I'm sure many of you are already aware of the horrific anti-trans situation in Texas that would not only criminalize gender-affirming care but literally view affirming parents as abusive and any nurturing of trans, nonbinary and/or gender expansive youth as child abuse. If not, here is some information about what is happening: https://time.com/6150964/greg-abbott-trans-kids-child-abuse/
Abbott's preposterous directive to state health agencies means that healthcare providers would be viewed as criminals if they do not 'turn in' trans youth and their families. This directive followed a legal opinion released by Attorney General Ken Paxton on February 18th, which deemed gender-affirming care as child abuse under Texas law.
I am sure you can imagine what devastating impact this would have on trans, nonbinary and/or gender expansive youth and their families as well as on family therapists in Texas. If you live in Texas, please contact your state representatives and let them know that you oppose these horrific statements and directive. Please remind them that gender-affirming care is evidence-based and recommended by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, as well as supported by scholarly evidence. It is not a politician's place to determine what is medically necessary or not.
You can also contact the Office of the Texas Governor here: https://gov.texas.gov/contact
Here are some other actions you can take, whether you live in Texas or not:
Since writing this letter to the members of the Queer and Trans Advocacy Network, additional anti-trans legislation has been introduced and in some cases passed in various states. For example, Florida House of Representatives just passed the "Don't Say Gay or Trans" bill, which impacts educators, as well as mental health providers working in school and, of course, youth and their families. You can find out more information about this here: https://www.hrc.org/press-releases/breaking-florida-house-of-representatives-passes-dont-say-gay-or-trans-bill. You can tell Florida lawmakers to oppose this legislation via this form: https://act.eqfl.org/a/oppose-dont-say-gay-bill2 The Florida House of Representatives also passed the "Stop WOKE Act" last Thursday, which would again hinder educators and mental health providers working in schools from talking not just about gender and sexuality but also race and discrimination: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/florida-house-passes-stop-woke-act-to-limit-talks-on-race-gender-and-discrimination-in-schools-workplaces/ You can tell Florida lawmakers to oppose this legislation via this form: https://act.eqfl.org/a/tell-florida-lawmakers-oppose-stop-woke
At the same time, Georgia Senate passed legislation banning the participation of trans athletes in sports team aligned with their gender identity: https://www.hrc.org/press-releases/human-rights-campaign-denounces-georgia-senates-passage-of-anti-trans-sports-legislation Around the same time, the Alabama House of Representatives passed another anti-trans bill impacting children in K-12 public schools: https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2022/02/23/alabama-trans-bathroom-ban-house/ 2022 seems to be following the sad record of 2021. Last year we witnessed legislators introduce 147 anti-trans bills across 34 states: https://www.hrc.org/press-releases/2021-officially-becomes-worst-year-in-recent-history-for-lgbtq-state-legislative-attacks-as-unprecedented-number-of-states-enact-record-shattering-number-of-anti-lgbtq-measures-into-law.
Please pay attention to what is happening in your state and how it is impacting your clients and their families, as well as your colleagues.
NAMI Press Conference
Do you serve children, teens, and family units? Here is some great information on the state of mental health services for young people in MN.
The Minnesota Mental Health Legislative Network (MHLN) in partnership with the Minnesota Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) held a virtual press conference on the current state of mental health supports for children and teens throughout Minnesota.
If you are planning on attending Mental Health Day on the Hill, this press conference has great information you can take to our elected officials.
Information from the press conference is available here:
The full video of the press conference is available at the following link (our own board member, Lisa Xiong, makes an appearance in the video!)
Grant Deadline Approaching- BIPOC and other Under-Represented LMFTs Working to Become Supervisors May Qualify for Tuition Reimbursement
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) annually offers grants to people from under-represented communities who are working to become supervisors in their respective mental health field. The formal name of the program is the Mental Health Cultural Community Continuing Education Grant Program- Individual Providers Tuition Scholarship Program.
