Call to Action from the MAMFT President
The COVID-19 pandemic has already proven to be an international crisis of historic proportions that will likely get worse before it gets better. Society has experienced an epistemological crisis, forced to face how dynamical and interdependent complex ecological systems really are. Our physical, economic, and mental health is interconnected with that of others, which is difficult news for many. Much remains unclear about the pandemic’s fallout. What is crystal clear, however, is the damage will be widespread and mental health professionals will eventually be called to play essential leadership roles in helping society heal the relational injuries that result from this nightmare.
You’ve undoubtedly received notifications from a number of organizations explaining how they are responding to the pandemic. This message is not meant to add to the cacophony, rather it’s meant to remind you your professional association is here to assist you as it can and arm you with resources.
The first priority is the safety and health of you and yours, of course. No professional role or function is as important as your individual well-being or that of your loved ones. That said, therapists’ duties demand the creation of service continuity plans to minimize disruption to clients, however safe and possible. MAMFT has information on continuing care via telehealth posted online here. In addition to last week’s school closure order, a shelter in place order from the Governor seems imminent and likely. Though public health experts seem to agree these are essential steps, the closures nonetheless have a disproportionate impact on those working in the service industry and the various communities we serve.
Crises clarify the role of professional associations. Our field’s service delivery model has been threatened nearly overnight, with most practices having to face business continuation challenges. Beyond challenges to our physical health and collective livelihood is the very real impact this will have on our clients. Though these challenges will ultimately be temporary, they cannot not leave our system unchanged. MAMFT endeavors to serve as an information hub and resource during this trying time.
MAMFT board members and staff have been tirelessly working to aggregate and disseminate information specific to the practice of Marriage & Family Therapy during this trying time. Our Legislative Team has kept abreast of the dizzying flurry of policy changes, has worked to spread the information in the provider community, and will continue to monitor changes at the state and federal levels. Our Professional Practices committee has served as a resource to many faced with complex practice-related concerns centering mainly on the provision of telehealth. The Training Committee is implementing modifications to training-related services to ensure continuity in MAMFT’s educational offering, should the format or focus of trainings need to change to meet members’ needs. Finally, our Executive Director has ensured the clarity and regularity of the association’s communication and is working on the association’s service continuation plan. Our weekly emails will serve as the main touchpoint for MFT’s seeking more information.
One of the most acute challenges of widespread public health emergencies is that they often destroy social cohesion. Simply stated, family therapists are uniquely trained, situated, and experienced in treating torn social fabric so that society regains its connectedness and productivity. We therapists should pace ourselves during this hectic time. We will be increasingly called outside ourselves to serve others in the months to come, and society needs us to be wide-eyed, well-charged, unified, and ready for that challenge.
Seek professional and personal supports. Be kind. Be patient. Do your best.
Our profession is in this together because