Opting into GAMFT Membership

A letter from the chairs of Metro and North Metro Atlanta Chapters of GAMFT

Dear Esteemed Colleagues,

We wanted to take the time in this season of AAMFT renewal to give you some information on how the bylaws change (both AAMFT and GAMFT) will affect GAMFT as an organization moving forward.

As you are aware, AAMFT restructured in an effort to better meet the needs of its members. This restructuring required that all state divisions transition to either an  “Independent Affiliate,” “Interest Network,” dissolve and become an Independent Corporation, or dissolve completely. In December of 2017, the GAMFT membership voted in favor of continuing its relationship with AAMFT as an Independent Affiliate.

Here’s what that means in broad strokes…

Georgia’s relationship with AAMFT is subjectively the same with 3 major differences:

First– While in the past GAMFT automatically received a portion of AAMFT dues to run our organization, that is no longer true. GAMFT operating funds are dependent on maintaining a significant number of AAMFT members who continue their relationship with the Georgia Affiliate.

Second– You are unable to be a member of only GAMFT (Georgia Division) at this time.

Third – Perhaps most importantly, when becoming a new member of AAMFT or renewing your membership, you are no longer automatically a member of GAMFT. The Georgia dues are the same as before, however, on your checkout page or new membership application beside where Georgia Division is listed it will read “Optional,” in addition to the standard state dues. This also may be listed as an “Engagement Program Fee,” with a “checkbox” next to it. Make sure it’s checked to opt in!

So, what does this look like when you go to renew or become a new member?

Renewing? Your check-out may look similar to this…

Why opt into GAMFT Membership?

We, of course, hope that you will choose to continue membership with GAMFT, and we’d like to share some reasons:

  • Did you know it was GAMFT who lobbied and passed SB 128, which added the word “diagnose” to the scope of practice for MFTs? Providing a diagnosis has always been an integral part of our academic training and practice. However, this necessary bill will protect us from future legal challenges to our scope of practice. Additionally, adding “diagnose” to our Scope was intended to reverse the effect of a 2013 ruling by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. This ruling mandated that, in all state mental health centers and in all agencies that contract with the state, a diagnosis could only be provided following a face-to-face interview by a professional with “diagnose” in their Scope of Practice – thereby prohibiting MFTs from providing diagnosis for their clients. This was GAMFT led, not AAMFT led.
  • Were you aware that MFTs are the only allied profession in Georgia that does not have the ability to sign a 1013/2013? GAMFT’s highly active Legislative and Government Affairs Committee steers lobbying efforts to maintain professional parity. These efforts are being led and paid for by GAMFT, not AAMFT.
  • Aside from legal representation in the Capital, GAMFT is the only allied professional organization that has regional chapters that engage members locally and consistently.
  • GAMFT invites leaders in the field to present at two state conferences each year where attendees can reconnect with friends and colleagues, build new relationships, learn about new research, and earn continuing education hours.
  • Given the restructuring, GAMFT is in the process of building a new state-of-the-art user-focused website, chock full of resources for members.
  • Access to affordable continuing education is unparalleled. Currently, there are enough CE opportunities scheduled between the NorthMetro and Metro chapters that you could easily gather all 35 hours within the licensure cycle… including ethics!

We feel strongly that maintaining our professional identity is an intimate part of who we are as MFTs. We appreciate the efforts that AAMFT makes on a national level with medicare inclusion and veterans affairs and we see up close the difference GAMFT makes here in our state. We are proud to be part of this organization and we hope that you will see your membership with GAMFT as optimal, rather than optional. Many of you may not need to renew until later in the year, so you may want to file this email away for that time.

 

If you have questions about your renewal or feedback about the new structure, please feel free to contact us or the GAMFT Executive Director Holli Kelly at Holli_Kelly@gamft.org. Hearing from members is an important part of the decision-making process for the GAMFT Board of Directors, and we are interested to hear your feedback. Change begins with you, so help us shape the future of GAMFT.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Vann & Adam Albrite

Chairs of the North Metro and Metro Atlanta Chapters of GAMFT