The 2017 AAMFT Annual Conference will build on the victories and exciting changes of this last year, with a conference mantra that could very well be “Ambassadors of the Profession.” The workshops will not only provide the best in training for MFTs, but will emphasize the ways in which you can advance the profession locally and nationally
We’ve modified the schedule this year to give you more flexibility in your learning options. Added are additional workshops in one-hour increments and an improved research discussion schedule. Returning to the program is the career development track, MFT exam prep track, and other great sessions that aid members in growing and nurturing their career.
AAMFT’s Annual Conference is the world’s leading education and networking event for marriage and family therapists. It is an opportunity to learn from leaders in the field, network with peers, and discuss cutting edge research and techniques over four days filled with educational and professional development activities. Earn up to 28.5 continuing education credits by attending innovative and high-quality presentations.
View the 2017 Conference Website to learn more about the sessions, events, travel, pricing, and registration information. Register before June 30 to save $100!
Marriage and Family Therapy is sometimes misunderstood. It is easy to assume that Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) only work with married couples and families facing problems. After all, this is implied by our title. What MFTs want you to know, however, is that they work with a range of clients, including individuals, couples, and families. And at the core their identity is the relational aspect of how they work with everyone inside and outside of the therapy office, and how they think about the relationships that contribute to a problem and its potential solution. We are not, for example, Psychologists, Counselors, or Social Workers—we are Marriage and Family Therapists. Here are some thoughts from MFTs that separate fact from fiction when it comes to understanding our distinct identity.
Myth: A common myth about MFTs (Marriage and Family Therapists) is that we only work with couples and families.
Fact: Our training gives us the opportunity to see problems through a lens that includes the intricate influence of belief, culture, upbringing, and relationships. Our individual issues don't occur in a lab with all factors controlled. MFTs are a great fit for individuals, as we understand the elemental influences that exist in all our lives. Heather Holmgren, MFT, Salt Lake City, UT
Myth: One myth about marriage and family therapy is that MFTs only help with certain relationship problems (e.g., infidelity, unexpected loss, family conflict).
Fact: MFTs are trained to address relationship problems, as well as many common issues that incline people to seek out therapy (e.g., depression, anxiety, trauma, & addiction). The systemic view of MFTs often fits a client's way of seeing the world because MFTS are equipped to address the context in which their problems reside. Eugene Hall, LAMFT, Minneapolis, MN
Myth: Marriage and Family Therapists only see couples.
Fact: MFT's are highly trained clinicians who use a systems-approach when helping individuals struggling with any issue, whether in a relationship of not. Chris Fariello, Ph.D., LMFT, Philadelphia, PA
Myth: The therapist can only provide marriage counseling if both members within the couple are in the office session.
Fact: The therapist can provide marriage counseling with one person, for the insights, tips, and tools can be the “difference that makes the difference” within the unit when meeting with one person. Karen Ruskin, PsyD, LMFT, Sharon, MA
Myth: You will be able to solve all your problems in therapy.
Fact: Therapy is a catalyst for change in your life. You will not have enough time to cover every issue in therapy unless you stay in therapy for a few years. (By all means, if you need this, do it.) For most couples, therapy starts a conversation that must continue outside of therapy. Therapy will offer new insights into old issues and it will offer some behavioral guidance for how to make changes in your life. Ultimately, you are responsible for taking action on your own. I usually suggest that my couples do their own version of therapy outside of therapy to hold each other accountable. I will tell them to meet at a coffee shop or for lunch to discuss how therapy is going and how they feel about their progress. This seems to help couples begin to do the work outside of therapy as well. Angela Skurtu, M.Ed. LMFT, St. Louis, MO
If you know that it is time to seek therapy, we can help. Marriage and family therapists (MFTs) are trained in psychotherapy and family systems, and licensed to diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders within the context of marriage, couples and family systems. The unique feature you will find during treatment with an MFT is the therapist will focus on understanding your symptoms and diagnoses within interactions and relationships. The existing environment and context is given careful examination paying particular attention to the family system – as defined by you. MFTs treat predominantly individuals but always from the perspective that “relationships matter.” Find a therapist here.
The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy represents over 50,000 marriage and family therapists worldwide.
AAMFT members have a unique opportunity to participate in an important federal committee that will be making recommendations to Congress concerning serious mental illness.
SAMHSA is recruiting MFTs and other mental health professions to serve on a federal committee, Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee, that will be examining advances in research relating to serious mental illness and serious emotional disturbance, and the effectiveness of federal programs related to SMI and SED. SAMHSA is looking for 14 non-federal employees to serve on this committee, including MFTs and other mental health professions willing to serve in one of the following five committee positions:
A licensed mental health professional with a specialty in treating children and adolescents with a serious emotional disturbance;
A mental health professional who has research or clinical mental health experience in working with minorities;
A mental health professional who has research or clinical mental health experience in working with medically underserved populations;
A person with experience providing services for homeless individuals and working with adults with a serious mental illness, children with a serious emotional disturbance, or individuals in a mental health crisis.
A representative of a leading research, advocacy, or service organization for adults with a serious mental illness
For more information on this committee and the eligibility requirements for providers, please visit SAMHSA's website. Nominations are due to SAMHSA by Friday, June 2.
The 2017 Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) Training Institute is a wrap! The Institute consisted of eight presenters from all areas of the Marriage and Family Therapy field, including the previous MFP Director Mudita Rastogi. The presentations consisted of a variety of subjects such as immigration, LGBTQ issues, being in the MFT field, and statistical training. The presentations allowed Fellows to look into research being conducted by presenters, while learning how to improve their own research through conversations and through a series of question and answer segments.
The Capitol Hill visit was a significant one, and the highlight of the Institute. The Fellows had an opportunity to advocate to Representatives and Senators on behalf of the mental health field. The Fellows did an excellent job in speaking with Representatives, legislative assistants, and Senators about the importance of training mental health practitioners in programs and fellowships such as the Minority Fellowship Program. The Fellows spoke about a wide variety of issues, including substance abuse (specifically opiod abuse in this country), cultural issues, and, trauma. The Fellows explained the significance of these issues and how continued financial and academic support would assist the government’s initiative in resolving these issues. The legislative assistants, Senators, and Representatives were impressed by the Fellows’ knowledge and passion for the mental health field. The visit to Capitol Hill was shared with followers of AAMFT's Facebook and Twitter page through photos of each visit, which you can see here or by scrolling through this post.
The Institute concluded with Fellow presentations. The Fellows did an extraordinary job presenting their research with passion and vast knowledge of their individual projects. In addition to all of the trainings and presentations, the Fellows had a terrific time catching up with one another, exploring Washington DC, and networking with presenters.
The MFP Staff is looking forward to the 2018 Training Institute and making future Institutes an even better experience for the MFP Fellows!
Pictured: Daniel Cooper, Sarah Crabtree, Eugene Hall, Damir Utrzan, and legislative assistant for Rep. Al Franken