What Membership in the American Family Therapy Academy (AFTA) Means



Cathleen Morey, LICSW, director of clinical social workCathleen Morey, LICSW, director of clinical social work at the Austen Riggs Center has been granted membership in the American Family Therapy Academy (AFTA). The Academy has a rigorous application process. In addition to holding a terminal professional degree, Cathleen needed to demonstrate significant post-degree clinical experience working with families, as well as a record of scholarship, teaching and supervisory experience. The application required three recommendations from individuals who have direct knowledge of her qualifications and at least one from a current AFTA member.

James Sacksteder, medical director/CEO of Riggs commented, “Cathleen's membership is an honor to her and to Austen Riggs.”

Membership in AFTA is an honor, but it more than that as well; it is an opportunity for leaders in the family therapy field to connect, share and learn from each other. According to its website, www.afta.org, it was founded in 1977 and is an organization of approximately 700 leading national and international family therapy educators, clinicians, program directors, policy makers, researchers, and social scientists dedicated to advancing systemic and social constructionist theory, research, and practice for families in their communities and larger social contexts. AFTA membership includes: pioneers, innovators, recognized leaders, and emerging leaders who blend their ideas, practices, and passions within organizational collegiality.

Their stated objectives are as follows: 

  • To advance theories, therapies, research and professional education that regard the family as a unit in a social context.
  • To promote research and professional education in family therapy and allied fields.
  • To make information about family therapy available to practitioners in other fields of knowledge and to the public.
  • To foster the collaboration among the medical, psychological, social, legal and other professions that serve families and the science and practice of family therapy.

When members of the Riggs community become members of professional organizations like AFTA, a relationship is created that allows us to share our learning and provides us with the opportunity to learn from others. This kind of bridge building is important and necessary; it enriches and informs the work we do while increasing the reach of the learning that takes place at Riggs.

Read Cathleen's latest blog: Biopsychosocial or Bio-bio-bio?

Beginning Treatment: Assessing Family Dynamics