Los Angeles Chapter — California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
Voices — August 2020
In the July issue of Voices, I declared my position on racial inequality within the United States and its wrongful entrenchment within our society for centuries. I ended the article with a call for action, a call for equality, and a call for fundamental change within our society. Below are just a few of the steps we are taking towards bringing anti-racism to the forefront of our organization.
In our recent leadership retreat, we brought to the table the goals of becoming intentional toward anti-racism, including discussions and plans of expanding the Diversity Committee’s reach into other sub-committees so topics related to diversity are part of all the workings at LA-CAMFT. We have also explored potential opportunities to collaborate with local law enforcement on mental health trainings, hosting a round-table meeting for the community on the topic of anti-black violence and our role as therapists, and developing workshops specific to this topic, among other things.
The Board of Directors and Diversity Committee of LA-CAMFT have collaborated to plan a roundtable discussion on August 23rd called "LA-CAMFT Round Table: Antiracism as a Movement, not a Moment." The purpose of the roundtable will be to hear from LA-CAMFT members regarding what issues have not been talked about yet that needs to be and what issues have not been talked about enough. The plan is for the roundtable to be the catalyst for other workshops, panels, and roundtable events on specific issues identified.
In order to have a more direct impact within Los Angeles County, LA-CAMFT is collaborating with My Friend’s House. My Friends' House Inc. is a 501(c)3 organization focused on providing healthy food and services to the underprivileged. Their mission is to provide life-sustaining staples that include food, clothing, toiletries and encouragement to the homeless and economically disadvantaged, regardless of race or religious beliefs. By providing donations, LA-CAMFT aims to support My Friend’s House in continuing their weekly food distribution in urban communities, which helps hundreds of families per week and thousands per year.
If you are interested in donating to My Friend’s House please click the link: https://www.mightycause.com/story/Lacamft. However, this is just the beginning of LA-CAMFT’s plan to connect to local non-profit and community serving organizations. We hope you will join us in these efforts.
Matthew Evans, LMFT
Matthew Evans, LMFT, utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy in his work as a Primary Therapist in Resilience Treatment Center’s PHP/IOP program for adults.
Matthew may be contacted at email@example.com.
Lynne Azpeitia, LMFT
Getting Paid: How Your Email Signature Can Get You More Clients & Referrals and Create a Positive, Professional Image
When therapists talk about how to make their practices more successful, the first thing they want to know is how to get more clients and referrals. Good question, right?
The best answer about how to get the word out about you, your practice, and your work so you can get more paying clients, is to make sure your practice and contact information is clear and readily accessible to potential clients, colleagues, and referral sources whenever they need it. It’s a well-known fact that prospective clients and referral sources will only contact you if they know what your services are and they can easily locate your phone number to call or text you—or your email or social media page to write or message you.
Pre-Covid, when professionals did a lot of face-to-face networking, business cards usually did the job of getting a therapist’s name, services, and contact information in front of people. Online, websites, directory listings, and social media pages did the heavy lifting of providing the therapist’s contact details so people could connect with them and make an appointment.
With just about all professional events happening virtually now, it’s rare for therapists to exchange business cards, flyers, and practice swag—pens, note pads, Post-its—so a clinician’s contact details aren’t always close at hand. Yes, the information is still online for people to look up with Google or another search engine but that takes another few clicks and more time. People are impatient these days.
Think about how many times someone has emailed you or you read an email and wanted to contact the person by phone or text or look at their website or social media and none of that information was available, sometimes not even their last name because their email address didn’t include their full name either. Did you do a search or did you skip it? Most people skip it so these referrals and opportunities are lost.
What can a therapist do today to get their practice information and contact details out and in front of everyone’s eyes so their services are always top of mind and people can easily access the details whenever they have a question, want to connect, send a referral, talk to you about an opportunity or schedule a session?
Here’s where email signatures shine bright today. Email signatures are the savvy clinician’s new secret weapon for convenient online professional networking and practice marketing. Think about it. How many emails are you sending and receiving these days? Each person you write or reply to professionally or in your community has the power to become a referral source or a client—but only if they have the right information about your practice and how to contact you.
