Los Angeles Chapter  California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

Voices — August 2022

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  • 07/31/2022 11:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Leanne Nettles, LMFT
    President, LA-CAMFT

    President's August Message

    Pro-Life, Pro-Choice, Anti-Life, Anti-Choice, Abortion, Autonomy, Freedom, Murder, Baby, Fetus, Conception, Contraception, Birth, Life, Death, Woman, Mother, Host, Parasite, Unborn, Pre-born, Rights, Choice, Protect, Persecute…so many buzzwords flowing from fingers and lips. As LA-CAMFT’s President, I have been challenged by the debate of writing on this topic, knowing LA-CAMFT serves mental health providers from many backgrounds, political stances, and belief systems. To take a public stance either way is to risk ostracizing a portion of the members we serve. But as Albert Einstein put it, “If I were to remain silent, I'd be guilty of complicity.” As I write this, I do not write representing the entire views of CAMFT or LA-CAMFT. I write wrestling with my own perspectives on this topic.

    I’ve rewritten this message in my head a million times. And I couldn’t seem to find the words to fit just right until I read a social media post by my colleague and friend, Delonte Gholston: Tragedy. Abortion is a tragedy. The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Roe v. Wade is a tragedy. Loss of life in all its forms is a tragedy. Loss of reproductive rights is a tragedy. For many people, America feels like a tragic place to be right now. 

    Delonte, a Christian Pastor and Community Activist, highlighted so many of my thoughts and feelings about this topic, that with his permission, I’d like to share some of his words, written in 2019 (with the full understanding that this comes from a male, Christian theological perspective and is not all encompassing of the nuances of this topic): 

    Abortion is a tragedy and something that we as a society should grieve and deeply lament. Life at every stage is a mystery to be treated with awe, wonder, and gratitude. The life of mothers and the gift of motherhood is also sacred. Thus to protect a mother's life, her and her partner's painful decision to end their child's life should never be shamed or maligned . . . 

    . . . As much as I value the sanctity of life at every stage, it is . . . troubling to see people demonstrate such great passion for a precious baby that's in the womb only to find them silent when that precious baby is born, or when the mother who raised that baby must now bury them because the state gunned them down within seconds while playing on the playground.

    It is troubling to hear Christian leaders speak up against the state for the rights of the unborn who were silent when our government . . . [funds] war in Yemen today where families, men, women, children and babies are bombed, shot, starved and slaughtered daily.

    It grieves me to see people speak up for the unborn while doing nothing to prevent the public health and mental health determinants of gun violence in our culture and on our streets.

    The precious unborn baby that so many of us speak up for now will grow up some day. To cry out when the state ends their life before they are born but to remain silent when the state ends their life after they are born (or to even rationalize their death) is a deep and dire tragedy. It is heartbreaking to see people speak up for the unborn, but watch them remain silent as our children live in food deserts, attend crumbling schools, be taught by underpaid teachers, be born to mothers who are discriminated against in the healthcare system and to fathers who are disproportionately targeted by the criminal justice system.

    The sanctity of life is not an either/or issue.

    If you can speak up about abortion but remain silent about police brutality, consider that life is sacred from the womb to the tomb.

    If you can speak up about abortion, but you were silent as babies were put in cages and separated from their families at the border (from the same communities to which you send your donations and your missions teams), consider that life is sacred from the womb to the tomb.

    If you can speak up about abortion, but are silent as thousands of black and brown men and women languish on death row, often for crimes DNA evidence reveals they did not commit, consider that life is sacred from the womb to the tomb.

    If you can speak up about abortion, but you are silent as LGBTQ kids are bullied and committing suicide, consider that life is sacred from the womb to the tomb.

    If you can speak up about abortion, but remain silent as companies owned by people in our churches dump hazardous waste in black and brown communities where black and brown babies have to grow up, consider that life is sacred from the womb to the tomb.

    If you are speaking up about abortion but were silent when the children in Flint, their mothers and their fathers drank toxic quantities of lead, consider that life is sacred from the womb to the tomb.

