Alumni, Community and Student Engagement Initiatives

Archive for October, 2009

The Need for Further Research into Mental Illness

“Some therapeutic models have been found effective in the treatment of mental health issues and illness, and we cannot be certain about why they are effective. We as a field do not know why psycho pharmaceuticals work, and although we have theories about why they work, we have still not been able to truly decipher the mystery of mental illness. Most of our methods and interventions do help to ameliorate symptoms, and some are more helpful and change-producing than others. At times, the uncertainty surrounding visits to psychiatrists or a therapists can resemble a visit to witch doctor; a psychiatrist will tell you, “Take this medication and if the symptoms do not diminish come back and we will try another.” A therapist will try multiple therapeutic interventions, and will test multiple therapeutic hypotheses until an effective treatment is found.

I believe that only the client can indicate what is and what is not working. Only the client knows which interventions are helping to diminish the symptoms and which are not. We have much left to be discovered in terms of providing and facilitating relief for our clients. For this reason, it is critical that we continue researching the causes of mental ailments. We must try to understand how and why relationships go awry, which entities are not relating in a satisfactory way, which faulty relationships are causing the ailment and how can we correct the deficiency in such relationships. How can we aid these entities in achieving their full relational potential? We must adopt a sense of urgency and we must acknowledge that we have achieved a very limited understanding of mental ailments, including symptom management and “cures”. 

Anibal Torres PhD is an Assistant Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy at Fairfield University.


Building a Private Practice

Going Solo / Part 4: The Therapist/Entrepreneur

Great! You have the desire, the vision and the plan to create your own practice, but where do the clients come from?

A pretty office is great, but it’s better if it’s filled with clients. Networking is key, but where, with whom? Remember that key I gave you 2 weeks ago, shameless self-promotion? Well here we go. The number one mistake that companies make is that they have an initial flood of “pressing the flesh” and networking, resulting in some new clients, and then they stop.

Law #1: You Are Never Done.

Every place you go, every person you meet, every gathering of your potential client profile is a mandatory for promotion. Put business cards up in the local supermarkets and restaurants, and replenish them regularly. Have cards with you at all times, you never know when someone you meet might know someone who needs a therapist. Be proud. Be proactive. You will not shrink your way to greatness (or self-sufficiency).

Katherine Allen is a graduate of Fairfield University’s MFT program. She has worked in several agency settings; namely FSW Bridgeport, Family & Children’s Agency in Norwalk, and Family ReEntry in Norwalk and Bridgeport. Katherine also brings 16 years of leadership, advertising and design experience to her private group practice, Marriage & Family Therapy of Trumbull (MFT3) http://www.mft3.com. Check out the blog at http://blog.mft3.com.

You can find Katherine on LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/in/katherineallen), PsychologyToday.com, Twitter (@mft3), Facebook (katal1967), and Social Networking for Therapists and Mental Health Professionals (http://marketing4therapists.ning.com/). She is a member of Ladies Who Launch, Fairfield County. Katherine has appeared on WGCH 1490 AM on the “One Smart Mother” show (http://blog.mft3.com/2009/08/04/domestic-violence-info/) and will be a guest again on September 29, at 9am.

Contact Katherine at k@ktherapy.com if you’d like her to consult with you in opening or building your private practice.

 

 

 

 


October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month!

Domestic violence is nothing new in our society and once you begin your Practicum and start working with clients it will become very apparent to you how pervasive it is in our communities regardless of race, class or culture. Domestic violence is a cycle of power and control. Perpetrators will use physical violence, manipulate emotional insecurities,  or use financial dependence as a means to exert their power to control their victims. 

When working with this population often the biggest hurdle is getting them to the point where they are emotionally strong enough to begin the process of advocating for themselves.  Typically some combination of shame, fear and denial prevent victims from acknowledging their abuse. Additionally, if the abuse is emotional or financial and not physical, clients often do not consider themselves victims of domestic violence and will often be offended at the suggestion or say  “at least he’s hitting me.”

While there is currently no Domestic Violence course offering available in the MFT program at Fairfield U., MFT students preparing for clinical placement should educate themselves about Domestic Violence — perpetrators, victims, and it’s effect on children. One excellent resource is called Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft.

So during this month of heightened awareness, if you or someone you know, or one of your clients is a victim of domestic violence please  contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline to get information about receiving help in your area 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or click the following link http://www.ndvh.org/get-help/help-in-your-area/

Other statewide resources include:

Center for Women and Familes of Eastern Fairfied County http://www.cwfefc.org/
Domestic Violence Crisis Center http://www.dvccct.org/ 
Safe Haven of Greater Waterbury http://www.safehavengw.org/
Interval House http://www.intervalhousect.org/


Second International Study Tour for MFTs January 23-20, 2010

Innovative Approaches to Working with Couples and Families with an Emphasis on School Based Interventions

 

Ingeborg Haug, D.Min, LMFT

Fairfield University

 

In March 2009, fifteen MFT students and professionals traveled to London to learn more about innovative multi-family therapy models in Fairfield University’s first international study tour. The program was so exciting, that we have put together a second trip January 23-30, 2010. This event will be of particular interest to MFTs in Connecticut who work with multi-problem families and / or are interested in working in schools. The unique and successful Marlborough approach has been adopted by Denmark as their model of working with school issues from a systemic, multifamily model.

