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National Conference Update, 2014

Heather MacLetchie Ehinger, President-Elect

Heather Ehinger and Patrick Kennedy

Heather Ehinger (r) pictured with keynote presenter, Patrick Kennedy (l), at AAMFT’s 2014 Annual Conference in Milwaukee, WI

In October, Jessica Floyd (student consultant), Michelle Triompo (student representative) and I attended the AAMFT National Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The theme of the conference was brief solution therapy. The keynote speakers focused primarily on celebrating the lives of the founding mothers and fathers of brief solution therapy, as well as the many small break-out learning opportunities.

As an important side note, Connecticut’s Student Consultant, Jessica Floyd, was presented with the AAMFT Master’s Student Minority Scholarship for 2014. Congrats to her!

As Connecticut Division Leaders, Jessica, Michelle and I attended the Division Leaders Workshop – an annual meeting of leaders from the state divisions. We had the opportunity to spend time with Victor Olsen, former President of CTAMFT and current member of AAMFT’s Board of Directors.

The leadership meeting focused on AAMFT board approval of the director’s recommendation to centralize the organization and eliminate the state divisions. This announcement of the national board approval was followed by a presentation on the recommendations by Tracy Todd (Director of AAMFT), the President Michael Chafin and President-Elect Marvarene Oliver. According to their presentation the primary reason for this proposed change is the future of AAMFT is at risk of becoming “irrelevant,” thus losing substantial membership in the future. The presentation focused on the retirement of the “baby boomers” and the rise of the “millennials.”

The proposal suggests eliminating the state chapters, infusing special interest groups and giving membership a choice. This choice would allow members to participate by joining the national organization with options to participate in the special interest groups. It was explained that regional or even state interest groups may be established. This proposal was approved in hope to increase interest by the “millennials’” need for choice, thus increase their interest in being an involved member.

Overall, during the meeting and during the entire conference, there was a climate of uncertainty and mistrust, although many of the smaller states were enthusiastic about the change due to their struggles to remain productive. During the Q&A that followed the presentation, many of the states expressed their concerns and asked questions that the Board of Directors were unable to answer. Answers to many of the questions included “we will take the vote this summer and figure out the rest later.”

Our Board of Directors in Connecticut has taken notice of this important possible change. Over the next several months, we will research, discuss and plan how to preserve the important work of the CTAMFT, including advocacy, education, communication and connection.

In February, we will be sharing our findings and thoughts. Until then, please contact me (or any board member) if you have any questions or concerns.

Conference News

Kelly McGonigalThank you to all who attended this year’s Annual Spring Conference: “The New Brain Science of Connection.”  We are thrilled to have shared this experience with over 300 practitioners.  Across the board, feedback to all of the keynotes and presentations was outstanding!  We do take all input into consideration when planning for future conferences; so thank you to those of you who gave us your input.

Business Update

In addition to what’s covered in relation to the conference theme, CTAMFT also takes the opportunity, while we have so many members in attendance, to bring members up to speed on the state of CTAMFT.  If you missed the conference, please link here for a copy of the 2013 Business Report (which includes financials).

2014 Poster Session ImagePoster Session Awards

This year CTAMFT’s Poster Committee received a record-breaking number of poster submissions.  We are also pleased to share we received submissions from all five MFT programs throughout the State.  There were 12 posters on display at this year’s conference, which were voted on by CTAMFT’s Board of Directors.  Congratulations to the following Poster Award Recipients, who each received $100.

 

Allison Collins:  Therapist Attachment and the Therapy Relationship (Collins, A. M. & Parker, M. L.)

The existing research supports the role of clients’ attachment style as an influence on the therapeutic relationship, which affects clinical outcomes. However, therapists’ attachment style has been relatively unexplored in the development of the therapeutic relationship. The goal of this study was to explore attachment style differences in the development of the therapy relationship. Findings have implication for clinical education and supervision.

Selena Gürman:  Partner/Parental Acceptance and Psychological Adjustment of Asian Adults (Gürmen, M.S., Ki, P., Rigazio-DiGilio, S. A., & Rohner, R. P.)

