One of the marks of a profession's development is the creation of institutionalized structures and customs that recognize and further the development of the field. Delta Kappa, the International Marriage and Family Therapy Honor Society, is such an institution for the profession of marriage and family therapy. Delta Kappa, as the International Marriage and Family Therapy Honor Society, serves to further and complement the fine work being done by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, the American Family Therapy Academy, and the International Family Therapy Association. The achievements of current students as well as practitioners already in the field who have achieved distinction and continue to make significant contributions to the field are recognized.
Delta Kappa, The International Marriage and Family Therapy Honor Society, has three primary aims. The first aim is to train emerging leaders in the field of marriage and family therapy to assume the mantle of leadership in the profession. The second aim is to provide a structure for developing scholarly forums that present cutting edge research and theory on marriage and family therapy to practitioners on an ongoing basis at the local, state, regional, national, and international level. The third aim is to recognize and promote the achievements of marriage and family therapy clinicians and scholars.
The idea for establishing an honor society for marriage and family therapy was proposed by Dr. Charles L. Cole, while serving as the Spyker Endowed Chair in Marriage and Family Therapy at The University of Louisiana at Monroe from 1997 to 2003. Dr. Cole initiated a series of conversations with leaders in the marriage and family therapy field in 1997 to discuss the possibilities of establishing a marriage and family therapy honor society. Many established marriage and family therapy scholars and practitioners participated in these dialogues. Dr. Bill Nichols and Dr. Charles Figley were particularly influential in shaping Dr. Cole's formative ideas. Dr. Cole sought the counsel of Dr. Nichols because of his wealth of experience as a past president of both the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and the International Family Therapy Association in addition to being the founding editor of the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. Dr. Nichols helped to clarify how an honor society might fit into the larger structure of the profession and the contributions that an honor society could uniquely play. Dr. Figley's counsel was sought because he has founded several innovative organizations related to family therapy and mental health. Dr. Figley helped Dr. Cole envision how an honor society could be organized and interface with existing marriage and family therapy related organizations that might complement them in new ways and thus further the development of the field of marriage and family therapy. Both Dr. Nichols and Dr. Figley offered suggestions on how to organize and establish the initial Board of Directors.
The consensus of several groups of leaders in the marriage and family therapy field was that it was time for the MFT profession to establish an honor society. The majority of persons consulted about the feasibility of establishing an honor society agreed that it was time that the achievements of practitioners in the field who have attained distinction and continue to make significant contributions to the field be recognized. And so steps were taken to set in motion the founding of an honor society for the profession of marriage and family therapy.
In December 1997, Dr. Charles Cole was selected to serve as the first president. The Board went through several transitions in the initial phases moving from a tentative exploratory committee to a working board. Many discussions ensued regarding the makeup of the board and scope of the honor society. Discussions were held regarding options to get scholars and practitioners from countries outside the United States involved. These discussions continue to be the focus among the leadership.
The move toward the formation and diffusion of the core of the idea for the honor society took a giant step when it was decided that chapters would be formed and organized in training programs and centers within the marriage and family therapy profession. This provided a vehicle to get local and regional areas actively involved in carrying out one of the major missions of the International Marriage and Family Therapy Honor Society by creating structures to recruit and train future generations of leaders in the field of marriage and family therapy. It was for this reason that the officers serving at the chapter level include the offices of president, executive vice president, membership vice president, program vice president, secretary, treasurer, and historian in addition to a faculty sponsor for the chapter. The idea is to facilitate as many leadership opportunities for the members at the local level as possible so that they may assume greater responsibilities at the state, regional, national, and international level throughout their careers as marriage and family therapists.
Alpha Chapter: The University of Louisiana at Monroe
Beta Chapter: Friends University, Wichita
Gamma Chapter: Friends University, Greater Kansas City Area
Delta Chapter: Converse College
Epsilon Chapter: Pfeiffer University, Charlotte
Zeta Chapter: The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV)
Eta Chapter: Forest Institute
Theta Chapter: Pfeiffer University, Raleigh
Iota Chapter: Northcentral University
Interested in establishing a chapter of Delta Kappa? Contact J. Michelle Robertson, Ph.D., International President of Delta Kappa.