AAMFT has clearly outlined the major reasons behind the proposed restructuring: market competitiveness, engaged members, anticipating needs of the next generation of therapists. What I would like to address is the necessity for AAMFT to become a leader of relevance in the behavioral healthcare profession.
Another way to view leadership of relevance is "being at the table." We have done well the last few years with such events as being invited to the White House conference on Mental Health, having Rep. Kennedy as a keynote speaker, and being invited to comment on such matters as integrated health care and high risk practice guidelines by the American Psychological and Psychiatric Associations.
These invitations represent AAMFT moving toward a position of respect and credibility by high level policy makers and our sister associations. While these opportunities represent marriage and family therapists making good progress as respected professionals, it simply isn't enough. Not a week goes by that I see an article, policy statement, or conference with non MFT presenters commenting about family and family therapy. We have many members with excellent credentials to speak and advance the systemic/relational paradigm. Yet, we lack means to capitalize on the intellectual capital of our esteemed members.
One advantage of restructuring is the ability for members with specific clinical/topical interests to network and share their knowledge, skills and experience. Since all interest groups will need to create deliverables (white papers, briefs, core competencies), these groups will provide AAMFT the necessary information to begin taking more of an active leadership role in the behavioral health community. Rather than AAMFT being invited to a table, AAMFT might soon recognize the ability to set the table and invite others to dinner.
Dr. Tracy Todd