• Welcome to the CTAMFT Blog!

    A dynamic community for members of the Connecticut Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and their constituents.
  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 43 other subscribers

Letter from the President – Healing From Trauma

CTAMFT President
Dorothy Timmermann, LMFT, CTAMFT Board President

Dear Members,

We will never forget the tragedy that hit our home state of Connecticut just a few short weeks ago. To our friend and colleague Nelba Márquez-Greene and her family, there just are no words to adequately express our sympathies. We understand the trauma of losing your Ana will have an everlasting effect and we collectively hope for the strength and courage you need to heal. We wish to share with everyone that a contribution from our membership was made in honor of Ana Grace Márquez-Greene as a small act of giving from us all.

We are grateful that this year’s Annual Conference theme is Healing Through Family Therapy. We are honored to welcome Dr. Eliana Gil and Dr. Kenneth Hardy as keynote speakers for this event. The format has changed and we are excited to offer a broader program spanning two days which allows so much more time for our connections and relationships to grow. Please consider spending this time with us. Details and registration are now available online at ctamft.org.

Also included in this month’s news you will find information about the new CPT codes that are now in effect, CTAMFT Bylaw Updates, information about CTAMFT’s New Video Workshop Series, 2013 Call for Election Nominations, and the Final Call for Poster Submissions (for the Annual Conference). We appreciate your involvement and hope that you are finding what you are looking for from us. As always, please feel free to contact us with any of your individual needs or ideas.

All my best,

Changes in Connecticut

We are re-posting Dorothy’s President’s Letter, recently featured in the Connecticut Connection, to better ensure that all members learn about the changes in store for CTAMFT.


Dear Members,

We all understand that change is inevitable and even though change has always been a part of life it seems that change is happening faster than ever before. Being able to adapt and respond effectively in a constantly changing world has become a necessary skill. How we respond to change is a funny thing. When we initiate change we may view it as stimulating and full of opportunities. When change is imposed on us, our experience is likely to be quite different.

“The Drama of Opposites” written by Charlette Mikulka, a presenter at our upcoming 2013 Annual Conference, helps to illustrate this point in family life. The changes and “growth” of our professional association also demonstrates this to us as a group. So what types of changes are we referring to now you may be asking yourself?

A significant change that has been determined by the Board to be important in adapting to the changing times, as well as being fiscally responsible, is the elimination of future printings of the newsletter. Communication platforms have shifted so significantly over the last two years and we believe that we can reach our members most efficiently and effectively in an electronic format. Even Newsweek magazine has recently announced that they will publish their final print edition December 31st, as they go completely digital in 2013. We have already been publishing a Monthly E-News and our plans include enhancement of this communications vehicle as we move ahead.

Another change that is underway is the offering of a new marketing/advertising program that provides an opportunity for members and other organizations promoting workshops and trainings to gain inclusion on our website and reach members via email with a Listserv package. This is in part due to diminishing income from individuals seeking MFT CEUs for workshops, a change that has been occurring over time due to many providers choosing to offer just NASW CEUs, which meet the requirements for MFTs as well. This new program will go into effect as of January 1st, 2013, and will include the limiting of Listserv postings that are advertising directly to members for workshops and trainings to those that have either contributed via applying for MFT CEUs or have taken advantage of the new marketing/advertising program.

A final note on change has to do with our 2013 Annual Conference on April 25-26. Following a year of engaging our neighboring divisions in discussion about collaborating for growth opportunities, the Rhode Island division has elected to join us in hosting an expanded conference offering. Our upcoming conference will encompass two days and feature multiple popular presenters including: Dr. Kenneth Hardy, Dr. Eliana Gil and Charlette Mukulka. There will be new social and networking opportunities along with special offers from the Mystic Marriott to enhance your visit and encourage overnight stays. We will also offer multiple ticketing options to accommodate various needs. Further details and registration will be available soon.

On a closing note, I would like to remind members that one way to accept change more readily is to be a part of it and understand all that goes into the decisions that are being made on behalf of the organization. We are actively recruiting at this time for committee involvement and hope that you will consider getting involved. Some of our more active committees include: Membership, Annual Conference, Professional Development, Ethics, the Student Committee and the Legislative Task Force. For further information please email us at manager@ctamft.org.

