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  • October 08, 2021 11:39 AM | Anonymous

    MAMFT Bylaws Update

    MAMFT’s board received lots of feedback from members on the proposed revisions to MAMFT’s bylaws, as well as the proposed mission and vision statements. While many members expressed support for the proposed changes, we also received questions and constructive feedback. There were seven themes in the feedback. This month we will be featuring those themes, the responses to each theme, the changes we made based on feedback, and additional information we have, or will be providing to address specific concerns.

    You can view the full list of themes and responses, as well as the updated bylaws and vision statement: https://mamft.net/pressroom/10976884

    Voting is now live for these bylaws. Members can vote on these bylaws, as well as vote for board members at the link. https://mamft.net/October-2021-Voting

    Go to link for responses: https://mamft.net/pressroom/10976884

  • September 16, 2021 5:05 PM | Anonymous

    Join MAMFT as we honor those who inspire us:

    MAMFT will be presenting our 2021 Community Partner award to Sarah Super and Lori Greene for their breathtaking and life-giving work in creating the first permanent memorial to sexual violence survivors.

    We look forward to being in community together, hearing from the creators, and honoring them for their inspiring work. Coffee and donuts will be served. Mask wearing recommend for all attendees.

    For more information on the memorial please visit: www.survivorsmemorial.org/ 

    Survivors Memorial Event Flyer.pdf


  • September 02, 2021 1:17 PM | Anonymous


    MAMFT’s board received lots of feedback from members on the proposed revisions to MAMFT’s bylaws, as well as the proposed mission and vision statements.

    While many members expressed support for the proposed changes, we also received constructive feedback. There were seven themes in the feedback. Below are the responses to each theme, the changes we are making based on feedback, and additional information we have, or will be providing to address specific concerns.

    You can view the full proposed bylaws with changes, as well as mission and vision statements here:

    Theme 1-Why are we making these changes? How do they benefit our organization?

    Responses: The current MAMFT board structure was created when MAMFT was a part of AAMFT. Since becoming a standalone organization, we found the set structure was no longer conducive to meeting the needs of our organization and members. We are changing the bylaws to address the following issues in the structure:

    1. There were too many committees. This often means the functioning of the board is broken up into small, separated silos. This structure leaves board members feeling isolated, makes operations inefficient,, and limits what the board can accomplish for members.

    2. Too many of the responsibilities and powers of the organization were assigned to the President. This meant that one person had too much influence on the direction of the organization. 

    3. There was no defined way of addressing issues within the board, which limited the ability to hold board members accountable. 

    Given that the bylaw review and voting process is a significant undertaking, we wanted to look for other potential changes that would benefit our organization and members. The board has taken feedback from members, staff, and prior leadership to address these other limiting factors. 

    1. We are getting rid of an outdated and cumbersome decision making process and replacing it with a more collaborative process.

    2. We are ensuring that issues of diversity, equity and social justice are considered in all board functions.

    3. We are creating mechanisms for better feedback and accountability within the board, while also having a more optimized and cohesive approach to individual board member responsibilities.

    Theme 2- How do we ensure all MFTs feel welcome within MAMFT given these changes? Does language in the bylaws about social justice make MAMFT too “partisan” or “politically divisive” as an organization?

    Responses: This process was designed to make more relational therapists feel welcome and supported within MAMFT. We heard from members who felt the current board was not effective in meeting their needs, and that our statements/intentions were not translating into clear actions. The changes we are proposing are designed to make the board more nimble, inclusive, and accountable, which will make MAMFT a safe professional home for all relational therapists.

    We believe that while supporting the practice of systemic therapy is often political, it doesn’t have to be partisan. For example, MAMFT responds to challenges in our community, advocates for legislation that supports the needs of relational therapists, and works to increase client access to therapy; these efforts are often political. Conversely, MAMFT does NOT endorse individual political candidates or parties, thus avoiding partisanship. 

