Latest Information on VAMFT

We have continued to work to get a new web page up and operational. Members who voted “Yes” on the by-laws amendments have received a rather long email outlining the membership possibilities that are now in effect. If you did not vote or have changed email or other contact information since the vote and would like the updated information pending the new web site, please contact me ( and I will be happy to email you the information. It is, as noted, a long letter but does show how you can support the Virginia Association for Marriage and Family Therapy under its new structure. We think this is an improvement (lower cost, more local focus), but need the mft’s and those supporting systemic therapies to join so that we have the funds and the numbers to continue to operate in the Commonwealth. Thak you for your continued patience and support. I’d love to hear from you.

Arnold Woodruff, LMFT

Executive Director, VAMFT

Thanks for Your Patience

We are continuing to work to upgrade our web site, including payment options, but the task has proven more difficult for the operator than he had hoped. We had a target of the end of February for having the new site up and running, but that ain’t going to happen if you look at your calendar! The effort will continue and we will get it done and (hopefully) very soon.

In the meantime, if you are interested in becoming a member of VAMFT, there are options. You can call or email the Executive Director and work to become a member. We are offering a new membership category for those who can afford it and wish to help us in this on-going transition. We have established a “Founding Member” category. This requires a donation of at least $100 and includes your 2019 dues ($50) plus permanent recognition in VAMFT publications and events as one of the folks who made our continued existence as an independent entity possible.

There is also now the option of a dual membership in both VAMFT and the Maryland-based Metro Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. They are encouraging membership in the DC area across the state and DC lines. The membership in Metro is $150, but you can join both VAMFT and Metro for the same price. Indicate that you wish to be a part of both groups and pay either one. Metro will send VAMFT our share and vice versa.

If by chance you wish to join both Metro and VAMFT and also want to be a Founding Member of VAMFT, the total cost would be $200 minimum. You are encouraged to give more for VAMFT’s startup costs, but $200 will make you a Founding Member of VAMFT and also a member of Metro.

Questions to: or (804) 370-6154

Update on VAMFT

I know our followers haven’t heard anything for quite some time, but there is progress being made. We have had to redo our relationship with PayPal so we haven’t been able to get a membership recruitment campaign started. We have completed (we hope) all the steps necessary to reestablishing a payment method on-line and will get that information on our page very soon. Meanwhile, please know that the. AMFT Board of Directors continues to work to be sure our NEW VAMFT will be a valuable tool for supporting marriage and family therapy in Virginia. Stay tuned and look for more information in the near future. Thanks for you patience during this transition.

VAMFT is Now Independent

Pursuant to the recent vote on revised by-laws and subject to final sign-off from AAMFT, VAMFT is no longer a division of AAMFT. This outcome is the result of the change in AAMFT by-laws that required some change in the various divisions, removing the historic dual membership requirement, I.e., members were required to join both the national association AND their respective division. When this requirement was dissolved, it become necessary for the divisions to select from several optional organizational options, including ending the division entirely. The VAMFT Board of Directors unanimously decided to propose to the membership that VAMFT continue as a wholly independent not-for-profit rather than any of the other options,  The option of becoming independent was overwhelming selected by VAMFT’s membership (107 – 8). The current VAMFT Board of Directors will continue as the Board of the “new” VAMFT, but many things, e.g., the logo, will be changing. A new dues structure will be created and current VAMFT members will be invited to join (or, technically) re-join VAMFT.

Please be patient as we move into this new territory. Call me or email me with questions, suggestions or concerns.  It is not clear that the Executive Director position will continue as we move forward, but we will try to keep you informed.  In the mean time, we urge you to remain members of AAMFT; join the FamilyTEAM to promote and support mft advocacy issues at both state and local levels; and, more than anything, stay try to the systemic principles that provide us, as mft’s, a powerful set of interventions to help the families, couples and individuals that we serve.

Arnold Woodruff, Executive Director, VAMFT; (804) 370-6154



Here’s the latest from Charlottesville regarding providing pro bono counseling services. If you are interested, please respond. The coordinator is John Rogers. His email is:  
“Hi All, a quick update for you:
“It was a quiet day at the library, with only a couple of consultations and about 20 walk-up interactions at the front desk.  We did a local TV spot to spread the work, and we are also in touch with city and county DSS folks so they know we are here.  The emotions on display at the city council meeting last night are evidence of what is still just below the surface.
“Many thanks to Dr. Nancy Miller, who returns home to PA with her therapy dog tomorrow.  Nancy was tireless doing assertive outreach all over downtown, including spending most of today with our police department.
“We are open all day tomorrow, and have two clinician openings noon-5, and help at the front desk is needed 9-6.  If we are quiet at the library, you can do outreach on the mall, at the park, and at the free speech wall.  Just let me know if you are free, or drop by the library.
“Our plan is to discontinue this service after Saturday and hand it off to CAVA and the other organizations offering drop-in services. Let’s hope we don’t need it again anytime soon.”

2017 Fall Workshop


The Virginia Association for Marriage and Family Therapy


Walking the Delicate Balance: Working Systemically with Complex Developmental Trauma

2017 Fall Workshop

Attachment, Attunement, Aggravation

6 CE Hours

Mary Jo Barrett, MSW

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

8:00am — 3:30pm

George Mason University
Fairfax, Virginia

Click Here to Register


Download a copy of the brochure (.pdf)



Complex developmental trauma is associated with a range of experiences occurring at key points in human development. Important strides have been made in the ability of therapists to help clients overcome symptoms of complex developmental trauma. At least for the time clients are with us in the therapy room, clients are able to learn and access new ways of thinking, self-regulation, and even a sense of restored well-being. But, once they leave the safe, rarefied space of the therapy room, do they have the skills to address the difficulties or problems they will experience in relationships with intimates, family, friends and co-workers?

