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A Message from CCSU

CTAMFT is always proud to offer its members information on new programs.

CCSU now offers a weekend cohort track in the MFT Program. Please see the attached flyer  (Weekend flyer Summer 2016 – General (rev 12-10-15) for more information.


URGENT: Read before you vote. CT leaders input re: National Vote

Dear Colleagues,

Regarding the AAMFT by-law vote taking place this summer through August 15:

Many of you have asked us our opinions regarding the proposed AAMFT by-law changes. Our division charter limits us as Connecticut Board members to follow AAMFT direction regarding voicing opinions about AAMFT matters. Therefore, we will share how either vote will be likely to play out in Connecticut:

A “yes” vote would eliminate the Connecticut division by ending mandatory dues payments and division leadership, with a transition starting in January 2016. This will mean all leadership authority and fiscal decision-making will be centralized with the national organization with a focus on forming special interest groups.

In the event that CT MFTs choose not to fund local services in any respect, lobbying, employment advocacy, local conferences/CEUs and statewide student/new grad mentoring in Connecticut would end.

We are optimistic, however, that local adaptations are possible, and will consider forming an organization independent from AAMFT to close any gaps in services.

A “no” vote would maintain mandatory local dues payments and fund the services that are currently in place in Connecticut until a new plan is accepted. If a plan for restructuring is re-drawn, we would advocate that it include specifics for all regions that AAMFT serves, regarding ways to:

  • maximize strengths to promote the MFT profession locally
  • include regional leadership roles and information gathering
  • address weaknesses and threats to the MFT profession
  • incorporate fiscal plans for specific regional and lobbying initiatives
  • incorporate service region culture and demographics
  • incorporate future service trends in the MFT profession

We strongly encourage you to check for your AAMFT ballot and control number, emailed May 29, or vote via paper ballot before the vote ends August 15.

We fully support your vote based on your own interpretation of the abundant information shared. For more information, feel free to call work numbers for Heather 203-438-3139 and Denise, at 860-486-2396.

Denise Parent, LMFT                            Heather Ehinger, LMFT, EdD
Rosemarie Coratola, Psy.D., LMFT      Jeffrey Schutz, LMFT, BCN, ORD
Normajean Cefarelli, LMFT                   Wendy Haggerty, LMFT
MaryAnn LaBella, M.A., LMFT              Nicole O’Brien, M.A., Ph.D.
Christine Senu, MFT student

To Panel or Not to Panel

Health Insurance

Health Insurance

On Saturday March 2, Katherine Allen, current CTAMFT Board Member, was one of many graduates asked to participate on a panel for Ingeborg Haug’s Ethics class of current MFT students at Fairfield University regarding “Life After Graduation”. One of the topics that was discussed was the choice and process regarding accepting insurance and getting on insurance panels.

Luckily, for Fall/Winter 2011, Katherine had written an article for Connecticut Connection, the CTAMFT Newsletter, titled To Panel or Not to Panel. It is being re-posted here for the students and for anyone who wishes to look into accepting insurance in your private practices.

As always, Katherine is available to field questions at marketing@ctamft.org.

2013 CPT Code Changes

For 2013 there have been major changes to the codes in the Psychiatry section of the AMA’s Current Procedural Terminology, the codes that must be used for billing and documentation for all insurers. These changes apply to any services provided beginning January 1, 2013.

  • A distinction has been made between an initial evaluation with medical services done by a physician (90792) and an initial evaluation done by a non-physician (90791).
  • The psychotherapy codes have been simplified and expanded to include time with both the patient and/or family member: There are now just three timed codes to be used for psychotherapy in all settings (90832  30-minutes; 90834  45-minutes; 90837  60-minutes) instead of a distinction made by setting and whether E/M services were provided.
  • The psychotherapy codes that remain the same include family therapy, patient not present (90846), family therapy with patient present (90847), multi-family group treatment (90849) and group therapy (90853).

There are also new codes for Crisis Psychotherapy, Interactive Complexity Add-on, and extended session times (+30-minutes, +45-minutes and +60-minutes), if your agency or practice accommodates those scenarios.

Please visit ctamft.org and read the AMA’s full description in more detail.

Call for Submissions

Colleen LaFrancois, CTAMFT Newsletter Editor

I am delighted to serve as CTAMFT’s new Newsletter Editor for the Connecticut Connection and look forward to working with you!

The theme of our Fall 2012 publication is “Technology and Your Practice.” Technology extends our realm of influence, but it can either build bridges or walls between people. Some people use technology to overcome physical distance and enhance relationships. Others surround themselves with technology and ignore the needs of others.

