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EFTA update from David Amias

The European Family Therapy Association (EFTA) exists to promote family therapy and systemic practice across Europe. It is made up of three chambers: The Training Institutes Chamber (TIC), The Council of Individual Members (CIM) and The Chamber of National Family Organisations (NFTO).

I have had the privilege of representing UK AFT as a member of the NFTO Chamber for the last three years exchanging ideas, knowledge and experience with colleagues from the 28 NFTO member countries across Europe. The Chamber meets once a year for a series of weekend discussions on a variety of themes including accreditation, ethics, working towards a European 'passport' to enable members to have qualifications recognised in different countries etc. The next meeting is in Oslo in June 2012.

At the EFTA conference in Paris in October 2010 I was elected on to the NFTO Board and hold the position of secretary. This Board of seven members works together with the boards of TIC and CIM to form the EFTA General Board under the current presidency of Kyriaki Ploychroni (Greece) after our very own Arlene Vetere stepped down from this post in 2010. The UK contribution is much valued because of our public service experience and the inroads we have made with lobbying in political circles. Peter Stratton sits on TIC as a highly respected Research advisor. Whatever happens in other arenas UK AFT is at the heart of Europe!

EFTA conferences take place every three years and the next one is scheduled in Istanbul for October 24th-27th 2013. I have inside information that our Turkish colleagues will be pulling out all the stops for a spectacular conference. Hope to see you there.

David Amias
Secretary
Board of NFTO/EFTA

A Word from the President of EFTA

Newsletter n° 10 | December 2011

Dear EFTA Colleagues,

Many of us in the late 1960's, may remember singing Bob Dylan's 'The Times they are a- Changin'.

Come gather round people
wherever you roam,
And admit that the waters
around you have grown,
And accept it that soon,
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
is worth savin',
Then you'd better start swimming
or you'll sink like a stone,
For the times they are a-changin'.
– Bob Dylan, 'The Times they are a- Changin'

Now, after over 10 years into this new century, these lyrics are again relevant. In the midst of socioeconomic unpredictable developments, crises and imminent stress, we may ask: what are the processes that make it more likely that families overcome adversity and how do we as family therapists help families through these difficult periods?

In a world of individuation and a diminishing sense of belongingness, where does the future of our profession as family therapists lay? Will we become an endangered species, with family therapy being increasingly less applied to dealing with personal difficulties, taken over by pharmacology and less process-oriented approaches?

On the other hand, will we be able to remain open systems and change according to the needs of today's families? To accept the varied contemporary family forms and structures and to facilitate both the well-being of the individual and the interrelations of family members? How will our theories and practices be affected by phenomena common today, such as migration, interculturalism and poverty?

The 2013 EFTA Conference in Istanbul, October 24th-27th, with its theme "Opportunities in a Time of Crisis: The Role of the Family", promises to provide an opportunity to explore these questions. Special emphasis will be placed on understanding how we as family therapists may continue to learn and develop so as to keep pace with the changing times while holding on to concepts and processes that are still prove relevant and valuable. On how EFTA, our historically established organization, can once again connect to its founding roots as a network of professionals dedicated to changing social structures related to the field of psychotherapy while, at the same time, move forward in this new age of technological advancement and global socioeconomic crisis.

EFTA as an organization may also be seen as being in a process of creative transition. From it's restructuring in 2001, when the 3 Chambers were established - CIM, TIC, and NFTO - EFTA went through a period where each chamber developed its autonomous goals and activities while acknowledging and respecting the processes of the other chambers. Now that each Chamber has developed a clearer identity and has put its purposes into active practice, it is an opportune time for effective interdependence and closer collaboration among the 3 Chambers to evolve.

The primary goal now is to bring EFTA as a whole to optimal levels of functioning that support our common mission, our membership sustainability and our growth.

A number of steps in this direction have been setout last year at the launching of my term as President, steps that are slowly, but steadily in the process of being realized: overall EFTA financial management, adoption of functional bye-laws, support of regional meetings throughout Europe, task groups for Interventions on Social Issues, and on Immigration and Marginalized Families.

EFTA is evolving a new collaboration aimed at promoting an organizational structure and process that will nurture its growth and creative differentiation.

I am grateful for the participation and cooperation in this process and for the range of views that keeps our conversations vibrant and authentic.

I call upon all of you as EFTA members to actively join in this process by submitting your comments, ideas and proposals.

Let's envision how we can together make these times that are a-changing into emerging opportunities.

Looking forward to our further connection - please contact me directly at k_polychroni@otenet.gr

Kyriaki Polychroni
President, EFTA

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