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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 – AAMFT Restructure Report

Denise Parent, LMFT, President of CTAMFT

Denise Parent, LMFT, President of CTAMFT

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

Hello everybody, welcome back, after one of the most gorgeous summers I can remember!

Both AAMFT and CTAMFT have been busy! Stay tuned for our September E-News, which is coming out shortly. In the meantime, we feel it’s important to discuss the many changes underway at AAMFT, which will certainly impact us on a local/CT division level. I encourage you to please read this closely and share your thoughts with us, as well as AAMFT.

It is our understanding that next month, AAMFT’s restructuring task force (or DASC), is likely to recommend that AAMFT move toward centralizing services at AAMFT in order to create a more uniform MFT “brand.” We believe that AAMFT is heading toward creating a structure similar to the American Counseling Association (ACA) in which members will be invited to join the national organization and optional practice specialty groups – eliminating geographic divisions like CTAMFT.

AAMFT’s rationale is that in order to adapt to changing membership demographics, service inequities from state-to-state, and to address the needs of the future – structural change is necessary. Any changes will likely take four to six years to realize, and will depend on an AAMFT Board vote this October, followed up by a full membership vote in order to change the AAMFT bylaws.

The logistical process of any change has not yet been discussed. These decisions will create the organization that represents our profession in the coming years. The CTAMFT Board and the five MFT academic programs in Connecticut feel strongly that no matter what structure is decided upon, there needs to be a strong association presence locally for employment advocacy/legislation, as well as support for students, new professionals and clinical members as they navigate their careers.

On behalf of CTAMFT, I strongly encourage you to share your thoughts with the AAMFT task force (DASC) via their Community Forum.

Furthermore, we’d like you to share your opinions with us at CTAMFT. Please link here (https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/8FTCBTT) for a short (we promise!) survey. The intent is to learn from you the local services you count on and value as members of CTAMFT. Your opinion counts and we’re hopeful you will take a few minutes to respond.

In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact us at CTAMFT. I can be reached at president@ctamft.org.

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.