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
Federal Action Needed to Support Mental Health System
In the last few weeks, we know that life during COVID-19 has become more difficult – even more so for people with mental health conditions. In the best of times, we know it is hard to get mental health treatment and support, and the coronavirus is making it much worse, especially for people in crisis. And more people than ever, including essential workers, are experiencing a need for mental health care.
The result? A growing mental health emergency.
That’s why Congress needs to act quickly to support people with mental health needs in the next coronavirus relief bill.
People across the country are having trouble accessing treatment or medications, are worried about a loved one in crisis with nowhere to go, are facing an increase in their symptoms because of isolation or facing new challenges from their work on the front lines. Please help by asking your members of Congress to address the mental health impact of the coronavirus pandemic. It takes less than two minutes.
Tell your members of Congress to prioritize:
These are difficult times. And the need for mental health care continues to grow. Take action today. Your voice can make a difference in ensuring Congress addresses the mental health challenges our nation is facing as a result of this crisis.
Thank you for your advocacy.
For some background, earlier this month the National Council conducted a survey of 880 mental health providers. Here is what they found:
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.
MAMFT is supporting efforts to provide free mental health services to those on the front lines of the pandemic. As a licensed mental health provider, if you are willing to set aside at least one hour a week until the end of August in this effort, please make that known here (not on MAMFT’s Facebook page). Find more information about this volunteer request here.
If you have questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
The COVID-19 pandemic has already proven to be an international crisis of historic proportions that will likely get worse before it gets better. Society has experienced an epistemological crisis, forced to face how dynamical and interdependent complex ecological systems really are. Our physical, economic, and mental health is interconnected with that of others, which is difficult news for many. Much remains unclear about the pandemic’s fallout. What is crystal clear, however, is the damage will be widespread and mental health professionals will eventually be called to play essential leadership roles in helping society heal the relational injuries that result from this nightmare.
You’ve undoubtedly received notifications from a number of organizations explaining how they are responding to the pandemic. This message is not meant to add to the cacophony, rather it’s meant to remind you your professional association is here to assist you as it can and arm you with resources.
The first priority is the safety and health of you and yours, of course. No professional role or function is as important as your individual well-being or that of your loved ones. That said, therapists’ duties demand the creation of service continuity plans to minimize disruption to clients, however safe and possible. MAMFT has information on continuing care via telehealth posted online here. In addition to last week’s school closure order, a shelter in place order from the Governor seems imminent and likely. Though public health experts seem to agree these are essential steps, the closures nonetheless have a disproportionate impact on those working in the service industry and the various communities we serve.
Crises clarify the role of professional associations. Our field’s service delivery model has been threatened nearly overnight, with most practices having to face business continuation challenges. Beyond challenges to our physical health and collective livelihood is the very real impact this will have on our clients. Though these challenges will ultimately be temporary, they cannot not leave our system unchanged. MAMFT endeavors to serve as an information hub and resource during this trying time.
MAMFT board members and staff have been tirelessly working to aggregate and disseminate information specific to the practice of Marriage & Family Therapy during this trying time. Our Legislative Team has kept abreast of the dizzying flurry of policy changes, has worked to spread the information in the provider community, and will continue to monitor changes at the state and federal levels. Our Professional Practices committee has served as a resource to many faced with complex practice-related concerns centering mainly on the provision of telehealth. The Training Committee is implementing modifications to training-related services to ensure continuity in MAMFT’s educational offering, should the format or focus of trainings need to change to meet members’ needs. Finally, our Executive Director has ensured the clarity and regularity of the association’s communication and is working on the association’s service continuation plan. Our weekly emails will serve as the main touchpoint for MFT’s seeking more information.
One of the most acute challenges of widespread public health emergencies is that they often destroy social cohesion. Simply stated, family therapists are uniquely trained, situated, and experienced in treating torn social fabric so that society regains its connectedness and productivity. We therapists should pace ourselves during this hectic time. We will be increasingly called outside ourselves to serve others in the months to come, and society needs us to be wide-eyed, well-charged, unified, and ready for that challenge.
Seek professional and personal supports. Be kind. Be patient. Do your best.
Our profession is in this together because
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
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!
As we move into a new year, I want to share the Executive Director Report for 2019 with all of you, along with some appreciations.
I see 2019 as my first year fully serving as Executive Director for MAMFT, as specific “Ends” were set for me to accomplish by the board, in addition to my ongoing responsibilities. These goals were:
I am happy to report that all of these were accomplished. Here’s a brief summary of the outcomes:
All of the above would not have been possible (especially given my position is 20 hours/week) without the support of the following people:
Lastly, I want to specifically thank Megan Oudekerk, as her time as President of the association comes to an end. I am privy to seeing all the ways that Megan selflessly gives of her time for the betterment of the association, in a way that others are not largely because Megan does not do it for recognition or self-gain. She embodies an attitude of service and has a work ethic that is hard to come by. Megan has not only been serving as President, she has continued to serve as Training Chair and Annual Conference Co-Chair during her Presidency. She stepped up to improve MAMFT’s Facebook presence and regularly posts quotes and articles that foster engagement. She also formed a Past-Presidents’ Council and has played an integral role in organizing independent division leaders from across the country into a cohesive group that meets regularly. MAMFT has hugely benefitted from Megan’s generosity, forethought, hard work and collaborative nature. Her steadfast leadership was crucial in MAMFT getting off to a strong start as an independent association and being seen as the gold standard among other independent associations. Megan will not like that I drew any attention to the work she’s done but I think it’s important to do so anyway.
I am honored to be serving in the role of Executive Director for MAMFT and am proud of how far we’ve come and our plan for taking things to the next level. I look forward to sharing the 5-year strategic plan that will guide the work we do and programs we develop, starting in January of 2020. I hope you will continue to be a part of our collective body in 2020 and if possible, find a way to get involved beyond membership! Happy New Year!
Sara Bidler, MS, LMFT
MAMFT Executive Director
MAMFT has a new Greater MN Board Representative – Elizabeth Christenson, LMFT. Elizabeth (Beth) practices at North Homes Children and Family Services in Grand Rapids. Learn more about Beth below! She can be reached at email@example.com.
I attended St. Cloud State University for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees.
Where to begin! I would have to say learning how to say no sooner. As a beginning therapist I, too often, took on the role of “helper.” I was becoming overwhelmed and exhausted seeking out and contacting resources for my clients. They were not making progress, which only added to my stress level. I was lucky enough to have many mentors help me see the situation for what it was. I reestablished better boundaries with my clients and encouraged growth through self-advocacy.
Clients never fail to teach me humility on a daily basis.
My current self-care routine consists of yoga, an aerial fitness class, refusing to do paperwork on the weekends, and hugging the people I love 3 times a day.
Most likely I would be an event coordinator. I love seeing a plan come together and enjoy the challenge of quick problem solving when the unexpected occurs.
I have only been on an airplane once in my lifetime! I was 5 years old and barely remember the flight.
“We repeat what we don’t repair.”
– Christine Langley-Obaugh
I was recently reminded of this quote through an MAMFT Facebook post; inspires me every time!
Holding my great grandchild the day they are born.
At this time Greater MN is experiencing a mental health crisis due to the lack of mental health professionals as well as other factors. As the Greater MN representative I feel it is imperative we begin to reaching out to both graduate and undergraduate students to inform them of the opportunities, both financial and professionally, they can gain by looking outside of the metro for employment.
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