Today, the quickest, easiest, and most cost-effective way to disseminate your contact information, let people know about your work, and fill your practice, is to make the most of your email signature. Email signatures are the new business cards. They’re one of the best ways to present you, your services, and your contact information so it’s available whenever needed.
A thoughtfully crafted email signature is a small but powerful marketing tool that makes it easy for people to know more about you and what you offer—and to contact you or refer someone to you. It’s a recurring thing that recipients of your emails see over and over again and that develops trust and recognition.
What contact info needs to be in an email signature so that prospective clients and potential referral sources can contact you or refer someone to you? Email signatures should include all the ways there are to contact you professionally. Here are some examples.
The Basic Email Signature:
Include each of these.
The More Complex Email Signature:
All the above 1-6 plus any of these that your ideal clients, colleagues, and referral sources use and make it easy for them to contact you.
It is absolutely amazing how much value can be put into such a few lines at the end of an email. Crafted with your client, services, and profession in mind, your email signature holds the power to create a positive, professional image, and reinforce and extend your branding and marketing efforts.
An added bonus is that you don’t have to hire a graphic designer or an app developer or a coder to put together your email signature and add it to your email footer. Additionally, there are plenty of excellent templates, generators, and editors to explore, many which are free.
Have some fun exploring other clinician’s email signatures and then crafting your own.
Lynne Azpeitia, LMFT, AAMFT Approved Supervisor, is in private practice in Santa Monica where she works with Couples and Gifted, Talented, and Creative people across the lifespan. Lynne’s been doing business and clinical coaching with mental health professionals for more than 15 years, helping develop successful careers and thriving practices. To learn more about her services, training or the monthly LA Practice Development Lunch visit www.Gifted-Adults.com and www.LAPracticeDevelopment.com.
Anti-racism as a Movement,
Not a Moment
Sunday, August 23, 2020
12:00 pm-3:00 pm
A Free Event
Anti-racism as a Movement, Not a Moment
LA-CAMFT Diversity Committee
LA-CAMFT’s Diversity Committee is hosting a roundtable discussion entitled: “Anti-racism as a Movement, Not a Moment” on Sunday, August 23rd from 12 pm to 3 pm. The Zoom roundtable will be facilitated by members of the Diversity Committee and will include small breakout sessions to discuss topics in more detail. This roundtable will be a catalyst for additional workshops, panels and events.
Sunday, August 23, 12:00-3:00 pm
Where: Online Via Zoom
Once you have registered for the presentation, we will email you a link to Zoom a few days before the presentation.
Registration Not Yet Open.
Anti-racism as a Movement, Not a Moment
Sunday, August 23rd from 12 pm to 3 pm
How do we move forward from the moment Breonna Taylor was murdered, from the moment Ahmaud Arbery was killed and from the moment George Floyd stopped breathing? These tragic moments of their lives are heavy and full of grief. These moments are too many. The weight of these moments upon moments, deaths upon deaths have created cracks in a system of injustice that perpetuates racism, prejudice, discrimination and police brutality. These moments have shone a light upon the white supremacy, hate and racism that is running rampant through our country.
So many of us are asking ourselves, what do we do now? How do we move forward? Some people are protesting police brutality and educating themselves about white fragility. Others are posting on social media to spotlight Black-owned businesses and mental health resources for the Black community. And there are those who are having difficult conversations about systemic racism and inequality with their family, friends and strangers.
Just as you may be asking yourself these questions or taking these actions, LA-CAMFT is also trying to figure out how to move forward during this time. LA-CAMFT has consciously been working toward cultural competency and exploring the organization's own structural racism with the development of the Diversity Committee in 2017. The committee was born out of necessity to address the lack of ethnic and racial diversity within the organization's leadership and membership.
To address these issues, over the last 3 years the Diversity Committee worked to increase outreach to community mental health agencies and graduate schools; increased representation and support of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian therapists within LA-CAMFT leadership and membership; consciously developed a speaker series that is more balanced in representing diversity; developed workshops that highlight issues that impact underrepresented communities and people; developed a support group for therapists of color to explore and process their lived experience as a person of color in the field of mental health; and expanded resources and events to the broader Los Angeles area.
