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2016 Year in Review

New Networks Launch With High Engagement


AAMFT launched the Emerging Professionals Network this year, providing free resources, events, and networking for MFTs in the early stages of their careers. Programming available to this group includes:

Ethics and career Q&A sessions facilitated by experienced professionals

Legal trainings and early career webinars  hosted by AAMFT's affinity partners to understand liability, legal obligations, and other products or services to utilize when you enter the profession

Online community with access to demand webinars, resources, and dialogue  with other emerging professionals 

And more including Emerging Professionals eNews and in-person networking at the annual conference!

Over 1,000 student members, Pre-Clinical Fellows, and Clinical Fellows in their first five years have opted in to join the Emerging Professionals Network and invest in their career development and form community with other MFTs. Here's what some Emerging Professionals have said:

"Thank you for taking the time to learn about me, and I am so excited and grateful to be a part of this incredible community!"

"I look forward to being part of this community as we embark on meaningful discussions."

Sign Up Today!


Approved Supervisors are the cornerstone of marriage and family therapy, training and nurturing new MFTs in the field. This year, AAMFT launched the Approved Supervision Network to offer a place of connection for Approved Supervisors and Supervisors Candidates. 

Connecting over 2,200 Approved Supervisors and Candidates, the Network provides an easy-to-access place to find Refresher Courses, resources useful for training, and a community where Approved Supervisors and Candidates can ask questions, speak with each other, and share articles and documents that are useful for their practice. 

As part of the Network, members receive an eNewsletter with supervision research and articles delivered to their inboxes. We would like to thank our editor, Kourtney Vaillancourt, PhD, and those who have contributed to the eNews:

Kathleen C. Laundy, PsyD                        Catherine A. Murphy, PhD
Thorana S. Nelson, PhD   Merranda Romero Marin, PhD


Connect in the Approved Supervision Network

Leadership Symposium 

On March 3 - 5, AAMFT held the second Leadership Symposium in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Welcoming nearly 150 attendees - ranging from established leaders in the field looking for opportunities to continue to grow and diversify, to new and emerging leaders eager to find their voice and help shape the future - the energy in the Symposium was electric. 

Through a mix of keynotes, breakouts, and workshops, attendees were asked to challenge themselves with introspection and interaction. By thinking about their future roles in not only their own careers, but in their contributions to advancing the profession as a leader, visions were shaped for what could be in the future. 

Attendees gave feedback on twitter: 

"AAMFT's leadership symposium just finished. Saturated with new information that will be immensely helpful. 100% worth it." - @pivotalCO

"Thank you #AAMFTLeads for a great leadership symposium! I have learned a tremendous amount and formed great connections." - @Rebecca_Ruitto

"I learned there is more to being a good therapist than being a good therapist...you have to tell people who & what you are #AAMFTLeads." - @tbaukal

Invest in yourself at the 2017 Leadership Symposium

Current and emerging leaders will gather in Arlington, VA from March 9 - 11 for two days of skill development, inspiring keynotes led by thought leaders in their field, and networking with fellow MFTs who are interested in leadership and governance. 

Register Now

Certificate in Leadership

AAMFT introduced the Certificate in Leadership at the 2016 Leadership Symposium. This program was developed to provide MFTs of all levels with the skills to enhance both their own careers and our expanding profession. The 18-month comprehensive program includes:

  • In-person training during AAMFT's Leadership Symposium and Annual Conference
  • Online on-demand training via Teneo
  • Personalized DiSC inventory to determine leadership and communication strengths and areas for improvement
  • Mentor pairing with a leader in the MFT field for advisement and mentoring
  • Development of a leadership portfolio to showcase leadership skills and efforts

The inaugural cohort for the Certificate in Leadership was comprised of 32 MFTs of varying member types. 

Join the 2017 cohort

AAMFT Updates Key Publications

AAMFT updated two important publications this year. First, the Family Therapy Glossary which is a collection of the core concepts in the MFT field. This easy reference glossary is a most useful and succinct guide for new graduates preparing for licensure and other comprehensive exams. As a compact, yet comprehensive directory, it is also an excellent companion to more advanced theory and models specific to relational therapy. As a guide, it is an invaluable resource for all mental health professionals, students, clinicians, and educators. Thank you to all those who contributed and helped make this important update. 

Special thank you to the editors:

Ashley L. Landers, MS, LMFT

Rikki Patton, PhD, MFT    
Mallica Reynolds, MS, LMFT    

The second important new publication is the Legal Guidelines for Family Therapists. This handy reference booklet discusses common legal and ethical issues that arise in the family therapy practices. It is segmented into three topic areas: The Therapist and the Office, The Therapist and the Client, and The Therapist and The Court. Topics covered include getting started in private practice, records management, confidentiality issues, subpoenas, mandatory child abuse and neglect reporting, termination of treatment, and working with clients involved in court systems. 

Haven't purchased your copies yet?

Family Therapy Glossary Legal Guidelines for Family Therapists


AAMFT Advocacy


AAMFT continues to advocate for the inclusion of MFTs as providers of covered services for Medicare enrollees in legislation introduced in the House of Representatives and the Senate:


 H.R.2759, the Mental Health Access Improvement Act of 2015
 S.1830, the Seniors Mental Health Access Improvement Act of 2015


In June, several AAMFT members visited Capitol Hill to lobby Congress about this bill. AAMFT and several other mental healthcare associations sent a letter to leaders in Congress in support of legislation. Read the letter here.

