Member Spotlight: Lorna Hecker

By Membership

Long time MFT, awarded professor, author, and AAMFT Professional Member holding both the Clinical Fellow and Approved Supervisor designations, Lorna Hecker is not new to the intricate and systemic world of MFT. As the former director of the Purdue University, Northwest Couple and Family Therapy Center for 25 years, Dr. Hecker has made several contributions to the field of marriage and family therapy. Being known for her “integrity and high standards,” Dr. Hecker was awarded the Walk the Talk Award in 2014 from Purdue University and the Excellence in Teaching Award from Daybreak University. Known for her wealth of knowledge in ethics, Dr. Hecker is also one of the authors of the new AAMFT ethics textbook!

What attracted you to MFT?
Despite many falling into the field of MFT, Dr. Hecker said, “I had mentors who turned me on to systems theory; once I learned systems theory, I could not go back to thinking about anything individually, and it just made so much sense.”

What client population do you primarily work with and what drew you to that population?
“I currently work with clients who are neurodiverse (who have ASD, ADHD, etc.). It was a bit happenstance as when I moved to Fort Collins, I started working in an office where this was the specialty. However, after having raised a child on the spectrum, I found I both understood it and enjoyed it immensely. I see this group as truly special people and gifts to our society that we can all learn from.”

What has been your greatest challenge throughout your MFT journey?
“After being in academia for 25 years, it was challenging to become an entrepreneur and start private practice, but I enjoy it immensely. I love not sitting in endless meetings that is part and parcel of academia, but instead being a direct treatment provider.”

How have you seen MFT change throughout the years?
Dr. Hecker is not the only one who thinks necessary changes to MFT have taken place over the years, but she has adapted. “I think MFT has strayed from its roots in order to pursue reimbursement. This was necessary, but unfortunate.”

What part of your AAMFT membership have you found to be most valuable?
The networking that the association has provided Dr. Hecker is one benefit that she truly enjoys. Additionally, “the Approved Supervisor Designation still has me working with young therapists, which I enjoy. I also utilize the [free] ethics/legal consultation available and find this to be my most valuable membership asset.”

Which MFTs have you found the most inspirational and why?
“Wallace Denton, one of the granddaddy’s of MFT, and Doug Sprenkle were both my mentors to whom I will be forever grateful, but also I think my previous students who are forging paths in MFT now—I am their biggest fan, and they amaze me.”


Spotlight: A Member’s Journey is a series that showcases AAMFT members and their unique stories that shape them as people and as therapists. This profile appeared in the August 13, 2021 edition of AAMFT’s Family Therap-eNews. 

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