    If you are speaking up about abortion, but have not honored the stories of racial terrorism inflicted on the black, brown, Native, biracial, and Asian elders in your congregations and community, please consider that life is sacred from the womb to the tomb. The elders among us who survived Japanese internment, Jim Crow, and pesticide poisoning on grape farms must be treated like their lives are sacred too . . .  

    . . . As one who does see a Biblical basis for valuing the sanctity of life at every stage but who also sees a need to protect the life and health of mothers, I lament and grieve the loss of life at any stage. I also lament that my brothers and sisters who speak up today for the unborn will be silent tomorrow when that baby is born poor, black, or brown or if that child up grows up to be queer and comes out in our churches. It is sad to know that the people who speak up today will do nothing to prevent the scourge of gun violence in our communities tomorrow.

    We have to find a way toward the love and compassion of Christ for both the unborn and the born.

    Life is sacred from the womb to the tomb, and beyond.”

    Delonte Gholston 

    What we are experiencing is a tragedy on a large scale. A tragedy that impacts us all, but especially those of us with childbearing reproductive systems. And while I believe abortion is a true tragedy, I believe strongly that the forced removal of an individual’s free will, especially when no consideration is given under any circumstance, is a grand tragedy. If we want to protect life, rather than stripping rights, we need more funding for better sex education, access to and understanding of contraception, access to quality health care, easy access to free and affordable food, housing, financial, and educational resources during early childhood, acknowledgment and elimination toxic masculinity and sexualized violence, and community support and reduced stigma around single parenting, among other things. And we as a society need to radically shift our perspectives around the sacredness of life as truly lasting beyond birth. 

    Our experiences, our voices, our stories, our choices; they matter.

    Women matter. Treat us like we do. Leanne Nettles

    Leanne Nettles, LMFT is a School-based Clinical Program Manager in a community-mental health agency and an Adjunct Professor at Pacific Oaks College. She specializes in child and adolescent therapy, while practicing and supervising from a systemic and structural therapy approach. Leanne works to advocate for cultural diversity and equity within the field, and is passionate about training quality mental health professionals to serve low income, historically disenfranchised communities using a team-based, collaborative approach.

  • 07/31/2022 10:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    LA-CAMFT August 2022 ONLINE Presentation
    including Q&A

    Friday, August 19, 2022

    9:00 am-11:00 am (PT)

    Via Zoom

    2.0 CEUs

    A Rabbi, Priest and a Monk Meditate with Our Clients Instead of Go into a Bar: Expanding Our Perspective of Spirituality-Integrated Mental Health Care

    Ann Marie Yamada, PhD and Adrienne Cedro-Hament, LCSW, BCD

    This presentation highlights the value of integrating a broadly conceptualized notion of spirituality in clinical practice. Over a decade of work has supported the development of promising practices to enhance the capacity for clinicians to use their own practices of meditation, prayer and other forms of spiritual engagement to support therapy and to meet the spiritual beliefs, needs, and practices of clients and their families. Participants will be introduced to assessment tools to elicit clients’ religious and spiritual beliefs and practices. Presenters will encourage participants to challenge ethical and legal misconceptions that limit their recognition of the value of spiritual practices such as mindfulness meditation for working with persons from diverse multicultural communities.

    Event Details: 
    Friday, August 19, 2022, 9:00 am-11:00 am (PT)

    Where: Online Via Zoom
    After you register you will be emailed a Zoom link the Thursday before the presentation.

    More information and register today by clicking the Register Here button below.

    Register Here

  • 07/31/2022 9:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Lynne Azpeitia, LMFT
    Voices Editor

    Getting Paid: Setting The Hourly Rate in Your Private Practice. Is It Time To Set A New Fee?

    Is it time for you to reevaluate whether you’re charging the right amount for your psychotherapy services? 

    With all the talk about money and prices due to the increased costs of goods and services—and the recent rise in inflation—that everyone is experiencing, many therapists are seriously thinking about, wondering, or seriously considering raising the prices for their services. It’s one of the main topics of conversation in professional circles these days. 

    Since so many therapists are thinking of or increasing their rates, they are also concerning themselves with how to balance both the compassionate and business side of running, growing, and sustaining a private practice at the same time. 

