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MCPP Board of Directors Meeting Minutes March 2020 - Emergency Zoom Session

Modified Agenda ~ March 15, 2020

Present: Peter Wood, Merry Stanford, Ralph Hutchison, Rebecca Hatton, Marybeth Atwell, Eve Avrin, Sonya Freiband, David Freiband, Karen Weber, Lisa Larson, Shil Sangupta, Brian Ashin

President:  Peter Wood

  • Check-in. on responses to the growing pandemic.
  • Minutes of February 2020 meeting. The minutes were approved with the following correction. End of the President’s Report: Brian Ashin will be continuing as member-at-large, possibly with spotty attendance.
  • Recording: Merry Stanford volunteered to record the minutes for today’s meeting.

Old Business:

Special Program to be led by Ralph Hutchison & Rebecca Hatton. Ralph and Rebecca request MCPP to provide CEU credits for a program on Open Dialogue for mental health services personnel in SE Michigan. Sonya Freiband reported that at the previous meeting the Board had agreed that the proposed program is beneficial and worthy, but that MCPP does not have an agreement with the APA to provide CEUs for non-MCPP programs. Marybeth Atwell reported that the same is true for providing Social Work CEUs. The two available alternatives are to offer the Open Dialogue program as an MCPP program, or as an MCPP pop-up course. If either of these two alternatives were pursued by Ralph and Rebecca, the logistics and participant fees will need to be worked out with the Vice President of Training. Sonya Freiband. MCPP does not pay members to present at programs, but does pay instructors for courses.

Election needs, report by Marybeth Atwell.

  • Beginning every September, election preparations for the following year begin. Looking ahead, every officer position on the Board is due to be filled in September 2021, as well as some Members-at-Large positions. There are currently no willing candidates for these positions. A dwindling group of people have rotated through these leadership positions for years and are indicating they need a break from leadership. We do have positions filled through summer 2021.
  • Sonya reported that events and courses are well-attended, the listserv is useful to many, but wondered how to continue to run the organization without people willing to take leadership to continue these events and courses.

MCPP’s long range future, and a letter.

  • Peter noted that the Board has exhausted its resources for leadership. He read a letter that he prepared, on behalf of the Board, to go to the founders of MCPP and to past presidents, attached, describing the impasses that MCPP has reached.
  • A discussion ensued. Sadness was expressed by several Board members. Alternatives were considered: 1) Could MCPP just offer programs and step back from other organizational activities? We would still need leadership to make those offerings possible: e.g., someone to do CEUs, publicize, coordinate presenters. 2) Educate membership about what is needed to keep this organization alive and invite them in an enticing way to step up and be creative regarding what happens in MCPP. 3) Temporarily suspend external activities of outreach while continuing informal support such as listserv, informal study groups and gatherings. 4) Hire personnel to run the organization, like Homeowners Association does. 5) Provide a Psychodynamic Leadership training course, based on psychoanalytic thinking, where part of the training is being a board member and taking on leadership roles in the organization. 6) If no new leadership shows up, how do we celebrate our existence, go out with a bang?
  • Peter noted a decrease in volunteerism everywhere coupled with an increase in consumerist, as opposed to service, values. MCPP is being affected by a cultural shift which shows up individually as “I don’t have the time for this,” but is really a cultural shift in values. He compared MCPP to the old food cooperatives. Food co-ops changed the consciousness of the country regarding food and were eventually replaced by Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Krogers. MCPP has humanized and broadened the perspective of psychoanalysis in this state, and now MPI is the big chain that is demonstrating these “co-op” values.
  • Peter agreed to develop a different letter from the one going to past presidents and founders for the general membership which focuses on inviting them into leadership.
  • Sonya noted that MCPP’s future needs to be sorted out by November 2020 in order to know whether or not to collect membership fees for 2021. The treasury is full enough to meet our obligations between now and June 2021.
  • Peter used a metaphor to close this discussion: Some flowers have a short and beautiful life, while some trees have a very long life. We don’t yet know where in that spectrum of life-length MCPP is situated. 

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