If you are a BIPOC individual or identify as a member of another under-represented community, and are in the process of/are planning to become a board approved supervisor, you may qualify for tuition reimbursement up to $9,295. The next deadline for application is March 22nd, 2022.
Full Information about the grant and the application process is available here:
Regulatory Board Rules Revision Meeting- 2/28/2022
The Minnesota Board of Marriage and Family Therapy (BMFT), our regulatory/licensing board, is in the process of reviewing a series of rules that will impact aspiring relational therapists, as well as MFT supervisors. Current proposed rule changes are focused on the requirements for supervision for pre-clinical individuals.
The BMFT is still seeking input on these potential rule revisions, and are inviting people to attend the next meeting to discuss these rules, which will be held virtually on Monday February 28th at 9AM. Members of the MAMFT board will be present, but we encourage members to also attend and provide their input.
For Audio and Video via WebEx:
Members are also welcome to sign up for the regulatory board emails, or check the regulatory board website directly for meeting information at the link below:
The No Surprises Act went into effect in January of 2022. While we are still learning more about it, we have found these resources to be helpful for therapists. Please review this information to see how the new law might affect you and your practice. You may also want to utilize the legal helpline through MAMFT. You may contact Terry Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org or 952-746-2175 to schedule a call to discuss any questions or concerns you have about this new law.
We are excited to announce that our bylaws have passed and members can read more about them HERE.
The bylaw vote that took place in October passed, meaning MAMFT’s new bylaws will go into effect January 1st 2022.
The MAMFT board and staff is working to finalize the protocols, policies and procedures manual, and other important criteria to function effectively under our new bylaw structure. We expect a transition process to occur throughout 2022 as we work to adopt these new bylaws.
The main visible change will be in our board and organizational structure. We will be condensing the responsibilities of our organization into 4 standing committees and one accountability panel.
Internal Affairs is responsible for the direction and management of MAMFT as an organization.
Tasks include- Strategic planning, budget and financial direction, staff direction and feedback.
Chair- Cerise Lewis; email@example.com
Governance is responsible for ensuring the healthy management of our board.
Tasks include- Onboarding new board members, managing and addressing complaints, ensuring follow through and alignment with our policies and bylaws
Chair- Christina Corwin; firstname.lastname@example.org
External Affairs is responsible for the development of member and public facing events and communications
Tasks include- Marketing/communications, advocacy efforts, event planning, membership engagement and recruitment
Chair- Leah Seeger; email@example.com
Elections is responsible for ensuring a fair and elected make-up of our board
Tasks include- working with governance on determining board membership needs, developing a slate of qualified individuals for board positions, holding free and fair elections.
Chair- Ana Lewis; firstname.lastname@example.org
Social Justice Accountability Panel includes members of each standing committee, and other MAMFT members who are committed to socially just work. This panel is responsible for ensuring all board work is grounded in awareness and responsiveness to the needs of all MN MFTs.
Tasks include- providing input, feedback, and ensuring accountability for how all board and organizational functions impact various groups within our membership.
Interim Chair- Serenity Curtis; email@example.com
We continue to welcome member input and feedback in this process! If you would like to participate in a committee, or have any question about the work of various committees, please reach out to the corresponding committee chair.
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.
The MAMFT Board
Posted on May 31, 2020
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.
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
MAMFT has set up a web page for sharing information relevant to providing mental health services in light of Covid-19. It is by no means an exhaustive list of resources nor should any of it be taken as legal or ethical advice from MAMFT.
We will continue to add resources/information to the page in the coming days and weeks. If you know of a resource or are willing to share content you have put together you think would be of benefit to others, please email it to me and we will consider adding it on the web page (mamft.net/covid-19).
With a collective and collaborative mindset we can best navigate challenging times such as this. MAMFT is here to help facilitate that collaboration and our collective strength.
Thank you for being a valued member of our community and for the important service you are providing the larger community during this time.
Sara Bidler, LMFT
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