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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