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Invite Someone New to the Room

Posted By Randall Reitz, Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Disrupting Status Quo


It was a privilege to have Dr. Wendy Watson as my doctoral chair at BYU. My dissertation research implemented her Systemic Belief Therapy with families with a child with diabetes. During the clinical practicum that supported the research she shared dozens of wisdom bits—some about therapy, some about humanity, others about life. The one that has stuck with me is: "When feeling stuck, invite someone new to the room.”

As I understood it at the time, this axiom had 2 applications in the therapeutic environment: if a clinician is stuck with an individual patient, either the patient should invite a loved one or the clinician should invite a professional colleague. Wendy Watson is one of many founding mothers and fathers of collaborative family healthcare. Our movement and our association (CFHA) have grown considerably from the days when we could speak truth in axioms but lacked the sustainable clinical models and research base to justify our inchoate truths to the broader healthcare system.

Reflecting on the wisdom of inviting someone new to the room, I would suggest that the science and practice of bringing a professional colleague into the room has blossomed while the family half of the equation has been somewhat overlooked. That is, most of our best integrated care systems our experts in collaboration (i.e. integrating primary care and behavioral health), but far fewer are experts in family (i.e. health interventions that harness the power of non-clinical relationships).

As is implied in CFHA’s name, I believe the annual conference of the Collaborative Family Healthcare Association is the best example of a convening that champions both collaboration and family. As a Chair of CFHA’s 2013 conference, I would like to issue you a personal invitation to present your best ideas at this year’s conference. The conference Request for Proposals is open from now until March 15th. The conference will be October 10th-12th at Colorado’s gorgeous Omni Interlocken Resort, midway between Denver and Boulder.

This year’s conference theme, "Disrupting Status Quo”, evokes Wendy’s approach to getting unstuck in the clinical environment. We disrupt paralysis each time we invite someone new to the exam room or to the conference workshop room:

  • If you’ve never attended CFHA before, your ideas and professional contacts will be the disruptive influence.
  • If you’re a regular attendee, consider inviting a new co-presenter to bring forward a revolutionary idea that will ripple through the healthcare system.
  • Or, if you are feeling stuck in the growth of collaboration in your clinical setting, consider inviting a workplace colleague to the room so that he or she can catch the vision and develop into a champion in your setting.

Whether a first time attendee or a regular conference-goer who is inviting someone new, please be assured that your disruptive presence is welcome in our room. Please upload your best idea to the conference website today.

Randall Reitz
Randall Reitz, PhD, LMFT is the Director of Behavioral Sciences at
St. Mary's Family Medicine Residency in Grand Junction, CO. He is also a chair of the 2013 CFHA Conference in Denver. When not scheming to disrupt status quo he can usually be found uploading pictures of his children to facebook.

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