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Letter from the President – Innovations That Work

Innovations That Work

CTAMFT President

Dorothy Timmermann, LMFT, CTAMFT Board President

2012 CTAMFT Annual Conference

2012 CTAMFT Annual Conference

Each and every time I have the opportunity to spend quality time with colleagues in our field, I am always left feeling inspired and motivated by something that I’ve heard or more fully sensed from the interaction. Innovations that work are happening all around us. This was the motivation behind the addition of a Regional Networking Event aimed at Clinical Members as part of this year’s Annual Conference. We have invited colleagues from surrounding Divisions as well as AAMFT to share in this experience with us. Our hope is to create the space for the flow of ideas and shared connections to spark creativity and deepen our work. Consider joining us Thursday evening, April 19th from 6-8 at the Mystic Marriott. Tickets are $25 (drinks and light fare included) and must be reserved in advance. Booking is available online at ctamft.org as part of the conference registration.

Another opportunity provided by this year’s CTAMFT Annual Conference is the time for Self Care. Our venue is not only beautiful and serene, it has a wonderful spa! The Mystic Red Door Spa is extending a warm welcome to us with 20% off all services and complimentary makeup refreshers. Book some time before or after our events for yourself by calling 860-446-2500 and referencing the “warm welcome” special for our group. Discounted rooms are also being held under the group booking code: MNFMNFA ($149/night and available for both Thursday and Friday nights).

As a reminder, Early Pricing on Registration runs through March 1, 2012. If you have any questions at all about the conference please email us.

We hope that you will join us this year for what is sure to be a pleasurable and engaging time!

Saving Couples

Michelle Weiner-Davis

Michelle Weiner-Davis

As a Marriage and Family Therapist, what’s your attitude about divorce? Do you take a values-free stance about change, facilitating movement in whatever direction your clients’ choose? Or do you have a default preference for the survival of the couple or for individual fulfillment? How do you define successful treatment for a couple in distress?

This year’s CTAMFT Annual Conference  will provide a forum to grapple with therapeutic assumptions about couple’s therapy. Keynote speaker Michelle Weiner-Davis, author of Divorce Busting, among other works, couldn’t be clearer about her therapeutic endgame. “I hate divorce,” she writes in her blog.  For Weiner-Davis, marriage is a highly valuable human endeavor, and she rarely feels hopeless about a couple’s chance for healing and growth.

From her wealth of experience, Weiner-Davis knows many couples can be saved, even those who present in a highly conflicted state after or during infidelity. Her program for helping couples is an optimistic approach that encourages highlighting small changes. She offers couples concrete strategies for creating change in their relationship. For instance, she coaches folks to try specific tactics, like: Do Something Different, Act As If, Easier Done Than Said, The Medium is In The Message, and Do a 180.

If you work with couples in your practice, this year’s conference will provide a rich opportunity to examine your own assumptions about preferred therapeutic outcome. And whatever you discover about yourself as a couple’s therapist, you will certainly increase your range of interventions in dealing with even the most conflicted couples.

DSM-Depression versus Bereavement
By Macdara MacColl, CTAMFT Editor

Another controversy erupted last month over a proposed revision to one of our field’s most important tomes, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). This time the debate swirls around bereavement and depression.

I can has cheezburger - sadIn the current DSM-IV-TR, the criteria for Major Depressive Episode include an exclusion for bereavement. A client, in other words, is not experiencing a depressive episode if his symptoms are better accounted for by loss-related bereavement (DSM-IV-TR, p. 356). Bereavement is listed as a separate V-code (V62.82). The assumption is that depression-like symptoms are sometimes normal after a significant loss and therefore not a disorder.

In the proposed fifth revision (DSM-5), slated for publication in May 2013, the bereavement exclusion is eliminated from Major Depressive Episode as is the V-code for bereavement. In other words, even if a client’s depressive symptoms are related to a recent loss, the clinician may still diagnose the individual as suffering from a major depressive episode.

But a new article authored by Jerome Wakefield and Michael First of NYU analyzes available studies and challenges the validity of removing the bereavement exception (BE). After examining the studies cited in support of removing the BE and subsequent literature, the authors concluded:

“The claimed evidence for the BE’s invalidity does not exist. The evidence in fact supports the BE’s validity and its retention in DSM-5 to prevent false positive diagnoses. We suggest some improvements to increase validity and mitigate risk of false negatives.”

The debate, as covered in outlets such as the New York Times  and The Daily Beast, raises fundamental questions about our field’s stance on “normal” versus “disordered” emotional behavior. Given that depression is often treated with medication, altering the diagnostic criteria for depression can be especially impactful for clinicians and patients alike.

Visit the DSM website  for more information about the manual, the proposed changes, and the process for offering input.

Antidepressant Use Linked to Increased Pulmonary Hypertension Risk in Infants
When It Comes To Depression, Serotonin Isn’t the Whole Story


BHP Update

Last month, we reported that CTBHP had announced that LMFTs could now receive reimbursement payment for Medicaid FFS clients under the age of 18. Subsequently, BHP sent out a retraction, stating “Changes to Business Effective 1/1/12, has been retracted. A revised Provider Alert on this topic will be forthcoming, therefore, disregard the previous transmittal.”

The original alert covered a range of changes to billing practices and procedures; LMFTs receiving expanded Medicaid reimbursement was one among many changes. The revised alert has not yet been distributed, and we don’t know at this point whether the expanded Medicaid reimbursement issue will be affected or not. We’ll keep you posted via e-News.


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