By: Mathis Kennington, President, TAMFT
Over the last several years, AAMFT has communicated to its divisions that the organization is experiencing a potential atrophy of membership. This is due in part to the fact that most AAMFT members across the United States are retiring and not enough younger members have become clinical fellows. To address this concern, AAMFT has proposed to dissolve its state divisions in favor of one national organization with the opportunity for members to organize in two distinct types. First, state divisions may choose to transition into special interest group. Interest groups are organizations of members who have chosen to affiliate and network around a common shared interest related to marriage and family therapy. That interest may be based on advocacy issues, specific types of therapeutic modalities or even geography. Second, AAMFT has offered divisions the opportunity to transition into Independent Affiliates. Affiliates are former state divisions who choose to retain their charter, maintaining an independent legal entity within AAMFT, but with certain restrictions. For example, Independent Affiliates no longer receive mandatory dues from division members as one of the changes AAMFT is making is that they are no longer requiring members to join their state division. In other words, beginning next year, members no longer are required to be members of TAMFT.
With exception to some financial changes, the Independent Affiliate option is the one that requires the least amount of identity and structural changes. As a board, our chief concern has been to maintain the practical benefits of TAMFT membership. We’ve wished to retain our members’ opportunities to network at our conference and promote their work through our relationships. We’ve also been concerned with license advocacy. These have been the two most important considerations in the decision we’ve had to make in response to AAMFT’s pending changes. In consideration of these changes, the board has decided to choose an Independent Affiliate option. We believe this options is the best option for Texas LMFTs because we retain a legal and independent status within Texas, which is absolutely crucial to influence state legislators. Although we will remain active on AAMFT’s Family Team, we do not believe that we would have the same potential impact on matters related to LMFTs unless we have an independently regulated state charter.
Although we feel comfortable with this decision, the choice brings its challenges. We can no longer depend on the state dues that were previous delegated to us by AAMFT unless individual members decide to join TAMFT. We need your help. Now more than ever, we need members to support the organization by sharing why you believe it’s important to retain your TAMFT membership. As a reminder, this was the most successful legislative session TAMFT has ever had. We achieved five legislative victories, not to mention the victory over TMA in the supreme court. We cannot take on initiatives like this without your continued support through membership.
Please consider serving on one of our committees, come to conference 2018 and consider running for a board position to influence the growth and future of our organization. This coming election cycle, we have several opportunities for LMFT leaders in the field to get involved on the board during an exciting transitional period. Please be on the lookout for information from the elections committee on what board positions are forthcoming.
Please review materials provided by AAMFT to answer questions about restructuring. Also please attend the Conference in February. This conference will be unlike any we’ve had before it. It will be historic in the sense that we’ll be dealing with issues that change who we are as an organization, but mostly it will fun and exciting.
Mathis V. Kennington, Ph.D., LMFT-S
Texas Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
The 2017 TAMFT Board