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Friday, July 6, 2018 - 4:45pm

Laurel Salmon ’05, LMFT, MFT ’13, adjunct professor of psychology, received the Early Career Award from the American Family Therapy Academy (AFTA) on June 23.

The award, a commendation for outstanding achievement and potential, was presented at the AFTA 40th Annual Meeting and Open Conference at the University of Texas at Austin by long-time Mercy colleague Evan Imber-Black, Ph.D., MFT, program director for the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences. In her speech Imber-Black, Ph.D. LMFT, who has known Salmon since her time as a graduate student with Mercy’s master’s program, depicted the wealth of Salmon’s career of service — from her beginnings “embracing the challenges of inequalities in race and gender,” to her achievements with AFTA today — committed to furthering the integration of oppression theory into mainstream clinical practice.

As a therapist for Courtlandt Avenue Clinic (formerly Steinway Child & Family Services) for more than four years, Salmon runs a weekly oppression supervision group for interns. Joining AFTA in 2013, she now chairs the Early Career Membership Committee and the Nominating Committee, and has represented Mercy at AFTA’s prior conferences and events alongside other professors and accomplished names in therapy.

Long before her current repute in academia and family therapy, Salmon began at Volunteering Counseling Services — an organization offering individual and group therapy to women who suffer abuse — where even as an intern her passion for impacting the lives of the underrepresented and oppressed was nurtured.

“Already as an intern, Laurel recognized the insufficiencies of an approach that left out couples and families,” Imber-Black said of Salmon’s early career. “With astuteness, and careful joining, Laurel moved the larger system in order to insert new and needed services for men who batter and for relatives who must parent young children.”

Salmon has worn many hats in her commitment to change, both as the facilitator in the New York Model Batterer Program and as the program director of SCO of Family of Services. In and beyond the classroom and in both public and private practice, Salmon is devoted to education on oppression and its relationship to the helping professions, discussing both in particular in her chapter titled “The Four Questions: A Framework for Integrating an Understanding of Oppression Dynamics in Clinical Work and Supervision,” featured in the book, “Creating Cultural Safety in Couple and Family Therapy Supervision and Training.”

“The moment that I walked into my first AFTA Conference, it has felt like home and I knew immediately that I have wanted to be a part of this organization,” said Salmon on her award. “AFTA has helped me shape my career and share my work. I have had the pleasure and privilege of friendship and mentoring from so many people that I admire in my field through my time with AFTA. It is such an honor to receive the Early Career Award.