    Do you need a better way to set your hourly fee—one based on your values and what you need to earn from your practice in order to thrive financially and emotionally? 

    If so, here are four very practical articles that can help with that. Each article offers simple strategies and good advice for how to set your rate so that you are paid what you’re worth and you don’t burn out meeting with clients. 

    Some of the helpful things you’ll find in the articles:

    • Considering your pre-tax annual income
    • Things that happen when you undercharge clients
    • How to account for/include your no show rate when calculating how many clients to see
    • How to afford health insurance, vacation, and pay your quarterly taxes
    • Questions to ask to determine if it’s time for you to raise your session price
    • Finding a financial happy place for your practice.
    Consider these articles as new tools in your Fee-Setting Toolbox: 
    1. Set Your Hourly Rate in Psychotherapy Private Practice
    2. How To Set Fees in Private Practice: 7 Simple Steps for Therapists
    3.  Setting Fees and Session Rates in Private Practice
    4. How to Set Up Your Private Pay Fees and No Show Policies

    Whether you decide to increase your prices or not, there will most likely be a thing or two in these articles that will help facilitate your decision and comfort with it.

    Lynne Azpeitia, LMFT, AAMFT Approved Supervisor, is in private practice in Santa Monica where she works with Couples and Gifted, Talented, and Creative Adults across the lifespan. Lynne’s been doing business and clinical coaching with mental health professionals for more than 15 years, helping professionals develop even more successful careers and practices. To learn more about her in-person and online services, workshops or monthly no-cost Online Networking & Practice Development Lunch visit www.Gifted-Adults.com or www.LAPracticeDevelopment.com.

  • 07/31/2022 8:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Marvin Whistler

    LA-CAMFT Therapists of Color Grant Award
    & June 2022 Awardees

    On June 26, 2022, the most recent awardees of the LA-CAMFT TOC GRANT AWARD were randomly selected.  They are Marica Thomas and Yulia Fox. Each will receive a check for $500, a free year of LA-CAMFT membership, and free admission to 3 LA-CAMFT workshops or networking events.

    The next cycle for the grant award will begin on September 7, 2022.  It is limited to members of LA-CAMFT, and the award is limited to once per calendar year.

    Description of Grant Stipend

    Every 4 months (3x per year), a grant award will be offered to two applicants who meet the following criteria: (1) must be a current LA-CAMFT member, (2) identify as a Therapist of Color, and (3) must be either an Associate, Trainee, or Student still in graduate school.

    Grant winners will receive

    • $500 to be spent at the winner’s discretion
    • Free year of LA-CAMFT membership
    • Free admission to 3 LA-CAMFT workshops or networking events of the winner’s choosing with the exception of the Law & Ethics Workshop.

    The $500 award can be used at the recipient’s discretion based on their own individual needs (whether it be for BBS fees, testing materials, memberships, rent, groceries, etc.). Confirmation for the what money is used will not be required.

    Application and Selection Process

    Interested members can complete the application on the LA-CAMFT website. The selection process entails using a Randomized Generator of the applicants who met the full criteria and complete the application online in order to take out human bias and decrease activation of one's trauma history. The drawing will be recorded via Zoom and posted onto social media along with an announcement naming the grant winners, whom will also be contacted via email directly. Registration for the next award cycle will open on September 7, 2022, and will close on November 5, 2022. The drawing will take place on November 6, 2022.

    Best regards,

    The LA-CAMFT TOC Grant Committee
  • 07/31/2022 7:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Chellie Campbell,
    Financial Stress
    Reduction Expert

    Why Swim With Sharks
    When You Can Swim With Dolphins?

    Why do some people always see beautiful skies and grass and lovely flowers and incredible human beings, while others are hard-pressed to find anything or any place that is beautiful?” 

    Leo Buscaglia 

    There are three kinds of fish in the sea: Dolphins, Sharks, and Tuna.

    Dolphins are wonderful creatures: intelligent, happy, and playful. They communicate; they swim in schools. They’ve been known to ward off a shark attack and protect the other fish. They are fun-loving and beautiful, arcing in graceful leaps over the waves.