AAMFT’s state and provincial divisions were active in advocating for the interests of MFTs in 2016.  Some of the pro-MFT bills enacted into law this year included:

  • Legislation that allows MFTs to be reimbursed by Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics under California’s Medicaid plan
  • Improvements to the portability of the MFT license in some states
  • Recognition of MFTs as Medicaid providers in Michigan

In Canada, members continue to advocate for the regulation of the profession in several provinces. U.S. divisions successfully defeated proposals that would make changes to state licensure boards.


Help advance vital issues to the future of marriage and family therapy.

 Join the AAMFT Family TEAM


JMFT Reaches an International Audience 




Conference Highlights Key Societal Challenges

This year, nearly 1,400 attendees joined AAMFT in Indianapolis, Indiana for the 2016 annual conference. Participants traveled across the globe to network, learn, and engage with fellow marriage and family therapists and other mental health professionals. Some highlights included:

  • Special Pre-Conference Workshop - Dr. Schnarch presented on in-session physiological monitoring of clients and themselves in therapy, using a demonstration of a videotaped session. The session was live-streamed online for those not in Indianapolis. 
  • Emerging Professionals Meet and Greet - AAMFT16 provided a meeting space for members of the new Emerging Professional Network. Almost 300 people began their conference experience at this networking event and made lasting that will benefit the future of the profession. Those in attendance had the opportunity to complete the Leadership Passport game by engaging at the conference in six unique ways for a chance to win a free registration the the 207 Leadership Symposium. 
  • MFT Exam Prep Track - The brand-new exam prep track was designed to aid students in studying for the AMFTRB MFT national licensing exam. Sixty-six attendees participated in this track.
  • Video Production Crew Onsite -  There was a video crew onsite at the conference filming key moments to capture the AAMFT Annual Conference experience. Additionally, they filmed interviews with many AAMFT members discussing the new Emerging Professionals Network, Approved Supervision Network, and the Leadership Certificate. These videos will used to promote AAMFT membership and key programs to members and non-members. 
  • Research Poster Discussions - At the 2015 conference, the poster sessions were revamped into five separate research discussions with electronic posters. Based on overwhelming positive feedback, the research discussions again took this format and presenters and attendees were given more dedicated time to discuss research.
  • For Fun - Attendees and staff kicked back and enjoyed karaoke and dancing during Fun Night. This year's theme was inspired by the iconic race flag colors, black and white. People dressed up as storm troopers, pandas, race car drivers, and others incorporated the race flag itself into their costumes. The fun didn't stop there- all throughout conference, attendees had the opportunity to win prizes through exhibit hall games.

Nearly 80% of attendees indicated this conference was superior to other CE events not sponsored by AAMFT. In their feedback attendees remarked: 

"As a first time attendee, I truly enjoyed the Annual Conference and I am already looking forward to next years. It was well worth my time to attend and meet students from different universities."

"One of the best conferences I have attended in a while. The pre-conference session on veterans was superb."

"I really enjoyed the keynotes! I'm proud of AAMFT for including diverse voices."

Conference Art Project

AAMFT gave attendees the opportunity to participate in a community art project that highlighted the connections we all share. AAMFT wanted to celebrate the way systemic therapists see the world, through a relational lens. After all, the strength of the profession comes from appreciating the larger context in which human lives intertwine. This art project was a visual exercise designed to illustrate how our connections to one another enhance that strength. Participants used colored string to connect their photo to others by finding commonalities such as shared specialties, shared alma mater, living in the same state or province, and meeting someone new at AAMFT16.



AAMFT17 will be October 5 - 8 in Atlanta, Georgia. We have received a record breaking number of abstract submissions! AAMFT is excited to have another great program that offers diverse voices, in depth clinical training on issues that cover many specialties, and numerous networking opportunities. 

Check out our Annual Conference page for up to date information about AAMFT17.


Minority Fellowship Program Expands 

The Minority Fellowship Program continues to offer significant financial and professional development support to Master’s level MFT students interested in providing culturally competent mental health and substance abuse services to underserved minority populations in 2016 through the Now Is The Time: Minority Fellowship Program (NITT-MFP-Y). MFP continues to support talented, culturally competent Doctoral level MFT students dedicated to assisting ethnic minority communities and underserved populations as well.

MFP 2016 Highlights:

128 total awards issued to 113 fellows in 2016
29 states represented during this period
49 schools represented during this period

MFP continues to train and support a diverse group of fellows, as shown below:


As of 2016, almost $5,000,000 has been awarded to masters and doctoral level MFP fellows since the inception of the Minority Fellowship Program in 2007. The masters and doctoral fellowships are funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

*The charts above represent data from the 2015-16 and 2016-17 MFT doctoral and masters programs.


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More Highlights 

Additional highlights from 2016 include:

  • Membership - The growth of Pre-Clinical members continues showing a strong commitment to the advancement of the profession from future leaders.
  • COAMFTE -  COAMFTE granted initial accreditation to 10 new programs in 2016, creating more opportunities for future MFTs.
  • Teneo - In 2015, nearly 1,000 MFTs have utilized AAMFT's online learning programs with easy access from their homes or offices. 
  • MFT Recognition to New Discounts- AAMFT's corporate partnerships have expanded greatly and now include10 companies who offer discounts to AAMFT members on their products and services. This trend indicates a greater investment in MFTs by supporting businesses and potential employers. In 2016, AAMFT added Northcentral University as a recommended vendor. Northcentral University offers a COAMFTE accredited online MFT master's and PhD program. All AAMFT members can receive a preferred tuition rate that is 15% less than the current published tuition rate on PhD and post-master's programs.*

See the full list of AAMFT's recommended vendors and the discounted products and services they offer to AAMFT members.


*Only applies to new students.