August 17, 2020
Black Lives Matter. Our country is moving through a cultural revolution to advance the rights of Black people and bring attention to ongoing systemic racism, state perpetrated violence, and oppression of people of color. As helping professionals, we are called to be culturally competent providers and vocal opponents of oppression.
As part of our MetroMFT mission, we provide opportunities for our members to be well educated and practiced regarding the issues that are relevant to the current climate. We continue to be interested in building our knowledge and competence in the areas of race relations, power dynamics, racial equity, and privilege. These have always been areas of education, supervision and therapeutic conversation but are particularly culturally salient at the present time.
As an organization, we also seek to engage and educate our community. From our perspective, this includes being vocal with our community about how MFTs are allies in the advancement of the rights of Black people.
We expect our members to continue to improve their understanding and knowledge in these areas through their own self-reflection and education and will support that work in a number of ways.
As members of MetroMFT, we ask that you commit to:
Promoting racial justice in your work
Encouraging curiosity and empathy when it comes to understanding another’s experience
Exploring how racism impacts our community
Working to advance your knowledge of privilege and engage in self-of-therapist work around understanding your own privilege
Being actively anti-racist in your spoken and written words both personally and professionally
So how can MetroMFT assist you during this time?
The MetroMFT Board is pushing forward various opportunities for members to get involved in meaningful conversations and action in support of racial justice. We invite members to share ideas in moving this cause forward. We are also in need of your time to help us take action on the following initiatives:
Peer supervision discussions that focus on race and social justice in the therapy room
The formation of a Social Justice committee
Future trainings on topics such as:
The impact of microaggressions
Racism and trauma
Here are a few resources for delving deeper into these topics:
White Fragility Robin DiAngelo
How to Be an Antiracist Ibram X. Kendi
Me and White Supremacy Layla Saad
The work of bringing light to racism and it’s insidiousness, as well as bringing change does not rest solely with our Black and Brown colleagues, family members, and friends. It is unequivocally the job of the dominant culture to assess, address, and eliminate the rampant racism that exists in our policing, policies, laws and enforcement, justice system, education system, and yes, clinical practices. of course partnering with, lifting up, and making space for Black and Brown voices as we address hundreds of years of oppression.
We stand with all our Black community members, colleagues, friends, family members and clients as we make steps toward true racial justice in the U.S. We want MetroMFT to be a place where people of color find an open seat at the table to participate in and lead the group. We want to be a place of support as people experience, heal from, and work to correct the atrocities of racism in the world. We welcome any input or ideas you, as members, may have to help move us in that direction.
MetroMFT Board of Directors
Kirsten Sidell, President
Jennifer Fang-Brehm, Vice President
Taylor McMahon, Advocacy Officer
Jordan Madison, Treasurer
Krista Zerby, Officer of Operations
Eric Slaughter, Secretary
Jessica Brenneman, Member-at-Large
We understand the stress and uncertainty that some of you might be experiencing right now and want you to know that you have a community here with us. We have hosted several online Peer Support Sessions for therapists and our members so we can find support, discuss our challenges and victories, and learn from one another during this unprecedented time. Please be on the lookout for additional sessions! We are currently brainstorming additional ways we can offer avenues for our members to connect with each other and cultivate a safe space to be supported and encouraged in a way that allows you to thrive professionally. We hope you continue to grow and build with us and hope to see you soon – in person or virtually!
In other news, the Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists recently released an announcement regarding an Order signed by the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health addressing the temporary changes to teletherapy regulations during the state of emergency. The full order should be read carefully and can be found at the link below.
As many of you are aware Maryland’s legislative session ended early this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent social distancing protocols imposed by Governor Hogan. The General Assembly is scheduled to reconvene for a special session in late May 2020, pending any continued social distancing recommendations from the Governor. Despite this unexpected change, this session ended in our favor with the passage of SB182/HB303, Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists (BOPCAT) – Sunset Extension and Program Evaluation. This bill amends the Sunset legislation that regulates BOPCAT and allows us all to practice Marriage and Family Therapy in the state of Maryland.
We are grateful to everyone who could come out to Annapolis on Advocacy Day and meet with key legislators that influenced this decision. It was a great event to meet students new to the MFT community, reconnect with old colleagues, and build relationships with new peers. The energy and support our participants brought truly made a difference in what one might typically expect to be a stale venture. We hope you enjoyed your experience as well and we welcome any feedback you think might improve this or any other event we host!
Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience in COVID-19 Response
"This guidance and accompanying list are intended to support State, Local, and industry partners in identifying the critical infrastructure sectors and the essential workers needed to maintain the services and functions Americans depend on daily and that need to be able to operate resiliently during the COVID-19 pandemic response."
It's a good time to review the teletherapy laws in your state! See the link below for an update on the MD Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists website - they have COVID-19 FAQs posted.
MD Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists
February 26, 2020
A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT:
A belated welcome to a new year with MetroMFT! I am excited to start this year with our newly elected MetroMFT Board!:
Jennifer Fang-Brehm, Vice President
Eric Slaughter, Secretary
Jessica Brenneman, Member at Large
Three of the Board members, Jennifer, Taylor, and I, served on the previous Interim Board, during MetroMFT’s first year as an organization. With this continuity, we have the resources to continue to build on the strong foundation that we established last year.
