A Letter from HAMFT President Anne Way
As I begin my journey as president of HAMFT, I am aware that several generations of marriage and family therapists are housed under the strong, 40-year-old roof of TAMFT. Never before was this more evident than at the recently concluded 40th anniversary TAMFT conference held this past week in Sugar Land. This powerful roof has withstood the challenge of gaining licensure in this great State, fortified itself to maintain that licensure despite the great storm of opposition it has faced in Texas and covered several generations of therapists who came of age under its protective shield. This formidable terrain housed under a single roof calls for equal measures of grit and grace, wit and wisdom. If we are to sustain this great profession we must keep our roof hardy, repair any leaks that arise and quite truthfully tear it down and rebuild it when necessary. This roof needs to last for generations to come. How will we sustain our organization while remaining relevant to the entire membership? We must shepherd these transgenerational marriage and family therapists through a variety of successful career trajectories.
Clear and sustainable pathways must be available for:
• private practitioners,
• group practices,
• the nonprofit agency settings,
• hospital settings,
• managed care managers,
• EAP clinicians,
• academic clinicians,
• and family researchers.
How can we design a viable succession plan as some of the wise sages in our organization retire, close their practices, or begin a new phase of life? We are fortunate in our HAMFT family to have members who gladly mentor students and young professionals just as the younger generation smiles politely when their elders discuss the good ole days when live supervision involved the use of high tech drop in microphones, rotary phones, and beta max recordings.
Recently Past President Joan Harwood sent an email blast out to members that she needed “all hands on deck” to help with our Awards Banquet. On a naval vessel this means everyone on board assembles on deck to help out with whatever needs to be done. Answering the call to help with the business of HAMFT in supporting its members is essential to sustaining our vessel and keeping it sound. Generations of leaders have steered us through rough seas and calm seas, but in all conditions it was the membership who kept the machinery running smoothly. We need members to continue efforts in inviting colleagues to join HAMFT, serve on committees, run for board positions, develop creative and relevant programs and make it a goal to attend our monthly educational opportunities. There may be rough seas ahead for practitioners and clients but we must stand ready. We must ask:
• How can we equip students and the beginning professionals to navigate the new world of mental health care?
• How will we meet the challenge that the affordable health care act presents in our practice settings and more importantly what can we do as a collective, multi-generational collaborative of therapists to dream together and shape a mental health care system that promotes our profession as marriage and family therapists while also promoting healthy families?
I invite all members to get on board to help get this vessel moving. We will need all hands on deck. For me faith has sustained and energized me; it is my life raft that helps me weather storms in my family, in the families I witness in my practice, in our profession, and in our world. For some it is faith that helps us traverse rough waters, for others it is science that helps construct what is needed to make a worthy vessel, still others it is clear guideposts and rules that make navigation more smooth…whatever “floats your boat” my hope is that we promote faith in ourselves as healers, faith in our collective and individual vision for our profession, ourselves, our families, our clients--moving us to envision a better world, one progress note at a time.
If you have suggestions on HAMFT's role in the profession's future, questions on how you can get involved or would like to offer ideas on the association's events, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.