How are you integrating technology into your practice? Are you utilizing social media effectively? What are the legal, ethical, HIPAA-related concerns you have about moving toward this boundless horizon? And, how is technology, in its many forms, affecting your clients? Is instant gratification a good thing? With cyber-bullying and internet affairs, clients’ presenting issues often include problems navigating through this ever-changing electronic world.

If you are confronting any of these intensifying challenges and opportunities in your practice, consider sharing your knowledge by writing an article. We also invite you to contribute member announcements such as professional accomplishments and milestones, interesting news items, responses to previously published articles and Letters to the Editor. Please respond with interest via email to ctamftnewsletter@gmail.com by September 21. Final copy is due by September 30, 2012.

Lastly, advertising in the Connecticut Connection is a very efficient and cost effective way to reach 1100 MFTs across the state. Member prices for advertising range from only $40 for classified ads to $300 for full page display ads. Please reserve your space by September 21, and submit display ads electronically (in camera-ready form unless exclusively text) by September 30, 2012 to October 8, 2012.

Note: Publication of submissions is not guaranteed, and editor retains the right to edit any submissions.

In Remembrance – Jane Lobdell

Phyllis Gordon and Wendy Davenson

Jane Lobdell

Jane Lobdell

Jane Lobdell, LMFT, unexpectedly passed away on Saturday, July 14, 2012 from complications related to lung cancer treatment.

As Director of Naugatuck Youth and Family Services, Jane supervised many Southern Connecticut State University MFT interns as well as interns from other MFT programs. Many students will remember her for her warm yet astute, supervision direction. Recently Jane had begun to teach the AAMFT Approved Supervisor course, continuing to show her dedication to the profession and therapist personal growth.

As CTAMFT’s President from 2005-2007, Jane directed the Association in the hiring of a dynamic lobbyist, whose presence ensured the progress of CTAMFT’s mission to improve the professional lives of Connecticut’s marriage and family therapists.

Jane’s CT license plate read “BAMBI”. That is what Jane’s grandchildren called her. When a grandmother puts her ‘grandmother’ moniker on her license plate, that speaks volumes about the love of her! Jane had many friends in many venues. She touched everyone with whom she worked, taught, volunteered, befriended. She will be sorely missed but remembered with many smiles!

Jane lived her life with honesty, integrity, and love. Jane’s legacy to all who crossed her path includes being enriched by her wisdom, spirit, humor and heart. Because she was teacher, mentor, friend, mother, and hero to hundreds of us, we will keep her memory alive and vibrant. As she lived in life, may she live in death.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to her mother and sister, son Sean and his fiancée Soraya, daughter Alicia and her husband RIck, grandchildren Libby and Jake and to those with whom she worked most closely at Naugatuck Youth and Family Services.

Letter from the President – Spring News

Spring Leadership News

CTAMFT President
Dorothy Timmermann, LMFT, CTAMFT Board President

“It’s a Brand New Ballgame,” was this year’s theme for the 2012 Spring Leadership Conference (March 15-18) in Arlington, VA. Division leaders from Connecticut joined the other divisions to discuss the new AAMFT membership categories, Code of Ethics, division bylaws updates, new technology, National Health Career Network, legislative issues, media training, and more. The event was full of valuable ideas and we are excited to share them with all of you. Highlights from the discussions will be presented during the CTAMFT Annual Conference and Meeting, Friday, April 20th, and a summary will be posted on CTAMFT.org as part of our Annual Report late April.

Want more involvement in the discussion? Please consider joining your CTAMFT Board of Directors in welcoming AAMFT Representatives and other Regional Division Leaders at our local “Innovations that Work” networking event, Thursday, April 19th, from 6-8pm at the  Mystic Marriott. For more information, please email us at CTAMFT or call 203-254-1748.

Also save-the-date, AAMFT’s Annual Conference will be held on September 13-16th at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, NC. The theme is “Women: Evolving Roles in Society and Family.”

Annual Conference Update

Mystic MarriottThere is still time to join friends and colleagues at this year’s Annual Conference being held Friday, April 20th at the Mystic Marriott. Registration is open for another two weeks and the Conference Committee is aiming for 350 in attendance. For some added fun, drawings will be held for the next three days to award “Red Door Spa” prizes to new conference registrants. So don’t wait, register today and you may be a lucky winner! The Red Door Spa located at the conference hotel is also offering attendees 20% off all services and complimentary makeup refreshers for Thursday and Friday. Enjoy some self-care and call today to book your appointment: 860-446-2500.

