On Hiding

We were listening to music this morning and as I ate my scrambled eggs and toast, this song played.

It struck me as fittingly appropriate for clients coming to therapy.

They have been hiding; from pain, from fear, from truths, from abuse, from success, from failure – and then they come in to therapy and are ready to stop hiding.

Our role as therapists is to assist them in the journey from hiding to no longer hiding.

I like this.


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Trees, Going Slow, and What’s Really Important

I have been pondering this post for some time. The usual interruptions have occurred, attention gets drawn away. Not today.

mapleWe have seen a real increase in clients coming in who are more depressed, anxious and unsettled than ever before. I personally blame it on technology and media. I recommend to each and every client to turn off their TV sets, just step away, there’s nothing but fear mongering and alarmist screeching and it’s affecting the masses negatively.

One way I help myself stay grounded amidst this maelstrom of negativity is to reflect and meditate on my favorite tree right outside my home office window. It’s a large, old Japanese Maple. Its bark is smooth, weathered, slightly twisted. It reminds me very much of an elephant. It is steady regardless of the changing political landscape, or the weather. It is not influenced by cellphones or texting. In fact it represents the antithesis of all of that. It’s the opposite of immediate gratification, it is the embodiment of going slow and staying the course. Its roots are deep, it has lost branches over time yet each year it buds, leafs and transitions again and again. My favorite time is fall when the leaves steadfastly turn a brilliant scarlet and the front rooms of our home are bathed in a rosy glow. And every year the beautiful leaves wither, fall, only to return once again.

As much as we perceive being in constant contact with one another as a positive, I rebel against this assumption. I see the negative effects of too-fast every day. Too much can go sideways in a moment, while the time it takes to digest and reflect is often dismissed as old fashioned and outdated.

With adolescents in sessions we often ponder the difference between Google and World Book Encyclopedia. One is instant, and undoubtedly has more updated and current information in it, but it also has misinformation equally readily available. The Encyclopedia had to be taken off the shelf, searched through, read and re-written by hand or typewriter. There was time to digest and reflect. Now students are so reliant on wikis that the reflection and digestion phase has been eliminated resulting in a lot of regurgitation and not much learning.

red carpetKind of like my tree. It takes time to turn leaves into dirt to be re-absorbed and feed itself year after year. There is art  and beauty go the slowness of the process. There is time to enjoy each stage of the process: the bright green buds, the whirligigs that fall that feed birds and squirrels, the deep green summer leaves that provide shelter to birds and that whisper in the breeze, the scarlet in fall that screams “look at me! look at me!”, the carpet of fallen leaves that the worms wiggle through and digest into more soil.

If going slow makes me old fashioned, and in so being I get to keep company with my Japanese Maple, then I’m happy to be here.

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7 Years! Happy Anniversary to Us!!

7th Anniversary!

Well here we are, at yet another milestone. 7!

We have crossed the 7-year mark! 7 years we have been blessed to serve those seeking support and assistance in Connecticut’s lower Fairfield County.

smashing-7th-anniversary7 years of serving Trumbull, Monroe, Fairfield, Stratford, Shelton, Bridgeport, Westport, Wilton, Newtown, New Canaan, Southport, Southbury, Redding, Milford, New Haven, Norwalk, Oxford, Beacon Falls, Easton, Weston, Stamford: we thank you for making us your choice in support and caregiving.

7 years of ups and downs, of seeing people through tough times and celebrating as they come out stronger and more resilient on the other side.

7 years of the highest caliber professionals to share this journey with: heartfelt thanks to Nina, Erica, Charles, Audrey and Jennifer. And to our current astounding group of caring clinicians: Lisa, Betsy, Emily, Yvonne and, well, I guess me, Katherine.

7 years of great collaboration with other caregivers: Trumbull Pediatrics, PriMed, Bridgeport Hospital, St. Vincent’s Medical Center, DCF, Silver Hill Hospital, Four Winds, Hall-Brooke, Boys and Girls Village, TLC, Children’s Learning and Therapy Center, Bridges, SWCAA, Resiliency Center of Newtown, dozens of primary care physicians, many of the top APRN medication managers, and dozens of caring collaborative therapists seeking the right fit for those who cross their thresholds.