LA-CAMFT and its Diversity Committee is proud of the work they have accomplished over the last 3 years and they know that this is only the beginning toward healing and growth. With the tragic moments at hand, LA-CAMFT is aware of the fact that they cannot address diversity and inclusion without actively addressing racism.
This is where we need your help. LA-CAMFT’s Diversity Committee is hosting a roundtable discussion entitled: “Anti-racism as a Movement, not a Moment” on Sunday, August 23rd from 12pm to 3pm. The Zoom roundtable will be facilitated by members of the Diversity Committee and will include small breakout sessions to discuss topics in more detail. This roundtable will be a catalyst for additional workshops, panels and events.
It is time to speak louder and more directly about racism, discrimination and the impact it has on the lives and mental health of Black, Indigenous, Latinx and Asian people. As an essential member of our community, your voice is needed in order to propel these tragic moments into a sustained movement.
Christina Castorena, MS, LMFT, worked in community mental health before starting her private practice, Castorena Therapeutic Services, in 2016. She passionately serves adults, couples, and members of the LGBTQ+ community who are dealing with life transitions, parenting, relational conflicts, and anxiety. She employs family systems and mindfulness-based CBT. As past president of LA-CAMFT, Christina strongly advocates for her professional community and celebrates the hard-working clinicians who facilitate healing. Christina Castorena may be contacted at castorenatherapeutic.com.
LMFT, NMP, CGP
Are We There Yet?
When to Return to In-Person Sessions
Throughout the pandemic therapists have been engaged in social media debates about when/how to return to in-person sessions with their clients. I’m writing my August article in June after watching a video, A Message from CAMFT about Re-opening Your Therapy Office created by the Executive Director of CAMFT, Nabil El-Ghoroury, PhD, CAE, where he weighed in about seeing clients in-person during the quarantine. He suggested we carefully consider the decision and cautioned his readers not to pressure themselves into making a hasty decision. El-Ghoroury stated that he planned to continue to see clients via telemedicine through Labor Day and would revisit his choice at that time. After watching his video, I took some time to reflect on how in-person sessions might actually work.
I knew I wasn’t ready yet, but I wanted to consider my options for the future and writing this article helped me gather my thoughts. The first question was masks. Right now, I wear a mask when I am out in public, except for my early morning runs when very few people are outside and the world seems almost normal. The thought of wearing a mask does not feel conducive to my work as a trauma therapist, where facial expressions help me attune to what’s happening inside of my clients and my face helps regulate their nervous systems. Some of my clients choose not to wear a mask, how would that work?
I’m concerned that the journey from their cars to my therapy room could prove challenging. We have seven offices in our suite and approximately twenty other suites in our large, three-story building. As I considered the entrance to the building, keypad, and elevators, I realized that on the way to my office my clients could encounter people who might not be wearing masks or practicing social distancing; I wonder how these encounters might impact their sessions, there would certainly be “grist for the mill.”
Antibacterial wipes would be available at the entrance to the suite. Once they made it to my office, clients could text me to bypass the waiting room and I could meet them in the outer hall. How would we handle it if another person’s client was walking out when I was escorting my client in? There is no way to stagger the schedules of seven clinicians, even if we all started and ended our sessions precisely on time, which is never going to happen.
Once we made it to my office, I imagined my chair being six feet away from my client, which feels too far. I’d have to roll my chair or walk over to my client to handle the credit card payment, once they handed me the card I could swipe it and show them the amount on the screen and sign for them. Once I handed the card back, we could have another round of hand sanitizer. I realize I can keep a credit card on file; however, the fees are significantly more expensive, and it eliminates the chance to explore potential financial transference as the client pays for their session.
I decided to ask my doctor for some recommendations, and she strongly recommended that I wear a mask at all times and require my clients to wear a mask. She advised me to wash my hands frequently and use antibacterial hand disinfectant with 70% alcohol. She told me to avoid touching my face and to wash my hands after touching any door handles.
Writing this article has helped me see that there is no magic business process that will allow me to feel perfectly comfortable returning to in-person sessions. We all have different opinions about this issue, and it can feel uncomfortable when colleagues communicate their judgment on social media. Writing this article has led me to decide to continue to practice telemedicine for now. Although it presents some challenges, I have been able to do important, clinical work during this time. Two weeks ago, I returned to the comfort of my air conditioned, quiet office, away from the many distractions at home and the noise of my neighbor’s bathroom remodel. I’m wearing my mask, washing my hands and using antibacterial wipes on the door handles. My doctor’s suggestions proved to be helpful as I navigated the reentry process, sharing a restroom and elevators with other people.