-Best Regards, Dorothy Timmermann, LMFT

Letter from the President – Season of Change

CTAMFT President
Dorothy Timmermann, LMFT, CTAMFT Board President

With the leaves changing outside our windows, many of us experience internal shifts in the way we experience our days. We “hunker down” so to speak, getting to work on what we have to do. That is what your Board is all about these days. We are very busy forming committees, redefining goals, planning for workshops and the conference, preparing the budget, building a legislative task force, and more. We are a very active Board and we hope you will find our energy contagious. Whether it is in your own work or if you have extra capacity and would like to get involved with CTAMFT, we encourage you. We are a community that is here for your benefit. Let us know what you need and how you would like receive support from us. We are listening!

Letter from the President – We’re Back in Action!

CTAMFT President
Dorothy Timmermann, LMFT, CTAMFT Board President

Welcome back to the CTAMFT E-News following our two months summer hiatus. We hope that everyone has gotten a chance to enjoy a bit of summer relaxation time.

Your Board of Directors is back in action after meeting a couple weeks ago for the purpose of orienting the new members and staff. I’d like to officially welcome our new Board Members: Normajean Cefarelli (Clinical Fellow), Betsey Lebow (Clinical Fellow), Jeffrey Schutz (Pre-Clinical Fellow) and Michelle “Mika” Vinci (Student Representative). Their enthusiasm for serving our organization is very exciting.

We have also transitioned our Newsletter staff and would like to introduce Colleen LaFrancois as our new CTAMFT Newsletter Editor, along with John Suchocki as our Clinical Consultant & Contributing Writer. Colleen is a former Corporate Vice President of Marketing who now owns and operates LaFrancois Marketing Consultants, a full-service marketing, PR and events firm based in Old Saybrook. Colleen offers exceptional writing, editing, verbal and presentation skills. Colleen’s true passion is working with non-profit groups to help creatively solve problems and develop exciting programs and products. This role with CTAMFT is a perfect blend of her interests and skill set, and the organization’s needs. John will work with Colleen to provide clinical expertise and be an ongoing contributing writer for the Newsletter. John has been licensed as a Marital and Family Therapist since 1998, holding several progressively responsible positions in the field. Currently, he is a Service Director at Community Health Resources in Manchester, CT where he manages several outpatient and community in-home clinical programs for youth and families. John is also the co-founder and co-director of a private practice (Life Counseling, LLC) that offers counseling services for youth, adults, couples, and families, supervision for therapists, and consultation services.

Please take a moment to read this E-News in its entirety. There is information regarding an upcoming Professional Development offering on “Social Media” as well as a Save-the-Date for our 2013 Annual Conference. A Call for Submissions for the next Newsletter is also included. In addition to articles reflecting the theme of “Technology and Your Practice,” we are inviting you to contribute member announcements such as professional accomplishments and milestones, interesting news items, responses to previously published articles and Letters to the Editor. Finally there is a note in remembrance of Jane Lobdell, a member who passed this summer but lives in the hearts and memories of many in our community.

Letter from the President – Tribute to Barbara Lynch

CTAMFT President

Dorothy Timmermann, LMFT, CTAMFT Board President

As we head into the summer months, I am reminded that as New Englanders we experience seasonal transitions that vary greatly and offer opportunities for us to appreciate the changes that occur both in our physical surroundings as well as in our emotional space. So as the grass is growing and the plants flowering all around us, many will also experience the mood lifting experience of more sunshine and perhaps some well deserved time off. Seasonal transitions can also be difficult for people, like any other transition. For some, the summer heat will feel oppressive and the pollen in the air can be quite bothersome. Perhaps summer days will leave some feeling lonely and conjure memories that may include the loss of loved ones. These possibilities and others are all our collective realities.

I’d like to take a moment to send a heartfelt wish for as much peace and joy among our community as is possible over the coming months. Your Board of Directors will take a two-month break after our June 8th meeting. While work will continue through the summer, our structure supports the decreased commitments and finds it is helpful in reenergizing everyone. We look forward to regrouping in September and encourage members to reach out over the summer and find out ways to get more involved with our professional association. Please contact us anytime at ctamft@snet.net.

