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

Dear Colleagues,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.


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
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