    Sharks are eating machines. It’s not their fault; they were born that way. But their job is to eat you. If you find yourself in the water with a shark, put your shark fin on or get out of the water. It’s very difficult for a dolphin to act like a shark, and you’ll never be as good at it as a real shark, so I recommend getting out of the water.

    Tuna fish are food. They don’t know that the blood in the water is their own. They think everything that happens to them is somebody else’s fault. They take no responsibility for their choices. It’s like there are three kinds of people: the people that make things happen, the people that watch things happen, and the people who say, “What happened?” (Those are the tuna.)

    Sharks will steal your money and tuna will leech money from you. Real money is made when you have dolphins on your team.

    Who are the fish in your sea?

    Today’s Affirmation:
    “I now attract people who reflect my highest good!”

    In my book, Zero to Zillionaire, I further outlined two kinds of sharks and two kinds of tuna. See if you recognize any of these in your life:

    There are two kinds of Sharks: Angry Sharks and Con-Artist Sharks.

    1. Angry Sharks are completely self-obsessed. They have no real empathy for other people—they just can’t tell that you have thoughts and feelings just like they do. They see you as only one thing—food. They are angry with life and the world and are going to take it out on you.

      These sharks tend to scream and yell and throw tantrums in order to get their way. They will tell you everything that’s wrong with you if you give them an opportunity—like if you say, “Hello.” They are powered by rage and it is fearsome to behold. They rip you apart right away.

    2. Con-Artist Sharks are Sharks in Dolphin’s Clothing. They pretend to be your friend and imitate Dolphin behavior in order to get close to you.

      There’s no such thing as an obnoxious con-artist. They have charisma, a hail-fellow-well-met bonhomie, and a ready smile. But look in their eyes—there’s nothing there but calculation. They are running numbers, figuring what you are worth and how they can take advantage of you.

      They come to you with offers that sound so fabulous! You suspect maybe they’re too good to be true, but what if it really is your lucky day at last and this is a fabulous opportunity for you to get rich??

      So you throw your skepticism into Davey Jones’ Locker and board their Pirate Ship to search for the treasure. But you’re the treasure and now they’ve got you walking the plank into their jaws. They are your best buddy—until they slowly rip you apart.

    After you’ve been swimming in Shark-infested waters, you feel hurt, wounded, and betrayed. You are suffering, bleeding, crying—and usually, you are broke, too.

    Sharks don’t want to pay you. They want all the money for themselves.

    Tuna come in two species: Angry Tuna and Timid Tuna.

    1. Angry Tuna are the “Ain’t It Awful” people who complain endlessly about everything. They never do anything about anything, mind you, they just whine and complain. “Life is Unfair” and “What’s the Use” are their mottos.

      Angry Tuna will hurt you almost as badly as a Shark will, but they will do it through passive-aggressive behavior. Their inaction will cost you the contract, cost you a friendship, cost you a fortune. And they will get huffy if you say anything to them about it, because They Are Blameless. Nothing is ever their fault.

    2. Timid Tuna never do anything either because they are afraid.

      They mask their ineffectual behavior under the guise of being Self-Sacrificing and Good-Hearted, but really they are just Victims. They justify playing with sharks saying, “Oh, there’s really a Dolphin in there somewhere—I’m going to help them find their inner Dolphin,” meanwhile completely oblivious to the fact that they’re missing a fin and the blood in the water is their own.

      Timid Tuna won’t cause you direct harm, but they will make you really, really frustrated.

    Both kinds of Tuna end up as dinner. And you’ll be in the frying pan with them, salted and breaded, if you swim with them very often. After you’ve spent some time with Tuna, you feel tired, depressed, and need to take a nap. It’s hard to get anything done after that.

    Tuna can’t pay you. Tuna have no money.

    In summary, this is the evidence telling you who the fish are in your sea:

    Dolphins: You feel good, and you are rich.

    Sharks: You feel bad, and you are broke.

    Tuna: You feel tired, but you broke even.