The Board of Directors would also like to thank Southern Connecticut State University for so graciously hosting our last Networking Breakfast and Meeting. We had a wonderful turnout of students, faculty and community members; and appreciated the opportunity to dialogue in a very personal manner.

Please now spend a moment hearing the thoughts of fellow members as we reflect together on the loss of a great woman and wonderful contributor to our community. Barbara, you will be forever in the hearts of many.

(from the Monday morning supervision group)

Barbara Lynch

Barbara Lynch

Barbara, our mentor, supervisor, colleague and friend. Her death leaves a real void not only in our Monday morning schedules but also in our personal and professional lives. It is hard to imagine our world without her in it, even though we had been preparing for her exit for a long time. Barbara was open to talking about her death in our groups and she taught us so much about saying goodbye, closure and tying up loose ends.

We started our journey as a group in 2005 at Southern Connecticut State University and in 2009 with the increased need for oxygen tanks Barbara moved the group to her home. Much of what we have learned in these groups is embedded in some form within each one of us.

Barbara had strong opinions and was never shy about voicing what she believed. Underneath these strong opinions she also held a strong safety net beneath each one of us, sometimes pushing us to take a new step, sometimes challenging our view of cases. Always planting a seed and allowing us to grow at our own pace. Barbara was always systemic in her thinking and her statements and questions always had a well thought out strategic intervention. She was always thinking one step ahead. Barbara strived to be an artist in everything she did and indeed she was an artist to us, we were always thirsty for her words, point of view and intervention.

We would like to share some of what we learned from Barbara in these Monday morning groups:

Thank you Barbara for teaching us:
1) The power is in the system and that the change needs to come from the system. For always emphasizing that the symptom has a positive function in that system and that we either normalize, maximize or minimize these symptoms to help the system with change. To see that all behavior has a purpose and that these behaviors are ACTS of LOVE. To support the healthiest part of the system first. Stabilize the larger system first. When feeling stuck as a therapist expand the system, bring in more family members. As therapist hold the negative for the system so that system can take on the positive.

2) All about how clients recreate their family of origin (FOO) and that the roles we take on in our families as children, are the roles we take forward in our relationships and families. And how important sibling positions were in shaping these roles. That differentiation from FOO or rather the lack of it creates many issues in relationships.

3) So many things about the correct stance to take as a couples therapist. Avoid being triangulated at all times, always work in the best interest of the relationship help couples clarify their relationship and to assist couples to find the purpose of their relationship. Dig deeper, do not accept their first answer of what brings couples to therapy, keep asking: “What else?” In a healthy relationship you can see your partners’ flaws and love them with these flaws. All exit signs need to be closed in a relationship. Unconditional commitment means that each partner can see their part in their patterns. What are the meta-rules (the rules about the rules) in a relationship. An important part of a relationship is having selective amnesia. First thing to assess is hierarchy. It takes real skill as a therapist to control the emotional tone of the session.

Thank you Barbara for these reminders about life:

We always have what we want.
There are no coincidences in life.
Things always balance out. Be thankful when they balance out in a way that we can handle.
There has to be a no to every yes.
Awareness alone is not enough to make change happen.
It is always both. It is not this or that, it is this AND that.
Sometimes doing nothing is doing something.
There can be no growth without pain and suffering.
To be mentally clean ourselves so that our work as professionals is clean too.
To carve out personal space in life and in your relationship.
Hold onto good habits especially when life is challenging.
Find and always have something that allows the expression of creativity.

Barbara Lynch

Barbara Lynch, SCSU

Dear Barbara:
A teacher is a very special person
Who uses his or her creativity
And loving, inquiring mind
To develop the rare talent
Of encouraging others to think, to dream, to learn, to try, to do.
Beverley Conklin

Teachers are like flowers:
They spread their beauty
Throughout the world.
Their love of learning
Touches the heart of their students,
Who then carry that sense of wonder
With them wherever they may go.
Teachers, with their words of wisdom,
Awaken the spirit within us all
And lead us down the roads of life.
Deanna Beisser

Thank you Barbara for always role modeling the essence of what you taught and touching our lives as therapists, supervisors, teachers, students, parents, and most importantly in being a genuine human.

With much love and respect,
Monday supervision group.