 

Last March’s participants were thrilled to gain an international outlook on the field of marriage and family therapy, to see that innovative models are being developed in other countries, and that we have much to learn from international colleagues.

 

The group will again spend the week at the Marlborough Family Institute, a London-based program that has developed a unique approach to helping multi-problem families. The institute uses both day and outpatient settings and a multi-family approach. It sets up structures and therapeutic tasks so that ultimately families are helping each other. The Institute is engaged in research to demonstrate its effectiveness, and early results are very positive.

 

The Fairfield contingent gave it high marks for broadening their perspectives. “The agency is unlike anything we have in the states,” said Maryann LaBella, a 2009 MFT graduate who now works at Mid-Fairfield Child Guidance. “I have definitely used things I learned there in my work.” – “Being a member of this trip is quite possibly one of the best experiences of my life,” said Tiffany Harris in her final reflection on the tour. “Not only did I learn about the work done at The Marlborough Family Service, but my eyes were opened to a new world of therapy.”

 

The January program will be open to family therapy professionals and school counselors throughout Connecticut. Participants may choose to receive 18 CEUs or have the option to take it as a 3 credit course. Interested? For more information on this great opportunity to expand your horizon, e-mail kbaer@fairfield.edu or mftgrad@fairfield.edu or call 203-254-4250.


Homecoming & Family Weekend

 Come Celebrate

Homecoming & Family Weekend
Saturday and Sunday, October 24-25, 2009

This October, discover (or rediscover) your Fairfield ‘home.’ Whether you are a recent graduate, a not-so-recent graduate, or a future graduate, there’s something exciting planned for everyone at Homecoming & Family Weekend. If you have any questions, please call (203) 254-4000, ext. 3288 or visit http://www.fairfield.edu/student/sal_homecoming.html.

 

Schedule of Events – Please be Sure to Attend MFT Sponsored Events

(Schedule as of Wednesday, October 8)

12:00 pm -12:45 pm

Exploring Fairfield: Session 1
Various Locations

Explore and get re-acquainted with campus by attending one of the Exploring Fairfield sessions.

 

Domestic Violence: Warning signs, Understanding the Cycle of Violence, and Available Resources: A panel of Marriage and Family Therapists working in local community agencies will discuss the impact of domestic violence on families and children as well as provide information on local resources. Students and professionals will also have an opportunity to ask questions on best practices for working with this population.

 

1:00 pm – 1:45 pm

 

What’s New in the Marriage and Family Therapy Department?: Marriage and Family Therapy faculty members and graduate assistants will discuss the newest additions to the program, including new faculty members, new courses, upcoming workshops in our workshop series, our Urban Grant Initiative, and the new MFT blog. Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback.

 

2:00 pm – 2:45 pm

Professional Development in MFT: “10 Things You Can Do to Prepare Yourself for Life After Graduation”: The transition from MFT student to “Jane Smith M.A.” working at an agency is often a difficult one. Listen to former students discuss how they navigated through the transition so that you can set realistic expectations around pre-licensure employment, working in agencies, taking the licensing exam, and other important information for new graduates.

 

 

Go the the Homecoming Family weekend page to get a full schedule of events

 http://www.fairfield.edu/student/sal_homecoming.html?utm_source=int_hp&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=int_homecoming09


New Workshop!

 

The Urban Marriage and Family Therapy and

Alumni Engagement Initiatives

Presents:

 

The Dynamics of Diversity in Clinical Practice                      

October 17, 2009 Location: Canisius Hall, Room # 15              

9:30am-12:30pm

3 CEU’s                                                                                     

 

This workshop will explore the ways in which dimensions of culture impact clinical work with clients.  Dynamics of oppression and privilege and how they shape our daily lives will be examined with regard to race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.  This workshop is intended to increase sensitivity to multicultural perspectives and increase clinicians’ competence in having difficult conversations about culture with clients.  The presenter will utilize visual and media illustrations as well as participant interaction to facilitate practical application of these concepts.  Participants will be encouraged to examine their own cultural contexts and how they impact work with diverse clients. 

