The Washington Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (WAMFT) is an active Independent Affiliate of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). Through successful engagement of its members, WAMFT offers cutting edge educational events and networking opportunities, protects and advances the profession of marriage and family therapy through strong advocacy efforts within Washington state, and prioritizes its students and emerging professionals with training, scholarship, and mentoring opportunities.
Who is WAMFT?
3 YEAR STRATEGIC PLAN FOCUS AREAS
LETTER FROM PRESIDENT
Michelle Finley PhD LMFT
January 31, 2022
Dear WAMFT Members,
This year marks the third year of enduring a global pandemic as well as other social challenges and division across the country and globally. These are major sources of pain, loss, and stress that I know we are all facing. My hope is that WAMFT can offer tangible resources, training to strengthen your work as therapists, and offer times for connections with colleagues you have known a long time and with new faces too. It is in that spirit that I write hoping to inform our members about what WAMFT has been working on and planning for 2022.
Looking Back at 2021
We continued to offer all networking events, trainings, and programs online in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Building a Better Us series offered rich topics such as Understanding Systemic Oppression & Defining Critical Race Theory; and Supporting Military & Veteran Families to name some of the session topics. This series has helped broaden our connections with the larger MFT communities across the state as well as given space to discuss and learn about important topics in the field and in our world.
We hosted our second fully online pre-conference and conference: Back to the Future: Critically Deconstructing Systems Theories in MFT in September 2021 where our presenters and keynote speaker unpacked classic MFT theories more intentionally and clearly with an anti-racist lens and an eye for ever-changing and diverse communities. We were also able to extend the certification for our systemically oriented suicide prevention and intervention training by the WA Department of Health to July 1, 2023. You can access that training here.
Our board continued to enhance our website and social media presence to better connect with members and all MFTs in our state. In 2021, we developed a registration feature on our website, which allows individuals to register for upcoming events and track events they have attended previously. This new tool also helps us acquire critical information about our members and event attendees. We have been hard at work to find ways to better understand the identities of our members and the broader community of MFTs including specializations, passions, and areas of professional interest. This makes it easy for you to sign up for WAMFT events too. WAMFT strives to offer resources, trainings, scholarships, and networking opportunities tailored to members based on where they are in their professional development, and that desire is reflected in how our website resources are organized.
Additionally, we added an Online Library where professionals can find recorded trainings to view and earn CEs. We hope to continue to build on and expand our library to provide you with a wide array of options that will support your professional development.
I am excited to say also that WAMFT is a continuing education (CE) provider where we can authorize continuing education for any clinical educational program for marriage and family therapists (LMFTs), mental health counselors (LMHCs), and social workers (LICSWs), or any combination of these groups. For those of you who have a training or workshop to offer, please consider submitting your CE application with us where we will review your application that could result in offering CE units for your training event. Part of our goal is to better support our members across the state to receive and offer quality trainings and workshops that enhance
our profession and satisfy the continued education training requirements. Questions about our CE application process can be directed to our Ethics, Trainings, and Standards Committee chair, Macy Dong.
We also launched a new Clinical Committee chaired by one of our at-large board members, Danesha Deloatch. With her vision and hard work, the clinical committee will be a place to spotlight the needs, areas of expertise, and passions of our professional members, especially those who have been in the field longer and have additional specialization or areas of focus they wish to develop or help train others. If you are interested in getting connected to this work or want to see what this committee is all about, please email Danesha.
Our legislative and advocacy work in 2021 was robust. The legislative committee, the committee chair, Charity Francis Laughlin, and our lobbyists, Amber Lewis and Krystelle Purkey, have been instrumental in coordinating important discussions with key stakeholders and monitoring important legislation. The virtual format of the Washington 2021 Legislative Session posed new and unprecedented challenges but also increased opportunities for connection between WAMFT and key policymakers. WAMFT’s lobbyists advocated for the necessity of cultural diversity continuing education for health care providers, audio telemedicine payment parity, implementation of the national 988 crisis response system in Washington, and caution/further review of the proposed new Peer Specialist licensure category. WAMFT also provided input in WAC rules revision workshops with the Department of Health and began dialogue with stakeholders around inclusion of MFTs in the behavioral health workforce in Washington schools.
