Los Angeles Chapter  California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

Voices — February 2024

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  • 01/31/2024 4:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    LA-CAMFT Diversity Committee

    Therapists of Color Support Group

    Sunday, February 11, 2024

    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.

    Licensed Therapists, Associates, and Students

    Event Details: 
    Sunday, February 11, 2024, 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

  • 01/31/2024 2:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Joanna Poppink,

    Eight Tips to Make the Most of Your Journey

    You can’t make a mistake when you are in psychotherapy. You bring yourself to the sessions. You can’t possibly be wrong about you. Whatever you feel or think is part of who you are.

    What you remember or forget and your enthusiasm or reluctance are expressions of who you are in the moment. They indicate the forces working within your psyche. You may not understand the reasons behind your experience, but reasons exist.

    Psychotherapy offers a safe and supportive space for individuals to explore their thoughts, emotions, and experiences. Whether you are seeking therapy to address specific concerns or simply aiming for personal growth and self-discovery, this transformative process requires your participation.

    Please remember, your healing journey is your own. The only requirement, once you have established that you qualify for your therapist’s practice, is to show up. The rest will unfold in time.

    However, if you want some basic guidelines to help you maximize the benefits of psychotherapy read on.

    1. Be Timely for Appointments
    To make the most of your psychotherapy sessions, it's crucial to be punctual and arrive on time. Being punctual demonstrates respect for yourself, your therapist, and the therapeutic process.

    Arriving ahead of time allows you to transition calmly into the session, giving you the opportunity to clear your mind and focus on your goals for the day. It is also an ongoing practice of setting and honoring boundaries.

    2. Pay Bills on Time
    While discussing finances may initially seem unrelated to therapy itself, fulfilling your financial commitments in a timely manner is also part of recognizing and honoring boundaries. This also contributes to developing your reliability, honesty, sense of responsibility, commitment and independence.

    3. Respect the Process
    Psychotherapy is a unique and personal journey that requires time and patience. Recognize that change takes time and that progress may not always be linear. Trust the process, even on the days when it feels challenging.

    By embracing both the highs and lows, you allow yourself the space to grow and develop at your own pace. Often a client who came in with an eating disorder expresses surprise because the eating disorder is no longer an issue yet we talked very little about it.

    The therapeutic process can seem irrelevant and mysterious as we look for meaning and increased strength in your life. Yet, while making progress in this realm, the eating disorder fades. It’s no longer needed to protect the person in life.

    4. Bring Your Pain, Sorrow, Anger, Fear, Joy, Humiliation, and More
    One of the most significant advantages of psychotherapy is the opportunity to express and explore a wide range of emotions freely. Don't shy away from sharing your deepest and most authentic feelings.

    Your therapist is there to provide a non-judgmental space, allowing you to process and understand these emotions in a healthier and more constructive way. If you feel embarrassed or ashamed of what you are experiencing, you learn to take a necessary risk with courage to reveal what’s going on. And that is an important therapeutic process.

    5. Be Honest
    Honesty plays a pivotal role in the therapeutic process. Openly share your thoughts, experiences, and reactions with your therapist. Authenticity fosters trust and helps them understand your unique perspective.

    Remember, your therapist is there to support you, and their guidance is often more effective when they have a clear understanding of your truth. Sometimes you can’t tell the truth because you don’t know it.

    You may tell untruths because you believe them. That’s part of the process. Eventually, your work with your therapist will untangle false beliefs about yourself and others, especially about yourself.

    6. Bring Your Dreams and Aspirations
    Your dreams and aspirations are as important as your struggles. Share your goals, ambitions, and dreams with your therapist. They can help you identify the steps needed to achieve them and work towards a more fulfilling life.

    By integrating your dreams into therapy, you'll find yourself discovering what your own unconscious is trying to tell you. Dreams try to provoke your conscious mind into seeing or working on something, or knowing something you are wary about knowing.

    7. Bring Your Bewilderment
    Sometimes, we may feel puzzled or confused about our own emotions or behaviors. Don't hesitate to bring your bewilderment into psychotherapy. Your therapist can help you navigate through complex emotions and provide insights that may help you understand yourself better.

    Together, you'll untangle those inner knots and make meaning out of confusion. Often, simply sitting together and sharing your experience without judgment will bring unexpected clarity to your situation.

    8. Practice Self-Care Between Sessions
    Therapy is not solely confined to the therapist's office. To enhance the effectiveness of your sessions, make sure to prioritize self-care outside of therapy. Engage in activities that promote relaxation, self-reflection, and personal growth.

    Whether it's journaling, meditation, exercising, or spending time with creative people who practice self-care, take care of yourself in a way that aligns with your needs. Embarking on a journey of psychotherapy is an empowering step toward self-discovery, personal growth, and healing.