    I could make other distinctions, categorizing some people as Octopuses, Sea Horses, Barracuda, Eels, Angel Fish, etc., but we tend to get confused when we get too many choices. That’s why I like to stick to three categories, or three points, or three rules to remember, or a menu of three choices. You can remember Low, Medium, and High Budgets and you can remember Dolphins, Sharks, and Tuna.

    That’s all you really need to make decisions about people. Either they support you or they cost you.

    Sharks sneer at books like this one. Why would anyone need a book to tell them how to be successful? Kill or be killed is all you need to know—it’s survival of the fittest, dummy.

    Tuna don’t read books except as a vehicle to beat themselves up with and cry, “Oh, no, this doesn’t work for me, either. Nothing ever works for me.”

    Dolphins value learning and growing; they read books, take workshops, attend classes, listen to CDs, and are always improving themselves and the world around them.

    When you learn to surround yourself with Dolphins and avoid Shark and Tuna, you will be richer and happier, and so will your friends.

    Chellie Campbell, Financial Stress Reduction Expert, is the author of bestselling books The Wealthy Spirit, Zero to Zillionaire, and most recently From Worry to Wealthy: A Woman’s Guide to Financial Success Without the Stress. She is widely quoted in major media including Redbook, Good Housekeeping and more than 50 popular books. She has been treating Money Disorders like Spending Bulimia and Income Anorexia in her Financial Stress Reduction® Workshops for over 25 years. Her website is www.chellie.com.

  • 07/31/2022 6:30 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    LA-CAMFT August 2022 ONLINE Presentation
    including Q&A

    Sunday, August 7, 2022

    12:00 pm-4:00 pm (PT)

    Via Zoom

    4.0 CEUs

    Theoretical Foundations for Liberation Psychology
    What is decolonized Mental Health?

    Dr. Edil Torres Rivera, Ph.D.

    There is a growing body of literature that addresses colonialism and its impact in different disciplines such as psychology and education (Goodman & Gorski, 2015; McLaren et al., 2000). The literature posits that WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic) concepts not only dominates the discourse regarding what research and knowledge should be, but also what is known about people. These conceptions about research and knowledge are problematic since they continue to perpetuate Western societies ideas that undermine diversity, inclusion, and development of critical thinking within academic spaces (Macleoud et al., 2020). Furthermore, it does not allow mental health professionals to approach clients from a culturally appropriate stance. Therefore, this workshop will provide the audience with applicable approaches that are based in liberation and decolonial processes.

    Event Details: 
    Sunday, August 7, 2022, 12:00 pm-4:00 pm (PT)

    Where: Online Via Zoom
    After you register you will be emailed a Zoom link the Thursday before the presentation.

    More information and register today by clicking the Register Here button below.

    Register Here

  • 07/31/2022 6:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Steven Unruh,
    MDiv, LMFT

    Surviving a Narcissistic Marriage:
    3 Key Actions to Take

    Surviving a narcissistic marriage can be challenging. Living day after day with someone who has a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) creates an environment in which you find yourself constantly overwhelmed and confused. Eventually, you begin to distrust yourself, questioning your own reality, wondering if, in fact, you are the problem, the narcissist.  

    A narcissist has a way of presenting their distorted reality to others in such a convincing manner that one begins to believe their spouse’s projections and lies. You become swept up in their reality. A narcissist is wholly convinced of their own reality. They have begun what Scott Peck MD calls “The People of the Lie.”  

    What is a Narcissist?  

    The most basic definition of a narcissist is someone who lacks empathy and the capacity for self-insight. What does this look like?  

    Example of narcissistic behavior patterns:  

    • Showing little concern for the feelings of others. They might ignore you when you tell them something bothers you. 
    • Controlling or manipulative behavior. This is sometimes done through tactics like gaslighting. 
    • Extremely sensitive to criticism. Any criticism is often seen as a personal attack. 
    • A lack of responsibility for their behaviors. They tend to blame others instead. 

    So, why do people with narcissism behave in this way? It is because they lack an observing ego. An observing ego allows us to see how people respond to us. If we have an observing ego, we can recognize how we impact those around us. We can change our behavior when responding to that impact because we can recognize the feelings others are having towards us, allowing us to respond appropriately.  