Michele Weiner-Davis

Michele Weiner-Davis

This conference features a wonderful line-up of Speakers Presentations offering up to 7 Continuing Education Credits to Full-Day Attendees. We are also offering a Half-Day Ticket to those who wish to attend only an Afternoon Workshop, Poster Session and Career Fair. Speaker presentations for the day include: “It Takes One To Tango: Doing Couples Therapy with Individuals” by Michele Wiener-Davis who is our keynote presenter. Dr. Krista Wells will provide a “Therapist Self-Care” presentation following our Luncheon. Afternoon Workshop offerings include: Dr. Tammy Nelson presenting: “Sex & Intimacy; Treating Couples with Desire Discrepancy and Sexual Dysfunction,” Dr. Rosalyn Dischiavo presenting: “From Work to Play: Reinforcing the Partner Bond by Re-Framing Pleasure,” and Michele Weiner-Davis presenting: “Affairs: A Step by Step Approach for Healing from Infidelity.” Further details and registration is available on CTAMFT.org.

Please join us!

Student Networking Event

A FREE Student Networking Event follows the Annual Conference on Friday, April 20th, from 5-7 in Conference Room 7 at the Mystic Marriott. Please email Steven Fabius for further details.

Regional Collaboration

The Rhode Island Division is offering an exciting spring seminar entitled “Let’s Talk About Sex!” to be held on Friday, May 11, 2012, at the North Beach Clubhouse in Narragansett, RI. Details and registration is available at RIAMFT.com.

Free DSM-5 Seminar

On Wednesday, April 18, 2012 from 11:30-1:00, Silver Hill Hospital is offering a free 1.5 CEU Grand Rounds presentation of an in-depth look at the new DSM-5: a Critical Overview. Presented by Michael B. First, M.D., Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, this presentation will cover some of the major changes, implications and controversies surrounding the DSM’s revisions. At the end of the program, participants will be able to:

1. Identify the major proposed changes to the DSM-5
2. Review the nature and specifics of the DSM-5 controversies
3. Evaluate the need to balance risks vs. benefits in making changes to the diagnostic system

Space is limited. To register visit Silver Hill Hospital’s website or call (203) 801-3443.

Loving Relationships

by Katherine Allen, MA, LMFT

connectednessThe New York Times has run some very hopeful pieces lately concerning the importance of loving relationships in our lives. As we already know, marriages are on the decline, but I do not believe that is an indication of the importance of love, connection and interconnectedness in our lives, quite the contrary in fact.

First, there is the article titled, “The Brain on Love” by Diane Ackerman. In this piece she very hopefully summarizes that even in the face of terribly troubling childhoods that may even have been bereft of safe attachments, that the brain is capable of being “rewired” to a more positive outlook through the development of a loving intimate relationship. She references research, also pioneered by Sue Johnson, of a spouse’s touch having the ability to reduce negative stimulus reactions when there is a safe, loving bond between partners.

Secondly, in “Forging Social Connections for Longer Life”, columnist Jane E. Brody shares a poignant reflection of her own journey, 2 years post having lost her husband of 44 years, in which she concludes that,  social connectedness had a greater influence on survival than heart drugs. She reflects from John Robbins book, “Healthy at 100”, in study after study, people in loving relationships with spouses or friends were healthier than those lacking this intimacy, even when the latter had healthier living habits.

So no matter what your marital status, the importance and impact of healthy, loving relationships, bonds, attachments, or whatever one may wish to call them, is far greater than we may yet know.

“Who I’m Following”

Social Media

To help CTAMFT members become more comfortable with social media and networking, we are going to start a monthly piece called “Who I’m Following” where either Katherine Allen or another Board member will share a piece of their online social world to help dispel some of the fear for others.

This month, Katherine shares some of her insights about LinkedIn, the popular professional networking service.

LinkedIn is a web site which acts as a online resume cum professional networking center. On it, individuals can post professional histories and accomplishments in a personal profile (see, for example, Katherine’s profile), as well as post opportunities for those looking for work, or look for new opportunities themselves. An accurate and complete profile can be used to let both clients (potential and current), as well as colleagues, know your background and skills. Because LinkedIn is so popular–over 58 million members in the U.S., and about 150 million worldwide–it can be a cornerstone in the promotion of an individual therapy practice, and an essential tool in personal career building.

LinkedIn also has Groups: like-minded individuals who share tips, ideas, resources, etc., in an online forum. As a rule, LinkedIn Groups are aimed at professionals who want to share thoughts, experiences, and questions with their peers. A LinkedIn Group is generally more formal than its comparative “free-for-all” equivalent on Facebook or Twitter, which mental health practitioners can find more appropriate and appealing. Even as a LinkedIn personal profile is viewable by the public, LinkedIn Groups are peer-to-peer oriented.

Katherine belongs to several LinkedIn Groups, including United States Mental Health Professionals-Members Only GroupNAMI, Mediators and PeacemakersAlternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) ProfessionalsAddiction, Abuse, Trauma Recovery Strategies and of course, Connecticut Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

Groups have either open or closed membership–often, closed groups can be preferable because membership is vetted by the group’s moderators, and the discussions are similarly scrutinized. You can usually browse some groups’ current topics to see if it is suited to your interests. When a group’s moderators require prospective members obtain their approval, they are basically trying to keep out people intent on misusing membership to sell products or otherwise “spam” other group members.

