From: Zzimmerman1

Sent: 8/1/2007 3:39 PM

The comments and questions that are being shared on this topic are excellent. I was one of the original members of the Commission for Certified Facilitated Mental Health and Educational Professionals and served as its Chairperson (this is the Commission overseeing the proposed credentialing process). This past spring I resigned from the Commission because of a difference in philosophy on serveral counts regarding the proposed crredentialing process and because of increased professional time committments. Please note that some of those differences will probably be reflected in my comments. Hopefully my comments will provde information that will beneficial..

The concept of a national crredentialing process was proposed to hopefully benefit all individuals engaged in our profession and to help move our profession forward. However, the proposed credential granted on the basis of passing a written examination was not the product of the Commission. EFMHA developed this concept, contacted a professional testing corporation to assist in developing the exam and then selected Board members for the Commission. EFMHA did encourage the Commission to become an independent Board and provided the seed money to the Commission. Thus, I think that EFMHA needs to be recognized for taking steps to develop a credentialing process that they thought would be beneficial for the profession. In forming the Commission Board, there was an attempt to include members of the various organizations. Although I am an EAGALA Board member, I did not officially represent EAGALA and none of the other Commission Board members officially represented their organizations….we were on the Board as individual professionals.

The process that was followed by EFMHA, although well intentioned, left an impression that the Commission was formed to simply implement what EFMHA had decided was the best credentialing process for our profession. The credentialing process that was developed was done without the official involvement of any other organization.

From my previous experience the process that I believe should have been followed would be that an effort would be made to bring official representation of the various organizations and independent practitioners together to determine: is there a need for a national credential; what would be the immediate and long term benefits to individuals to have this credential; if the need was determined to exist, there would then be a discussion on what the credentialing process would look like; and the organizations would then be asked to nominate potential Board members for an independent Commission; and asked to support it financially. This was not done in this situation.

True, the other organizations were asked to contribute financially and thus receive a reduced fee for their members. However, this was done after the credentialing process was created, the handbook and criteria for taking the exam developed; and the fee structure was developed. Thus, organizations were asked to contribute and support without having any input into the end product.. I felt that this was unfair to expect other organizations to support the credentialing process as an “after thought” and made this recommendation to EAGALA. EFMHA members were given the reduced fee in recognition of the support that EFMHA had given to create this process. Unfortunately, for some, this created an impression that the Board was not truely an independent Board….even though it is set up as one and is functioning as one. Some of the above was part of my view of “philosophical differences” that lead to my resigning from the Commission.

Having said all of this, I also want to share that I definitely respect the energy and the passion that the Commission Board members brought to this process. I believe that the Commission’s Vision Statement and identified Values reflect the positive intent of the Commission’s work. The Commission is set up as a not for profit and acts as an independent Board.

After I resigned, all remaining Board members were EFMHA members, and as leaders in the field, were deeply involved, past and/or present in EFMHA. Consequently, there is probably a heavy influence of EFMHA philosophy. I do believe that while I was on the Commission, a majority of the Board members tried to base their decisions on what was best for the profession as a whole regardless of their professional affiliation. I am not familiar with the currrenet composition of the Board. As items for the proposed examination were developed and gathered, the Board did make an attempt to include members from the various organizations in item submission and item review sessions. Again, these persons responded as individuals, not as representative of their organizations.

My involvement with EAGALA, the Commission, and other practitioners have also brought me into contact with some of the other issues being addressed. I firmly believe that EAGALA and EFMHA have the same regard for ethical treatment of the horse and honoring the horse. I have heard both EAGALA and EFMHA members refer to the horse as a “tool”, a concept that neither organization supports or believes. Neither organization views the horse as a prop. Organizations cannot control the comments, beliefs, and attitudes of all of its members. The main differences between the two organizations, as I see it, is that EAGALA does all ground work, while EFMHA does both mounted and unmounted sessions; and, there is a difference in the training provided by the organizations. Neither organization views the horse as a prop. Like any other professional field, there are various organizations that are formed to help support professionalism. It is up to the individual to evaluate the organization, talk to members, look at what benefits are provided, and make a decision which, if any, of the professional organizations best meet his/her needs. I personally believe that all of us shoud be positive about all of the organizations and look at ways how we, together and as separate organizations, can promote our professional field.

In regards to the proposed professional credential process, I believe it would be hard for any othe the other organizations to endorse it as they had no input in its development. The credential simply certifies that an individual has taken an examination and passed that examination regarding the basic knowledge identified by the Commission as necessary to function successfully in this professional field. It will be up to individuals to look at the credential and ask if having it would offer immediate and/or long term benefits to them personally and professionally.

“You don’t ‘find’ yourself….what are you, under a tree? You create yourself.” -Victoria Principle

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