In 2017, AAMFT members voted to approve the Board of Directors recommendation to adopt a more flexible membership structure. The tailored membership offered by this new structure allows members to select the benefits that offer them the most support in each year of their career journey, a revolutionary change for the organization. It truly allows member needs and wants to serve at the forefront of AAMFT’s strategic direction. We have only gotten here today through a tremendous amount of work and partnership on the part of members, volunteers, and staff.
Now, we are ready for the final phase of the new structure roll-out with the highly anticipated launch of topical interest networks. For those of you who are curious how we have gotten here, below we offer a glimpse into the process and where we anticipate it going in the coming year. And for those who are just excited to join a group and start contributing to its’ development, hop over to aamft.org/engage to review the list!
What are topical interest networks?
Topical interest networks, or TINS, are member-led engagement programs that are focused on sub-specialties or focus areas in our profession. They are all new for 2019.
What types of topics are covered by the interest networks?
For 2019, eight new topical interest networks are launching. They are:
- Couples and Intimate Relationships
- Family Therapists in Healthcare
- Family Therapists in Schools
- MFTs Working in Trauma
- Queer and Trans Advocacy Network
- Systemic Therapy Across the Lifespan
- Telehealth and Technology
- Working with Military Personnel and their Families
How were these topics selected?
In late 2017, AAMFT members were surveyed to find out what topics they were most interested in seeing developed first as interest networks. From that survey, 15 topics emerged for exploration. In the first quarter of 2018, staff hosted focus group calls with members on each topic to help identify the current environment for the topic in our profession, the needs for support that existed within the sub-specialty, and what members within each topic might be interested in taking on a leadership role in developing an interest network.
Self-identified volunteer leaders then worked to develop applications that consisted of proposed topics, member benefits, and budgets for each interest network. After approval by the Component Evaluation Committee (CEC), these volunteer leaders worked with staff to establish the framework for each network.
Throughout the process, hundreds of member MFTs and those in training contributed valuable input and ideas on how to advance our profession within this program.
What type of benefits are being offered by the TINs?
Each group offers a dedicated online network where you can connect with similarly-interested MFTs, have discussions about emergent issues related to the topic, and share resources.
Additional planned benefits vary from interest network to interest network based upon the identified needs from the focus group conversations. They range from educational development opportunities to resource development and research discussions to advocacy. Many of the plans of the networks have been built with a flexible structure to incorporate the input of those who join! Descriptions of the intended goals for each group are available to members at aamft.org/engage.
How can I join a topical interest network?
Members can join any engagement program (topical or geographic) in two very easy ways!
Option 1: During your annual renewal process, simply check the boxes for the engagement programs you are interested in joining for the year!
Option 2: For those who are mid-renewal cycle or want to join today, simply visit aamft.org/engage. Next to each program is a join button that you can click on to directly add the program to your membership.
Having trouble adding an engagement program? Simply call 703-838-9808 during regular business hours and speak with an AAMFT Membership Specialist who can assist you!
What if I’m really interested in a topic but it isn’t covered yet?
Each spring, applications for new engagement programs will be considered by the Component Evaluation Committee at their meeting. Keep an eye on the eNews later this fall as we provide information on the application process for spring 2019!