Los Angeles Chapter — California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
Voices — February 2022
Leanne Nettles, LMFT
We are Our Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams
As I sit here writing this, we are just before the new year, and I’m pondering all that has been in the past, present, and future of LA-CAMFT. By the time you read this, it will be February, Black History Month. And one thing sits deeply within me: I am the first President of African descent in LA-CAMFT history.
As many of you know from my workshops over the past 2 years on therapy with Mixed-race clients, my heritage is Black & White Mixed-race. While I am acutely aware of my White-Mixedness, and the privilege that entails, I navigate the day-to-day world as unambiguously brown. Hearing people call me the first Black president of LA-CAMFT fills me with honor and pride. And it truly harkens to Sydney Labat & Russell Ledet’s historic quote: “We are our ancestors’ wildest dreams.”
I imagine my father’s mother whom I never met, and her foremothers back through their time of Jim Crow, back through enslavement in America, and whether they’d even be able to dream of having a granddaughter who was free, nonetheless has independent rights, a professional career, and even leads a chapter of a professional mental health organization. Could they even fathom the possibility?
Representation is important. I remember supervising an Associate MFT as he had his final discharge session with a teenage client who identified as Latino. My supervisee was a bit flustered that during his discharge session, he asked the client to share about the thing which stood out to him most during their time together in therapy.
My supervisee expected to hear the client share about some amazing intervention or some grand moment of insight. Instead, the client stated that the thing which stood out to him most is that his therapist was Latino. How impactful it was for this teen to see himself culturally and ethnically in his therapist! So, too, is representation important in leadership. One thing which is very important to me in LA-CAMFT is that we are representing and serving all of our Los Angeles Therapists well.
The American Psychological Association (APA) recently released a formal statement apologizing to people of color for the APA’s complicity in “promoting, perpetuating, and failing to challenge racism, and the harms that have been inflicted on communities of color as a result” in the field of psychology.
CAMFT has similarly released public statements disavowing racial injustice in the field, and posted resources including the “Black Minds Matter” trainings and resources for connecting with Black and brown therapists.
While LA-CAMFT has always been committed to helping professional development, networking, and support for Los Angeles area therapists, leadership has become keenly aware from feedback in the community that we have historically been lacking in support and representation for Therapists of Color (TOC), especially Black Therapists in Los Angeles. Thus, LA-CAMFT has been more intentionally pressing into taking inventory and increasing cultural diversity, equity, and active antiracism in the field.
Feedback from our first two Anti-Racism Roundtable events in August 2020 and April 2021, helped us create an action plan to address 5 core areas to address this historic inequity in the field: (1) Education and Training, (2) Support Groups, (3) Mentorship, (4) Outreach and Accessibility into the field, and (5) Policy Change.
From those 5 core areas, over the past year LA-CAMFT has expanded our Diversity Committee, participated in 2 state-wide CAMFT DEI consultations with Mariama Boney, LMSW, increased ethnic and cultural diversity on the Board of Directors from 20% POC in 2020 to 60% POC in 2022, revamped the membership application to be more inclusive, promoted increased inclusive topics, language, and diversity of presenters in networking events, increased avenues of receiving feedback through community surveys, continued the free monthly TOC Support Group, developed a free monthly Black Therapist Support Group, developed a free White Therapists Anti-racist Group, developed a TOC Grant Award. We’ve also been working hard on developing our TOC Mentorship program, the first of its kind amongst CAMFT chapters, which rolled out January 1, 2022, currently and is looking for interested mentors and mentees.
And be sure to check out our upcoming CEU event February 18, 2022, Black Families and Body Image: The Need for a Holistic Understanding When Treating Individuals with Charlece Bishop, LMFT.
As mentioned in my January 2022 President’s Message, I am passionate about this being lasting change and not performative action, so I welcome all constructive feedback that can help us in serving our community better. And if you would like to get involved in any of these initiatives or others toward which you are passionate, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or our Diversity Committee at email@example.com.
It takes a community to care to make this all happen!
I am honored to be the first Black President of LA-CAMFT, and hopeful for the increasing diversity in leadership. I pray I make my ancestors proud.