    How to Deal with a Narcissist

    People with NPD typically don’t see their behavior as the problem. Everyone else is the problem. They will use gaslighting and other forms of emotional abuse and manipulation to convince themselves—and you of this. 

    • Indifference 
    • Boundaries 
    • Consequences 

    Mark came in for counseling. His wife Janice was not interested in counseling. However, Mark was at his wit’s end. Therefore, he came by himself. The problem is that Janice never apologized when things seemed clear that she had made a mistake. Also, she often became belligerent and verbally abusive almost every day. Mark was also frustrated that she never took responsibility for her actions. Instead, she blamed everything on Mark. Her lack of communication and lack of intimacy was all his fault in her mind. 


    Living with a narcissist is unpredictable. You’re never sure which mood you will encounter. Although inside, you might feel outraged and upset. It’s still imperative to maintain your composure. That is because people with NPD crave attention. As a result, if you respond with outrage, this will only likely escalate things as they are more likely to continue the behavior or even escalate it to get a response.  

    When dealing with a narcissist, you must stay calm and simply repeat your position. For example, if they threaten you with “I’m going to take the children away from you. I’m going to tell your whole family all about you….” Simply respond with indifference, such as “I guess that’s what you’ll do” or “ that is your decision,” and leave it at that.  


    It may seem impossible to set boundaries with someone with NPD, but this is one of the most effective ways of dealing with a narcissistic person. Here are some examples of boundaries to set:  

    • Don’t argue about your boundaries. Your boundaries are your own. They are your right to have. 
    • Don’t explain yourself. You don’t have to justify your boundaries to anyone else. 
    • Don’t tolerate verbal abuse or threats. If your partner or spouse becomes verbally abusive or threatening, leave the room or home. 
    • Act if the behavior escalates. If your partner starts threatening to harm you or the children physically, call the police. Also, call the police if your spouse threatens to self-harm.


    If you establish boundaries and your spouse violates them, you must be prepared to confront manipulative, unhealthy behavior and follow through with consequences. Establishing consequences isn’t about your partner or spouse. It’s about you. It’s about asserting your needs for a healthy relationship.  

    So, in the case of Mark and Janice above, Mark needs to set a clear boundary when her behavior violates his rights or engages in bullying, manipulation, and other types of toxic behavior.  

    For example, at a recent family reunion for Janice’s side of the family, Janice became sarcastic towards Mark. When he asked her to stop, she started calling him names. Mark responded by leaving the reunion. Of course, this enraged Janice as she was embarrassed because Mark had left. It created a narcissistic wound for Janice, which happens when someone with NPD feels like they are being attacked—even though, in reality, they are not.  

    After this incident, Janice began to understand that there would be consequences when she violated Mark’s boundaries. It was the beginning of a change for the couple, with Janice understanding what Mark would not tolerate. Establishing consequences may include exiting the relationship if it continues to be unhealthy.

    Final Thoughts 

    Although being married to a narcissist can be extraordinarily difficult, things can get better—but only if both partners are willing to make it work.

    Therapy is a must when it comes to a relationship like this. It won’t cure your partner’s narcissism, but counseling can help you develop healthier ways of communicating and relating. The above action points have been known to be successful and can help.

    Steven Unruh is a Divorce Mediator and LMFT. He completes the entire divorce process along with all the documentation. He files in 13 different courthouse throughout Southern California. Website: stevenunruh.com.

  • 07/31/2022 4:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    LA-CAMFT Diversity Committee

    Black Therapist Support Group

    First Saturday of this Month

    Next Meeting:
    Saturday, August 6, 2022
    12:00 pm-1:30 pm (PT)

    Online Via Zoom

    Black Therapist Support Group

    A safe place for healing, connection, support and building community. In this group, licensed clinicians, associates and students can come together and process experiences of racism (systemic, social, and internalized), discrimination, implicit bias, and micro-aggressions, along with additional experiences that therapists of African descent encounter in the field of mental health. As the late great Maya Angelou once said, “As soon as healing takes place, go out and heal someone else.” May this space, be the support needed to facilitate that journey.