Parental acceptance-rejection theory predicts psychological adjustment tends to be affected by perceived partner acceptance and remembered parental acceptance. This study explored three questions with Asian adults in US: (1) Is partner acceptance correlated with psychological adjustment associated with parental acceptance? (2) Do remembrances of parental acceptance predict the association between partner acceptance and psychological adjustment? (3) Are there gender differences in these relationships? This study provides information to clinicians about Asian adult clients who deal with parental and partner acceptance and rejection.

Hyeseong Kang:  Clinical Use of the Story Stem Method in Marriage and Family Therapy: Theory, Research and Practice (Kang, H., Yoo, Y., & Robinson, J.)

Young children are known to have a limited capacity in describing their inner experience. The MacArthur Story Stem Battery (MSSB) is a standardized doll-play story-completion technique that can explore young children’s internal representations of family relationships. We provide the overview of theories and research of the method.Further, we discuss potential clinical usefulness of MSSB in marriage and family therapy, along with comparing story responses of a typical child with those of a child whose family is presented with specific problems.

Service Awards

Dorothy TimmermannService to the Organization: Dorothy Timmermann is this year’s recipient of CTAMFT’s “Service to the Organization” Award.  Dorothy has been a Clinical Member of AAMFT since 1992.  She has been an Executive team Officer on the CTAMFT Board since 2008, when she began as Secretary through her Presidency, from 2010-2013.

Dorothy applied the same grace to taking minutes as she did to running the annual conference.  During her tenure, she reorganized staffing structure, gently moved the CTAMFT Board to create and hold to a strategic plan, and she welcomed speakers and members to the organization in such a warm and characteristic way that any leader with the luck to learn from her could not help but be influenced for the better.  Link here to read more about this recognition.

Jeri HepworthRobert RyderService to Families Award:  This year, in honor of our conference theme of innovation, we are marking the way that love and relationship tends to break new ground.  The CTAMFT Board is delighted to present the Service to Families award to a couple who has terrifically impacted the fields of family studies, family therapy and family medicine. They have both blazed individual trails, while expanding their influence exponentially as a partnership.  Dr. Robert Ryder and Dr. Jeri Hepworth are this year’s honorees.  Link here to read more about this recognition.

2015 Conference

Save the date!  CTAMFT’s Annual Spring Conference is scheduled for Thursday, April 30-Friday, May 1, 2015.  Based on attendee’s recent feedback, we are planning some exciting changes for the 2015 conference.  Stay tuned for more information!

Student Committee Corner!

Jessica Floyd, Student Representative and Mika Vinci, Student Consultant
CTAMFT Student Committee (students@ctamft.org

Pamela N. Griffin Scholarship Award
Would you like to attend the national AAMFT Conference in Wisconsin next year? Or perhaps this year’s CTAMFT Annual Conference: The New Brain Science of Connection?  Here’s how you can apply to receive either $500 for the national conference or full admission to this year’s CTAMFT conference!…

Pamela N. Griffin established a trust to award scholarships to MFT students entering the field of Marriage and Family Therapy.  The intent of the scholarship is to support students wishing to attend CTAMFT, AAMFT and other conferences.

The amount to be awarded will be $1,250 per year, and distributed in two ways:

  1. One (1) award of $500.00 for the AAMFT National Conference (or another MFT conference of applicant’s preference).
  2. Five (5) awards of $150 to one student member from each MFT program in CT (i.e., one student will be selected from each of the following programs: SCSU, UConn, University of Saint Joseph, CCSU and Fairfield University) to attend CTAMFT’s annual two-day conference.

To receive awarded funds, recipients must submit proof of conference attendance (i.e., proof of registration and attendance).

Application Criteria and Procedures:

  • Applicant must be a current MFT student in a Connecticut MFT program.
  • Applicant must be an AAMFT Student Member (must submit AAMFT ID# on application).
  • Applicant must have a G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher (must submit scan or photocopy of current transcript or written proof from Department Chair or Faculty Supervisor).
  • Applicant must complete Pamela N. Griffin Award Application Form.
  • Applicant must submit a brief essay (250 words max.) describing goals as a future MFT and how the conference will enhance that goal.
  • Applicant must receive a signature on the application form from their MFT Program Director or MFT faculty member.
  • Final award will be made upon proof of registration and attendance to Conference (local or national).

Selection Process:

  • The $500 award will be selected via a lottery, drawn at random by CTAMFT’s Board of Directors.
  • For each of the $150 scholarship awards, one student from each of the five MFT programs in CT will be selected by lottery, drawn at random by CTAMFT’s Board of Directors.