I hope I represent you all well, especially my fellow Black therapists. And I commit to continuing to pave a way for the future leaders rich with cultural diversity in this critical field!
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.
Charlece Bishop, MS, LMFT
Extensive studies focus on body image and the consequences for mental health. Unfortunately, a scarcity of research examined body image within the context of Black families’ experiences. Issues surrounding body images among Black people must be understood within the broader historical and familial experiences in which they exist. Too often, therapists focus on treating Black people who struggle with body image without understanding the unique experiences of Black families. This presentation centers on the history of and role of the Black family as an integral part in understanding how one might begin to approach treating body image issues among Black clients.
Event Details: Friday, February 18, 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.
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.
As you can see from the lists above, the information on your email signature can take many different forms.
Depending on your target audience and preferred clients, you can also list new services, special offerings, free consultations, event information, specific blog content, awards, professional association positions, etc. Anything that delivers value to colleagues, prospective clients and referral sources, other professionals, community members, and yes, even friends, neighbors, and relatives, can be embodied in an email signature.
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, 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.
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.
Sunday, March 20, 2022
9:00 am-3:30 pm
Meets BBS requirements for mandatory 6 CEUs/Ethical Education
Defining and Redefining the Standard of Carefor Mental Health Practitioners:Clinical, Ethical and Legal Considerations
Dr. Ofer Zur, Ph.D.
This interactive training reviews standard of care practices that mental health practitioners need to know while also using a critical approach to examining myths and redefining best practices for standards of care. Discussions will include clinical examples exploring the intricacies involved in potential ethical conflicts and ways to resolve them. Participants will examine the complexities of boundary issues in psychotherapy such as dual relationships, touch, self-disclosure, and interventions outside the office. Concerns and considerations arising through the use of social media and Tele-mental Health, and as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic will be addressed. Participants will also learn ways to protect themselves from losing their license.
Event Details: Sunday, March 20, 2022, 9:00 am-3:30 pm (PT)
Where: Online Via Zoom
After you register you will be emailed a Zoom link the Saturday before the presentation.
Zen And the Stages of Screenwriting Growth: Intermediate Level, Stage 2
After novice writers have written a few scripts, they start to get a feel for how screenplays can be improved. They become less defensive about receiving criticism, and may even welcome it–as long as it’s constructive.
Good experiences internalizing feedback create a mindset where writers are open to more improvements and get a feel for when the scene “clicks,” or the dialogue is “crisp” and “sharp.” They develop a better awareness of clichés and learn to avoid them.
Comedy writers tend to move past certain beginner’s mistakes. A common mistake is writing jokes that have a “setup-punch line” rhythm. You can almost hear the rimshot at the end of the sentence. Other mistakes—writing dialogue that sounds too “written," meaning “too precious, or too “on the nose.”
When writers incorporate new ideas, and understand how and why they need to do so, their scripts get better. The best writers at the middle phase are willing to learn, and in fact, actively try to learn. They may take more classes, find mentors or get veteran writers to give them feedback.
At this stage writers are realizing that screenwriting is really hard work, and some decide it’s not for them. Others are up to the challenge. These writers tend to work harder, writing screenplays that build properly, have good character arcs, and construct decent scenes, acts, and dialogue.
These "intermediate-level" writers have discovered they need to be sponges. They need to read more produced scripts and more books on the subject. They take their careers more seriously; they are doing everything well, just not exceptionally. Unfortunately screenplays need to be exceptional to get picked up by the studios.
After writers have written a few screenplays they generally develop more of a “story sense.” They don’t just settle for the first idea for a scene or a line of dialogue that comes to mind. They spend more time considering options. As a result, they develop fresher and more surprising twists and endings.
Another thing that stalls some writers at these middle stages of development, is craving the sale more than getting the script into its best shape. Some writers even think, okay, it’s not a great script but the idea is so good, someone will buy it.
That idea is not entirely false. "Execution is everything” is a smart way to think about screenwriting. A good idea poorly executed will be hard for a producer or story analyst to read. It won't be a page-turner. Readers will get bored and not finish.
However, if your execution is "good enough" readers will finish your script, and if it's a great idea with "good enough" writing, you might get lucky.
