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  • Wednesday, July 27, 2022 11:02 PM | Jennifer Fang Brehm (Administrator)

    Dear Members,


    Many of you have been following our emails regarding advocacy in the past year.  We have held two forums to discuss options regarding a MFT Compact and Licensing Reciprocity.  We have discussed the pros and cons in our Forum Meeting in June 2021, and we held another meeting in December 2021 to discuss a Study Bill to be submitted in the 2022 legislative session.


    At the time, AAMFT was only promoting Licensure Portability, and we chose to pursue it and find ways to come to an agreement between Virginia, Maryland and DC.  A few of us attempted to reach out to Virginia and DC Board members to see if there was interest in submitting legislation in the 2022 session that would have allowed for the 3 jurisdictions to agree to have similar language regarding license portability. We learned that Virginia was pursuing license portability with North Carolina and were not interested in submitting any bills in the 2022 legislative session, as they had new leadership in place.


    Our lobbyist advised us to submit a study bill that would ask Maryland to look into working together with the other jurisdictions to come up with a plan to have license portability in the DMV area. Unbeknownst to us, the Maryland Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists (BOPCAT) was already working on this and there was no need for the study bill.  BOPCAT tried reaching out to the DC and Virginia Boards, but since our last update, they did not get any response.


    Metro MFT Board met with the MFT representatives of BOPCAT and the former Executive Director of the Board, Kim Link who was instrumental in organizing the Compact Bill for counselors.  We discussed BOPCAT's efforts and lack of response from the DC and Virginia Boards and the need for the national organization to spearhead the MFT Compact.  We (along with the MFTs from BOPCAT) agreed that we would work together to make sure all of our efforts are aligned and to continue to pursue licensing portability while we wait to see if AAMFT comes up with a plan for an MFT Compact or a stronger effort to support license portability across States.  If you are licensed in DC or Virginia, we need your help in reaching out to your licensure boards.  If there is a need for funds for lobbying or finding a lobbyist to represent us there, please reach out to us.  It is important for us to know whose voices we can support and represent when planning fundraising and budgeting future organizational expenses.


    As a result of not having other states on board to work on licensure portability, no other current lobbying needs, and having limited funds, we decided to pause Willie Harris' annual contract in the coming year and to instead contract him on an as needed basis to support MFTs in Annapolis in 2023. 


    With telehealth becoming standard practice, it is urgent that the movement to practice across states becomes a national effort as all other MH professions are moving forward with Compacts.If any of you know of any national efforts or initiatives towards allowing MFTs to practice across States that you think we should pursue, please contact the Metro MFT Board.   If you think we should be meeting more frequently to discuss our options, please email me at Viviana.azar.cft@gmail.com


    Remember we are all volunteers trying to manage our work and life outside work. As MFTs, we are also a small group of mental health professionals who need each other to represent our profession as distinctive from other mental health disciplines.  Your ideas and suggestions are truly welcome.  Looking forward to hearing from all of you.


    Sincerely,


    Viviana Azar, LCMFT
    Advocacy Officer


  • Thursday, April 14, 2022 4:15 PM | Rachel Chazen (Administrator)

    AAMFT, in conjunction with its allies in the Medicare Mental Health Workforce Coalition, will host a virtual action day on April 21 to help prioritize passage of the Mental Health Access Improvement Act (S. 828/ H.R 432). We have the momentum on our side now and it is time to act!

    President Biden recently released his budget for Fiscal Year 2023, which includes a recommendation for Congress to add MFTs and MHCs as Medicare-eligible providers. With growing support for the initiative, this could be the year that the Mental Health Access Improvement Act is enacted into law.

    Please join us in tweeting, posting on Facebook, emailing, and calling your Members of Congress on April 21 in support of making marriage and family therapists Medicare-eligible providers! You can also take immediate action by emailing Congress to include MFTs as Medicare providers.

    Please contact us at FamilyTEAM@aamft.org if you have any questions.