Using a systemic approach creates an opportunity for clients to understand their own and the other’s inner experience, and to learn and practice self-regulation and co-regulation. By creating a collaborative context in therapy, clients are encouraged to demonstrate and to witness change along with the most important people in their life. Thus, the therapist invites the couple, the family, and extended relationship network into the therapy room to enable those to be transformed into healing relationships.

Through therapeutic enactments, what happens at home or in the community can be experienced and shifted while in the therapy room. Triggers and patterns can be revealed and then interrupted. A corrective experience can be created through a process of validation, affirmation, and attunement. In front of the stimulus, people learn skills to alter distorted cognition, manage anxieties, hold affect, regulate emotion, navigate attachment, evolve self-concept, and experience a window of tolerance.

For therapists working with complex developmental trauma, this workshop will:

  • Illustrate how to integrate systemic models of family, couple and relational therapy into treatment
  • Explore the role of systemic intervention when violence or trauma is currently occurring in a family
  • Illuminate family of origin work with adult survivors
  • Show how to bring the family or relational network into the room in spirit even if they cannot be there in body
  • Teach specific interventions that can be used at each stage of the treatment process
  • Highlight essential ingredients for successful outcomes
  • Illustrate how to transfer benefits of therapy into the client’s natural life of relationships


About the Presenter

Mary Jo Barrett is Executive Director and founder of The Center for Contextual Change, Ltd. She holds a Masters in Social Work from the University of Illinois Jane Addams School of Social Work and has been on faculties of the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration, the Chicago Center for Family Health, and the Family Institute of Northwestern University. Previously, Ms Barrett was Clinical Director of Midwest Family Resource; she has been working in the field of family violence since 1974.

Ms Barrett’s latest book, Treating Complex Trauma: A Relational Blueprint for Collaboration and Change, co-authored by Linda Stone Fish, published in June 2014. Ms Barrett also co-authored two books with Dr Terry Trepper: Incest: A Multiple Systems Perspective and The Systemic Treatment of Incest: A Therapeutic Handbook. She co-created the Collaborative Change Model, a highly successful contextual model of therapy used to transform the lives of those impacted by abuse and/or traumatic events. Her passion is teaching and supporting clinicians to recognize their own resources so that they can help clients discover their own resources.

Ms Barrett founded the Family Dialogue Project, a mediation program striving to redefine relationships within families that have been impacted by allegations of abuse or differences that appear irreconcilable. Ms Barrett’s dedication is to help both clients and professionals to find peaceful nonviolent resources, in order to manage the complexity of their lives. Her trainings and published works focus on the teaching of the Collaborative Change Model, treatment for: family and couple violence; Complex Trauma; adult survivors of sexual abuse and trauma; eating disorders; couple therapy; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Compassion Fatigue.


Click Here to Register


Download a copy of the brochure (.pdf)



Registration is limited to licensed mental health professionals (LMFT, LPC, LCSW, LCP, Psychiatrists, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners), Residents/Supervisees, and Graduate Students currently enrolled in these disciplines. Enrollment is on a first come, first served basis.

Click here to register online or download the printed brochure, complete the registration information panel, and enclose payment to VAMFT for the correct amount. This covers workshop, handouts, CE certificate of attendance, continental breakfast, morning and afternoon coffee, and parking in Mason Pond Parking Deck (voucher provided at workshop completion). Lunch is on your own and you can choose from a variety of restaurants located in the atrium of the Johnson Center.

If you are paying by check, please make it payable to VAMFT, and mail both your check and a registration form to:

Scott Fowler
101 Nat Turner Blvd.
Newport News, VA 23606


Cancellation & Refund Policy

Any cancellation of attendance must be made in writing and received by VAMFT no later than 10/6/17; a refund less $35 processing fee will be provided. After this date refunds are not possible, regardless of personal circumstances. It is regrettable that personal circumstances prevent attendance, including medical conditions and emergencies, weather or transportation, however the logistics of event management prevent us from assuming responsibility for these contingencies. A registration may be transferred to another clinician in toto with prior notification to VAMFT.



The George Mason University official address is 4400 University Dr, Fairfax, VA 22030. Workshop is located in the Johnson Center at the heart of the University. Downstairs, in Dewberry Hall. The registration desk opens at 7:30 a.m. Workshop begins promptly at 8:00 a.m. and concludes at 3:30 p.m. to enable attendees to depart ahead of traffic in the region. Attendees must sign in. Certificates are awarded only on conference completion at 3:30 p.m. A voucher will be provided at workshop completion to enable free parking at the Mason Pond Parking Deck. Johnson Center is adjacent to the bronze statue of George Mason.

Arrangements for 25% discounted hotel rate have been made with Marriott Residence Inn, 3565 Chainbridge Rd, Fairfax. Phone hotel reservations at (877) 399 6027. Make reservations prior to 10/12/17 and cite VAMFT to receive this rate.


Contact Information

For questions about the conference please contact Scott Fowler (



Sponsored as a service to the profession by
the Virginia Association for Marriage & Family Therapy

Ronnie Zuessman, PhD LCP LMFT, Past President




Information about our Spring Conference


The Virginia Association for Marriage and Family Therapy


Doing Therapy with Couples & Families –

Ethical & Professional Issues


Michael Gillette, PhD

Jaime Hoyle, JD
Exec Dir VA Board of Counseling

Erika Grafsky, PhD
Asst Prof, Virginia Tech

May 5, 2017              8:30am-4:30pm

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