    We understand that in this current political climate and media culture, phrases like social-justice can be seen as polarizing. However, for MAMFT purposes, we do not view social-justice from a partisan lens. Instead, we view social-justice as a long established part of MAMFT’s mission, vision, and ethical practice. By including more specific language and processes around social justice, the board hopes to become more accountable for that vision and embodiment of our mission when making decisions for the organization as a whole. 

    We invite those who see words like social justice as “divisive” to remember that our entire field was formed from the “divisive” idea that the mental health of an individual was impacted by the people and systems around them. Founders in the field of relational therapy recognized that to treat an individual, and/or their family, we must acknowledge and be competent in addressing the issues created by the systems around that individual or family. 

    In addition, there are many other mental health professions that advocate for systemic thinking and social justice in the work of being a mental health professional. We believe these bylaw changes and the corresponding commitment to social justice aligns well with the tradition of viewing therapy through a systemic lens and is in alignment with the overall direction of the mental health profession. 

    Theme 3- Concerns about various language: Does the phrase “relational healer” negatively impact how we are viewed as professionals? What does “social justice” and “equity” mean in this setting? 

    Responses: Based on member feedback, we will be adding a definitions section to the bylaws, and we will use the phrase “relational therapist” in order to display the professional credibility of our field.

    Definitions:  Relational Therapist: With regards to MAMFT and its functions, a relational therapist is defined as an individual currently practicing therapy as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) or a Licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (LAMFT); an individual training in the field of relational therapy; an individual who has completed their training in relational therapy but are not yet licensed; an individual who has retired from practicing relational therapy; or any other professional who utilizes a systemic or relational lens in their work of supporting the mental health of others. 

    Relational Therapy: is the process of providing therapeutic services to an individual, relational unit, or group, where the provider has specialized training to assess and support the mental health concerns and relational issues that arise in the context of both intrapersonal and interpersonal dynamics. Relational therapy includes but isn’t limited to providing therapeutic services to the following:

    • Platonic relationships (friendships, roommates, group therapy) 

    • Romantic relationships (committed partnerships, premarital, marital, divorce, couples counseling)

    • Family relationships (siblings, intergenerational relationships, in-laws)

    • Professional and/or peer relationships (coworker, employer/employee, cohort members, academic peers)

    • Other relational systems counseling

    Social-justice: MAMFT’s board will commit to being empathetic, responsive, and accountable to the needs of marginalized and non-minoritized groups within our organization’s efforts to support and forward the profession of relational therapy. This commitment is based in the following principles:

    • We acknowledge there are groups of people who have historically been, and often still are marginalized and/or experience injustice in our society. 

    • We acknowledge marginalization in any form can have lasting negative impacts on individual and relational mental health. 

    • We acknowledge historically marginalized groups are both part of our membership, and the communities our members serve. 

    • We understand that there is a shifting landscape around marginalization and minoritization, and are committed to meeting the evolving needs of our members and community. 

    Equity: Recognizing that each person has different circumstances, equity is the designing and allocation of resources and opportunities to ensure all people have the same level of access to outcomes.

    For example- there are groups of people that have historically and currently lack access to health care. Promoting access to health care, and thus access to relational therapists, is an equity issue important to MAMFT.

    Theme 4- What is the role of the new committees and panel? Is there too much power in one place?

    Responses: The board has worked with multiple consultants in the past two years to help define ways to effectively and efficiently run a non-profit professional organization. This new structure is being proposed to ensure a healthy balance of power, accountability, and responsibilities within the board. 

    We wanted to streamline committees, so we no longer have the issue of one person being responsible for (or having all the power in) a committee and its associated tasks. Most non-profits have a governance committee that is responsible for ensuring the board is functioning well, knowing that multiple board members will collaborate on those tasks. Based on the other responsibilities of our board, we decided there was a need for an internal affairs committee, and an external affairs committee.

