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Letter from the President – Happy New Year!

Denise Parent, LMFT

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

As we enter the New Year, I have been thinking about the communities our collective MFT “family” is embedded in. Last month, I attended fellow member, Nelba Marquez-Greene’s, “Love Wins” conference and admired the Sandy Hook families’ many initiatives to “Choose Love” and carry on the lives of those lost by developing strategies to strengthen communities everywhere.

The Ana Grace Project

The Ana Grace Project

At the Love Wins Conference, Neuropsychiatrist Dr. Bruce Perry talked about the importance of relational connection to survival, saying that optimal human conditions include having about 40 people in our extended relationship circle. He commented that many of our modern day problems have grown out of setting up social structures that create isolation and ignore the fact that humans are not naturally sedentary beings.

This led to me wonder how we as MFTs can more actively connect our “systems” with non-therapy initiatives, as well as join our colleagues in social work, counseling and psychology, to create a stronger community with a coordinated vision to support families? This lofty idea immediately drove me to check Facebook and watch a few minutes of HGTV, because it seemed to imply an enormous amount of work!

MFTs have always believed, at least in theory, that we are already, and always will be, interdependent beings. Possibly the work of connection is merely to remember that we are already connected, and as a social constructionist might say, act “as if?”

This would involve remembering to invite others to our MFT “party,” as well as to attend other, different gatherings to absorb the value they might add to our ideas. It could involve building relationships by committing to providing strong collaborative case management. In keeping with this, we have planned to explore neuroscience as a foundation and extension of our relational perspective at our April conference.

CTAMFT’s Board of Directors has spent a great deal of time reviewing the impact of the MHPAEA final regulations and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (see Susan Boritz’s article). We have also been discussing what a public relations campaign for MFT in CT might look like, as well as explore what Connecticut organizations and people influence mental health care delivery systems. This year, we hope to move into using these experiences (off the couch now!) in a thoughtful and productive way. You are welcome to join our efforts in whatever way you find meaningful!

Thank you for the many ways you make CTAMFT a vibrant association – by supporting us through your membership, encouraging others to join our membership, participating in CTAMFT initiatives or committees, attending our fall workshop, our spring conference or by shooting us an email when you have a thought or question! As we enter 2014, I wish us all at least 40 connections with friends, family and warm community.

Wishing you health and happiness in the New Year!

Letter from the President – An Introduction

Denise Parent, LMFT
Denise Parent, LMFT, CTAMFT Board President

Dear Members;

You may have noticed a new picture at the top of the President’s message. The torch from former President Dorothy Timmermann has officially been passed to me as of July! It is an exciting challenge to be able to serve as your new President at this particular time in our profession’s evolution.

I am in the lucky position to be on the coat-tails of many past Presidents and Board members who have helped to achieve professional credibility for MFTs in Connecticut. In recent years, CTAMFT has supported creating pathways into schools and convened conferences that AAMFT views as competitive with national offerings. I have learned a little something from all of the excellent examples of leadership before me. And though I may never achieve my friend and colleague Dorothy Timmermann’s elegance, you can count on me to be direct, relatively calm, creative and only mildly silly as I proceed through the next two years!

We found ourselves busy over the summer for several reasons. First, we persist with our ongoing attempts to introduce a bill for a temporary license (LMFTA) for new graduates doing their 1,000 hours of supervised practice. Second, we are addressing “scope of practice” questions from the Department of Public Health. As of 2011, any new license proposal needs to be vetted through a formal committee and funded through the appropriations committee. We also met with the Association for School Psychologists to clarify some issues with the implementation of MFT in the Schools and discussed responding to concerns about state contracts with some friends in state program evaluation positions.

Sadly, our terrific Association Manager, Wendy Haggerty, has decided to devote more time to her successful sex therapy practice and spend time with her family (drat, the nerve of her!). She will be leaving the staff position, but not the membership, at the end of December. This resulted in contracting to fill Wendy’s position, for one year at the outset, with our current Marketing and Conference Manager, Shannon Eterginio. Shannon was instrumental in the smooth success of last year’s annual conference. The Board agreed that our positive experience with Shannon and her skills as a marketing, public relations entrepreneur and event planner lend themselves very nicely to doing member relations work, conference planning and public relations. Why public relations, you ask? At the end of last year the Board began to discuss the possibility of carving out a stronger niche for MFTs as expert in couple and family intervention, and we have decided that a public relations campaign may be a useful way to implement this. More to come on this after further discussion.

Last week, our Board had its first meeting after summer break. We welcomed new member MaryAnn Labella, Clinical Director at Fairfield University, as well as our new Student Representative, Jessica Floyd from CCSU. Our first meeting was to talk about last-minute details for our October 25, 2013 workshop on the new DSM-5 and ethics, (offered at low cost, $75 for early birds).

Trumbull Marriott

Trumbull Marriott

We also spent a great deal of time discussing the 2014 Annual Conference. Make sure to mark your calendars for The New Brain Science of Connection, which is scheduled for April 24 and 25, 2014 at the Trumbull Marriott. lcozolinOur keynote speaker is Dr. Louis John Cozolino of Pepperdine University, and we have many other exciting workshops featuring neurofeedback and mindfulness interventions with families, as well as exploring how neuroscience impacts attachment across the lifespan. We have also agreed to “shake our souls” again with Jayne Deane and planned plenty of time for snacking and chatting with our members. Our Board is excited to learn more about the possibility of science supporting what we have always known – that everything happens in the context of relationship. We will be running a student poster session again, and have asked each of the five schools in the State to represent themselves at it – keep your eye out for the “Call for Posters” to be released shortly.

Speaking of the five schools, the Board also hosted the five university programs to discuss common issues, share best practices and discuss new offerings. Sebastian Perumbilly from Southern CT State University will serve for the next two years as CTAMFT’s Academic Liaison, a non-voting Board position designed to increase communication/collaboration with Program Directors and the CTAMFT.

In addition, this distinguished group of Program Directors also discussed accreditation procedures, new programs, specialties of each MFT training program and confirmed that Connecticut has rich and diverse marriage and family therapy academic traditions to draw from. We all hope to create a more seamless journey from student to clinical professional and to enrich employment possibilities for MFTs. Several of the faculty and students from the five programs will be in Portland, OR for the AAMFT Annual Conference, as will I. Please stop by the Division/Program showcase or touch base with any of us while you are there if you go!

Finally, CTAMFT welcomes your input, has plenty of work to do and is particularly interested in tracking employment trends this year. So beware (it’s almost Halloween, isn’t it?)… we may come knocking on your door for one reason or another. Trick or treat!

Wishing you candy apples, vibrant leaf peeping and crisp Sunday afternoons with family and friends.

~Denise

Save the Date! 2014 CTAMFT Annual Conference

Trumbull Marriott

Trumbull Marriott

Mark your calendars for the 2014 CTAMFT Annual Conference titled The New Brain Science of Connection.

The upcoming conference is scheduled for April 24-25, 2014 at the Trumbull Marriott. lcozolinWe are thrilled to welcome our keynote speaker Dr. Louis John Cozolino of Pepperdine University.

More information to follow soon!

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.