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Letter from the President: Thank You To Outgoing Executive Team Members and Directors!

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

Denise Parent, LMFT, President of CTAMFT

Denise Parent, LMFT, President of CTAMFT

I would like to recognize that this month, we are bidding a fond farewell to the Executive Team and Directors who have completed their terms.  On behalf of CTAMFT, I would like to thank the following for their dedication and service to our organization.

  • Susan Boritz – Director and Legislative Liaison, gave much time and energy to professional advocacy, coordinating the committee, traveling to Hartford when needed, working toward obtaining the LMFTA and implementing MFT in the schools, writing emails to legislators and mentoring people with insurance questions.
  • Katherine Allen – Director and Marketing Committee Chair, who has been our own personal go-to IT and marketing specialist.  She has helped us greatly with our electronic newsletter and social media efforts, creating cohesive outreach strategies and supporting our Association Manager with electronic communication.  We are pleased to share that Katherine has agreed to continue to Chair the Marketing Committee!
  • Mika Vinci – Our Student Consultant, who is a ball of energy and enthusiasm!  Mika has developed the student networking meeting with Student Rep Jessica Floyd, and added the idea of coordinating with mentoring professionals and supervisors. Mika and Jessica have designated and met with representatives from each of the five MFT programs and have represented student interests and concerns actively on the Board.
  • Jessica Floyd – Our Student Representative will complete her term this year, but we hope will carry on the tradition of moving into the role of Student Consultant.

Thank you!

Letter from the President: AAMFT Restructuring Update

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

Denise Parent, LMFT, President of CTAMFT

Denise Parent, LMFT, President of CTAMFT

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

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

aamft

 

 

Issues AAMFT raised are as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 – 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.

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 – 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.

RELATED NEWS:
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.

Letter from the President

Exciting Annual Conference News

CTAMFT President

Dorothy Timmermann, LMFT, CTAMFT Board President

2012 CTAMFT Annual Conference

2012 CTAMFT Annual Conference

Registration is now open for the CTAMFT Annual Conference planned for April 19-20, 2012 at the Mystic Marriott. We have expanded the conference and are excited to share with you the details including the addition of a NEW Career Fair, and a Regional Networking Event for Clinical Members called “Innovations that Work” to be held on Thursday evening. Our venue this year is a beautiful destination and we hope that attendees will consider spending a night or two to enjoy time together, special spa offerings, well deserved personal time or even some family time following the conference. Discounted rooms are available for both Thursday and Friday evenings, details can be found with registration information on our website.

Friday’s Conference features our Second Annual Poster Session, the NEW Career Fair, and 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.” Poster presentations will cover a wide array of exciting and innovative topics to be determined.

We hope that you will join us this year for what is sure to be a pleasurable and engaging time!