    We wanted to set up our board to make good on the commitment to social-justice. However, we don’t want to risk one person, or one committee, being overly responsible for addressing equity issues or concerns. To mitigate these concerns, we added a separate panel made up of standing committee members, as well as members of the association. This design ensures a healthy feedback loop between the panel, the board committees, and our members. 

    Please see the attached PowerPoint for a more detailed description of the various committees responsibilities, and feedback loop between committees and panel.

    Board Structure PDF

    A reminder that MAMFT members are welcome to join ANY of the standing committees, and participate in ALL board meetings. We welcome those interested in joining a committee to visit our website and connect with a committee that they are interested in joining. https://www.mamft.net/Committees

    Theme 5- Why do we have restrictions on the number of Pre-Clinical and Students on the board?

    Response: MAMFT’s board has greatly benefited from the input and energy of Student and Pre-Clinical members. We hope that more Pre-Clinical and Student members of the organization will participate on MAMFT’s committees and the social justice panel.

    While taking into consideration the equity issues that Pre-Clinical and Student members face, we also had to look at the potential impact of more than one pre-clinical person having a voting position on the board. The rationale for this limit came down to three overlapping variables: 

    1. The importance of clinical experience in making decisions for members; MAMFT is a professional organization. Thus we want to be sure the majority of voting board members are well versed in the needs of relational therapists. This knowledge can only come from time working in our field. 

    2. The demands of being a board member: We acknowledge that Student and Pre-Clinical members have a great deal of responsibilities. Schooling, practicum, adapting to work in the field, securing supervision, and preparation for licensure exams are all stacked on top of other responsibilities in these members’ lives. Pre-Clinical and Student board members may not always have the time or ability to commit to the rigorous needs of serving on a board given these responsibilities. 

    3. The flexible size of our board: Since our Board of Directors is no longer a set size, and non-officer positions may flex from 3-9 members, we wanted to ensure that the majority of the Board of Directors, even at the board’s smallest size, is comprised of experienced, clinical members who will be able to fully commit to responsibilities of the board. 

    Theme 6- Why was the line about maintaining professional standards removed from the purpose section?

    Response: That should be a key purpose of the board. It has been added back into the bylaw purpose section. We will also be developing a best practices statement to better define professional standards. 

    Theme 7- Supporting documents need to be made available to members: How does the new decision making model work? Why isn’t there a code of conduct defining professional standards? How do we decide who gets a reduced rate? 

    Response: The board already has developed some of these supporting documents. Some are still a work in progress. 

    • Here is a link to the documentation on the consensus minus 1 decision making model.

    Decision Making Model Overview

    Decision Making Model Details

    • There is a group of board members currently working on the best practices statement to better define professional standards.

    • We are also working on the implementation of reduced rate options for folks who need assistance with dues. 

    If you are interested in participating in the process of developing any of these items, we encourage you to reach out to Lucas Volini at President@mamft.net

  • August 31, 2021 7:29 AM | Anonymous

    MAMFT's Annual Conference 

    October 7th & 8th, 2021


    Thursday, October 7th: Virtually. Access to 8 webinars for a total of 12 CEUs via recorded webinars including the Keynote Presentation by Adriana Alejandre, LMFT.

    Friday, October 8th: LIVE and in-person at The Westin Edina Galleria Hotel in Edina, MN

    Details: Annual Conference

    Thursday Pre-Recorded Webinar Descriptions

    Friday In-Person Session Descriptions


    Members - remember to login to receive MAMFT member pricing!

  • June 28, 2021 3:40 PM | Anonymous

    Bylaw Review Update 6/28/2021

    In February the MAMFT board announced plans to review and propose changes to MAMFT’s bylaws. We are doing this to align our vision, mission, and structure. We believe this process will help to achieve our strategic goals, and make good on the promises of creating an enduring, supportive, socially-just organization.

