Los Angeles Chapter  California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

Voices — August 2022

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  • 07/31/2022 12:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Judith Morton Fraser,

    Uncle Bobby—A Living Gift From A Dying Man

    “I sent that last rocket to the moon,” 65-year-old Uncle Bobby said with a deep chuckle as we sat at his kitchen table in Torrance, California. “Sure was a beaut.” He picked up a packet of Camel’s sitting next to his can of beer and banged it against his fist. Even a diagnosis of Cancer couldn’t stop his smoking habit. 

    He put the cigarette between his teeth, flicked open his lighter and lit the end all in one graceful movement. It was one he’d been practicing since he was ten, before we had warning signs about tobacco, and before it was against the law to sell to minors. The tip of his Camel turned red like the stop light across the street. The inhale sounded like an angry rattle snake, the exhale like air whistling from a punctured tire. Grey smoke circled his head, drifted out the open window behind him and mingled with the midday rays cascading over the geraniums on his balcony. 

    Aunt Gisela, his wife, stopped preparing lunch, scurried to the table, wiggled her hips, and shook her head. Deep lines sprang up on her forehead. “Stehem, stehaw, stawe,” she mumbled in her charming Cuban-English accent. 

    Quick as a wink, she pulled out a can of Lysol from a pocket in her red apron, held it in front of her like a metal shield and pressed the button. “SSSST,” the scent of pine cut through the tobacco smell. “ My uncle coughed and waved his hand. “You tryin’ to kill us with that stuff.” He smashed his Camel in the crystal ashtray and reached for his beer. 

    “Ju put away dat beer’n drink papaya juice,” she ordered. “Fresh, I make today.” She zipped by us like an athlete running a marathon, took a large pitcher of papaya juice out of the refrigerator, poured it into a glass and set it in front of him. 

    Uncle Bobby loosened his thin fingers from the beer and clasped them around the juice. “I don’t know why I put up with you.” He muttered before downing the juice. 

    “ImpoSSebul,” Aunt Gisela sighed like a hurt child. “I try save ju, ju try da patience of Job.” Tears flashed in her eyes. “Ju Momma’n Poppa jus waitin’ across da bridge to take ju away from me.” 

    I glanced up at the photo of my grandparents hanging on the kitchen wall, and smiled. They had twelve children. Uncle Bobby was the eleventh. Nine, including my mom were gone now. They died too young. Most, from Cancer. 

    “Yup, ju Momma’n Poppa, brothers’n seesters, gettin’ closer all da time. Ju makin’ it hard for me. I no want you to cross dat death bridge.” Aunt Gisela bit down on her words. 

    I leaned back in the chair. “You think there is a bridge?” I asked Aunt Gisela. “Ju betcha,” she said emphatically. “But, only good peoples get to cross.” She glared at Uncle Bobby. If it was possible to transform a rebel into an angel, then she’d have my bet. 

    “Hog wash and horse patootie, Gisela” Uncle Bobby said. “You’ve got more hair brained beliefs than anybody I’ve ever run across in my whole life.” He reached for his Camels. “And I’ve known quite a few hair brained people.”

    I bit down on my lower lip. Maybe I was one of those hair brains. A woman who lived down the street from me in Hollywood used to talk to dead people. We called her Doctor Mary, but she wasn’t a doctor. Not in the medical sense anyway. 

    “This young man rang my doorbell one day,” Doctor Mary said as we sat together having a cup of tea in her living room. “And, being the trusting soul I am, I let him in. He was dressed up real nice, suit, white shirt, red tie.” She fingered the loose, grey strands of hair from around her cherub face and brushed them back towards her ponytail. “But, he wasn’t happy. A perfume of pain followed him in my door and sat with him on my sofa.” Doctor Mary pursed her lips. “He told me that he had hidden an old insurance policy in his filing cabinet under the P’s and asked if I’d call his wife. When I questioned why he didn’t call he shook his head, ‘I tried, but she won’t listen to me.’ After I agreed to call, he left. It seemed like such a little thing to do so I picked up the phone.” 

    “A woman answered. It was his wife. When I told her what her husband said, she went into convulsions. Scared the stuffin’ out of me.” Doctor Mary took a deep breath. 

    “Turned out, her husband died a month before. Isn’t that something? And he walked right into my living room. Usually when I talk to someone on the other side it’s through my thoughts.” She fanned herself with her hand. “The wife called me back after she found the insurance policy and thanked me, but she didn’t have to. It felt good to help and amazing to sit face to face with a ghost.” 

