Learn about the 5-Year Strategic Plan adopted by the MAMFT Board for 2020-2025 by watching the below video and reading about the plan here!
The plan focuses on the following 5 goals: (1) Increasing Inclusivity, (2) Structural Changes that Ensure Sustainability, (3) Increasing Visibility within the Public Sector, (4) Creating Strategic Relationships that Enhance the Quality of Professional Life for MFTs in Minnesota and (5) Making MAMFT the Professional Home for More MFTs in Minnesota.
Thanks to Lucas Volini (MAMFT President-Elect) for volunteering his equipment, time and talent in filming and producing the above video!
Check out MAMFT’s brochure on “Why See an MFT?”
Marriage and Family Therapists view mental health as a function of how people operate individually and together in their relationships with others, in “systems.” Systems come in many shapes and sizes, from two people in a couples’ relationship all the way to the “systems” that organize our communities, our nation, and our species. Systems create opportunities for its members to communicate their needs, meet their needs, and allocate resources. Whenever a system fails to do so in a way that is unfairly prejudicial for any member or group of members within a system, inequity is the result, and social justice is at least part of the answer. Minnesota Association for Marriage and Family Therapy strives to represent the views of its individual members and also the profession as it exists in Minnesota. From this viewpoint, the MAMFT Board has deemed it necessary and useful to create a position statement that reflects the MAMFT’s stance on equity and social justice in our community. This position statement is also intended to encourage thought, dialogue and action by our members and the organization internally and with our community on the issues of equity and social justice as they have arisen, continue to arise, and evolve. MAMFT is continuing to learn and evolve with our profession. We are not immune from the systemic issues that plague all groups and organizations. This statement is a commitment to reflect on and take action steps toward ensuring any current or previous members of the association who believe their needs in these regards have not been met to know that we take these issues seriously, believe they have systemic and historic origins and we are willing to do our part in addressing issues of equity as an important part of our function as a Board of MAMFT . It also serves as a loud invitation to come to the table and help guide MAMFT to the next chapter of professional organization and community in a manner that is fair, just, and inclusive to everyone.
The Minnesota Association for Marriage and Family Therapy actively encourages the participation of all therapists regardless of age, creed, race, ethnic background, gender, socio-economic status, region of residence, physical or mental status, political beliefs, religious or spiritual affiliation, and sexual or affectional orientation. Although we are an organization of individuals from diverse cultures and backgrounds, the Minnesota Association for Marriage and Family Therapy also recognizes our core unifying identities as therapists who practice on Dakota and Aanishinabe territories, currently known as Minnesota, on Turtle Island, currently known as the United States. We also recognize that we hold unintentional attitudes and beliefs that influence our perceptions of and interactions with others. We are committed to all aspects of diversity as well as our knowledge and appreciation of the unique qualities of different cultures and backgrounds.We aspire to becoming alert to aspects of diversity, previously unseen or unacknowledged in our culture. In this spirit, we are committed to collaborating to combat all forms of systemic prejudice as we seek to promote access, healing, restorative justice and liberation for all in our society. We recognize that social justice extends beyond attitudes and into actions that promote the creation of a space for the human spirit to thrive and the establishment and continuation of just relationships. To this end, we are dedicated to increasing our multicultural competencies and effectiveness as colleagues, educators, researchers, administrators, policy makers, and practitioners.
The Minnesota Association for Marriage and Family Therapy actively encourages the membership and participation of all qualified Marriage and Family Therapists, regardless of age, race, ethnic background, gender, socio-economic status, region of residence, physical or mental status, political beliefs, religious or spiritual affiliation, and sexual or affectional orientation. Although we are an organization of individuals from diverse cultures and backgrounds, the Minnesota Association for Marriage and Family Therapy also recognizes our core unifying identities as therapists who practice on Dakota and Anishinaabe territories, currently known as Minnesota, on Turtle Island, currently known as the United States.
We also recognize that we hold unintentional attitudes and beliefs that influence our perceptions of and interactions with others. We are committed to the appreciation of the unique qualities of different cultures and backgrounds. We aspire to becoming alert to aspects of diversity, previously unseen or unacknowledged in our culture. In this spirit, we are committed to collaborating to combat all forms of systemic inequity, exploitation and oppression as we seek to promote access, healing, restorative justice and liberation for all who have been harmed by any of these practices in our society. We recognize that social justice extends beyond attitudes and into actions that promote the creation of a space for the human spirit to thrive and the establishment and continuation of just relationships. To this end, we are dedicated to increasing our understanding of effective ways to resolve and eliminate all forms of systemic inequity as educators, researchers, administrators, policy makers, and practitioners. With these understandings, we plan to continue to take action to ensure that MAMFT is both perceived and actually is an organization which promotes and creates opportunities for members and the community to interact with equity, fairness and inclusion.
