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Letter from the President: AAMFT Restructuring Update

by Denise Parent, LMFT, President of CTAMFT (president@ctamft.org)

Denise Parent, LMFT, President of CTAMFT

Denise Parent, LMFT, President of CTAMFT

At our recent conference, we received several questions about AAMFT’s Division restructuring process.  Most recently, you received a survey from AAMFT about this subject. The CTAMFT Board is receiving information at the same time as you are, so we are processing this as well. Our understanding is that this restructuring would change the state “division” structure, possibly replacing it with “chapters,” “specialty” groups, or regionalizing etc.

The short version, after the Board’s thorough review of the AAMFT documents and discussion, is that AAMFT’s goal is to find the correct organizational structure for AAMFT to a.) Participate effectively in the greater mental health delivery system (i.e., remain “relevant”), and b.) Offer high-quality member benefits in a “transnational environment.”

aamft

 

 

Issues AAMFT raised are as follows:

  • Inconsistent member benefits across states based on the size of membership and local volunteer interest, create divisions that “have” and “have not.”
  • The possible retirement of many of the current Clinical Fellow population means potential for substantial loss of dues revenue in the next 10 years.
  • The new smaller cohort of “millennial” Clinical Fellows coming up are anticipated as being more diverse, nationally and globally mobile and tech savvy, with different needs –  possibly finding state division and council of division presidents structure bureaucratic.
  • The cost of AAMFT dues are approximately twice that of sister organizations.
  • Many states experience inconsistent interest and performance in division management issues like finance, conference event planning and legislative advocacy.

Connecticut has always had a reputation as a legislatively active, innovative and fiscally responsible division that can pull off a great conference. We strongly support student “millennials” through their travels to licensure and highly value our established clinical members of all ages. We believe that AAMFT has to have a strong national presence for important federal initiatives like Medicare, and items that cross over state lines, like interstate license portability. We also feel that there is an equally strong need to build local relationships for legislative and professional advocacy, as well as support members in strong networking/educational opportunities, new professionals mentoring, state-specific communications and “in person” contact.

AAMFT will convene a meeting with an Association Consultant and a task force with a mix of invited division leaders from larger and smaller divisions in August. I was told at the Division Leaders meeting in March that any decisions regarding this would depend on task force discussion and will take at least three years to implement. Victor Olsen, a Connecticut-based LMFT and a member of the AAMFT Board, has been invited to participate in the task force, while Nancy Knudsen, President of the Massachusetts Division, will represent the New England states and voice the needs of smaller divisions.

As a Board, we hope that we have struck a good balance in Connecticut and hope that there will be strong national and local presence in whatever new structure is chosen.  In spite of the lengthy material we have received from AAMFT, it is hard to speculate how this will roll out in Connecticut.  It seems that there is an inclination toward financial management and strategic planning taking place at the national, rather than local level, but we can’t be sure.

We will stay alert to the process and be vocal about promoting the field of MFT, which we see as the Association’s chief responsibility, both nationally and locally.  If you have further questions or comments, please feel free to email.  Our Board is preparing comments to submit to the task force at their August meeting and would be happy to hear your thoughts.

I look forward to hearing from any of you with questions or comments.  I can be reached at president@ctamft.org.

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