On ethics and CAMFT’s record of published statements about AAMFT

In their own words.
All bold text is my emphasis added.


“Marriage and family therapists, when acting as teachers, supervisors, and researchers, stay abreast of changes in the field, maintain relevant standards of scholarship, and present accurate information.”
CAMFT Code of Ethics, principle 3.5


On AAMFT and AAMFT-CA’s legislative interest

CAMFT statement: “The opposition [to the LPC bill] in California from AAMFT and AAMFT-CA never surfaced until 2007 and their legislative interest was limited to this single effort – this single piece of legislation.”
– CAMFT Feature Article, The Therapist magazine, March/April 2008

Fact check 1: “Assembly bill 894, introduced last year, would create a professional counselor (LPC) license in the State of California. While AAMFT-CA has no objection to the licensure of mental health professions, we had major concerns with the content of this bill, and therefore took a position of opposition. […] I spoke to the legislature’s Joint Committee on Boards, Commissions, and Consumer Protection in November [2005] to let them know our position and the reasoning behind it.”
– AAMFT-CA newsletter, Legislative and Advocacy column, Spring 2006

Fact check 2:Among our accomplishments in 2007, we have worked with the BBS to improve license portability into California. […] We also helped to defeat the bill that would have created an LPC (licensed professional counselor) license in California […] We are not opposed in principle to counselor licensure […] We also have been very vocal with the BBS in helping shape the new educational requirements for MFT graduate programs, which are likely to be put into legislation next year.”
AAMFT-CA newsletter, Legislative and Advocacy column, Fall 2007

Fact check 3:In 2007 the AAMFT experienced many successes on important advocacy initiatives. In particular, the AAMFT is pleased to announce that we were successful in obtaining participation for MFTs in the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) Minority Fellowship Program. […] Also, for the first time, the US House of Representatives passed a bill including MFTs in Medicare.”
– Membership renewal message from the AAMFT Executive Director, 2008


On working collaboratively

CAMFT statement: “CAMFT has approached the [AAMFT-CA] division about legislative issues that CAMFT is sponsoring to involve them in joining our efforts — efforts to work together to further the interests of the profession. There has been no willingness or interest in working with CAMFT on these legislative matters.
– CAMFT Feature Article, The Therapist magazine, March/April 2008

Fact check: “With the resources I have available [through] AAMFT, I think that a joint and collaborative effort would be valuable. If you let me know when and where the meeting is taking place, I would like to make arrangements to join you.”
– Email regarding counselor legislation from AAMFT-CA Executive Director Olivia Loewy to CAMFT Executive Director Mary Riemersma, March 27, 2007


On AAMFT’s interest in federal legislative matters

CAMFT statement: “Historically, AAMFT, at the federal level, had no interest in legislative matters. It was actually Richard Leslie at CAMFT who pushed AAMFT, thereby turning the tide on their involvement in federal legislative matters to attempt to advance the MFT profession.”
– CAMFT Feature Article, The Therapist magazine, March/April 2008

Fact check 1: “The association not only incorporated as a trade organization in Washington, but also began a long association when it hired Steven L. Engelberg as legal counsel for Washington (federal) affairs in 1974. […] Failing to make progress in two months of negotiations with the Department of Defense [after CHAMPUS reimbursement for MFTs had been eliminated], the AAMFT sued the DoD for reinstatement on April 26 [1975].”
– William C. Nichols, The AAMFT: Fifty Years of Marital and Family Therapy, pp. 41, 63.

Fact check 2:CAMFT contracted with Richard S. Leslie, Attorney, in 1976.”
– CAMFT Executive Director Mary Riemersma, “The building of a profession”


On correcting false information, Part I

My correction request: “At the article’s conclusion, Ms. Riemersma writes, “No one gains by steadfastness, an unwillingness to negotiate, and casting barbs at the perceived opposition.” With this, I would agree wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, much of the Feature Article appears to be an attempt to cast barbs at AAMFT – an organization that, like CAMFT, has the best interests of the profession at heart. Even when the organizations disagree, it serves us best to present information that is clear and accurate.”
– My May 7, 2008 Letter to the Editor requesting CAMFT correct the provable factual errors detailed above

CAMFT response: “Your letter will not be printed in an upcoming issue of The Therapist due to the fact that members are troubled by the debate and do not benefit from it.”
CAMFT response to my request


On CAMFT informing the legislature (and its members) about a one-license future

CAMFT magazine: “I attended the AAMFT Long Beach Conference where their president Mike Bowers made a pronouncement at a conference forum of about 500 people that Mary Riemersma of CAMFT informed the California legislature that all therapists will hold the same license in the near future! I became alarmed. […] I knew Mary. This could not have been accurate. I called Mary and she quickly informed me of this misinformation.”
– Letter to the Editor, CAMFT’s The Therapist magazine, Jan/Feb 2011, p. 5

Fact check: “CAMFT states, “At some time in the future, we project that there will only be one masters level profession in California, with individuals specializing within that license. Thus, those who wish to specialize in systems work will do so; those who wish to specialize in art therapy will do so, etc. The current system with a variety of acronyms is confusing for consumers who just want to be helped and do not perceive greater value from one professional compared to the next.””
California Senate Committee Analysis of AB1486, July 2007
– Same text appears in a CAMFT email to members, May 24, 2007


On correcting false information, Part II

My request for correction: “Michael Bowers [is] AAMFT’s Executive Director, not its president […] It is true that Riemersma’s letter refers to “some time in the future,” and not the “near future” as the letter writer wrote – but this minor difference is an error on the part of the letter writer, not Bowers. Bowers quoted, in his speech and in his presentation slides, the exact text the legislative report quoted.”
– My Letter to the Editor again requesting CAMFT correct provable errors of fact

CAMFT response: “Your request to print the proposed correction was denied.”
– CAMFT response email


Marriage and family therapists treat and communicate with and about colleagues in a respectful manner and with courtesy, fairness, and good faith, and cooperate with colleagues in order to promote the welfare and best interests of patients.”
CAMFT Code of Ethics, principle 5