A belated happy new year to all of you! I don’t know about you, but for me, 2015 was quite a whirlwind (personally and professionally) and it went by in a flash. I watched my daughter grow from a teetering 17-month-old to a proud and very verbal two-year-old, welcomed a new baby boy into my family, and fell even more deeply in love with my awesome husband as I watched him grow as a partner and father. And as MAD President, most of my energy was focused on the proposed bylaw changes that we voted on last summer, and the ramifications of that not passing. I can assure you that we haven’t seen the last of this issue, though things are quiet for now.
2016 will bring many exciting events and opportunities to the MAD membership. First up is our annual Advocacy Day event in Annapolis, which is happening next Tuesday, February 2nd. If you haven’t already done so, please consider joining us and register here. Advocacy Day allows us to spend time with some of our Maryland legislators in Annapolis, letting them know who we are and what we do. And more importantly, it gives us an opportunity to share with them our concerns and hopes regarding important pieces of legislation that will impact our field. There are two relevant bills being considered this year: One focused on Preventive Medical Care – Consent by Minors; and another focused on regulation of Teletherapy.
On February 26, MAD will welcome Barry McCarthy to speak at our annual conference, held once again this year at the Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City, MD. Dr. McCarthy is a dynamic, engaging, and highly knowledgeable speaker on the subject of couples therapy and sexual issues, and will be speaking to us on the topic of “Rekindling Desire.” I have been fortunate to hear Dr. McCarthy speak in person several times, and can assure you that the day will be not only highly informative and educational, but a lot of FUN as well. We hope you’ll join us! Registration information can be found here.
We’ll also continue to host bi-monthly lunch & learns, held the first Friday of every other month at the University of Maryland, College Park. These are a great opportunity to network with other MFTs and get a FREE CEU in the process. Check out this year’s schedule here.
My hope is that 2016 will allow the MAD leadership to refocus our energy on promoting our profession and educating the public about who we are, what we do, and why we are the best equipped mental health professionals to deal with relationship issues. This issue is near and dear to my heart, and was really driven home by a recent experience I had in my practice. A new couple shared with me in their first session that I was their third therapist in a span of 18 months. After an affair came to light, they had seen the first therapist for about 15 months. They switched to a second therapist, then back to the first, before giving up on both and contacting me. Neither of the other two therapists were MFTs. At the end of our third session, they shared that in all those months of therapy, their sessions with me were the only time that there had been any continuity from one session to the next, or that their sessions had focused on anything beyond, “so, how was your week?” In a year and a half of weekly therapy, nobody had ever laid out a plan for them, given them thematic out-of-session assignments (or homework focused on anything beyond trying to re-establish connection), or actually helped them move past the affair in a meaningful way. Here’s the problem: even though they are smart, savvy consumers, they had no idea they should be looking specifically for an MFT. So instead, they wasted (their word, not mine) a great deal of time and money spinning their wheels in ineffective therapy.
Certainly, the couple that landed on my couch are not the only ones this has happened to. Their experience tells me two things: first, there is a lot of opportunity out there for us, as qualified, passionate couple and family therapists, to deliver much-needed services to a willing public; and second, that we have got to do a better job of telling people who we are, what we do, and why we’re the very best at delivering relational therapy. As a board, we’ve got some great ideas and plans in the works to make this happen in Maryland, DC, and Delaware. We also welcome your thoughts and ideas as we start focusing some of our resources on this issue. I’d love to hear from you directly if you’ve got something to share—I welcome you to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 301-785-7184.
Looking forward to a great year together!
Lindsey Hoskins, Ph.D., LCMFT