The MN session is over! It ended May 20th. Although there were not as many wins as we hoped for, this session still passed more bills to support mental health initiatives than many past sessions! So we are calling that a win! Take a look through the following list to see some of the highlights from the 2019 Session.
Nominations for 2020 MAMFT open board positions are currently being accepted through July 29th. We encourage you to nominate yourself or a colleague for one of our open positions: Secretary, President-Elect (must have prior MAMFT board experience), At-Large (2), Elections, and Student Rep. Please contact email@example.com with interest or questions! More info here!
MAMFT is still in need of a Greater MN Board Rep! If you or anyone you know are interested, please email Megan at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!
Day on the Hill was a great success. We were able to meet with Senator Karla Bigham and talked about issues that MFTs face including that relational codes are not covered by insurance. She was shocked and geared up to dig deeper next session! She is also continuing to push the MAMFT proposed preventative outpatient therapy bill and rallying support at the national level for next session.
The MN session is over! It ended May 20th. Although there were not as many wins as we hoped for, this session still passed more bills to support mental health initiatives than many past sessions! So we are calling that a win! Take a look through the list found here to see some of the highlights from the 2019 Session.
The membership committee is looking forward to hosting Meet and Greet events in the near future and hope that all members will consider attending. We are always seeking and encourage participation by members on the committee and hope that you will join us (email email@example.com).
The Pre-Clinical board member has been working on onboarding and learning MAMFT board expectations. I’m looking forward to planning more gatherings and finding better ways to support the pre-clinical community!
The Annual Conference will be held at the Westin Galleria on September 12th and 13th.
MAMFT will be at Mental Health Day at the State Fair this year! Come visit us on August 26th! Or if you’re interested in volunteering at our booth, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info!
The committee has been busy! We hosted our first event, Holding Hands, an Evening of Conversation and hope it is one of many. We invite you to mark your calendars for a Thursday evening discussion during the Annual Conference where we will be listening to feedback about how MAMFT can continue to evolve to meet your needs. There are many other exciting endeavours underway. Please email if interested in joining our committee or learning more (email@example.com).
Please note: This blog is originally posted on the AAMFT website to support their upcoming webinar on Confabulation.
By Jerrod Brown, Ph.D.
Confabulation is an unintentional memory disturbance. Such an inaccurate memory can simply be a distortion of an existing memory or the fabrication of a new memory. For example, a client may mistakenly believe that a real event from decades ago instead took place recently. In contrast, a client could create a fantastic memory of an event that never occurred. The likelihood of this phenomenon is often increased by the presence of a range of disorders and conditions. This includes psychosis (e.g., schizophrenia), trauma (e.g., brain injuries), fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, memory disorders (e.g., dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and Korsakoff’s syndrome), and other neurological conditions. In light of the co-occurrence of confabulation with these disorders, marriage and family therapists should have a strong working knowledge of this memory disturbance.
Failure to identify instances of confabulation can have deleterious consequences in treatment settings. This is largely due to the fact that many clinical activities are informed by information self-reported by the client. For example, inaccurate information can contribute to misdiagnosis and the allocation of inappropriate treatment options. Further, confabulation can result in credibility and countertransference issues where therapists may struggle in their decisions of what to believe or not believe. Beyond assessment and treatment, confabulation could result in false reports of victimization or even perpetration of physical and sexual abuse. In such instances, the marriage and family therapist may be obligated to report this information to the appropriate legal authorities. As such, inaccurate information can result in criminal charges and wrongful convictions.
Despite these difficulties, marriage and family therapists are well positioned to identify confabulation and provide support to clients suffering from this affliction. A necessary first-step in this process is corroborating self-reported information with reliable sources (e.g., family and friends). This is particularly true of clients suffering from clinical and neurological disorders and situations when sensitive memories with severe consequences have been recalled. As this process can be very challenging for the marriage and family therapist, the professional must keep in mind that confabulation is unintentional in nature and without malicious intents.
When confabulation has been discovered, the marriage and family therapist should work with the client to address any underlying clinical or neurological disorder and improve their memory recall. Interactions with the client should be slowly paced, use simple and clear language, and employ open-ended questions. Opportunities include teaching the client self- and memory-monitoring strategies and introducing the client to memory diaries. Similarly, the development of a strong support system of family members and friends is imperative. This group can not only serve as collateral sources of information, but also help ensure the client feels unconditional love and support throughout the therapeutic process. Through such a systematic approach, marriage and family therapists can help clients suffering from confabulation improve both their short- and long-term outcomes.