As part of this strong foundation, we made important decisions about how MetroMFT is organized and run. For example, we created a Policies and Procedures manual that outlines Board meeting procedures, the roles and responsibilities of each Board member, policies around elections, and workflow for conferences and other types of events. I am especially proud of the 72 memberships we gained in 2019 and the 8 events that we hosted! Our two large CE opportunities took place through our partnership with University of Maryland and Bowie Youth and Family Services, and we benefited from the generosity of our presenters, Jeff Jackson, Opher Ganel, Bowman & Company, and Tydings & Rosenburg, to provide formal continuing education to our community. Our smaller networking events geared towards community building were equally as successful.
In this first year as the elected President, it is my desire to empower our organization by challenging our members and prospective members to become more actively involved. That means getting more of our committees up and running, holding open Board meetings, and continuing to host CE events that promote our expertise. My goal is also to increase collaboration with other State or regional MFT professional organizations nationwide, and sow the seeds for partnerships with other mental health agencies in our local area, especially when it involves the unique and powerful way that our systems training and licensing enables us to support individuals and families experiencing transitions and difficulties.
Our new Board is very eager, and we have already come together as a cohesive team. We are working on various initiatives that I would like to share with you:
First, for two Board members, there will be an anticipated absence from Board duties while on maternity leave. Baby Fang Brehm is due in early March, and Baby Sidell will be arriving sometime around mid-April! The Board has worked on a plan for managing roles and responsibilities while Jen and I are on our respective maternity leave.
Do you have updates you want to share with your community of MFTs? Let us know!!
Advocacy Day: SUCCESS! Taylor led us through a productive Advocacy Day! Thank you to the many volunteers who participated and spoke on behalf of our profession. Our task was to meet with Delegates about House Bill 303 and Senators about Senate Bill 182. The Bills were in support of the Sunset Legislation, extending the Maryland Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists’ timeline for making quality improvements to various processes that provide structure for our profession. Primarily, the Bill is important because it defines our MD Professional Board, allowing it to exist and for Marriage and Family Therapists to exist as a licensed group.
Member Forums: To increase two-way communication, transparency, and member involvement, the Board is instituting two member forums this year. Our first forum will be in early April. The forum gives the Board an opportunity to share with more detail the projects we are working on. It also gives members and prospective members an opportunity for a dialogue with the Board. We will be sending out an event announcement soon!
Fall Conference: Mark you calendars for a late September conference! We are excited to be planning for a full day of workshops. If you have ideas for local presenters, send us your ideas!
Committees: As an organization born from a grassroots movement, we need your continued support. We have various committees, and we need your voice to ensure we continue in a direction that is relevant to our local MFTs. Look for our future announcements regarding information about how to get involved.
Public Relations Committee, led by Jennifer
Events Committee, led by Krista and supported by Jordan
Advocacy Committee, led by Taylor
Membership Committee, led by Jessica
Volunteer Committee, led by Krista
New Logo: We have a new look! Over the last year, we have worked on a logo to represent MetroMFT, the four regions we serve as a professional organization (MD, DC, DE, Northern VA), and our systemic approach to supporting our clients. With its smooth, interconnected lines and colors, it embodies our perspective as clinicians in the therapy room.
Contact Us: In addition to our website, we have an email and phone number for your comments, questions, and concerns. We want to hear from you!
I look forward to engaging with you this year to promote our profession!
Kirsten Sidell, M.S., LCMFT
It was wonderful to see the MetroMFT members who were able to gather for a special networking event today. A huge thank you to Risa for hosting us all in her beautiful home!
It was great to catch up and snack on some delicious treats. We also were able to collect great feedback and brainstorm for future events and increasing memberships.
- Generated list of presenters for future conferences
- Discussed a presentation offering on the financial/business aspect of running a private practice
- Discussed making the website more user friendly when it comes to membership renewals
- Discussion adding information on our MD lobbyist on the website
- Request to Board to send an update to all contacts regarding our fundraising efforts and updates in this area
- Reviewed current nominees and the positions still needing nominees/volunteers (Secretary, Treasurer, and Officer of Operations)
- Scheduled a follow-up meeting to finalize a fall fundraiser on August 25th 1-4pm. The Board will send out an invitation
Metro MFT has not forgotten about you!!
The MetroMFT Board has been busy.
Busy planning for membership engagement and advocacy for our profession...
Busy creating a stable, understandable, and supportive process for the current Board and future Board compositions...
Busy forming committees of MetroMFT members to support engagement of the community and increase our ability to provide networking opportunities...
Stay tuned for emails regarding upcoming events, geared toward bringing our MFT community together!
Thank you so much to everyone who came to support the MFTs of Maryland in Annapolis on Advocacy Day! We had a great day of meetings with legislators and their staff where we had the opportunity to educate them on the practice and purpose of our profession. We advocated for the right of Maryland consumers of mental health to have access to qualified professionals who have been trained in relational therapy and discussed current issues that could effect our ability to serve that community.
We couldn't be more grateful for the time and energy you all brought that day. It is this kind of support we need going forward on a more regular basis at the Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists meetings that are held the third Friday of every month. Our most pressing need for MFT representation is at their next meeting, this Friday February 15th at 10:30AM, where they will be discussing the current composition of the board and whether or not MFTs should maintain their current representation of three board members or not. As many of you know, obtaining these three seats on the board was quite an accomplishment and required the hard work of many MFTs. We cannot stress the importance of showing the board our commitment to supporting our community and the benefits of maintaining equal representation on the Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists of Maryland.
If you can’t make this next meeting, please consider trying to attend when you can make it a part of your schedule or writing letters to the board sharing your experience when MFTs were unequally represented on the board or your fears if this were to happen again. If you have any questions about advocacy for Metro Marriage and Family Therapists please reach out to our Advocacy Officer, Taylor Baker, for more information on how you can get involved.
Silver Spring, MD 20910