Letter from the President – Annual Conference and Business Report

Annual Conference and Business Report

CTAMFT President

Dorothy Timmermann, LMFT, CTAMFT Board President

MAMFT Treasurer, Mary Jane Beach

MAMFT Treasurer, Mary Jane Beach

What a pleasure it was to welcome more than 300 attendees at our recent CTAMFT Annual Conference held at the beautiful Mystic Marriott. For many this conference was our time to reconnect with colleagues, make new acquaintances, discover fresh ideas, and to strengthen our capacity to work with the couples and families that seek our guidance. We were fortunate to have several extraordinary speakers presenting this year including: Michele Weiner-Davis, Dr. Tammy Nelson and Dr. Rosalyn Dischiavo. Presentation materials from all of our speakers are available for download online at ctamft.org.

It was also such a lovely treat to have representatives from neighboring Associations join us for the Networking Event on Thursday evening. We look forward to future collaborations with both Rhode Island and Massachusetts members.

As is tradition at our Annual Conference, I also had the honor to announce the following 2012 CTAMFT Award Recipients:

Service to Families Award, in recognition of her contribution to strengthen and support families: Dr. Janis Abrahms Spring (a contribution was made to the National Parkinson Foundation on her behalf).

Distinguished Service Award, to one of Connecticut’s leading educators, Dr. Stephen Anderson, who is director of the MFT Program at the University of Connecticut; director of the Center of Applied Research in Human Development; and a professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies.

Service to the Organization Award, in recognition of a group of individuals who have consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty and were the guiding force behind CTAMFT’s successful implementation of our Elections e-vote system that is now in place: Nancy Wergeles, Heather Ehinger and Paula Levy.

Service to the Organization Award – Levy and Ehinger

 We also held our Annual Business Meeting at the Conference this year. For efficiency sake, highlights were shared and the details are posted for all members to review online at ctamft.org. This 2012 Business Report includes summary information on achievements and financials from 2011, as well as the 2012 budget details.

Wendy Haggerty and Jeff Shutz

Wendy Haggerty and Associate Representative Jeff Schutz

Regarding our Association’s Business, an area that we are always concerned with is our Legislative agenda. For the upcoming year, a main focus will be on presenting our “Associate License” bill for passage, and we will begin to put together a team in early fall to be prepared to do so. We also continually support the efforts led by AAMFT on improving access to Medicare-covered mental health benefits by pushing for recognition of LMFTs. There are also some AAMFT changes, such as those to the Member Categories, that will need our support divisionally to implement with new Bylaws. We are taking this opportunity to review our Bylaws in great detail so that we can make overall improvements as well as needed adjustments. Members will be provided with relevant information and voting members will be asked to vote for approval of changes this fall.

Finally, we would like to invite members to join us for the next Networking Breakfast and Board meeting which will be held at Southern CT State University on this Friday, May 11th in the Alumni Room of the Adante Student Center. Please RSVP immediately to e-mail if you are interested in attending. This will complete our recent outreach to all the MFT programs in CT and we appreciate being so welcomed and all the wonderful connections made.

Director - Betsey Lebow

Director – Betsey Lebow

AAMFT Annual Conference

Please consider attending AAMFT’s Annual Conference being held September 13-16th at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, NC. The theme of this year’s conference is “Women: Evolving Roles in Society and Family.” If you are attending and interested in sharing information with CTAMFT members, please contact Wendy Haggerty at 203-254-1748 or e-mail.

CTAMFT Election Results

Student Representative - Michelle Vinci

Student Representative – Michelle Vinci

The Elections Committee, led this year by Paula Levy, was responsible for the coordination of many excellent candidates. Thank you to all who participated and also those members who took the time to vote. Please join us in congratulating the following people, assuming their elected positions in July 2012.

        • President-Elect: Denise Parent, LMFT
        • Director: Normajean Cefarelli, LMFT
        • Director: Betsey Lebow, LMFT
        • Associate Representative: Jeff Schutz, MA
        • Student Representative: Michelle “Mika” Vinci
        • Elections Committee Member: Diane Safran, LMFT

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.

Letter from the President—Spring Ahead!

Spring Ahead!

