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|Clinician's Digest - Page 2|
AAMFT responded to the New Jersey division's letter by saying it was inaccurate, harmful, distracting, and "a challenge to the governance, processes and culture of the organization." That ignited an initiative among the dissenters to garner support for a Call for Change, specifying the need for a comprehensive, organization-wide audit. According to Schwallie, many AAMFT leaders at the national and division levels are concerned about the methods being used to generate support for the Call for Change. The AAMFT now has a netiquette agreement on its listserv, which participants must agree to before posting.
Schwallie insists that the dissidents, coalescing around a group called MFTers for Change, are a small, highly vocal minority. Statements like that, says Seddio, "highlight our concerns precisely. I'm sure that they'll bring in a statistician to show what an outlier nuisance these voices represent by percentage points and think that all is settled."
Meanwhile, some prominent members of the organization have joined the AAMFT critics. Supporting the call for Bowers's resignation, family therapy advocate William Doherty of the University of Minnesota, in a letter to the AAMFT board, wrote, "The AAMFT is not promoting the profession adequately and its way of relating to members is gravely deficient."
"I'm reminded of a scene in a movie where a young boy is trying to get his father's attention," e-mailed Peter Doherty, president of the Alberta, Canada, division of AAMFT, before the listserv was shut down. "The father, absorbed in reading his newspaper, responds to his son's questions in monosyllabic grunts. Finally the boy lights the newspaper on fire while his father is still reading it. The boy effectively gets his father's attention. Thank you, New Jersey, for lighting the fire."
For their side, seven presidents and past presidents of the AAMFT have written an open letter to their membership, stating in part, "We have been disturbed and saddened by recent efforts on the part of some members to foment a crisis of confidence in the association leadership and in the association itself. These efforts, while presented as well-intentioned, are misguided."
The debate may intensify at the AAMFT national conference in early October in Sacramento, California. According to Seddio, the traditional town hall meeting has been removed from the program and rolled into the business meeting. Nevertheless, she promises that members of the reform movement are working to get their concerns raised at the business meeting and will be making their presence known at the conference.
Liability Issues for Electronic Records
E-mails and other electronic means of recordkeeping have become common features of therapists' practices, but their use raises new legal and ethical issues. E-mails have a way of lingering in inboxes, where anyone who uses the computer can read them. Even innocuous e-mails about scheduling raise issues of confidentiality, so legal experts caution that they fall under the same privacy requirements as those governing other forms of therapeutic communication.
The simplest way to address the privacy issue is to make sure that no one else has access to your computer. Once the computer is adequately protected, it's best to take the further precaution of moving e-mails into clients' files and deleting them from the inbox and outbox.