My Thoughts Regarding the AAMFT Vote

Please note: The following is the opinion of Katherine Allen, LMFT. While I express strong views concerning CTAMFT and its future in the following piece, I am not speaking on behalf of, or in the voice of, the Association.

I have been struggling with how to post this, so I am just going to do it.

For the past year I have been attending CTAMFT Board meetings as committee liaison, I have not been in a voting role. Yet at those meetings I have heard and witnessed an incredible journey regarding the future of MFT and how our national organization works.

If you, too, feel that there has been an unusual lack of information sharing from your Board, you are right. And here is why:

I feel that our membership, you my colleagues, need to know the near impossible position that the Board has been facing, the grueling agonizing over sharing what they have been voted into the role to do: educate and represent the state membership, paired with the fear of reprimand and harming their (our) engagement with the national association. I also believe you as colleagues need to know the strong-arm tactics of the current AAMFT Board, the fact of Arizona being threatened with defunding over expressing opinions and positions.

Is this an organization that you, my colleagues, need to be educated about or be tiptoeing around?

I feel that the CT Board will be relaying these unfortunate experiences eventually, regardless of how the restructuring vote plays out, and maybe the state members would have liked to have known about this beforehand.

At our 2015 conference, before anyone had seen the proposed by-law edits, we were hopeful that a “yes” vote would be possible and that we could move forward together. Now, after reading the proposed changes, I personally am voting an emphatic “NO” and here is the reasoning behind that stance:

The proposed by-laws not only eliminate geographic divisions and leaders, they move all decision making authority and funding control to very few people at the national organization. This move essentially eliminates power checks and balances at the national level.

A “yes” vote would end mandatory local dues payments starting in January 2016. This means that if CT MFTs wish to continue to benefit from the varied services and events that CTAMFT currently provides, then a new funding structure will need to be developed separate from any AAMFT involvement.

However, in the unlikely event that CT MFTs were to choose not to fund local services at all, lobbying, employment advocacy, conferences/CEUs and statewide student/new grad mentoring in Connecticut would end.

1) Only appointed task forces would be used to advise the national board in lieu of some form of representative demographically (and democratically) elected Council of Division Presidents. This system has already been used for several years prior in anticipation of this vote to create AAMFT’s current strategic and proposed restructuring plans. (and how are we all feeling about this so far?)

2) An appointed nominating committee would identify candidates for the AAMFT Board rather than an elected committee.

3) The new by-laws would allow the AAMFT Staff CEO to make decisions with full authority in absence of the Board, which is only required to meet minimally, approximately once per year.

So what would being an MFT look like without the national organization? Personally, I don’t see this as a negative in any way. CT has proven itself to be a huge success in membership engagement, in meeting the needs its members request, and is regarded as a leader in the nation regarding legislation, ethics, promotion and education. We can do this.

Finally, as a CT MFT who has just been voted back on to the Board beginning in July, I am eager to continue to be a voice regardless of the name or structure of the organization I represent because in the end, it’s all about us, colleagues, and our commitment to this very special profession and those we serve.

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Gems!

31da242b476486fc44334ab0e47e498bA friend posted this list on Facebook and as I was reading it, I realized that I say ALL of these things to clients, and to myself, in any given week.

I love to share wisdom and empowerment, so here you go:

