Tennessee Division

AAMFT Strategic Planning Process at Halfway Point

Message from the AAMFT President


In 2008 the AAMFT board began a process to update the Association's strategic plan. The goal is to ask a comprehensive set of questions about the Association and its priorities. The intention is to either re-define or to re-confirm the basic priorities and directions of the organization, and to set us on a path that would drive the AAMFT's programming and activities for the coming years.
Segments of the membership have been surveyed on various topics, and our entire membership has been asked questions about licensure, and a meeting of 90+ members, representing a cross-section of AAMFT leadership, was convened for two days in July to talk about the organization's future. The input has been broad and extensive, and yet, there will be more input as the Association moves through its planning process.
With these activities, we are about halfway through our process as defined earlier. Steps yet to be taken include convening a group to review and consolidate what we have learned from our process so far, identifying data/information yet needed to consider in our planning, and then moving toward an initial draft of a plan. We anticipate that with further data needed and time for dialogue among the membership, it will be next Spring before a draft plan is presented for consideration and feedback.
Our Context
The status of our association is critical to understand, especially in light of messages that have been sent out by third parties stating that the AAMFT is in crisis, or in serious trouble. We want to assure you that our organization is strong, and on track in our planning and in our development.
In the upcoming (September/October) Family Therapy Magazine, you will see a number of charts showing positive membership and revenue trends for the association.
As just one example, you will see that AAMFT Clinical Memberships have remained stable, while Student and Associate Memberships have grown. While this is good news, we also know that there will be a "boomer bubble" that is coming our way as boomers retire from the work force. We know that moving students and new professionals to full Clinical Membership is a key to our success as a field and as an association. Yet there are impediments to gaining MFT licensure, especially in some states where supervision requirements and/or lack of eligible supervisors makes it easier for some to attain the LPC rather than the MFT license. Additionally, some divisions have identified challenges in scheduling of the licensure exam (it is offered relatively infrequently, and is not available as an online exam). Many of these issues are part of our external context, and are out of the direct control of the AAMFT. Yet we must be aware of the broader environment in which we operate, and factor those issues into our process and plans.
Planning from Strength
Far from a sense of crisis or emergency, the AAMFT Board initiated this strategic plan review from a position of strength as an organization, with an eye toward the future. It is, indeed, the Board's task to watch trends both within and outside of the Association, and consider how to position the Association ahead of those trends. A robust and healthy strategic plan will include the input of a broad range of AAMFT members, and optimally, all members.
To that end, we invite you to review the data we have gathered so far, including survey response data and analysis, at www.aamft.org/future.asp. We believe that these data will be important as context and grounding for the other conversations we will need to have as we project ourselves into the future we desire. It is likely that more surveys will be sent to members as we "drill down" on the issues of concern to MFTs and seek solutions that will serve us well in our evolving context.
Then, write directly to the AAMFT Board at board@aamft.org with any thoughts or comments you have about the strategic direction of the association. What are the challenges you face as an MFT, what do you see as the threats to our profession, and how can your association be of the greatest service to you in meeting these challenges? We will continue the momentum of growth and change that has been in place for well over a year, and together we will strengthen our family therapy community as we prepare for the future.

Linda Schwallie, MS
President, AAMFT Board of Directors

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