Milestones: Innovation and Service Since 1968


Chicago area psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers begin exploring an innovative type of treatment, family therapy. They form a study group in 1965 under stewardship of Charles H. Kramer, MD, and begin practicing and teaching together.


Demand for training and consultation grows rapidly; in response, the group establishes the not-for-profit Family Institute of Chicago, with Dr. Kramer as its first director. Institute staff conduct nearly 2,000 therapy sessions in the first year.


The Family Institute formalizes training in family therapy, developing a two-year postgraduate program as well as a workshops and seminar program for mental health professionals.


The Family Institute of Chicago merges with Northwestern Memorial Hospital's new Institute of Psychiatry and forms the Center for Family Studies; Institute staff receive academic appointments through Northwestern University Medical School.


Programs for psychiatry and doctoral students added, increasing the number of mental health professionals exposed to family therapy principles. In 1979, the Family and Child Clinic is created to treat families and provide enhanced training opportunities for students. Also in the 1970s, the Center pioneers a research study on the qualities of healthy divorced families; research becomes part of The Institute's mission.


William M. Pinsof, PhD, succeeds retiring founder Charles Kramer, MD, as President of The Family Institute and Director of the Center for Family Studies.


Plans are made to reestablish The Family Institute as an independent organization; a fundraising campaign for a new building is launched.


The Family Institute separates legal and financial ties from Northwestern Memorial Hospital and re-establishes as an independent not-for-profit corporation. The Institute launches its Community Outreach Program to bring mental health services to low-income, at-risk families.


The Family Institute signs an independent affiliation agreement with Northwestern University; the pact includes a 99-year lease of land for a new headquarters on NU's Evanston campus.


The Institute begins its first academic offering under the new affiliation, an intensive two-year professional training program leading to a Master of Science degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Northwestern University. The LaGrange Park office opens.


Following a $4.7 million capital campaign, The Family Institute opens its new headquarters, the Bette D. Harris Center. The 26,000-square-foot building offers state-of-the-art facilities for clinical services, education and research.


The affiliation with Northwestern University is enhanced with formation of the Center for Applied Psychological and Family Studies, a new umbrella for academic and research collaboration. Also, Adoptive Families Program, Midlife & Beyond Program and Anxiety and Panic Treatment Program begin.


Northwestern University moves its Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology program to The Family Institute as part of the new Center, doubling the size of The Institute's graduate student body; to accommodate additional students and faculty, The Institute expands its Evanston headquarters.


The Institute develops a new program to serve Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender clients. Pilot research on Generalized Anxiety Disorder is completed in advance of application to National Institute of Mental Health. The Family Business Program begins.


Researchers at The Family Institute study the effects of depression and anxiety on marriages and families under the auspices of Northwestern University's Center for Applied Psychological and Family Studies.


The Institute expands its downtown Chicago office. The Alumni Association Board elects to dissolve as a separate corporation and come under the umbrella of The Family Institute. The Family Institute, employed by Stateway Community Partners, develops The Park Boulevard Program and employs staff to provide case management services to help qualified CHA residents meet the necessary CHA housing requirements to relocate to the new 36-acre, mixed-income Park Boulevard community in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood. The Depression Treatment Program begins.


Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine psychiatrists-in-training begin treating Family Institute Clinic clients.


The Family Institute begins its Mindfulness and Behavior Therapies under the direction of Michael Maslar. In addition, The Institute begins offering neuropsychological and psychological assessments.


The Institute opens its fourth location in Northbrook.


Celebrated the 40th Anniversary of The Family Institute. Retirement of Lenore Blum, PhD, Director of Counseling Psychology program after 33 years.


Expansion of the 10th floor at the downtown location. Doug Breunlin, MSSW, named Director of the Marital and Family Therapy program. The Institute develops a new program, Rainbow Families. Institute received a Visual Identity and Brand Strategy grant from the Taproot Foundation. The Institute and Norway develop a consortium using the STIC®.The Family Institute website is enhanced to include two new blogs, Tip of the Month and Kaleidoscope.


Launch of a new Family Institute logo and brand identity. Francesca Giordano, PhD, named Director of the Counseling Psychology program. Parents in Charge (PIC) comes to the Institute. Reconfiguring of the Community Outreach program into the education programs. The Master of Science program changes its name to Marriage and Family Therapy (from Marital and Family Therapy). The Chicago PsyChange Consortium is founded (for the Psychotherapy Change project and STIC®).


Jay Lebow, PhD, named editor of Family Process. Further expansion of downtown location to include the 11th floor. Updated perspective is published: Integrative Problem Centered Metaframeworks (IPCM). Master of Arts program offically changed to Counseling. The Institute develops a new program, the Child and Adolescent Program. Received a Website Service Grant from the Taproot Foundation.


Clinical trials begin on the STIC® in Chicago and Norway. Launch of a redesigned Family Institute website.


In recognition of significant contributions to the work of the Psychotherapy Change Project, the Institute renamed the Psychotherapy Change Project to the Dan J. Epstein Family Foundation Center for Psychotherapy Change. All future research on the STIC® and its companion measurement, the ITSR, will be conducted under the auspices of the Epstein Center. The Institute receives its first-ever federal grant in support of Dr. Lynne Knobloch-Fedders’ research, “Reintegration Difficulty of Military Couples Following Deployment.”


Counseling@Northwestern, our online Master of Arts in Counseling program, launches with the first cohort beginning April 2015.