    After months of conversations with various board and committee members, MAMFT’s Board of Directors has the following proposals to share with our members. We truly want to collaborate with members on this process. Before we ask you to vote on these items in October, we are looking for member feedback. We hope you will take the time to read the following proposals, and participate in the feedback process.

    How to read these documents:

    Black = no changes were made

    Red strike through = To be removed

    Red = new/added

    Bylaw Revision Proposal PDF 

    Mission/Vision Statement Proposal PDF

    How to provide feedback:

    1. Share your feedback via Google survey https://forms.gle/WLQWrWiXCwqrHjZv6
    2. Join us for one of Bylaw Review virtual town halls
      1. Friday July 16th at 10AM
      2. Tuesday July 20th at 7PM
      3. Saturday July 24th at 10AM
      4. Register by emailing info@mamft.net and specify which town hall(s) you would like to attend- you will receive an email with a link to the corresponding virtual meeting
    3. Send an email to President@mamft.net with your input

    All feedback received by JULY 30th will be reviewed and considered by the board, and changes will be made based on the direction we receive.

    Thank you again for your time, efforts, and participation in this process.

    The MAMFT Restructuring Committee

  • May 31, 2020 10:48 AM | Deleted user

    Dear Colleagues,

    As you know, the Twin Cities and our state are facing yet another murder of a Black man, Mr George Floyd, at the hand of the Minneapolis police force. As we mourn the brutal and needless loss of life of Mr Floyd, we are also witnessing the expression of intergenerational and historical trauma in many of our communities, as people rise up for justice and Black liberation. Sadly, we are also witnessing an influx of out-of-town agitators and organized white supremacist groups trying to destroy historically Black, Brown and Immigrant communities for their own purposes. This is also leading to increased militarized presence in these communities, with the potential dangers this entails for those most vulnerable to systemic harm among us. These are complex, dangerous and mourning times. We want to acknowledge that colleagues and families we work with are impacted in different ways depending on how our bodies are racialized and our geosocioeconomic location.

    As systemic providers, we also want to acknowledge how, as larger systems fail some of our most marginalized members and communities we serve, we are also witnessing the resilience of these same communities. People are coming together and organizing, healers and medics are working on the ground, volunteer crews are cleaning the streets and neighbors are looking out for one another. Many of the people working on the ground are among our members, as well as living in the neighborhoods and communities impacted by what is currently happening. We want to make it clear that, as an organization, we are on the side of justice and Black liberation. We understand that we have work to do, given that our Board is mostly white, and we are committed to and prioritizing this work. If you are a white member looking for resources to understand what is currently happening, a relational and systemic healer in Minnesota, previous keynote presenter at our conference, and author of “My Grandmother’s Hands”, Resmaa Menakem, LICSW has a free online course on racialized trauma available at https://culturalsomaticsuniversity.thinkific.com/courses/cultural-somatics-free-5-session-ecourse.

    We are grateful for all the members supporting their clients and communities, your work is invaluable. May we heal from the public health emergency that is racism. May there be justice and peace.

    In solidarity,

    The MAMFT Board

    Posted on May 31, 2020

  • April 24, 2020 10:49 AM | Deleted user

    Federal Action Needed to Support Mental Health System

    In the last few weeks, we know that life during COVID-19 has become more difficult – even more so for people with mental health conditions. In the best of times, we know it is hard to get mental health treatment and support, and the coronavirus is making it much worse, especially for people in crisis. And more people than ever, including essential workers, are experiencing a need for mental health care.

    The result? A growing mental health emergency.

    That’s why Congress needs to act quickly to support people with mental health needs in the next coronavirus relief bill.

    People across the country are having trouble accessing treatment or medications, are worried about a loved one in crisis with nowhere to go, are facing an increase in their symptoms because of isolation or facing new challenges from their work on the front lines. Please help by asking your members of Congress to address the mental health impact of the coronavirus pandemic. It takes less than two minutes.