Submit applications electronically to manager@ctamft.org.

CT LMFTs in the News

As the anniversary of the tragedy that took place in Sandy Hook comes upon us, “MFTs” have been in the news.

Our of our members, Nelba Marquez-Greene, was recently featured on WFSB-TV and in The Newtown Bee, remembering her daughter Ana Grace, as well as highlighting next week’s “Love Wins” conference, which launches the “Ana Grace Project.” View the clip below or read the Newtown Bee article.

WFSB 3 Connecticut

Learn more about and/or register for the “Love Wins Conference.”

Also, last night (11/25/13), Jeff Schutz, BOD Member and Treasurer-Elect, was featured on WVIT-TV as an LMFT.

We are proud of our Connecticut LMFTs!

Letter from the President – November, 2013

Denise Parent, LMFT

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

Last month I had the opportunity to represent Connecticut at AAMFT’s annual conference in Portland, Oregon. This year’s theme was “Raising Vibrant Children.” Keynotes encouraged vibrancy; talked about maximizing the contribution of urban and marginalized youth; defined family interventions to promote physical health in children; and discussed what it means to promote resilience.

Council of Division Presidents Meeting
Representing Connecticut, I was one of only three Division Presidents to present at the Council of Division Presidents Meeting. My assigned topic was “engagement,” which I described as paying close attention to the experiences we are creating with our members and figuring out how to connect the work we are all already doing to multiply the result.

The Colorado Division discussed how their leadership increased membership “MFT style” by creating collaborations with other associations. The Illinois Division highlighted the process of “doing their homework,” as they prepared to pass legislation to allow MFTs to be hired in Chicago schools.

Division Leaders also talked about key issues like state-to-state license portability. Another featured topic was the need to compile documentation for legislators about MFT as both an evidence-based and cost-effective treatment modality worthy of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.

AAMFT Update
We learned that AAMFT has just begun working with an association management consultant and a task force comprised of a variety of Division Leaders to reorganize the association’s structure.

AAMFT Executive Director, Tracy Todd, announced the formation of a new AAMFT non-profit research foundation, an overhaul of the AAMFT website and “branding,” as well as a move forward on Medicare reimbursement for MFTs by co-funding a cost-effectiveness study to support future legislative efforts. A decision to deliver the AAMFT Approved Supervisor courses and refreshers from the national organization after the year 2015 was also discussed.

AAMFT has also been involved with the Texas division in fighting a lawsuit where MFTs ability to “diagnose” has been challenged. The Association has asked for member support to help fund this initiative, as its outcome is important to us all.

Connecticut Featured at the Conference
Our Connecticut Division was well represented collaboratively by our Executive team, Board members, CTAMFT members and students. A special thank you to Michele Parker, MaryAnn Labella, Sebastian Perumbilly and Jessica Floyd, for the work they did to represent our division.

I’d also like to extend congratulations to former Board member and UCONN faculty member, Rachel Tambling, who was recognized for a “cutting edge poster” about developing measures for motivation for treatment.

Personal Highlights
One of my personal highlights was a workshop by the energetic author Diane Gehart. She conducted a “tour” through all the “evidence” about why MFT works – crystallizing how research supports clinical work.

Keynote speaker Andrae Brown challenged us to acknowledge the loss of collective strength through the ongoing devaluing of young minority and native people. Using Langston Hughes’ “Kids Who Die” poem and clips from a young rapper, he asked us to taste this grief, as losing “the iron in our blood” and aspire to promote the contributions of invisible youth with much to offer.

The final conference keynote was the funny and buoyant Dr. Kenneth Ginsberg, who asserted that working with children is “actually the making of 35 and 50 year olds.” We must recognize effort if we want children to put forth effort. Know that “a child is not a measure of our success, a bumper sticker on our cars.” Challenging us to note his status as a full professor of medicine who also has ADHD, he offered “everything he knew about what children need,” while standing on one foot.

Ironically, during Dr. Ginsberg’s keynote, a child spontaneously toddled up onto the stage and wandered in circles. “Unconditional love is being seen as no one else sees you,” he said. And as the child climbed up to the microphone, Dr. Ginsberg gleefully didn’t skip a beat, as if he had perfectly meant him to be there.

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.

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.