    Open to LA-CAMFT Members and Non-Members

    Second Saturday of this Month
    Location: Zoom Meeting

    For more information contact Akiah Robinson Selwa, LMFT at aselwa@sunrisetherapycenter.org.

    Event Details: 

    Licensed Therapists, Associates, and Students

    Event Details: 
    Saturday, August 6, 2022, 12:00 pm-1:30 pm (PT)
    Time of Check-In: 11:50 am

    Online Via Zoom
    Once you have registered for the presentation, we will email you a link to Zoom a few days before the presentation.

    No Charge

    Online Registration CLOSES on the date of the event.
    (Registration is open and available until the group ends.)

    Questions about Registration? Contact  Diversity Committee, diversitycommittee@lacamft.org.

    Register Here

  • 07/31/2022 2:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Catherine Auman,

    When in Doubt, Blame Your Parents

    This was a slogan on a card I received that I’ve never thrown out because it makes me laugh every time I see it. That would be an easy out, right? You don’t need to accept responsibility for yourself because your parents made you the way you are. If you do something harmful to yourself or someone else, it’s not your fault; it’s your parents’!

    Sounds silly put that way, but you’d be surprised. People who had difficult childhoods sometimes use that as a justification for why their lives are not working today. Oprah Winfrey, certainly a successful person, has shared that she overcame being sexually molested as a child; obviously, she didn’t consider that an excuse. There are many people who had traumatic childhoods whose lives are flourishing, so we really can’t blame the parents.

    Clients in therapy may be reticent to do historical work because they love their parents, feel loyalty to them, and don’t want to blame them. The clients are afraid we’re going to find out the parents were villains, which is rarely the case. Usually, although not always, our parents were well-meaning people like ourselves doing the best they could with what was handed down from their own parents.

    It’s not necessary to stop loving your parents to see what they taught you that wasn’t helpful, but it is necessary to identify the messages from the parents that were not accurate. I sometimes call these false messages “brainwashing” to underscore for clients just how strong this conditioning can be.

    If, for example, you were taught that sex is sinful, you might want to change that brainwashing. If you were taught you should never speak up, or that your ideas are nonsense, or that you don’t have your own special form of attractiveness—these beliefs taught by well-meaning parents are not helpful in the world of adults and would benefit from examination, then elimination.

    In psychotherapy, we’re not about blaming your parents. We are about you examining the things your parents instilled in you that are not helpful and throwing them out with the trash. But, we want to make sure you do keep the many useful things your parents passed on. We don’t want to interfere with you having the best relationship possible with them. The more love in the world, the better.

    © 2022 Catherine Auman

    Catherine Auman, LMFT is a licensed therapist with advanced training in both traditional and spiritual psychology with over thirty years of successful professional experience helping thousands of clients. She has headed nationally based psychiatric programs as well as worked through alternative methodologies based on ancient traditions and wisdom teachings. Visit her online at catherineauman.com.

  • 07/31/2022 1:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    LA-CAMFT Diversity Committee

    Therapists of Color Support Group

    Sunday, August 14, 2022

    Second Sunday of Every Month

    11:00 am-1:00 pm

    Via Zoom

    Therapists of Color Support Group

    A safe place to receive peer support and process experiences of racism (systemic, social, and internalized), discrimination, implicit bias, racist injury, aggression, and micro-aggressions, along with additional experiences that therapists of color encounter in the field of mental health.

    Open to LA-CAMFT Members and Non-Members
    Second Sunday of Each Month
    Location: Zoom Meeting

    For more information, contact the LA-CAMFT Diversity Committee at DiversityCommittee@lacamft.org.

    Event Details: 

    Licensed Therapists, Associates, and Students

    Event Details: 
    Sunday, August 14, 2022, 11:00 am-1:00 pm (PT)
    Time of Check-In: 10:50 am

    Online Via Zoom
    Once you have registered for the presentation, we will email you a link to Zoom a few days before the presentation.

    No Charge

    Online Registration CLOSES on the day of the event.

    Questions about Registration? Contact Diversity Committee, diversitycommittee@lacamft.org.

    Register Here

    In diversity there is beauty
    and there is strength.

    Maya Angelou

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