chapters; a poetry book, The Body Alters (Slate Roof Press); coauthor of Rituals for Our Times: Celebrating, Healing, and Changing Our Lives and Our Relationships (Jason Aronson); and coediter of Rituals in Families and Family Therapy (Norton Press). She has had two Fulbrights to Latin America and has lived, worked, and traveled in more than 70 countries, beginning with Kuwait in 1963.
Theresa Bullock Cohen, LICSW, BCC, CGP is a licensed social worker, certified group psychotherapist, certified EFT couples therapist, and certified supervisor in full-time private practice. Her clinical focus is working with individuals, couples, and groups who struggle with secure attachment and intimacy. Theresa is a former supervisor for the Harvard University Mental Health Service, and currently provides supervision and consultation to therapists in private practice. She has taught as an adjunct professor at the Boston College Graduate School of Social Work and is currently on the teaching faculty for the NSGP group training program. Theresa has over 15 years of clinical experience leading groups, and she has presented continuing education workshops for Boston College, Harvard University UHS, the Psychodynamic Couple and Family Institute of New England, Seacoast EFT Community, Psychology Specialist of Maine, and the annual conference for the Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy. www.tbcohen.com
Meet the Administrator
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 Ashfield, MA with her partner and 1-year-old daughter.