  • Thursday, February 24, 2022 11:56 AM | Rachel Chazen (Administrator)

    Liza Harbison grew up right here in Maryland. She remained local for graduate school when she attended University of Maryland’s Couple and Family Therapy program. She graduated UMD in 2018. Currently, Liza is a therapist at J. Fang Brehm and Associates, and at Living and Growing, where she works with individuals and couples. Liza recognizes the impact of so many layers of systems in our lives, and thinks these need to be considered as potential resources, sources of strength, and challenges in therapy. She also appreciates how thinking with a systems lens can incorporate the impact of systemic oppression on her clients’ lives and mental health. As Secretary, Liza’s main priority is to keep members informed. She documents key topics during monthly board meetings and drafts summaries for MetroMFT members. Liza’s goal is to help the organization stay organized and be transparent with members.

     

    Fun facts about Liza:

    • She is a freelance photographer.

    • She’s a lefty!

     

    If you need to reach Liza directly, you can find her here:

    liza@jfangbrehm.com

    https://www.jfbtherapy.com/therapist-bios



  • Friday, February 04, 2022 12:00 PM | Rachel Chazen (Administrator)

    As we work to build the connection between the Metro MFT Board and our wonderful clinical and student members, we thought it might be helpful for you to know a bit about the individuals you have elected.

    This month’s spotlight features our MetroMFT’s Operations Officer Rachel Chazen.

    Rachel was born in Washington, DC. She grew up in Maryland but has also lived in Florida, Charleston and Nashville. Rachel returned to Maryland at the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to be closer to family. While away, she remained close with colleagues, cohort members, and fellow therapists, which opened up the opportunity for her to join the MetroMFT Board as Member-at-Large for the 2021 term. Rachel shifted her role to Operations Officer after the most recent election.

    Like our president Kirsten, and Vice President Jennifer, Rachel graduated from the University of Maryland Couple and Family Therapy program in 2010. 

    Currently, Rachel is the owner and lead therapist at Rachel Chazen Therapy where she works primarily with teens, young adults, and families. She incorporates CBT and solution-focused models, as well as a strengths-based approach, into her practice. 

    When asked, “Why are you an MFT/what do you like about being an MFT?”, Rachel responded: “I appreciate and value the systemic approach when helping people. Who we are, and why we are, is often connected to how we were raised and who we have been surrounded by. With better understanding of how those around us have shaped us, and utilizing the support we already have, change becomes increasingly possible. I like to help people assess their strengths, improve their communication, and dedicate time for self-care. I believe well-rounded people are happier people and I love helping others discover ways to better themselves.

    Rachel’s position as Operations Officer is to lead and promote events and to also ensure that the website and Facebook sites remain up to date.

    Rachel’s personal goal in her term as Operations Officer is to connect MetroMFT members to relevant news, increase ease of involvement for members, and to lead a social event within her term. 

    Fun Facts About Rachel:

    - Rachel went skydiving and her mother jumped out of the plane too!

    - She loves the beach and tries to get to the coast as often as possible.

    - Rachel enjoys creating charcuterie and cheese boards for events celebrated with friends and family. 

    If you need to reach Rachel, you can find her here: 

    Email: rachel@rachelchazentherapy.com

    Website: www.rachelchazentherapy.com

    Socials: @rachelchazentherapy


  • Tuesday, January 11, 2022 8:53 AM | Rachel Chazen (Administrator)

    Did you know that Laura is a local? She was born in DC and raised in Arlington, VA.

    Laura graduated from the University of Maryland Couple and Family Therapy program in 2015.

    She currently sees clients in private practice in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. She also supervises therapists in training, teaches undergraduates, and is completing a dissertation (She has a few jobs!)

    When asked, “Why are you an MFT/what do you like about being an MFT?”, Laura responded: “I am an MFT because I’ve always been curious about what makes people the way they are. I’m thankful that I found a profession that seeks to understand people within their contexts!

    Laura’s position as Member-At-Large is to address member concerns and serve as a liaison between the board and the membership.

    Laura’s personal goal in her term as Member-At-Large is to drive more involvement and enthusiasm about the organization and connect more MFTs to each other and to important concerns facing our profession. She hopes to also encourage students to get involved with the MFT community.

    Fun Facts About Laura:

    1) She completed a Yoga Teacher Training and hope to incorporate this into my clinical work someday.

    2) She is a proud middle child (and believes this probably also influences the work that she does!)

     

    If you need to reach Laura, you can find her here:

    E-mail: laura@counselingonthehill.com.



  • Tuesday, December 28, 2021 7:37 PM | Rachel Chazen (Administrator)

    Beginning January 1, the No Surprises Act will go into effect.

    Tipped off by our partners in COAST, we are sharing with you about a new Federal mandate going into effect at the start of 2022.