Jerrod Brown, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor and Program Director for the Master of Arts degree in Human Services with an emphasis in Forensic Behavioral Health for Concordia University, St. Paul, Minnesota. Jerrod has also been employed with Pathways Counseling Center in St. Paul, Minnesota for the past fifteen years. Pathways provides programs and services benefiting individuals impacted by mental illness and addictions. Jerrod is also the founder and CEO of the American Institute for the Advancement of Forensic Studies (AIAFS) and the Editor-in-Chief of Forensic Scholars Today (FST). Jerrod has completed four separate master’s degree programs and holds graduate certificates in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Other Health Disabilities (OHD), and Traumatic-Brain Injuries (TBI).
The above article is an Editoral piece. Opinions expressed in the MAMFT NEWS do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Editors or of MAMFT.
The Spring edition of MAMFT News is available now.
So far 2019 has proven to be a wintery blast of many unexpected snowstorms. In fact, for the first time in many years, we had to conduct a virtual board meeting due to a snowstorm. My hope is that by the time you are reading this article, you will find that spring is just around the corner and piles of snow are just a distant memory.
Even though I find myself longing for warmer days, I have realized that the silver lining with these snow days has been that I am able to spend more time with my family. Now that I am entering my second year as President of MAMFT, I am also grateful for the “family” that I have with the board. MAMFT believes that relationships matter, and I certainly have found that to be true throughout my life, but I have noticed that even more during my time on the board.
Before joining the board, I often thought that I would not have what it takes to be on the board. What skills did I have that would help the board? Surely there were many others that would be more qualified, right? My first job on the board was as Membership Chair. It was through this position that I was able to host a new member event. I was worried about how many people were going to come and if the food was good enough. At the end of the night, what I realized was that most people didn’t care about where we were meeting or how many people came. What they seemed to care about the most were the connections that they formed with other people. One person even said that she had relocated from California and was grateful for a chance to connect with other family therapists because she was feeling alone in her private practice after moving across country.
The key ingredient in being successful was right there all along- relationships matter. This event was a “success” because people had an opportunity to connect and form relationships. I applied this knowledge to the board as well. Being a successful board member does not mean that you are aware of all the legislative issues or that you are a great event planner. It also does not mean that you like to speak in front of others or have the best PR skills. Successful board members connect with others. They connect with members, potential members, legislators, colleagues, other board members, and even members from other states. These relationships help the board make decisions. These relationships help the board gain awareness about the families we serve. These relationships help develop trust and a sense of community.
As the snow eventually melts away and spring once again returns, please consider volunteering for the board or running for a position in the next election. There are no magic skills. We are not looking for a polished resume. We are looking for people that care about MAMFT. We are always hoping to form new relationships and perhaps the next one might be with you!
Megan Oudekerk, PsyD, LMFT, RPT-S, MAMFT President
MAMFT is assembling a task force to develop a five-year strategic plan for the association. Are you a visionary (yet task-oriented) person who is invested in the future of MAMFT? Would you be willing to participate in a task force to help shape the future of the organization?
As an organization that was created under and regulated by AAMFT’s structure and rules from 1981-2018, the MAMFT Board sees 2019 as an important time to re-evaluate our mission and strategically formulate a plan for the next five years. This plan will serve as a driving force behind board and committee decisions and will help ensure that all of MAMFT’s programs and processes are there with clear intention, are valued by members and support the agreed upon mission of the association. The plan will allow the board to transition from a “worker bee” board to a strategic board.
It is anticipated that the Strategic Plan Task Force (SPTF) will need at least five-six months of collaborative work to complete their task. During this time the group will:
The above information will be distilled into aspirations of the association for the next five years, from which the SPTF will propose a Strategic Plan consisting of a prioritized list of operationalized deliverables.
Task force members will be selected to ensure that diverse perspectives and all stakeholder groups are represented. Members will be expected to devote 3 hours per week for 5-6 months (May -October/November) to help the SPTF complete its work.
Update: Applications are no longer being accepted as the task force has been assembled.
If you have further questions please email MAMFT’s Executive Director, Sara Bidler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We all have certain sounds that irritate us, but for those with misophonia the body’s response is far beyond that of irritation. With misophonia the body’s fight or flight response is triggered by certain sounds. It is an automatic response that doesn’t involve any cognition and the sound/trigger makes the body feel as if it is being assaulted. I know because I have struggled with misophonia since my tween years.
It started with my mom’s gum chewing when I was 11 or 12, then went to chewing sounds by both my parents, then my high school best friend’s gum chewing, then my college roommate’s habit of eating M&M’s throughout the day, and so forth. These trigger sounds instantly invoked feelings of intense anger, disgust and anxiety along with a strong urge to flee or lash out.
The worst part was not knowing why this was happening to me. No one else seemed to have this problem, which led me to feeling embarrassed and ashamed about it. The few times I brought it up to family or close friends it was treated as being comical or something I made up. I wanted therapy or some sort of help for it, but my requests weren’t taken seriously. I don’t blame my parents or friends for not being more supportive because at the time there was no name for it, they knew of no one else having this problem, and the way the symptoms manifest is confusing.
