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Professional Development Fall Conference Recap

by Rosemarie Coratola, Psy.D., LMFT
CTAMFT Secretary & Professional Development Committee Chair (profdev@ctamft.org

“Wonderful and much-needed presentation.”
“Very informative and current.”
These are some of the comments from participants who attended CTAMFT’s Fall Specialty Conference last month.

The conference included two half-day workshops and was filled with lively and thought-provoking discussion. Ethics and Marriage and Family Therapy was presented by Sebastian Perumbilly, Ph.D., LMFT in the morning session. The afternoon workshop presenter, psychologist Danielle Moreggi, Ph.D., discussed the DSM-5 and changes made to the previous version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), DSM-IV-TR.

2013 Professional Development - EthicsEthics
Ethical guidelines for Marriage and Family Therapists are listed in the form of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) “Code of Ethics,” and are guidelines. However, they do not identify exact methods to carry out each of the guidelines. Ethical principals are developed through thoughtful consideration about the needs of the client(s) and not those of the therapist. Dr. Perumbilly led the workshop participants in lively discussion about case vignettes and ethical dilemmas, which led many in attendance to rethink their current practice procedures.

Specific legal and ethical issues in MFT were reviewed including 1) identifying the client or patient, 2) clinical documentation, 3) confidentiality, 4) communicating with other systems, 5) working with minors, 6) reporting of child abuse and neglect, 7) intimate partner violence, 8) use of technology and 9) therapist values.

The group also discussed managing possible risks and dealing with complaints. Record keeping was cited as an important component in this. The group was encouraged to review the AAMFT Code of Ethics that can be found at AAMFT Code of Ethics . This important topic sparked much discussion and led to many more questions, along with requests for additional information from legal and state administrative authorities.

Fall Specialty Conf_3DSM-5 Overview
Dr. Moreggi reviewed changes to the DSM that will take effect beginning October 2014 with use of the DSM-5. This revised manual is structured into three sections. The first describes how to use the manual. The second is a listing and description of all of the disorders. And the third section identifies assessment measures and conditions for further study. The chapter order better reflects the lifespan, in comparison to the DSM-IV-TR version, and age-related factors were added to the criteria when appropriate.

Some of the highlighted changes include the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) of the DSM-III, DSM-IV and IV-TR was eliminated and replaced with a Severity Specifier (e.g., No Impairment, Mild Impairment, Moderate Impairment and Severe Impairment). The Not Otherwise Specified (NOS) specifier was replaced by two options – Other Specified Disorder (OSD) and Unspecified Disorder (USD). The first allows the clinician to indicate the specific reason that the presentation does not meet full criteria, and the second is used when the symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment but do not meet the full criteria, or number of symptoms, for the diagnostic class.

Mental Retardation was changed to Intellectual Disability, and is expected to change further to Intellectual Developmental Disorder in the next DSM iteration. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) now includes Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder.

A new category of Trauma and Stressor-Related Disorders includes PTSD, Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder, Acute Stress Disorder and Adjustment Disorder. Many other changes were noted during this afternoon session.

Additional DSM-5 resources can be found at www.psych.org, www.DSM5.org, http://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org and www.psychiatry.org/dsm5.

CTAMFT wishes to thank the presenters for their engaging discussions throughout the day, the Courtyard Marriott Shelton and the CTAMFT Professional Development Committee; Normajean Cefarelli, Kristen Cocchia, Erin Cushing, Jessica Floyd, Beth Golden, Roxanne Pomeroy and Alycia Toohey. Of course, this conference could not have flowed smoothly without the hard work of the CTAMFT staff – Wendy Haggerty and Shannon Eterginio, thank you both!

For additional information, or if you are interested in joining the CTAMFT Ethics or Professional Development Committees, contact – ethics@ctamft.org or profdev@ctamft.org. We would love to hear from you.

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