CTAMFT President

Dorothy Timmermann, LMFT, CTAMFT Board President

Mystic Marriott

Mystic Marriott

Spring is a time when the energy around us seems to be renewed and our work often benefits from that collective energy. Your CTAMFT Board and Staff find ourselves moving at a fast pace with multiple priorities and exciting happenings. You have already heard much about this year’s Spring Conference and we are excited to report that we already have over 100 of our members registered to join us! We will kick-off the conference on Thursday evening with “Innovations that Work,” a special regional networking event with our AAMFT colleagues Tracy Todd, Director of Professional and Public Affairs, and Past President Linda Schwallie. Later that evening we are offering a free movie screening of the new documentary film, “After Happily Ever After”, a funny and thought-provoking look at what drives most Americans to marry in a lifetime and how some of them make marriage work. John Gottman, Betsey Stevenson and Stephanie Coontz all weigh in on the subject, along with an engaging group of long married couples. Spend the night at the beautiful Mystic Marriott and wake up refreshed for the Spring Conference on Friday, April 20th, 2012.

Also during this time of year, AAMFT hosts the Spring Leadership Conference and once again Connecticut will send delegates to participate on our behalf. Meetings have been set with key legislators on Capitol Hill with an emphasis placed on parity and gaining Medicare coverage for services provided by MFTs. A critical meeting will also take place with AAMFT to discuss the possibility of elimination of the USDE requirement for COAMFT accreditation and how that will need to be worked on a local level. Other local legislative issues are also at the forefront of our work and we will continue to update you all on issues and progress along the way.

Each spring, the CTAMFT Elections Committee is also busy seeking candidates to serve us in numerous Board of Director positions. Shortly you will be receiving E-Voting information so that you can help elect those positions in your member category. We are enthused about this year’s quality candidates and excited about welcoming new members to the Board.

So let’s all spring ahead together! Thank you for your continued support and involvement with CTAMFT.

Enhance Your Value as a Knowledge Worker
Macdara MacColl, CTAMFT Editor

You may have heard the phrase many times: Knowledge Economy. People from President Obama to elementary school teachers have adopted the mantra that we must prepare ourselves to compete in a Knowledge Economy. What you may not have realized is that you, as a marriage and family therapist, are already a knowledge worker in that vibrant economy. Think about it: as MFTs, the coin of our realm is knowledge—our training and experiential knowledge that allows us to work with the myriad constrains and challenges facing our clients.

As clinicians, you also know that your knowledge is not fixed. You didn’t stop learning once you gained your degree or license. On the contrary, those achievements marked a beginning of your growth and development. You’ve been innovating every day of your professional life—trying new interventions, shifting your therapeutic stance, collaborating with different systems.

In a Knowledge Economy, innovation is crucial. But so is collaboration. In fact, the economist who first proposed the idea of a Knowledge Society, Peter Drucker, articulated a radical idea when he first wrote about the topic in the 1950s. In a traditional capitalist economy, competition is key. Businesses jealously guard their secrets. But in a Knowledge Economy, Drucker argued, collaboration is as important as competition. We must share our knowledge and insights because shared innovations beget more innovations. When we share what we know, we all benefit.

“[I]n a knowledge economy we have a world that revolves around the trading of ideas, knowledge and innovative insights,” said Ron Young, Chief Knowledge Officer of Knowledge Associates International Ltd.

CTAMFT Networking

CTAMFT Networking

On Thursday April 19, CTAMFT clinicians have an opportunity to enhance their value as Knowledge Workers and increase the value of our profession as a whole by participating in “Innovations that Work,” an evening of collaboration and sharing of our knowledge.

Join us at the Mystic Marriott and share what’s worked in your practice; what interventions have you created; what collaborations with schools or mental health providers or businesses have enhanced your systemic reach; what marketing techniques have brought clients through your door. As Knowledge Workers, we all benefit from shared innovation, so join us for a rich and rewarding evening of information and inspiration.


Promote Your Practice at the Annual Conference

promote your business

image courtesy Playlist.com

We are very excited to present this year’s CTAMFT Annual Conference, April 20th at the Mystic Marriott with keynote Michele Weiner-Davis, internationally renowned relationship expert. We also have wonderful afternoon speakers including: Dr. Tammy Nelson, sex & relationship expert, and Dr. Rosalyn Dischiavo, founder of the Institute for Sexuality Education, Enrichment & Enlightenment. There will be a Self-Care presentation midday with Dr. Krista Wells, plus the Poster Session and a NEW Career Fair. There is an opportunity to earn 7 CEUs for the day. We anticipate a great crowd this year.