I hoped it was something I would grow out of but when it continued to persist and worsen with each passing year, I had to accept it was going to be a part of my reality for the rest of my life. As someone pursuing a career in psychotherapy (and wanting to “job shadow” and work on my stuff) I saw a number of therapists with different skill sets over the course of my 20’s. At some point in the therapy process I would have the courage to bring up my aversion to certain sounds and was repeatedly met with bewilderment, blank stares and/or amusement…along with some empathy but no helpful insight into what it was (most considered it a form of anxiety). Then it occurred to me one day to do an internet search about my hatred of chewing sounds (this was before “Google it” was commonplace) and lo and behold there were forums a mile long of people struggling with the same thing! I spent hours reading the posts that first night. I laughed a lot because I totally understood where these people where coming from as they described their rage about sounds that are insignificant to the average person and how they would like to respond if there were no consequences (i.e. think adult tantrum). Knowing that I wasn’t alone was so validating and gave me hope.
Within a few years the condition had a name – misophonia. And when my son went in for some therapy five years later and I mentioned having misophonia during the family history portion of the intake process, it was the first time I encountered a therapist who knew what it was! I was thrilled word was spreading!
Fast forward to 2013 and the Misophonia Association was formed, which among other initiatives puts on an annual conference. And research is being conducted to better understand the cause of misophonia (hopefully leading to a cure)! Studies are showing there is a brain basis for misophonia and that misophonia is a neurological disorder.
There is no diagnosis for misophonia in the DSM, but a group of psychiatrists in Amsterdam who have been researching the condition have proposed the following diagnostic criteria:
So how can you support a client who presents with these symptoms?
1) Know what misophonia is in a general sense (finish reading this article and you can check that off or go a step further and watch “Quiet Please” listed in the resources below).
2) Make sure your client knows they are not alone and there is a name for their condition.
3) Share the below resources with your client. Help your client better understand the condition.
4) Encourage your client to exercise frequently and take time to do activities/be in settings that are calming to their nervous system.
5) Brainstorm coping strategies and ways to modify their environment to minimize triggers and the effect of triggers (ex. strategic placement of white noise machines).
5) Help the client in managing the emotions that come with misophonia (shame, rage, anxiety, grief). The following treatment approaches have shown to be effective with some misophonia sufferers: CBT, DBT, mindfulness, hypnosis, somatic work, EMDR, Alpha Stim and Neurofeedback. You may need to refer your client to someone who specializes in one of these treatments for misophonia-specific support, along with professionals in other fields who understand the condition such as chiropractors and audiologists.
6) Do systems work! In particular, work with anyone the client lives with (whether it be parents, a spouse, roommates, etc.) to help them better understand the condition and support the client in coping (along with validating their experience – misophonia is tough to live with!).
If you are an educator: Classroom settings are one of the most challenging settings for those with misophonia because of snacking, gum chewing, pen clicking, etc. Create a safe environment for students with misophonia to be able to let you know they have the condition and offer/brainstorm possible modifications so the student can better focus on what is being taught versus the sounds in the environment.
Making my condition known to all of you (especially considering my role with MAMFT) is another big step in my journey of combating misophonia. I hope it results in more and more clients feeling understood when they present with misophonia in therapy.
One of the reasons I hold back from telling people about my condition is that I don’t want people to feel anxious about eating around me. Fortunately, my misophonia isn’t on the severe side and my triggers are generally with those I spend a lot of time with. Gum chewing is the exception. It always triggers me. So now you know to not chew gum around me. The same goes with Oprah if you ever meet her.
Film: Quiet Please
Misophonia Facebook page: Stop the Sounds
Research Article: The Brain Basis for Misophonia
MN Audiology Clinic (source for white noise generators): The Tinnitus and Hyperacusis Clinic
Book: Understanding and Overcoming Misophonia: A Conditioned Aversive Reflex Disorder
Dozier, Thomas (2015) Understanding and Overcoming Misophonia: A Conditioned Aversive Reflex Disorder. Livermore, CA: Misophonia Treatment Institute
Schroder, A.; Vulink, N; Denys, D. (2013, January). Misophonia: Diagnostic Criteria for a New Psychiatric Disorder. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3553052/
Sara Bidler, MS, LMFT has a private practice in Maple Grove, MN: Authentic Living Therapy Services, LLC. She is an Advanced-Level Somatic Experiencing Trainee. In addition to helping people work through past traumatic experiences, Sara has a passion for helping those impacted by misophonia. She also serves as Executive Director for MAMFT. She can be reached at email@example.com. Learn more about Sara’s practice at www.authenticlivingts.com.
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