    Uncle Bobby lit another cigarette and chuckled. He seemed so sure there wasn’t anything that happened after this life. But, I wasn’t. 

    “Your kids want some of these rocket stickers I made up?” he asked. “I” meant the company he worked for. He was an inspector in the aerospace division of Rockwell International. 

    “Sure.” My kids were way too old for stickers, but I liked that he asked and it made him feel good to share something memorable. 

    “I sent some heavy duty folks into space.” Uncle Bobby rifled through a vanilla folder and carefully pulled out round stickers of the: Columbia, Challenger, Space Lab 3, and Discovery. 

    “When I was a kid, my brothers read comic books that showed something like this on the covers,” I said as I pointed to the picture of the Challenger. We thought it was just fantasy back then.” 

    “It’s a whole new world,” Uncle Bobby said. “Soon we’ll be living on other planets.” 

    The next time I saw my uncle it was at The Little Company of Mary Hospital. He was unconscious. “Ju come, please,” my aunt had said earlier on the phone. 

    I sat at the foot of his bed listening to the painful sounds of the rattle snake and flat tire as I watched his chest rise and fall. Aunt Gisela stood in the doorway her head bent in prayer. 

    Suddenly, it was painfully quiet. Aunt Gisela gasped and ran for the nurse. I stared at my uncle wondering how it was possible to be alive one second and gone the next. 

    Seconds later his nurse rushed in and checked for vital signs. But, it was only a formality. “God be with you,” the nurse sighed as she gently held her hand over his forehead.

    I’d never been in a room when someone died before. Everything got real still. Seconds seemed like hours. I wanted to do something, but I couldn’t move. I sat perfectly still and watched my uncle’s lifeless body. 

    Then I saw it. A thin electric blue light moved through his mouth and headed out the window. I blinked my eyes questioning this incredible vision. I was seeing Uncle Bobbie’s spirit leave his body. I was scared and excited all at the same time. Blue light was coming out of a man who didn’t believe anything happened after death. If I had any doubts before I sure didn’t have them now. 

    Uncle Bobby had mentioned spaceships taking us to other planets. Now, he was headed into space without a ship and I had been given a gift I would never forget. 

    I found Aunt Gisela in the hallway and wrapped her in my arms. 

    “I try keep him here. I pray over and over. No good. No good,” her words came out in spurts. “Maybe I wrong. Maybe dare’s nobody, no nothing, no bridge. No way to help loved ones.” 

    I held her tighter. “But there is something very powerful. Maybe everyone can’t see it, but it’s there. It’s a bridge of some kind. It’s blue and narrow and reaches into the sky.”

    “For sure?” She said pulling away as she looked up at me. 

    “For sure.” I answered lifting her chin. 

    Aunt Gisela’s face softened; her eyes glowed with hope. Her prayers had been answered. The husband she loved so dearly was now on a new journey and one day she would be able to rejoin him

    Judith Morton Fraser LMFT, past president of the San Fernando Valley (SFV) Chapter of CAMFT, Present organizer with Douglas Green LMFT for creative workshops, actor, writer, works with creative people in creative ways. Website: www.JudithMortonFraser.com.

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

    Tina Cacho Sakai,

    LA-CAMFT Therapists of Color Mentorship ProgramCall for Therapist of Color (TOC) Mentors (July 1 Start Date)

    During our “Anti-Racism as a Movement, Not a Moment” Roundtable in August 2020, we came together as a therapeutic community to discuss and address racism and discrimination. We collaborated on what LA-CAMFT can do to be an actively and overtly anti-racist community. We specifically identified needed supports that we as therapists of color and as a therapeutic community wanted to see provided. One of the many needed supports identified was a Therapists of Color (TOC) Mentorship Program.

    In January 2021 a group of students, associates and licensed therapists of color formed the Therapists of Color (TOC) Mentorship Program Committee and met on a monthly basis to discuss and begin the creation of this program. The committee spent quality time on the purpose statement, guidelines, interest form, marketing, launch date, and more. The development of the program are the contributions of the following committee participants: Akiah Selwa, Destiny Campron, Jenni Villegas Wilson, Leanne Nettles, Lucy Sladek, Maisha Gainer, Matthew Fernandez, Nehemiah Campbell, Perla Hollow, Rachell Alger, Raven Barrow, Stara Shakti, and Tina Cacho Sakai.

