Jana Sutton, director of ULM's Marriage and Family Therapy training facility and an assistant professor in the program, has recently been elected president of the Louisiana Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.
Perhaps the youngest person to ever hold the post, Sutton conveys enthusiasm for the profession and for her new assignment. “I want to increase the dialogue between the licensed counselors of our state and the state's marriage and family therapists, for the betterment of both our mental health profession and for the public's sake,” she said of her primary objective as the head of the LAMFT.
Sutton added that she hopes to vastly improve training and education opportunities for the profession, including more advancement for the state's LAMFT student membership, involving a new mentoring plan and linking student interns with experienced marriage and family therapy professionals.
Her overall plan as president is to rely on the foundation of promoting broad interest in the mental health profession, and to develop improved representation to public and governing bodies. “We have got to work more effectively to provide the mental health services the public requires.”
Membership in LAMFT has tripled since 2001, according to Sutton.
Sutton is also the director of the therapeutic services at ULM for a forward-thinking drug diversion program for Ouachita Parish, Juvenile Drug Court, which leagues judges and therapists with the common goal of intensive judicial and therapeutic attempts to keep juveniles off of drugs and out of court. The system is in its second year.
She has come a long way since she left the home of her youth in northern England 14 years ago. Having graduated magna cum laude from the University of South Carolina in 1997, she went on to graduate summa cum laude with a master's degree from ULM's Marriage and Family Therapy program in 1999. Three years later, she replicated the laudatory honor as she earned her Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy from ULM and presented her dissertation, “Domestic Violence: An Ethnography of Client Experiences in a Therapeutic Group Utilizing Psycho-Educational and Solution-Focused Philosophies and Techniques.”