We are seeking those who may be interested in promoting their practice, agency and/or services directly to the attendees. We have a special offer for those specifically providing services to couples to sponsor a table at our luncheon with your business name or logo and a brief synopsis of your offerings that will be marketed through signage on the tables. This table sponsorship will also include a business-sized ad in our Conference Program. We have a limited number available so this is offered on a first-come basis and the cost is $95.

Please email Wendy Haggerty for further details. Also attached you will find other opportunities to promote your business at the Annual Conference.

For more info & online registration, please visit CTAMFT.org

Thank you,
the 2012 Annual Conference Committee

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.

Be Informed – Get Involved

Dear CTAMFT Members,

AAMFT has asked the membership for feedback concerning the revision to our Code of Ethics. The revisions were assessed as to both the scope of change and the content of the changes. The approved draft of the revised Code of Ethics has generated a reaction piece from seven former Presidents of AAMFT who expressed concerns of replacing “Marriage and Family Therapists” with “AAMFT Members”.

As this is an issue of importance, we wanted to open a more “local” conversation about our professional ethics code with our Connecticut membership to discover what the consensus is regarding the proposed Code revisions.

Below is the response of former Presidents for your review and we encourage you to share your thoughts on via our Facebook page or Blog.

Also, we encourage you to respond directly by January 31, 2012 on the national level to AAMFT’s request for feedback to the proposed revised Code of Ethics. We have provided a draft of the proposed changes to the Code of Ethics in the Members Only section under “AAMFT Code of Ethics” on ctamft.org.

Best regards,


Subject: In Protest of the Proposed AAMFT Ethics Code Revisions
Dear Division Presidents, Program Directors, and Officers of the Canadian Registry

The letter below is sent on behalf of seven former AAMFT Presidents to express their deepest concern regarding the proposed changes to the AAMFT Code of Ethics. We would appreciate your sharing it with all AAMFT members in your division, your students, colleagues, and all who care about Marriage and Family Therapy.

In Protest of the Proposed AAMFT Ethics Code Revisions

Dear MFT Family,

We are writing today with a grave concern for the profession of Marriage and Family Therapy that each of us values and has dedicated much or all of our careers to. If you have not seen the proposed revisions to the current AAMFT Ethics Code (Ethics Code), please do so immediately. Amazingly, the Ethics Code Task Force has totally excised the term “Marriage and Family Therapist” from the proposed Code of Ethics. This was done on the dubious grounds that the new AAMFT membership categories mean that not all our members are entitled to call themselves “Marriage and Family Therapists,” and therefore keeping the term “marriage and family therapist” in the Code means the Code would not apply to all our members. Here is an excerpt from the proposed revisions to the first three principles:

1. Responsibility to Clients

Marriage and family therapists AAMFT members advance the welfare of families and individuals. They respect the rights of those persons seeking their assistance, and make reasonable efforts to ensure that their services are used appropriately.

1.1Non-Discrimination. Marriage and family therapists Members provide professional assistance to persons without discrimination on the basis of race, age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, disability, gender, health status, religion, national origin, orsexual orientation, gender identity or relationship status.

1.2 Informed Consent. Marriage and family therapists Members obtain appropriate informed consent to therapy or related procedures and use language that is reasonably understandable to clients.

But an ethical code is never meant to be directed at a single professional organization, but at the professional field as a whole.  Not one professional organization we have looked at, including the National Association of Social Workers, the American Psychological Association, the American Bar Association, the American Medical Association, the American Counseling Association, the American Nursing Association, and even the Association of Professional Wildlife Biologists directs its ethical code only at its organization’s members.   All direct their strictures at their entire field.

Thus the ABA Rules of Professional Conduct state “A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client.”   The AMA Code states “A physician shall be dedicated to providing competent medical care, with compassion and respect for human dignity and rights.”   The ACA Code states “Counselors encourage client growth and development in ways that foster the interest and welfare of clients and promote formation of healthy relationships.”   The Ethical Code for Nurses states “The nurse’s primary commitment is to the patient, whether an individual, family, group, or community.”  The NASW Ethical Code states “Social workers’ primary goal is to help people in need and to address social problems.” The APA Code states, “Psychologists strive to benefit those with whom they work and take care to do no harm.”