7 yearsWe are now poised to be able to provide even more caring service to those who seek to come to MFT3. We now have 5 therapists in the group, all of which bring something unique and special, yet also of the highest professional caliber, to the work we do.

Thank you for trusting us with your journeys, that is the highest form of flattery we can be given. We are grateful each and every day, for each and every client.

Here’s to 7 more!

Please stop by and join us as we embark on year 8.

Oh, and I can’t forget to also mention that today is our little cat SallieMae’s 9th birthday as well. She brings us joy each and every day.

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Closed for Snow.

closed for snowWell, it finally happened this season. We have closed the office due to the snow and bad traveling conditions. Please call your clinicians to reschedule. And stay safe and warm!

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It’s a New Year and we have New Changes!

changesHappy 2016 everyone, we hope the new year is bringing you what you want and need.

Here at MFT3, we are making some changes too. We are adding some new therapists as we bid farewell to another.

First, the farewell. Jennifer has been a lovely addition to the MFT3 team, and as with anything, life gives us more information as we move through it. After much consideration, Jennifer has decided to leave Marriage & Family Therapy of Trumbull in order to balance her responsibilities as a mother of twin baby girls. She has decided to relocate her private practice closer to her home in Bethel. We wish Jennifer (and her beautiful family!) well and she will be missed.

WelcomeOn to the welcome! We are pleased and proud to welcome Betsy Auray, MA, to the MFT3 team. Betsy is an experienced therapist trained in family systems theory, she received her Masters’ degree from Fairfield University, and has worked in several non-profit environments.

Betsy brings understanding and empathy along with a direct approach that builds trust and confidence in the therapeutic relationship. She believes that with new relationship skills we can heal our relationships and ourselves. With experience and compassion Betsy can help navigate the difficult stages of a myriad of life’s challenges, including divorce, co-parenting, grief & loss. She has an in-depth understanding of the ramifications of alcoholism and addictions in the family unit. Betsy can be reached at via e-mail or at 203-416-6008 x604.

Please join us in bidding a fond farewell to Jennifer and a hearty welcome to Betsy!

(and stay tuned as we are planning even MORE changes in the very near future!)

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Trust Building

The magnificent John Gottman shares a jewel about how trust gets built, maintained or rebuilt in a relationship. It is in the small moments.


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Join Us! Free Ethics CEU on Dec. 11 at CCSU

Please, one and all, come and join us for the first Brown Bag Lunch discussion. The Board is trying to bring the CTAMFT membership as many avenues of connecting and educating as possible and we have initiated this new format as one more way to bring MFTs and other mental health professionals together for lunch and learning.

The first Brown Bag Lunch will be on December 11 at the CCSU campus in the Student Center. It will be from 11:30 – 1:00, and please bring your bag lunch, and maybe even a friend or colleague!

For more information, please see Networking Brown Bag Lunch & Code of Ethics Discussion Flier.

I’ll look forward to seeing you there!

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A Thought about Thanks

courtesy of simplysplendiferous.com

courtesy of simplysplendiferous.com

It happens every year, but the Thanksgiving and winter holidays tend to make many folks very sad and anxious. This in turn makes me quite sad because they are some of my most favorite days and memories.

Recently I was with a client and the following quote was shared with me. I find it to be almost perfect in its encapsulation of how today’s events can bring one right back to an old, dark place seemingly instantaneously. The quote is:

“I think much of who we are is based on the stories we tell ourselves. Events that happened in our childhoods, when we are the least able to control or process the events that happen to us can come back in the form of an endless loop that gets so embedded in our psyches that they become a lens that we view the rest of the world through.”

Thankfully, this is what therapy is all about – getting into those old stories and re-writing them. Sometimes it takes a guide to assist in this transformation, and that is what our job is all about.

Maybe the gift of this small quote can assist in releasing old, stuck thought patterns and begin to bring ease to difficult events in a new way.

We wish you peace, joy and safety this Thanksgiving, and every holiday.

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Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield Accepted Again

We are pleased and proud to announce that beginning February 18, 2016, Yvonne Booy, LCSW is now an in-network Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield provider!

Anyone interested in using their insurance can reach Yvonne at 203-416-6008 x606.


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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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