I will continue to reevaluate my decision as I learn more about the Covid-19 virus. I know there is no perfect solution, but it’s clear to me that I don’t want to do therapy with a mask on and I am not willing to risk my health or the health of my clients in order to see them in person. I’m interested in your ideas about this and would welcome a discussion.
Surviving Social Anxiety
Do you feel nervous, feel your heart racing, have trouble communicating, stutter or “freeze up” in front of a group?
I believe the source of all social anxiety goes back to a fundamental fear of being judged. Nobody likes to be judged, especially when you don’t feel you’re at your best.
When I feel that people are judging me, or my performance, and I’m nervous about it, I can suddenly think of a million reasons why they’re right.
The funny thing is, they most likely aren’t thinking anything of the kind. In fact, I’ve had plenty of positive experience giving presentations.
All too often though, I forget about the good experiences and go right to the bad ones. Do you believe that something like that is going on with you?
How can you relax around other people?
One thing you can do is take a deep breath. Before going into a meeting, try taking a few deep breaths, or engage in “yoga-breathing.” This means you inhale through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth.
When you’re talking to people in a meeting, continue to breathe in and out slowly. There’s a method called “tapping,” where you tap acupressure points. You also can relax by slowly breathing on the back of your thumb.
Anything else that will relax you will help. Some people can do self-hypnosis. Some people can do stretches. Some people can actually just “shake it off.”
Think about what you’re doing rationally.
Say you’re giving a speech, and you have a of history of doing it successfully many times, but you’ve “frozen up” a few times, too.
Why does your mind go right to “freezing up?” You’ve given successful presentations before, but your mind doesn’t go there.
Even after you’ve practiced your speech in front of friends without a hitch. Even after you’ve given successful speeches in front of the same people.
We sometimes go there because fear takes over. When we talk about rational thinking, we mean thinking logically, without fear.
So, take a deep breath, do what you can to relax, and look at the situation rationally. Since you’ve done it before, you can do it again. Be confident.
Show up prepared.
What happens when you show up at a gathering alone, and unprepared? You become totally reactive; you wait for things to happen.
When you’re just waiting for something to happen, you’re not in control. You get nervous waiting, and you lose your confidence.
If you come prepared with an interesting story, or some news — even if it’s gossip — you can approach others at the event. You get to be in control.
Your confidence goes up. Everything that follows gets easier. Instead of waiting, be proactive. Approach somebody. Get it over with.
Everything gets easier once you’ve moved past the first part. Use whatever you can to get this over with. When it’s happened to me, I’ve sometimes used a “prop.”
I’d bring photos of my dog on the cell phone. I’d bring a friend to the party. I’d do anything I could think of, so I wouldn’t be the center of attention. It always helped.
I’d bring a PowerPoint presentation if I had to speak in front of a group. Then I could point to the screen the whole time.
On dates, I’d always suggest we go to a movie. After the show, I’d always have something to talk about, in this case, the film. What did you think? Did you like the ending? And so on. Anything was better than trying to talk about myself.
At parties, I’d use the “three-second rule.” I found that if I waited around to talk with somebody, I’d get anxious. If I just went up to someone before three seconds were up, I’d get it over with.
Attempt the easiest goals first, then build to the most difficult.
Stepping out of your comfort zone can be overwhelming, especially if you attempt to go too far too soon. If you have a goal that seems overwhelming, start small.
Always break overwhelming goals down into manageable pieces. When you’re working on being more social, start with something easy.
Ask a stranger for directions. There’s not a lot at stake. Work up to more difficult social situations slowly.
Every time you take steps outside your comfort zone, be sure to reward yourself, whether you have a positive outcome or not. Even if the stranger ignores you, you’ve succeeded by reaching out.
Work your way up the ladder, taking slightly larger risks each time, until you’ve achieved your goal. If you want to ask a girl out, just talk to her. Don’t jump straight in.
This article was originally published here and is used with the permission of the author.
