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AAMFT Restructure Vote Results Are In

Dear Connecticut Membership;

The results are in from AAMFT’s recent call for partial by-law changes that would include eliminating the state divisions.

The vote DID NOT PASS. This means the vote to eliminate the state divisions did not pass. The result percentages per state were published, and in CT, we were very close to 50% in favor of keeping the CT division intact; while 50% voted for elimination of divisions. Many of the other states were either slightly or significantly in favor of the change, and a few states were strongly opposed. We do not know the total number of voters per state, so we do not yet know what percentage of the CT membership that voted. We do know that AAMFT needed a 2/3 vote (66.6%) to pass and only received 61%.

What does this mean for us here in CT? For now, it means that nothing changes in terms of how your dues are distributed, including day-to-day operations of the Connecticut division. We do anticipate that AAMFT will have a backup plan, which we expect to hear more about at this year’s national conference in Austin, Texas next week, September 3-6, 2015. I am pleased to represent you, along with several of our Board members, as well as our Student Representative. We will gather as much information as possible and share it with you after reviewing at our next Board meeting on September 11, 2015 at Fairfield University.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to talk to all of us on the Board and who contributed to the rich discussions and provided feedback. Thank you for taking the time to vote on this important topic.

Warm regards for a happy fall, and I will be in touch soon.

Kindly,
Heather Ehinger
President, CTAMFT

Heather Ehinger

Letter from the President – Facing Organization Changes in the New Year

Denise Parent, LMFT, President of CTAMFT

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

You may have seen, or will begin to see, a number of communications from AAMFT regarding its potential restructuring process, which will be raised for a membership vote in summer 2015. As the Board President, I am committed to sharing what we in Connecticut know, how we understand it, as well as share our opinions.

First, I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to respond to our Connecticut Division Survey this fall regarding your thoughts about a potential restructure. Your input was helpful and has been shared not only with our Board of Directors, but also with the national organization. I am pleased to confirm that the majority of our Connecticut members truly value this division and what we offer our members.

This October, our President-Elect, Heather Ehinger, as well as our Student Directors, Jessica Floyd and Michelle Triompo, attended AAMFT’s Annual Conference and Division Leaders meeting in Wisconsin, where a potential reorganization of AAMFT was discussed.

In short, AAMFT’s Board of Directors voted on the task force recommendation to eliminate the mandatory two-tier dues structure that requires members to pay state division dues in addition to AAMFT national dues. In the proposed restructure, members will pay national dues and then have the option to pay to join an array of special interest groups, which may include regional areas or states, a la carte. It is not clear how many geographic regions will (or won’t) be defined, but AAMFT has said that joining legislative special interest group(s) will be free.

As a Board, we continue to be concerned about what seems to be a lack of an operational plan. We have not received information about how transitions are envisioned, what a new national organization would look like, what special interest groups would be offered, and where and what criteria would be used to define special interest groups or geographic regions.

Most importantly, we don’t know what the strategies are for strong local and national advocacy for the MFT profession throughout the US and Canada – even as AAMFT adds goals for transnational and global outreach. There doesn’t appear to be any collection of data on the professional assets of each unique local division, or consideration of how those assets will be rolled into the larger picture.

One major gap I’d like to share is that a vote to change bylaws under the current regulations excludes student members who represent the millennial demographic (birth year from early 1980s to early 2000s) that AAMFT hopes to engage.

Because of these concerns, we have concluded as a Board that if a bylaw change vote is raised, we will all vote “no.”  This is not because we are against a progressive change that is essential for our professional organization to be innovative, competitive and relevant to the future of mental health services.   Rather, we cannot support change that lacks a plan that is able to provide explicit strategies as to how AAMFT will resource and sustain local attention to the inevitable opportunities and threats that arise and impact Connecticut MFTs.

We believe that all division leaders should be meaningfully utilized in building the future vision. We also believe that the whole membership, including students, should have the opportunity to dialogue and vote on the shape of an organization that has the power to impact their professional lives. As members and funders of the association, we have yet to see information concerning the actual budgeted cost of the proposed transition and how funds in the new organizational structure will be distributed. As such, we feel a lack of essential information in order to exercise our ability to vote on the new bylaws as informed members of our professional organization.

The CTAMFT Board believes strongly that our main focus must still remain on our profession, and we have continued to operate CTAMFT in its full capacity. We will continue to do so, while committing to helping AAMFT to fulfill their responsibilities to our profession, as our national organization.

We hope that the discussion thread taking place in the AAMFT Community will soon be available for all members, so that you may read a variety of Division Leaders perspectives about the restructure in addition to AAMFT’s communications. In the meantime, we will continue to keep our Connecticut members updated. And as always, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions/comments.

Enjoy the holiday season and I appreciate your time and attention always.

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.