|From the President's Perspective|
This Next Year Is of Utmost Importance to Our ProfessionBy Judith Bertenthal–Smith, LPC, ALPS
AMHCA President, 2013–2014
AMHCA’s Annual Conference was once again filled with thought-provoking keynotes, cutting-edge practice information, networking opportunities, and a renewed call for advocacy. Despite the Washington, D.C., heat, attendees were able to connect with each other and learn the latest techniques and ideas in the field at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel, the beautiful setting for the conference.
The theme—“Resilience, Transformation and Advocacy”—infused the conference.
We began with a day on Capitol Hill just before the conference opened. Part of our Leadership Training involved AMHCA chapter leaders meeting with their Senators to urge the inclusion of licensed professional counselors in Medicare and to increase the inroads we have made in TRICARE.
The “Transformation” portion of the conference theme was evident in the multitude of keen workshops, in Dr. Jonathan Haidt’s keynote on “The Righteous Mind,” and within our own AMHCA family. (See the article about the conference by Camille A. Clay, EdD, LPC, AMHCA’s North Atlantic Region director.)
Resilience was a theme in many of the presentations, but none more so than the keynote given by William Brim, PsyD, from the Center for Deployment Psychology on “The Challenges of Reintegration Following Deployment.” His discussion on the unique challenges and needs of deployed veterans and their families, followed by a moving video about the resilience of these service personnel, was met with a standing ovation. AMHCA is pleased to announce our “Veterans Initiative Task Force,” chaired by Director-at-Large LaMarr Edgerson, PsyD, LMFT, Cht, AMHCA’s director-at-large, and a veteran himself.
Help Us Remain a Force in Mental Healthcare
This next year is of utmost importance to our profession as we continue our efforts to be able to provide quality, professional service for those with mental health challenges. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) focuses on integration of care. Our profession has always pushed for a more inclusive and holistic approach. AMHCA will advocate ensuring that clinical mental health counselors are included in this integration so that we can be a force in mental healthcare. Our new CEO, Joel Miller, brings significant expertise about the Affordable Care Act and will spearhead our effort.