 

Clinical Practice with LGBT Clients Within a Multicultural Context    

November 14, 2009

9:30am-12:30 Location: TBA 

3 CEU’s

 

This workshop will explore issues of sexual orientation and gender identity and how they manifest in clinical work with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender clients.  Some topics that will be explored are heterosexism and homophobia, coming out to family members, how religion interacts with sexual and gender identity, working with gay/lesbian couples and parents, adolescent sexuality and gender, and issues unique to transgender clients and gender transition. The presenter will utilize visual and media illustrations as well as participant interaction to facilitate practical application of these concepts.  Participants will be encouraged to examine their own beliefs around these issues of sexuality and gender and to consider how their clinical work may be impacted by their values.

 

Clinical Consultation Within a Multicultural Context                               December 12, 20092 Sessions (6 participants per consultation)     

9:30 – 11:00   1.5 CEU’s

11:00 – 12:30 1.5 CEU’s

Location: Canisius Hall, Room#8                                                             

 

This workshop will provide hands-on applications of multicultural perspectives in clinical work with clients.  The format of the workshop will mimic that of supervision and participants will be expected to present one or two client cases they wish to explore from a multicultural perspective.  Group discussion will examine how the cases are shaped by the dynamics of privilege and oppression, cross-cultural dynamics, and dimensions of diversity such as race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. Self-of-the-therapist issues will also be explored.  This workshop will practically apply concepts from “The Dynamics of Diversity in Clinical Practice” and “Clinical Practice with LGBT Clients within a Multicultural Context” therefore attending these prior workshops may be helpful, though not required.

Cost:    Fairfield University Students and Alumna – Free ($20 with CEU credit)

Non – Fairfield University Students and Professionals – $30 ($40 with CEU credit)

mftgrad@fairfield.edu  

203-254-4000 (ext. 2306)

 

 

 

 

 

To register or receive further information, please contact: Laura Fishman or Betsey Lebow, MFT Graduate Assistants

 

 


Networking Breakfast for MFT Students!

Please Come to the Networking Breakfast for Students

Held by the CTAMFT Student Committee.

When? Saturday, November 21st, 2009 at 9:30am

Where? Naugatuck Youth and Family Services

13 Scott Street Naugatuck, CT

* What do I need to know for MFT life after graduation?

* Not sure what kind of job awaits you? What about insurance?

Private practice? Possible income? These type of questions and

more will be covered at the breakfast.

* Please contact Julie Iwanicki, CTAMFT Student Rep, at JewLs1237@aol.com with any questions.


Building a Private Practice

Going Solo / Part 3: Your Practice’s Business Plan

Business plan? Remember: this isn’t a lemonade stand, this is your livelihood, your career.

Now that you’ve decided that you’re ready to create a practice, have talked to just about everyone who will lend an ear, and have all of the “nuts and bolts” taken care of, just what does this “company” that I am creating need?

It needs a path. Like all paths, it will have twists and turns, blind spots and dips, but having a comprehensive future-looking plan will help weather those dips and rough spots. It will need to detail the financial aspects of the company, the practical things like rent and phone but also soft costs like water bottles for the reception area and cleaning services (once you are so busy you can no longer do it yourself). It will keep your vision focused, your mission clear. It will let you set and then measure goals and benchmarks to track your growth and progress.

Here are some great resources to get started:

Online tips and templates: http://www.bplans.com/

SCORE: http://www.score.org/template_gallery.html

Small Business Administration: http://www.sba.gov/smallbusinessplanner/

And my favorite, the “Business Plans Kit for Dummies”: http://tinyurl.com/bp4fdummies (currently available on Google Books)

A business plan is a fluid and dynamic document, once you are up and running. Until then, it is the guide to make sure that you are clear and unemotional in your purpose and direction. Be it a solo venture or a group practice, a business plan is a necessity.

One last note, how comfortable are you with money? Are you comfortable in knowing that your service is of value and worth the money you are asking to be paid? This can be a real hurdle for some therapists. Your training makes you an “expert” and therefore worthy of financial compensation. Set your fees and stick to them.

Tune in next week for the final segment, Going Solo / Part 4: The Therapist/Entrepreneur

Katherine Allen is a graduate of Fairfield University’s MFT program. She has worked in several agency settings; namely FSW Bridgeport, Family & Children’s Agency in Norwalk, and Family ReEntry in Norwalk and Bridgeport. Katherine also brings 16 years of leadership, advertising and design experience to her private group practice, Marriage & Family Therapy of Trumbull (MFT3) http://www.mft3.com. Check out the blog at http://blog.mft3.com.

You can find Katherine on LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/in/katherineallen), PsychologyToday.com, Twitter (@mft3), Facebook (katal1967), and Social Networking for Therapists and Mental Health Professionals (http://marketing4therapists.ning.com/). She is a member of Ladies Who Launch, Fairfield County. Katherine has appeared on WGCH 1490 AM on the “One Smart Mother” show (http://blog.mft3.com/2009/08/04/domestic-violence-info/) and will be a guest again on September 29, at 9am.

Contact Katherine at k@ktherapy.com if you’d like her to consult with you in opening or building your private practice.