    The LA-CAMFT Therapists of Color (TOC) Mentorship Program exists to help address inequities experienced by professional mental health therapists of color and intersections with other historically marginalized groups. The first of its kind amongst CAMFT chapters, LA-CAMFT is committed to ensuring quality mentorship for therapists of color by therapists of color. The mentorship program is intended to help bridge the gap of identifying and creating opportunities for growth and advancement in the field, guide clinicians across various stages of professional development, increase accessibility and sustainability in the field, and assist therapists of color to confidently provide services from their culturally authentic self.  

    At this time, we are Calling for Therapists of Color (TOC) Mentors who are committed to this mission and more:

    • Qualifications: Licensed in the State of CA (LMFT, LCSW, LPCC, PSYD, etc) 
    • Commitment: 6 to 12 months with the option to continue independently.
    • Frequency: 1x per month or mutually agreed-upon schedule of meetings, which may occur via phone, virtual platform, email exchanges, or face-to-face meetings.
    • Types of Mentorship Relationships: 1-on-1 and/or group mentorship (your choice) .
    • Mentors do not need to be LA-CAMFT Members. 

    Here are some of the many rewards for being a Therapist of Color (TOC) Mentor:

    • Guide, teach, and inspire the next generation of TOC mental health professionals.
    • Establish and promote a culture of support within our profession.
    • Build intergenerational relationships.
    • Contribute to new developments in the field.
    • Receive LA-CAMFT benefits for volunteering your time, knowledge and wisdom. 

    If you are interested in becoming a Therapist of Color (TOC) Mentor, would like to receive more information and/or receive the Interest Form, reach out to us at tocmentorshipprogram@lacamft.org

    Interest Form Due Dates and Mentorship Start Dates: 

    • June 1st for 6-month mentorship to start July 1st.
    Interest Forms submitted after the Due Date will be placed on the list to begin with the next quarter cohort.

    With Gratitude and Solidarity, 

    LA-CAMFT Therapists of Color (TOC) Mentorship Program Committee
  • 07/31/2022 10:00 AM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    David Silverman,

    4 Ways to Deal with Procrastination

    1. According to writer-therapist Dennis Palumbo, a friend and personal mentor, procrastination is ultimately about a fear of being judged. He tells his clients (screenwriters, tv writers, and novelists), that instead of obsessing about it, they should write about it, as a dialogue with themselves, or as if they were writing a letter to themselves.

      Ironically, often just writing about procrastination gets a writer writing, and, this is, in itself, a cure. This simple process helps many of his clients. Further exploration of these underlying beliefs can be done in therapy, but that’s not something you can do now.

    2. Without going into therapy, you can look inward, and try to figure out the nature of the tasks you find difficult and which emotions or behaviors are at play. Examples of these tasks and emotions include those tasks you considered unpleasant, complex projects, a fear of failure (lack of self-confidence) and/or a fear of success, indecision, lack of interest, and distraction (or lack of focus). They recommend: 

      a. Complete unpleasant tasks first. 

      b. Break complex jobs into smaller, more manageable tasks. 

      c. With fears, maintain focus on the end result, and remember how good it will feel to finish. 

      d. For indecision, make a deadline to make a decision, and keep to it. 

      e. For lack of interest, schedule tasks for when you’re at your peak and reward yourself.
      f. For distraction, make it a rule not to leave the desk until a smaller task is done and prioritize. 

    3. The Pomodoro Technique (TM)

      This method is named after the tomato shaped timer that inspired it. (Pomodoro is the Italian word for tomato). As a student, Francesco Cirillo struggled with time management. He found the perfect time for a “work sprint” or “pomodoro” to be 25 minutes. He set his timer and worked straight for 25 minutes, then took a five-minute break.

      During the short break, he allowed himself to check texts, emails, play a videogame, make calls or whatever. Every three to four pomodori, he would give himself a 25-minute break.

      Francesco would set out to finish a small, manageable goal, as if there was a deadline looming. This way, he felt the urgency required to get things done quickly, but had time to breathe, as it were, and play during breaks, which kept his mind sharp.

      He experimented with different time periods but found 25 minutes to be the most effective time period for him to work at a “deadline pace.” Of course, you can modify the method, say, so you work 40 minutes and take a 20-minute break if you like, or whatever works best for you.

    4. Getting Things Done

      David Allen is a productivity consultant who created a fairly elaborate method of prioritizing and organizing your work, which can help you overcome procrastination. The steps to getting and staying organized include:

      a. Put all of your to-dos, recurring tasks, ideas, everything, in a planner or in a Word document on your computer somewhere. Everything you will need to do in the foreseeable future should be listed, so you don’t need to carry it all around in your head.

      Clarify these “to-dos” or goals. Don’t just write down “outline the screenplay,” break it down into concrete actionable steps.

      c. Organize those concrete steps by category and priority. You don’t actually begin the tasks yet. Place them into priority categories, High Priority (do ASAP), Medium Priority, (sometime soon), and Low Priority (may not even get to this).

      d. Reflect on your “to-do” list. Periodically review your to-do lists to re-evaluate your priorities. If tasks are too complex, break them down.

      e. Engage and get to work. Choose your next action and start. The to-dos should be organized by now and broken into do-able tasks. It should be relatively easy to begin.
    Getting Things Done (GTD) and the Pomodoro method are both all over the internet. Brilliant Silicon Valley teenagers have created Apps for both. Download the apps only if they help. Experiment. See what works best for you.

    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.

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

    LA-CAMFT Online On-Demand CEU Courses from Charter for Compassionate Education

    LA-CAMFT is excited to announce new additions to our online on-demand CEU offerings from Charter for Compassionate Education. Starting in April, you can find links to these great online CEU courses on the LACAMFT.org Home Page under the Information tab:

    Emotional Intelligence for a Compassionate World (On Demand) (Barbara Kerr) (20 CEUs)

    Maybe you’ve thought about how empowering it could be to join with others who are willing to take action for a more compassionate world.

    And maybe you’ve recognized that building Emotional Intelligence skills could be helpful to you in your work with clients, your personal relationships, as well as in building a more compassionate community where you live.

    Emotional Intelligence skills and competencies can become the fertile ground for a more compassionate world. The skills that contribute to Emotional Intelligence can lead to the development of empathy and compassionin individuals, in families, in the workplace, in communities, and among the interconnected societies of people throughout the world.

    During this course, you will discover your own Emotional Intelligence strengths, learn ways to add to your Emotional Intelligence competencies, and consider practical ways to apply your skills to build a more compassionate world.

    Compassionate Integrity Training (CIT) (10 Week Live Course) (30 CEUs)

    Have you ever wondered how you could cultivate the compassion called for in the world or help others cultivate that compassion? Compassionate Integrity Training (CIT) is a great place to start!

    CIT is a resiliency-informed program that cultivates human values as skills, so we can thrive as individuals, and a society, within a healthy environment. By learning skills to calm our bodies and mind, becoming more emotionally aware, learning to practice compassion for ourselves and others, as well as engaging with compassion in complex systems, we can build towards compassionate integrity: the ability to live one’s life in accordance with one’s values with a recognition of common humanity, our basic orientation to kindness and reciprocity.

  • 07/31/2022 7:00 AM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    LA-CAMFT’s Declaration
    of Inclusion, Diversity, and Anti-Racism

    Psychotherapy can be transformative in a democratic society, and can open intellectual inquiry that, at its best, influences and results in lasting positive change. In recognition of our shared humanity and concern for our community and world, LA-CAMFT loudly and overtly disavows all racism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, classism, ableism, ageism, and hate speech or actions that attempt to silence, threaten, and degrade others. We in LA-CAMFT leadership hereby affirm our solidarity with those individuals and groups most at risk and further declare that embracing diversity and fostering inclusivity are central to the mission of our organization.

    As mental health professionals, we value critical reasoning, evidence-based arguments, self-reflection, and the imagination. We hope to inspire empathy, advocate for social and environmental justice, and provide an ethical framework for our clients, our community, and ourselves.

    We in LA-CAMFT leadership are committed to:

    (1) the recognition, respect, and affirmation of differences among peoples

    (2) challenging oppression and structural and procedural inequities that exist in society, generally, and in local therapeutic, agency, and academic settings

    (3) offering diverse programming content and presenters throughout our networking event calendar, as well as in our workshops, trainings, and special events

    While we traverse the turbulent seas of the important and necessary changes taking place in our country, in order to form a “more perfect union.” we wish to convey our belief that within our community exists an immense capacity for hope. We believe in and have seen how psychotherapy, therapeutic relationships, and mental health professions can be agents of positive change, without ignoring or denying that the practice and business of psychiatry, psychology, and psychotherapy have historically been the cause of great harm, trauma, and emotional toll, particularly for people of color and other marginalized groups. We are committed to doing our part to help remedy that which we have the position, privilege, and/or resources to do so.

    At LA-CAMFT events, all members are welcome regardless of race/ethnicity, gender identities, gender expressions, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, disabilities, religion, regional background, Veteran status, citizenship, status, nationality and other diverse identities that we each bring to our professions. We expect that leadership and members will promote an atmosphere of respect for all members of our community.

    In a diverse community, the goal of inclusiveness encourages and appreciates expressions of different ideas, opinions, and beliefs, so that potentially divisive conversations and interactions become opportunities for intellectual and personal growth. LA-CAMFT leadership wants to embrace this opportunity to create and maintain inclusive and safe spaces for all of our members, free of bias, discrimination, and harassment, where people will be treated with respect and dignity and where all individuals are provided equitable opportunity to participate, contribute, and succeed.

    We value your voice in this process. If you feel that our leadership or programming falls short of this commitment, we encourage you to get involved, and to begin a dialogue with those in leadership. It is undeniable that the success of LA-CAMFT relies on the participation, support, and understanding of all its members.

    Wishing good health to you and yours, may you find yourself centered in feelings of abundance, safety, belonging, and peace.

    Standing together,
    The LA-CAMFT Board of Directors and Diversity Committee

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

    Attention LA-CAMFT Members!
    2022 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 on Zoom.

    August 12
    September 9
    October 14
    November 11
    December 9

    Online Via Zoom

  • 07/31/2022 5:00 AM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Voices Publication Guidelines for 2022

    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 2022 calendar year to Voices, LA-CAMFT's monthly newsletter:

    Upcoming Voices Newsletters  Submission Deadlines
    October September 1
    November October 1
    December November 1



    LA-CAMFT Publishing Guidelines for Voices

    • All submissions are DUE by the 1ST of each month.
      • Around the 15th of each month, you will receive the editor’s call for articles for the next edition of VOICES.
      • This editor’s call will allow contributors to have up to 2 weeks to put together all the material for submission by the 1st of the month.
      • Around the 25th of each month, you will receive the editor’s second and last call for articles, reminding contributors to submit completed articles by the first should they wish to be included in VOICES.
      • In this last call for submissions, the editor will include a list of the content planned for the next edition of VOICESThis editorial list will note submissions received as well as submissions expected but not yet received and which must be received by the 1st in order to be included.
      • Any submissions received after the 1st, will be included in the following month's edition of VOICES.
    • ARTICLES are 500–1000 word submissions by LA-CAMFT members, sponsors, speakers, or recognized experts in their field. Only universal file formats, like Word (.doc and docx.) will be accepted as submissions. If an article is submitted in a “.pages” format, it will be returned to the submitter.
    • HYPERLINKS in articles must be individually typed into the body of the article by the writer and must be included at time of submission. It is the responsibility of each writer to “type in” the hyperlink(s) in their own work when the article is submitted. Putting “LIVE LINK” in the body of an article won't work. When multiple links are being included, this must be made clear by the writer as to where each link is to be featured.
    • IMAGES: All personal headshots or images must be attached to an email as either a JPEG, PNG or TIF. Images pasted into an email are not acceptable since the quality of such photos is diminished. Any images received in the body of the email may result in delayed publication of the submission.
    • AUTHOR TAGLINES: Author taglines are a short paragraph of 50 to 75 words after the end of the article in which the author is identified. It includes the author's full name, pertinent professional credentials, a short business description, and website address with a HYPERLINK. Email addresses and phone numbers are not included — the only exceptions are lacamft.org emails. All taglines are limited to 75 words, MAXIMUM. This word count includes the author's name and website.
    • IMAGES OTHER THAN PERSONAL HEADSHOTS. There is an issue about images. When you submit an image other than a personal headshot, you must provide proof of how you obtained that photo. Following is a link that covers the importance of copyright issues, but especially so when it comes to anything “Internet.” (Sued for Copyright Infringement)
      • Helpful tips, strategies, analysis, and other specific useful clinical, educational, business or professional marketing or networking information.
      • A review of literature or arts (reviewer not related to or in business with the creator of the item being reviewed).
      • Reference to commercial products or services being sold or distributed by author;
      • Information that is only useful if the author’s book or other materials are purchased
      • Suggestions that the reader attend the author’s workshop, conference or podcast for more information;
      • Any other material that could be construed as an advertisement, rather than an article;
      • Language that could be construed as defamatory, discriminatory, or offensive
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