We celebrated our members during our virtual holiday party in December by spending time together, engaging in a fun virtual escape room, giving away three student scholarships, and fundraising via our silent auction and cash donations where we raised $6001. What a way to wrap up 2021!
What’s New for 2022?
I am pleased to let you know that we plan to host the following events this year:
Day on the Hill on February 17th (held online this year),
Mentor Day on May 21st
Our second-annual April Spring Ethics & Integrity Training Series to be held each
Friday in April
Building a Better Us Series held on the last Friday of each month (all online)
Pre-conference and Conference events to be held on September 23rd and 24th
(planning to be held online and in person!)
I am pleased that we can continue to offer these events including our newest training series on ethics, which we hope serves your professional training needs this year.
To stay connected to what is happening at WAMFT please check your email for our monthly eNews and other email announcements, hit the “like” or “follow” button on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages where we frequently post about upcoming events, bookmark our website, and then check out our WAMFT calendar and events pages to see what’s going on! All the major events can be found on our website where you can learn more about these events and register for them as event dates get closer. Please get connected with WAMFT if you wish to advertise a training opportunity or product that you think other MFT professionals might or if you wish to pursue CE authorization.
Another vital way we hope our members stay connected is through our networking events like Building a Better Us hosted by membership committee chair, Billie Tyler, student meet ups hosted by our student board member representatives, Amisha Gandhi and Leana West, study exam prep and preclinical member meetings hosted by our preclinical representative, Krista Merca, and clinical member meet ups hosted by our clinical committee chair and at-large board member, Danesha Deloatch. These are casual ways to get involved or just to get to know other professionals in our community.
We are continuing to rethink and expand the scholarship opportunities we offer so that they truly offer tangible support to both student and emerging professionals. We want to continue to support our members’ professional growth at conferences, with leadership, supervision, and other ways that are meaningful to our members. Please direct questions you might have about scholarship opportunities to our Scholarships & Awards Committee chair, Macy Dong.
Lastly, the board is still engaged in the strategic planning goals and objectives we developed the last two years. You can find that information here on our website. We will continue to give focused and intentional attention to how we integrate anti-racism into our work as the board of directors as well as how we address anti-racism and more cultural attunement into the events, training, and resources we provide members. If you have suggestions for what resources or opportunities to share that help advance our anti-racist and anti-oppression efforts, please follow this link to share what you know.
The board of directors are passionate, enthusiastic, and eager to continue the work we have ahead of us. We hope that you are as excited about what we have been up to and what we will continue in 2022. We want to continue to promote a thriving MFT profession and offer a more supported and informed community of MFTs across Washington state. We also want to hear more from our members, and we want our members to know that we value their feedback, their passions, and areas of expertise and experience.
On behalf of the board, I wish you a healthy, joyful, and productive year. Please do not hesitate to reach out and connect with any of us throughout 2022. We are here to serve you, and we want to hear from you.
Michelle Finley, PhD LMFT
AAMFT & OUR RELATIONSHIP
The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) is the professional association for the field of marriage and family therapy. AAMFT represents the professional interests of more than 50,000 marriage and family therapists throughout the United States, Canada and abroad.
Since its founding in 1942, AAMFT has been involved with the problems, needs and changing patterns of couples and family relationships. The association leads the way to increasing understanding, research and education in the field of marriage and family therapy, and ensuring that the public’s needs are met by trained practitioners. AAMFT provides individuals with the tools and resources they need to succeed as MFTs.
WAMFT is an engagement program of AAMFT, currently structured as a geographic independent affiliate. Our name is the Washington Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (WAMFT). To learn more about what it means for WAMFT to be a geographic independent affiliate of AAMFT, please visit Membership FAQs.
WAMFT receives funding from AAMFT to support our advocacy work. Based on the political landscape, emerging opportunities, and other related factors, AAMFT has approved foundational funding for WAMFT to be applied toward our lobbying efforts for 2019 and 2020, particularly related to the development of license portability laws. WAMFT is thrilled to have the backing of AAMFT as our national organization to continue the work we have been doing through our legislative committee.