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Letter from the President – An Introduction

Denise Parent, LMFT
Denise Parent, LMFT, CTAMFT Board President

Dear Members;

You may have noticed a new picture at the top of the President’s message. The torch from former President Dorothy Timmermann has officially been passed to me as of July! It is an exciting challenge to be able to serve as your new President at this particular time in our profession’s evolution.

I am in the lucky position to be on the coat-tails of many past Presidents and Board members who have helped to achieve professional credibility for MFTs in Connecticut. In recent years, CTAMFT has supported creating pathways into schools and convened conferences that AAMFT views as competitive with national offerings. I have learned a little something from all of the excellent examples of leadership before me. And though I may never achieve my friend and colleague Dorothy Timmermann’s elegance, you can count on me to be direct, relatively calm, creative and only mildly silly as I proceed through the next two years!

We found ourselves busy over the summer for several reasons. First, we persist with our ongoing attempts to introduce a bill for a temporary license (LMFTA) for new graduates doing their 1,000 hours of supervised practice. Second, we are addressing “scope of practice” questions from the Department of Public Health. As of 2011, any new license proposal needs to be vetted through a formal committee and funded through the appropriations committee. We also met with the Association for School Psychologists to clarify some issues with the implementation of MFT in the Schools and discussed responding to concerns about state contracts with some friends in state program evaluation positions.

Sadly, our terrific Association Manager, Wendy Haggerty, has decided to devote more time to her successful sex therapy practice and spend time with her family (drat, the nerve of her!). She will be leaving the staff position, but not the membership, at the end of December. This resulted in contracting to fill Wendy’s position, for one year at the outset, with our current Marketing and Conference Manager, Shannon Eterginio. Shannon was instrumental in the smooth success of last year’s annual conference. The Board agreed that our positive experience with Shannon and her skills as a marketing, public relations entrepreneur and event planner lend themselves very nicely to doing member relations work, conference planning and public relations. Why public relations, you ask? At the end of last year the Board began to discuss the possibility of carving out a stronger niche for MFTs as expert in couple and family intervention, and we have decided that a public relations campaign may be a useful way to implement this. More to come on this after further discussion.

Last week, our Board had its first meeting after summer break. We welcomed new member MaryAnn Labella, Clinical Director at Fairfield University, as well as our new Student Representative, Jessica Floyd from CCSU. Our first meeting was to talk about last-minute details for our October 25, 2013 workshop on the new DSM-5 and ethics, (offered at low cost, $75 for early birds).

Trumbull Marriott

Trumbull Marriott

We also spent a great deal of time discussing the 2014 Annual Conference. Make sure to mark your calendars for The New Brain Science of Connection, which is scheduled for April 24 and 25, 2014 at the Trumbull Marriott. lcozolinOur keynote speaker is Dr. Louis John Cozolino of Pepperdine University, and we have many other exciting workshops featuring neurofeedback and mindfulness interventions with families, as well as exploring how neuroscience impacts attachment across the lifespan. We have also agreed to “shake our souls” again with Jayne Deane and planned plenty of time for snacking and chatting with our members. Our Board is excited to learn more about the possibility of science supporting what we have always known – that everything happens in the context of relationship. We will be running a student poster session again, and have asked each of the five schools in the State to represent themselves at it – keep your eye out for the “Call for Posters” to be released shortly.

Speaking of the five schools, the Board also hosted the five university programs to discuss common issues, share best practices and discuss new offerings. Sebastian Perumbilly from Southern CT State University will serve for the next two years as CTAMFT’s Academic Liaison, a non-voting Board position designed to increase communication/collaboration with Program Directors and the CTAMFT.

In addition, this distinguished group of Program Directors also discussed accreditation procedures, new programs, specialties of each MFT training program and confirmed that Connecticut has rich and diverse marriage and family therapy academic traditions to draw from. We all hope to create a more seamless journey from student to clinical professional and to enrich employment possibilities for MFTs. Several of the faculty and students from the five programs will be in Portland, OR for the AAMFT Annual Conference, as will I. Please stop by the Division/Program showcase or touch base with any of us while you are there if you go!

Finally, CTAMFT welcomes your input, has plenty of work to do and is particularly interested in tracking employment trends this year. So beware (it’s almost Halloween, isn’t it?)… we may come knocking on your door for one reason or another. Trick or treat!

Wishing you candy apples, vibrant leaf peeping and crisp Sunday afternoons with family and friends.

~Denise

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