David Silverman, LMFT, treats anxiety and depression, especially in highly sensitive individuals in his LA practice. Having experienced the rejection, stress, creative blocks, paralyzing perfectionism, and career reversals over a 25 year career as a Film/TV writer, he’s uniquely suited to work with gifted, creative, and sensitive clients experiencing anxiety, depression, and addiction. David received training at Stanford and Antioch, is fully EMDR certified, and works with programs treating Victims of Crime and Problem Gamblers. Visit www.DavidSilvermanLMFT.com.
Leslie Tuchman, LMFT
Therapists Learning from
and Enriching Each Other
Dear Millennial and Gen X Therapists,
Thinking back to the days of words and language such, groovy, hip, groupies, hauling ass, getting your kicks, flake off, hang loose, neato, sock it to me, and The Fab Four, we remember that our world has changed so much!
From all of you we’ve learned about memes, tweets, periodt (the word used at the end of a sentence), snatched (a compliment for looking good), wig (something that is amazing . . . a favorite of Beyoncé’s) the painful reality of being ghosted and if we are lucky, the ability to conquer FOMO! We puzzle and laugh about the texting words like LMIRL (Let’s meet in real life). POS (Parents over shoulder), TBH (To be honest), IWSN (I want sex now), LMK (Let me know), ILY (I love you), YOLO (You only live once), NYM (Never mind), and BBL (Be back later). This is the wonderful and challenging new world we, as therapists, live in during the spring of 2020. How lucky, how grateful, how challenged we are to know that the practice of new world psychotherapy is expanding and growing now more than ever!
Thank you, Millennial and Gen X Therapists for all you are doing in the decade of the 2020s. You are lighting the way for many of us trained in previous decades! As Members of The Silent Generation and the Boomer Generation, we continue to love our work thanks to all of you who inspire us. We have a wide range of experience in anything and everything psychology. It’s our work, our hobby, our book clubs, our friend groups, our binge reading and our obsession . . . We love questioning, learning, reading, and reminiscing. We watch the GLBTQAI communities (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Asexual, and Intersex) evolve before our eyes and hope that the children of tomorrow will grow up with far less judgement and criticism than our generations did.
In the 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s, many of us could not wait to be adults, major in psychology, and figure out what was wrong with our families. For many years we also had, very, very secretly our own psychotherapy. It might have been Gestalt Therapy, Transactional Analysis, group therapy and/or Encounter groups! It was all secretive, very secretive! We never divulged to anyone that we were “in therapy.” Now years later as seasoned therapists, it’s not that we have so many answers, but that we continue to resonate with questions, challenges, new and old skills we value, changes we need to make, and generational differences we honor as we move around in the world of Black Lives Matter, Covid-19, and the Protest Movement.
As members of the Silent Generation and the Boomer Generation we love, admire and stand in awe of you and all your industriousness, perseverance and creativity. We are moved and touched by how you are keeping so many of us inspired and eager to learn and question more and more. Together as therapists we continue to learn and enrich each other as we work to find a new way through this decade and beyond!
Leslie C. Tuchman, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, is in currently in private practice in Los Angeles using Teletherapy. Leslie has worked with all ages as a psychotherapist, uses a wide variety of modalities, and specializes in healing anxiety, depression and relationship difficulties. She has worked in educational settings, rehab centers, homeless shelters, has been a supervisor in clinical agencies, and completed a certificate program in psychodynamic psychotherapy. Website: www.leslietuchman.com.
Attention LA-CAMFT Members!
2020 LA-CAMFT Board Meeting Dates
Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at a LA-CAMFT Full Board Meeting? LA-CAMFT members are invited to attend monthly Full Board Meetings hosted at Factor’s Deli in West Los Angeles.
August 14, 2020
September 4, 2020
October 9, 2020
November 13, 2020
Online Via Zoom
Voices Publication Guidelines for 2020
Calling all community writers and contributors!
Are you searching for a unique platform to express your passions and showcase your expertise in the Marriage and Family Therapy field? Look no further, as we welcome your input!
Following are the due dates and publication guidelines for submitting articles and ads for the 2020 calendar year to Voices, LA-CAMFT's monthly newsletter:
LA-CAMFT Publishing Guidelines for Voices
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