    Please click on the resources below to find out more about the impact on your MFT practice.

    Summary from CAMFT:

    https://www.camft.org/Resources/Legal-Articles/Chronological-Article-List/the-no-surprises-act-what-mfts-need-to-know

    Summary from KFF.org:

    https://www.kff.org/health-reform/issue-brief/no-surprises-act-implementation-what-to-expect-in-2022/

    Summary from AAMFT blog:

    https://blog.aamft.org/2021/12/no-surprises-act-new-billing-disclosures-going-into-effect-in-2022.html

    Sincerely,

    MetroMFT Board of Directors


  • Tuesday, December 21, 2021 8:07 AM | Rachel Chazen (Administrator)
    • The time and energy that the MetroMFT board and members give to this profession.
    • Our lobbyist Willie Harris, who supports the important task of making sure MFTs stay relevant on MD legislation.  Currently, Willie is working with us on  licensure by endorsement in the DMV.
    • Our generous donors.
    • The larger MFT community that advocates for national MFT interests.
    • The MFTs working day in and day out to support their clients in times of stress and overwhelm.
    • The clients who bravely take the step to seek help.
    • Eric Slaughter’s service to MetroMFT as he rounds out a 2-year term as Secretary AND Rachel Chazen's service to MetroMFT as she completes a 1-year term as Member-at-Large at the end of the month. We also welcome our newest MetroMFT Board member, Laura Golojuch to the team for the coming year!
    • Our support from and connection to MFTs across state lines through our collaboration with Coalition of Associations for Systemic Therapy (COAST).
    • Our ongoing relationship with UMD’s Couple and Family Therapy students, Clinical Director, Patricia Barros, and Program Director, Mariana Falconier.
    • Our Founding Members and advisors.
    • The hope for in person professional event opportunities in 2022!
  • Tuesday, December 07, 2021 8:57 AM | Rachel Chazen (Administrator)

    Dear Metro MFT Members,

    Join us for an update on our legislative efforts!

    We will discuss our ideas and plans to submit a reciprocity bill between Maryland, DC and Virginia. This process will allow for increased ease in obtaining licenses in the Metro area once you are licensed in one of the 3 jurisdictions.

    Willie Harris, Metro MFT's Maryland Lobbyist, will be joining us to provide us with updates on key legislators to lobby.

    December Legislation Meeting with Willie Harris:
    Friday, December 17, 2021
    12pm-1pm
    Via Zoom

    Zoom Link Can Be Found Here:
    https://metromft.wildapricot.org/page-18059/12174277

    Warmly,
    Metro MFT Board


  • Monday, September 13, 2021 1:19 PM | Rachel Chazen (Administrator)

    Did you know that Viviana Azar is from Buenos Aires, Argentina? Or that she graduated from the University of Maryland in 1991? Or how about that outside of her work with MetroMFT, Viviana works as a Manager for Adults, Children and Adolescents at Behavioral Health Services at Montgomery County Department of Health of Human Services - Behavioral Health and Crisis Services?

    As a family therapist, Viviana believes in the healing power of strong and healthy family relationships. Therefore, she hopes to help individuals, couples and families move to a place of mutual understanding and respect so that they can overcome the challenges of life together in a healthy and productive way. Her passion continues to be working with families of all ages as they transition through their different stages in their lives.

    Viviana’s position as Advocacy Officer is to keep the membership informed of the legislative agendas in the Metro area and the national trends for license portability or compact bills that are being promoted in other professions.  She will work closely with our Maryland lobbyist to ensure we have representation during the legislative session.

    When asked, “What are your personal Metro MFT goals within your position?”, Viviana responded: “I hope to create a committee of members from the different jurisdictions to share information and, if possible, come up with a reciprocity bill for the Metro area that will make it easier for MFTs to be licensed in Virginia, DC and Maryland. My dream goal also is to see if we can work at a national level to reach out to our representatives and see whether other professions are working towards a national license or something similar to allow for Telehealth regardless of where the client resides.” 

    Fun Facts About Viviana: She loves hiking and baking!

    If you need to reach Viviana, you can find her here: viviana.azar.cft@gmail.com 

    Please contact Viviana with your interests! Also, if you have a Delaware, DC or Virginia license, she would love your input to inform the rest of the membership about what is happening in your state.