1. Be kind.
2. Don’t waste time worrying and moaning about stuff you have no control over. Let it go.
3. Everything you see depends on how you look at it.
4. Stop comparing your insides to everyone else’s outsides.
5. Listening to someone — really listening — is one of the most important, respectful and rewarding things you can do.
6. It’s awesome to collect people throughout life, but you’re truly blessed if you have a handful of besties who will always, always have your back. Even if you don’t speak to them all that often, you know they’re there.
7. The morning after is rarely — if ever — worth the night before.
8. No one gives a crap if you go to the supermarket in sweats without makeup and your unwashed hair in a ponytail on top of your head.
9. Experiences are infinitely more memorable than stuff.
10. Confidence is beautiful and powerful.
11. Laugh lines are worth it.
12. It will always boggle your mind how some people will exceed the lowest imaginable depth of stupidity, incompetence and nastiness, while others will exceed the highest imaginable pinnacle of kindness, compassion and helpfulness.
13. Don’t live your life by anyone else’s expectations, taste, hopes or dreams.
14. If you rely on others for joy, you will never be joyful yourself.
15. Grudges aren’t worth it.
16. You’ll never regret going out of your way to brighten someone’s day.
17. “Please” and “thank you” are always appreciated and appropriate.
18. Tell the little self-sabotaging voice in your head to bug off.
19. The food doesn’t matter. The table settings don’t matter. All that matters is the company.
20. Being super-busy is not a badge of honor, importance, popularity or success. It’s perfectly OK — and actually healthier and preferable — to be not so busy.
21. Despite your delusions, you have absolutely no idea what’s happening behind other people’s doors.
22. Most bad behavior and bitterness is rooted in jealousy.
23. What makes you happy isn’t the elixir that will make someone else happy.
24. It’s not always someone else’s fault. Sometimes you have to look in the mirror.
25. You can disagree with someone’s opinions and beliefs, but it doesn’t make them wrong. And it’s probably best just not to go there when it has to do with religion, politics or love.
26. Friendships change over time. Sometimes they have an expiration date and they dissolve into fuzziness. And that’s OK.
27. Eye cream is your friend.
28. Stop waxing poetic about how good it used to be. Stop fantasizing about how good it might be in the future. Savor how good it is right now. Make your moments matter.
29. It’s nice to be thought of and remembered.
30. Sometimes you’ve gotta do stuff just because it’s the right thing to do. Often it’s uncomfortable. Usually it’s inconvenient. But it’s almost always worth it.
31. Elephants don’t belong in the room. Having the tough conversation is ultimately better than living with the energy-sapping misery of resentment or misunderstanding.
32. Some stuff just isn’t meant to be. The sooner you accept it and stop trying to force it to happen, the better off you’ll be.
33. The solution to someone else’s problem that seems so obvious to you is likely something they’ve already tried and it hasn’t worked.
34. A good night’s sleep is a gift from the heavens and can change everything.
35. People will make time for you if you’re important to them. And they pretty much won’t if you’re not.
36. Sometimes you need to suck it up hard in the name of love, peace and harmony.
37. Don’t let angry people get to you; instead, try to muster some compassion for them.
38. Stop worrying about what everyone else thinks. Stop wasting energy on stuff that isn’t your business. You just do you.
39. Accept, embrace and celebrate change.
40. Being polite and smiling genuinely can make a big difference.
41. Stillness is restorative and healing.
42. Take one day at a time, one step at a time. Break down challenges into small, do-able chunks. It will all get done.
43. Life is what happens while you’re waiting expectantly for the next big thing on the horizon to come to fruition. Savor the everyday.
44. If you push yourself and focus on what’s good rather than wallowing selfishly in the negative, things will almost always improve.
45. Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes it isn’t immediately apparent, but in time, and with reflection, the reason usually becomes clear. And often it’s so extraordinary and breathtaking, it’ll blow you away.
46. No matter how much you wish, you can’t will things to happen. But often, there’s a better and “righter” path that reveals itself if you keep your eyes and mind open.
47. Take a risk and have the guts to seize the opportunity, because it may not present itself again.

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Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

70858c56bf06012d2d695791e4ec2019It is with deep sadness that we announce our beloved Audrey will be leaving us at MFT3. She, along with her family, is embarking upon a new and exciting journey to Massachusetts, and therefore will not be available to us for much longer.

We are transitioning her time here as her final day will be the week of June 30, 2015.

She will no longer be taking on new clients but will be available for 1-time consultations should you be needing her expertise.

How do you thank someone for the amazing gift of caring, expertise and friendship that Audrey has brought us here at MFT3, and to the Trumbull and surrounding community?

I don’t know how. But in the meantime, please join us in wishing Audrey and her family a safe, successful and bountiful new chapter. She will be missed!!

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The Well of Being

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At Least it’s not a Monday this time

tib-cleanMFT3 is throwing in the towel today to Mother Nature and we are officially closing.