Groups all have a daily or weekly summary option; you can choose how often you’d like to receive e-mail, if at all, related to member activity (messages, discussions, etc.) in a group. Typically members pose a question they may have, and then look to colleagues for supporting advice and views. In therapy-oriented groups, the discussions often concern tough cases, with members offering support to one another in the use of emerging models and approaches. Help in practice growth and organization is another popular topic.

Joining both LinkedIn and some of its wonderful groups is a safe and simple way for a therapist to get more involved in social networking. Active participation in a group is optional, and a group member can “window shop” to get a sense of  a particular group’s tenor before jumping in more actively.

The Role of Desire and Intimacy in Couples Therapy

Tammy Nelson, PhD



Couples who are satisfied with their sex lives are happier than those who aren’t and are more likely to stay together. Sexually satisfied couples report that they feel more connected and have a more intimate relationship in all areas. Married couples who aren’t having good sex tend to express more frustration with their partner and are more discouraged about the future.

And yet most therapists don’t focus on intimacy and increasing the erotic connection in couples work. Clinicians assume that if they work on the day to day frustrations and increase communication skills that this will lead naturally to a more rewarding sexual life. But good companionship doesn’t necessarily lead to good sex. In fact, it works the other way around.

For more information on helping couples to increase their erotic connection and improve their overall intimacy and well being, go to my website or buy my book Getting the Sex You Want, and learn practical ways to increase desire and intimacy in any relationship.

Dr. Tammy Nelson is a sex and relationship expert and the author of What’s Eating You?, Getting the Sex You Want and the upcoming The New Monogamy due out in 2012. She will be speaking at the CTAMFT Annual Conference on April 20, 2012, on “Intimacy & Desire.”

Marriage Rates at All-Time Low

Macdara MacColl, CTAMFT Editor

Fewer Americans are married today than at any other time in our nation’s history. If the current trajectory continues, married adults will be a minority in a few years, according to a new study released last month by the Pew Research Center.

Pew Research - Marriage

The causes for the decline are not entirely clear. A significant 5% drop in marriage rates in 2010 over 2009 may have to do with the economy. But many of the trends clearly started before the country’s current economic woes. In the 1960s, 72% of all adults were married; today only 51% of adults are. The age of first marriage has been creeping upwards for decades. The median age for first marriage in 1960 was 20.3 for women and 22.8 for men. The current median age for first marriage is now 26.5 for women and 28.7 for men. This means that over the past 50 years, Americans have added almost a decade of single living to their developmental cycle. In addition to young Americans, marriage rates also have heavily declined among less educated, less wealthy Americans. Possibly marriage is not being abandoned, just delayed.

Attitudes toward marriage are also shifting. The Pew Research Center has been asking Americans about marriage attitudes and finds mixed results. Almost 40% of Americans said marriage is becoming obsolete, according to a Pew Research survey in 2010. But in the same survey, most people who had never married said they would like to tie the knot someday. And the divorce rate, which climbed in the 1960s and 1970s, has now leveled off.

As marriage and family therapists, the current conjugal trends underscore the need for conversation among us. Do we consider ourselves therapists for marriage or, more generally, relationship? Does our profession’s very name become antiquated in a country in which less than half of the adults are married? And what are our examined and unexamined assumptions about the meaning of marriage and its role in family? If your clinical clientele is drawn from younger, less affluent Americans, have you noticed the shift away from marriage?

We invite CTAMFT members to join the conversation on our Facebook page and share your insights about the state of marriage in America today and how it affects your practice.

LMFTs to be Reimbursed for More Medicaid Clients

In the last week of 2011, Connecticut’s Behavioral Health Partnership (CTBHP) notified participating clinicians of changes to reimbursement guidelines for licensed masters level clinicians, which includes LMFTs being able to receive payments for more Medicaid clients. Here is the notice from CTBHP:

Independent Practice: Licensed Masters Level Clinicians

Effective January 1, 2012, independent licensed master’s level clinicians (LCSW, LMFT, LPC, LADC) will now be eligible for reimbursement for covered behavioral health services to Medicaid FFS (fee for service) members that are under 21 years of age. Prior to January 1, 2012, master’s level clinicians were only able to be reimbursed for HUSKY and Charter Oak members. Beginning January 1, 2012, master’s level clinicians will be able to be reimbursed for HUSKY A, B, C, D and Charter Oak members under 21 years of age.

See the full report PA 2011-24 – Changes to Business eff 1-1-12 – 12 28 11.

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