  • Wednesday, August 18, 2021 7:50 AM | Rachel Chazen (Administrator)

    8/31/21 Update: Goal Accomplished! (See Original Posting Below)

    Great news MetroMFT community


    We asked whether advocating for our profession is important to you and you answered.


    Because of all of you who responded, we made it to goal before the deadline!!! As of this morning, August 30th, we’re at $5155 of our $5000 minimum needed to renew our lobbyist, Willie Harris’ contract for the rest of 2021. Thank you SO much for your support and continued contributions in membership and donations!!!  


    If you did not pitch in yet and would, your donation and membership is certainly still needed and valued!! It is good to have some cushion so we can plan further out beyond December 2021. Please take anyof the following actions:

    1. Would you consider donating the equivalent of a single session of your therapy fee? https://metromft.wildapricot.org/Donate

    2. Would you talk to one other MFT you know about what we are trying to do (see goals below) and becoming a member? Here's the link to join: https://metromft.wildapricot.org/join-us

    3. If you’d like to contribute to MetroMFT through your ideas, your skills/ talents, your contacts, and/or your time, please help us accomplish goals by signing up to help: https://metromft.wildapricot.org/Sys/Poll/27714

    Goals we are working on that need your support are currently:

    A. Applying for CEU sponsorship to Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists costs $750 (Public Relations Committee)

    B. Regional licensure reciprocity between MD, VA, DC. (Advocacy Committee)

    C. Lining up local speakers for monthly lunch and learns, hopefully for CEU credits (Events Committee)

    D. Setting up a local Therapist Directory for colleague and client referrals (Membership committee)

    E. Mentorship between LCMFTs and MFT students or LGMFTs (Membership Committee)

    F. Building MFT community resources by scripting and contacting members and potential members to inform them about what we do and value of membership (Fundraising and PR Committees)

    G. Identifying and developing Racial and Social Justice initiatives for educating and equipping clinicians for informed, competent and compassionate practice with clients of all identities (Social Justice Committee)

    H. Planning Fall 2022? Conference Topics and Presenters (PR and Events Committee)

    I. Developing our relationship with a dozen other states that also have regional MFT professional organizations. (Become a Metro MFT Board member!)

    We know everyone is busy and aim not to overburden anyone.  Most committee meetings would be once a month for up to an hour with another 1-2 hours of individual work so that would be 2-4 hours per month.  

    We look forward to your ongoing involvement to grow our MFT professional community!



    8/18/21 Urgent Metro MFT Update

    We are writing to inform you that we are unable to fulfill our lobbyist contract; funds that come directly from Metro MFT membership dues. With overall membership being low, and the inability to hold our in person annual conference due the pandemic, we do not have sufficient funds.

    While the organization as a whole is not in jeopardy, we will need to suspend our contract with our lobbyist, Willie Harris, unless we can fund the next two payments. Transparently, we will need to raise $5,000, as outlined in our lobbyist contract. We need to raise these funds by the end of August. If we are unable to come up with the funds needed, we will be pausing our work with Willie.

    In addition to having Willie’s eyes and ears alerting us to important local advocacy initiatives, and making sure MFTs have a voice in Maryland, we have begun a project to explore making licensing easier for MFTs in the DMV (as discussed in our June forum). This involves ease of licensure beyond one's home State. Without our lobbyist, we will need to pause this pursuit.

    Over 65% of membership funds go towards funding our lobbyist. Largely, Metro MFT was founded based on the belief in the essential nature of local advocacy efforts. Being in this position is a reminder for us. It is an opportunity to make a choice. As a group, do we still have the desire to maintain local MFT advocacy efforts in the same way? Are we committing again to having the support of a lobbyist? These are questions we must answer together.

    So how can you help? If your Metro MFT membership has lapsed, and you need to renew, please do so. If you can donate, please visit the donation page at https://metromft.wildapricot.org/Donate. These funds will go directly to fulfilling our lobbyist contract.

    The goal is to raise $5,000 by the end of this month to cover our contract obligations. It is up to you, our members, to demonstrate what is important.

    In the upcoming year, MetroMFT will continue to develop our membership benefits. As a reminder, initiatives include a membership directory, mentorship program, CEU opportunities, and networking events. We are striving to add value to your membership. As always, we would like to keep communication open and are hopeful for ongoing mutual support within our professional community.


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