    Tell your members of Congress to prioritize:

    • Funding 9-8-8 as the National Mental Health Crisis and Suicide Prevention Hotline to help people experiencing a mental health crisis, no matter where they live, receive timely care.
    • Providing grants to states to expand virtual peer supports through organizations like NAMI. Connecting to peers is important to help people manage their mental health conditions, especially during this emergency when people are more isolated.
    • Approving funds for states to offer crisis and grief counseling to address the mental health impact on essential workers. These everyday heroes are facing mental health struggles and need help now.

    These are difficult times. And the need for mental health care continues to grow. Take action today. Your voice can make a difference in ensuring Congress addresses the mental health challenges our nation is facing as a result of this crisis.

    Thank you for your advocacy.

    For some background, earlier this month the National Council conducted a survey of 880 mental health providers. Here is what they found:

    • PROGRAM & PATIENT IMPACT: 61.8% of organizations closed at least one program.
    • EMPLOYMENT IMPACT: 46.7% of organizations have had to, or plan to, lay off or furlough employees.
    • PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE): 82.9% of organizations do not have enough PPE for two months of operations.
    • RESILIENCE: 62.1% of organizations believe they can only survive financially for three months or less under the current COVID-19 conditions.
  • April 10, 2020 10:52 AM | Deleted user

    MAMFT’s Board of Directors has organized an ad-hoc Pandemic Task Force of volunteer board members to serve as a resource in supporting our professional community throughout this pandemic’s progressive developments. The Task Force will work with other MAMFT board members to continue organizing resources, coordinating communication across membership, generate trainings and community connection groups, and respond to ongoing inquiries from members as they arise. Below, you can find the many resources already accessible on MAMFT’s website along with a list of the aspired resources to come.

    Check out the special report, which introduces the COVID-19 Task Force, summarizes resources, and identifies next steps.


  • April 10, 2020 9:00 AM | Deleted user

    MAMFT is supporting efforts to provide free mental health services to those on the front lines of the pandemic.  As a licensed mental health provider, if you are willing to set aside at least one hour a week until the end of August in this effort, please make that known here (not on MAMFT’s Facebook page). Find more information about this volunteer request here.

    If you have questions please email trishas@trishastarkphdlp.com, wilgarrett@comcast.net, or l.vukelich@comcast.net.

  • April 01, 2020 9:30 AM | Deleted user

    Dear Colleagues,

    The Minnesota Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (MAMFT) is aware that, while we are all facing the challenges that COVID-19 poses, our Asian American and Pacific Islander colleagues, students, neighbors and clients are also dealing with increased incidents of racial discrimination, harassment, bigotry and violence. These incidents are happening across the country as well as in our own state. Racism and bigotry are sadly not uncommon in times of crisis, and there is a long history of blaming Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) at various times in the history of the United States. This means that Minnesotan AAPI businesses, families and healthcare providers, including MFT colleagues and students, now fear for their safety and wellbeing while also having to deal with this pandemic.

    With this statement, MAMFT wants to clearly condemn any acts of racial discrimination, harassment, bigotry and violence against AAPI clients, colleagues, students, neighbors and clients. As systemic providers, we understand how important our relationships are, and how vital it is to be in solidarity with one another, especially at such a challenging time. We urge all non-AAPI members to be alert to the racism and bigotry that our AAPI clients, colleagues, students and neighbors are currently facing so that we can better support one another through our actions, in both our professional and personal lives. One way to be proactive is to publicly support AAPI owned and run businesses and organizations, as asked for in the Joint Statement issued on March 31st, 2020 by a set of Asian Minnesotan organizations (found here).

    We also welcome our AAPI colleagues, students, clients and neighbors to let us know how we can better support you as an organization during this challenging time and beyond. Please know that, even though we have much room for growth, our commitment to social justice and anti-racist practices is unwavering and firmly woven in our strategic plan and goals for our association.


    The MAMFT Board of Directors

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