I hate to tell you this, because you can't count on it. Also, if a studio or producer does buy your script because it has a great idea, but sub-standard writing, you'll have $50,000 in your pocket, but you won't have a career.
When you’re rewritten by the “go-to” screenwriter you may or may not even get a writing credit. Usually, though, if you’re the first writer on a project, you’ll get a “story by” credit at least—unless the story changes appreciably.
Intermediate-level writers have generally found a genre they're good at and have a voice. They become familiar with the bibles of screenwriting—Syd Field's or Blake Snyder's books about what’s supposed to happens on page ten, page 25, page 60 and so on. Sometimes a sign at this level is that they conform almost too strictly to these "rules," and the writing feels somewhat forced into the formula.
The good news is this is where some writers get their first jobs, or first screenplay sales, if they are very lucky. My advice, however, is to take the job and sell the script—but keep improving. Never stop. You want to become a bankable writer, a go-to writer, a writer people are happy to have with them on a TV staff.
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.
LA-CAMFT 2022 Grant Awards for Pre-Licensed Members Who Are Therapists of Color
The LA-CAMFT Grant Committee is pleased to announce that LA-CAMFT will be offering two grant awards for LA-CAMFT Pre-Licensed Member Associates, Trainees, and Students who are Therapists of Color.
If you are not an LA-CAMFT member, in order to apply for the award, you must first join LA-CAMFT.
Registration for the LA-CAMFT 2022 Grant Award for Pre-Licensed Members who are Therapist of Color opens on December 22, 2021, and closes on February 26, 2022.
Please read the information below regarding the description of the grant award, criteria for applying, application process, and selection process.
Description of the LA-CAMFT Grant AwardEvery 4 months (3x per year), a grant award will be offered to two applicants who meet the following three criteria:
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, living expenses, etc.).
Confirmation for what the Grant Award money is used for will not be required.
Application and Selection ProcessInterested Pre-Licensed LA-CAMFT members who are Therapists of Color can complete the 2022 Grant Award 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, who will also be contacted via email directly.
Registration for the 2022 LA-CAMFT Grant Awards for Pre-Licensed Members who are Therapists of Color opens on December 22, 2021, and closes on February 26, 2022.
Innies and Outies
I used to feel bad about being an introvert. It’s just really supremely nerdy to prefer to stay home and read. I was born that way, though, what can I say? Even when I was little, I remember my mother yelling at me, “Cathy, stop reading and go outside and play.” In a minute, Mom, in a minute. After I finish this paragraph, this chapter, this 800-page book.
America is an extravagantly extroverted culture. People are judged on their social skills, their level of apparent happiness and “positivity,” and their lack of thinking deeply. Other cultures, such as Asian ones, do not particularly value extroversion, and introverted people don’t feel as ostracized as we do here.
Someone once defined the difference this way: extroverts reach out to other people for stress relief while introverts prefer to be alone. This is only partially true, as everyone gets a mood boost from the company of others; rather, it is the number of people to whom one turns. Extroverts love hanging out in groups; introverts prefer meeting one-on-one with close friends.
While extroverts are partying down, introverts prefer less stimulus and more time for listening and reflection. Without introverts, we wouldn’t have artists, writers, musicians, scientists, or computer geeks. The extrovert’s primary life value is happiness; for introverts, it is meaning. Introverts can even find happiness a distraction from sorting out what has meaning and from being engaged in meaningful activities. Extroverts, of course, find this insane.
Very few people are completely one or the other. Introversion/extroversion exists on a spectrum, with most in the middle. With age, people broaden to incorporate more of the opposite characteristics, becoming less extreme and more moderate. Mature introverts may even enjoy parties and meet- ing new people, as long as it is balanced with enough time alone. I read once that the least amount of time one can spend at a party without seeming rude is one and a half hours, so I’ve encouraged my introverted clients to plan to attend social functions for that amount of time only, before escaping home. We all find this a huge relief.
Innies and outies often find each other wrong while it is really a matter of difference. Introverts can feel defective living in the US, and find solace realizing it is purely a cultural prejudice. And for me? Finally, I prefer to go outside and play rather than read a book. As long as that book is waiting when I come back home.