By doing away with the term “Marriage and Family Therapist” in the Code, the task force has in essence done away with any ethical code for our field.  Should the proposed code go into effect and a member of the public ask, “what is the ethical code for marriage and family therapists?” The only truthful answer would have to be “there is a code for AAMFT members but not for marriage and family therapy.”  This must not happen.

Licensing boards, courts, third party and practitioner liability insurers, employers, the developers of the MFT National Examination, and others that heretofore have adopted the AAMFT Ethics Code as the standard of ethical practice for licensed marriage and family therapists will be utterly unable to use the proposed standards, since they never mention marriage and family therapists.  The proposed standards thus do severe damage to one of the longstanding goals of AAMFT: to increase professional recognition of and respect for our field.  And they directly undermine licensure, reimbursement, liability protection, and new practitioner evaluation, which are all dependent on a profession-wide code of ethics.

The terrible irony is that a professional organization such as our own has an ethical duty to create an ethics code for the entire profession – not simply for its own members. The ultimate purpose of a code, after all, is to protect the public from unethical practice in the profession as a whole. No other entity is capable of fulfilling this obligation.

The National Association of Social Workers’ Code makes this obligation of a professional association explicit in its preamble:

Professional ethics are at the core of social work. The profession has an obligation to articulate its basic values, ethical principles, and ethical standards. The NASW Code of Ethics sets forth these values, principles, and standards to guide social workers’ conduct.The Code is relevant to all social workers and social work students, regardless of their professional functions, the settings in which they work, or the populations they serve. (our emphasis)

The American Medical Association has a similar statement in its code’s preamble:

The medical profession has long subscribed to a body of ethical statements developed primarily for the benefit of the patient. As a member of this profession, a physician must recognize responsibility to patients first and foremost, as well as to society, to other health professionals, and to self.  The following Principles adopted by the American Medical Association are not laws, but standards of conduct which define the essentials of honorable behavior for the physician. (our emphasis)

Yet the proposed revisions to the AAMFT Code strip away the idea that our profession even is marriage and family therapy, as if all we do is some ill-defined mental health activity and not what the U.S. Public Health Service designated many years ago as one of only five “Core Mental Health Disciplines,” and Newsweek recently labeled one of the “Top 50 Occupations of the Decade.”  Here is an excerpt from the new version of our Preamble:

Both law and ethics govern the practice of professionals. Wmarriage and family therapy.

Are we afraid to even name our own field?

Each of us whose name appears below remembers a time when all of us fought for the right to call Marriage and Family Therapy a licensable field, and to place that title after our names. We appeared before state or provincial legislators who routinely asked if what we did was really a profession — did it have a scholarly literature? Did it have standards for training?  Did it have, they all asked, a code of ethics?  If all we had been able to say was that AAMFT had one, but not the field, we would not have anything like 50 states, the District, and two provinces licensed today.

The proposed changes represent a threat to the core of marriage and family therapy, to our right to practice with our clients, to train and supervise our students, to conduct research with members of the public, and to be a recognized and valued mental health discipline. They threaten the right of the public to be protected from unethical practice by any marriage and family therapist. There can be no compromise on this issue.

AAMFT must either speak for our profession as a whole or our profession will die. We urge every AAMFT member, every person who cares about our practice, everyone who cares about the welfare of our clients, and everyone who calls her or himself a marriage and family therapist to contact the AAMFT Board of Directors immediately and protest these changes (coderevisions@aamft.org). Demand that our organization speak clearly and firmly on what ethical practice means in our profession. Demand that AAMFT speak once again not for ourselves, but for our field.


William C. Nichols,  AAMFT President, 1981-1982
Thomas E. Clark, AAMFT President, 1983-1984
Anna Beth Benningfield, AAMFT President, 1993-1994, 1999-2000
Marcia Lasswell, AAMFT President, 1995-1996
James Morris, AAMFT President, 2001-2002
Scott Johnson, AAMFT President, 2007-2008
Linda Schwallie, AAMFT President, 2009-2010

%d bloggers like this: