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.
MaryAnna Domokos-Cheng Ham, Ed.D., LMFT, is a Professor Emerita at the University of Massachusetts Boston. From 1985-2005 she was a tenured faculty in the Department of Counseling and School Psychology. While at UMass Boston she founded and developed the Family Therapy Program, and was its director. After 18 years of institutional development, FTP was awarded full certification from COAMFTE, (Commission On Accreditation of Marriage and Family Therapy Education) the accrediting body of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. The UMass Boston FTP became the first academic program to be accredited in Massachusetts. This achievement was a milestone because, unlike many other states in the U.S. with several COAMFTE accredited programs, no marriage and family program in Massachusetts had ever been accredited by COAMFTE.
Dr. Ham has also been a former president of the Massachusetts Division of AAMFT and a national board member of AAMFT. Her scholarship has been focused on issues of diversity, biracial coupleships, and ethics. For over 30 years she has provided family, couple, and individual therapy to diverse racial, cultural, gender identified populations. Although well versed in many modalities of therapy, her clinical focus is systemic therapies, in particular post-modern and social construction approaches including narrative therapy.
Currently, Dr. Ham maintains a private practice in Northampton, MA. She is also a Master Therapist for Couples Therapy Inc, an online therapy practice that treats couples located internationally and throughout the United States. She continues to be affiliated with UMass Boston by teaching online advanced family therapy courses. Throughout her work, MaryAnna maintains her commitment to social justice and respectful communication.
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.
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 Co-Editer 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.
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.