© 2021 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.
Previously published in Voices September, 2021
Black Therapist Support Group
First Saturday of Every Month
Saturday, February 5, 2022
12:00 pm-1:30 pm (PT)
Online Via Zoom
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
First Saturday of Each Month
Location: Zoom Meeting
For more information contact Akiah Robinson Selwa, LMFT at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Licensed Therapists, Associates, and Students
Event Details: Saturday, February 5, 2022, 12:00 pm-1:30 pm (PT)
Time of Check-In: 11:50 am
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.
Online Registration CLOSES on the date of the event.
(Registration is open and available until the group ends.)
Questions about Registration? Contact Diversity Committee, email@example.com.
Andrew Susskind,LCSW, SEP, CGP
Sex Addiction vs. Compulsive Sex:
The Controversy Continues
A few years ago the World Health Organization recognized and included Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder (CSBD) in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10). This is the first time in the history of this organization that CSBD has been validated by a global gathering of clinicians. For many years Certified Sex Addiction Therapists (CSATs) have lobbied to include sex addiction as a formal diagnosis, but to no avail. The often-misunderstood term was coined by Patrick Carnes in the 1980s, but it’s always been a controversial and misinterpreted label accepted by some clinicians and rejected by others.
Here is a brief scenario which opened my eyes to the need for further clinical exploration and public education. My client who I will call Deborah is now in her late fifties, and she told me about her sexual abuse from a male high school teacher. After that event, Deborah became dangerously promiscuous as a teenager and throughout her twenties. She felt profoundly isolated both with the abuse and the shameful compulsive behavior. At the time there were scarce resources and she didn’t know where to seek help. Deborah explained to me that a book with sex addiction in the title would not fully capture the complexity of her pain and trauma, but if compulsive sex was part of the title, she would have picked up the book.
Getting the most effective support is the highest priority regardless of how these behaviors may be described, but Deborah’s fresh perspective opened my eyes. In addition to those who have found recovery in the twelve-step rooms, there are many others who have experienced out-of-control sexual behaviors who never made it to a twelve-step meeting or therapy.
As someone who feels eternally grateful for my twelve-step communities, I’ve always leaned toward the term sexually compulsive rather than sex addict for several reasons. The model for sexual addiction was borrowed from Alcoholics Anonymous, and the Big Book labels alcoholism as a disease through the lens of the medical model.
Inadvertently, the term sex addiction pathologizes the behavior rather than opening up a dialogue of curiosity and exploration. Because shame resiliency is such a core part of healing from compulsive sexual behavior, I try to steer away from anything that may identify the problem as a disease or get in the way of building one’s sexual health.
Professionally, I have always walked a fine line between sex addiction therapists and sex therapists and hold both specialty areas respectfully. What I do bring to the conversation is thirty years of personal and professional experience as I now look at the healing process through the lens of attachment repair, trauma healing and sexual health. There is an ongoing necessity to help clients stop self-destructive behaviors, but unfortunately, there is still a territorial and sometimes competitive nature associated with the existing treatment models. The ICD classification introduces a breath of fresh air as well as a profound change in the language that describes the brokenheartedness of those like Deborah who may never identify as sex addicts or step into a twelve-step room.
Reprint June, 2021, Westside Post.
Andrew Susskind, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Somatic Experiencing and Brainspotting Practitioner and Certified Group Psychotherapist, based in West Los Angeles since 1992, specializing in trauma and addictions. His recent book, It’s Not About the Sex: Moving from Isolation to Intimacy after Sexual Addiction joins his workbook, From Now On: Seven Keys to Purposeful Recovery. For more information visit his websites westsidetherapist.com and brainspottinglosangeles.org.
LA-CAMFT Diversity Committee
Therapists of Color Support Group
Second Sunday of Every Month
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: Sunday, February 13, 2022, 11:00 am-1:00 pm (PT)
Time of Check-In: 10:50 am
Online Registration CLOSES on the day of the event.
Questions about Registration? Contact Diversity Committee, firstname.lastname@example.org.
In diversity there is beauty
and there is strength.
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