The weather is getting all of us down. Which leads more folks to seeking therapy. But we can’t serve those folks because of the weather. This is not a fun cycle.

Hang in there everyone. We’ll get through this!

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6 Years and Still Going Strong!

happy-6th-anniversaryToday is our 6th Anniversary!

That’s a lot of years doing what we love to do, with so many amazing families and individuals!

Thank you for continuing to see the value in our services and for letting us into your precious lives. We cherish the privilege of witnessing your journeys. We are immensely grateful.

It is also, again, the birthday of our little cat, Sallie Mae. She is now 8 years old and is as crazy as ever.

So to end on a frivolous note, here’s a favorite clip of mine from the old Sesame Street days, “The Queen of 6″. And let’s dive right into year 7!

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And for the Third Monday in a row…

closed 2/9/15…MFT3 is closed for the day due to icing conditions.

As my colleague Audrey just stated, let’s just be glad we’re not in Boston!

Stay safe and warm everyone.

We are available by phone for rescheduling, etc.

Katherine: x602
Audrey: x604
Lisa: x605

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This is your Brain on Trauma

Heart-MindI recently had the amazing opportunity to spend 3 days of learning and training with David Grand, PhD, and 14 local therapists, courtesy of the Resiliency Center of Newtown. They invited the local area therapists who have been working with the tragedy of 12/14 to further hone and deepen our trauma healing skills in Brainspotting.

One of the most important take aways from those 3 days was the basic education of how anyone’s brain reacts to and handles trauma.

First of all, we all have experienced and will experience trauma in our lives, there is no escaping it. Rather than fearing it and suppressing it, though, I would like to share this educational bit to help everyone see how the brain works and can be served in getting through life’s unexpected events.

It is amazing to see how the 12/14 event brought everyone instantly back to the 9/11 event even though they are separated by 11 years. One wouldn’t think that an event so far removed would trigger an older one, but that is in fact exactly how the brain works.

When the brain is confronted with a traumatic event (and this can be anything from a national tragedy to a scheduled surgery to a personal assault to watching the bloody nightly news), it “self-sacrifices” a bit of itself and encapsulates that event, storing it in the back of the brain. It knows that the event is too much (personally) to handle at the moment so it protects you and finds a way for you to get through the immediate steps needed to function. But now there’s this capsule in the brain that is holding this terrible experience. Over time we fear touching that capsule, we go to great lengths to avoid it, yet it is still there.

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 2.08.24 PMThen another trauma occurs and it’s instantly as if the old capsule has been opened and added to the new event, making it seem vastly worse and unmanageable. In my office I call this a “sympathetic explosion,” meaning the new event has dislodged an old event and both are feeling immediate and overwhelming simultaneously.

In the above example I have only mentioned the 12/14 and 9/11 events, but what if someone has had multiple traumas in their life, possibly stemming as far back as early childhood? How then might a new event feel based on this capsule-opening premise? One can hopefully see how each and every individual has an utterly personal and unique reaction to a trauma.

We learned that even within the community, there are factions of “us” and “them” between folks with different experiences of the tragedy. Rather than comparing and judging someone else’s experience, can’t we come together and recognize that each and every individual has a personal and powerful reaction to such a huge and horrific event. There is no one experience that is more or less than any other seeing as we are all carrying our own unopened capsules of prior life events. As a community, we must become better at understanding this phenomenon and find ways to increase the compassion for one another rather than make it a competition.

As a Brainspotting therapist, I have a passion and a commitment to providing a safe and nurturing space for my clients to safely and planfully open and process old capsules so when a new trauma comes along, it can be a solo event and not one consisting of many capsules being jostled.

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Check Us Out!

I wanted to bring to everyone’s attention the fact that we have a new website/blog layout!

Now all of the features are accessed from one space so it’s easier to stay on top of the blog posts for topical information and winter weather statuses while also accessing the website information for things like location, forms, profiles, etc.

Please take some time and wander through our new layout. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

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MFT3 is Closed for Groundhog Day!

Oh No!

Oh No!

Well, that and the huge snow and ice storm.

Sorry Punxsutawney Phil, and everyone else.

Stay home and stay safe and warm.

 

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