    By following these eight tips, you can use your own energies to make your therapy more effective. Remember to be timely, respectful, honest, and open to exploring a wide range of emotions.

    Stay committed to the process and accept your challenges and triumphs along the way. Through this transformative experience, you'll heal, and gain new awareness and internal strength to cope well with your losses and gains in life. You will embrace new opportunities with wisdom and more courage than you believed you had.

    Joanna Poppink, LMFT, psychotherapist, speaker, and author of Healing Your Hungry Heart: Recovering from Your Eating Disorder, is in private practice and specializes in Eating Disorder Recovery for adult women and with an emphasis on building a fulfilling life beyond recovery. She is licensed in California, Florida, Oregon, and Utah. All appointments are virtual. Website: EatingDisorderRecovery.net

  • 01/31/2024 1:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    LA-CAMFT Diversity Committee

    Black Therapist Support Group

    First Saturday of this Month

    Next Meeting:
    Saturday, February 3, 2024
    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

    First Saturday of Each Month

    Location: Zoom Meeting

    For more information contact Stara Shakti, LMFT at DiversityCommittee@lacamft.org.

    Event Details: 

    Licensed Therapists, Associates, and Students

    Event Details: 
    Saturday, February 3, 2024
    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

  • 01/31/2024 12:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Steven Unruh,
    MDiv, LMFT

    Have You Been Traumatized?


    My father lived to a wonderful old age, to his mid-90s. Years ago, he shared with me a story that I had never heard before. He held onto this pain and this memory his entire life. He had held onto this secret for 80 YEARS. 

    For many of us, we can clearly think back to a time or two in which we believe we were involved in a situation that was very traumatic. But for many people, they do not recognize certain events in their lives as being traumatic. They have either repressed these memories or they have tried to normalize them in a way that allows them to keep ignoring what occurred. 

    For example, years ago a gentleman told me how he was physically abused by his father growing up. This was evidently a form of discipline. But clearly by any standards it was extremely abusive and involved violence. This individual didn’t see it as such. He did not consider it abusive. 

    Unfortunately for him, the denial that he had used to ignore the abuse, created significant rage inside of him. His rage has been taken out on his employees, on his children when they were younger, on friendships and his spouse. The result has been a history of ruined relationships. 

    How Does Someone Ignore Their Trauma? 

    1. Through Addictions 
    The most common way that individuals hide the trauma from the past is through ADDICTIONS. We find alcohol, marijuana, gambling, spending, or sex as a means of coping. By immersing ourselves in an addiction, the addiction itself becomes the focus of our lives. 

    Even if someone is married—raising children—and has a full-time job, they can still be completely wrapped up in an addiction that controls their lives. They often don’t understand the root of this addiction. 

    They do not realize that their addiction is suffocating the trauma. Although they will experience emotional, financial and spiritual deprivation, the addiction maintains their denial. 

    2. We Intellectualize the Trauma 

    We read stories of other people and realize that our situation wasn’t as bad. We tell ourselves that since other people have it so bad off, we really must not have been traumatized. We also might look at our lives and think that everything is fine. We push aside the thoughts that question our emotional well-being.

    We ignore that voice inside of us that says we need to look at this pain.

    Why Do We Ignore Trauma? 

    1. Fear 

    Having been in this field for three decades, I think one of the strongest reasons people refuse to deal with her trauma is because of fear.

    We could be terrified of dealing with the past. It could seem far too overwhelming to face it. We want our lives to be predictable. It seems far too unpredictable and scary for many people to investigate their past. 

    We might be afraid that we could become completely overwhelmed and physically incapacitated. We are uncertain as to what we will uncover, and we are uncertain as to how deep this pain goes. This fear of the unknown prevents us from moving ahead in life and dealing with past trauma. 

    2. Shame 


    Sadly, it wasn’t until near the end of his life that he shared with me his story. I believe that his religious upbringing caused him enormous shame around this story. Not that his faith was wrong, but it was how his community instructed him about his faith that brought about this shame. His community was extremely conservative, with very strict moral standards. Shame was often used as a means of keeping adults as well as teenagers in control. It was this misplaced and false shame that caused him to keep this memory a secret. 

    What You Can Do 

    If you are thinking that you may have been traumatized, you need to seek professional help. It needs to be a psychologist or psychotherapist who specializes in trauma. They need to have specific training in dealing with trauma. They will be far more effective than your average counselor.

    The same is true if you’re struggling with an addiction. Not only will you need professional help, but you also need a support system and a sponsor to help you overcome your addiction. It will cost you time, money, and energy. But the money that is spent on an addiction greatly exceeds any money that you would spend on getting help and pursuing recovery.

    You can FACE your trauma with COURAGE and Grace. You can overcome your addiction. You can get the help you need to live a life where you are no longer imprisoned by your trauma.

    Steven Unruh, MA, MDiv, is a Divorce Mediator and LMFT. He and his team at Unruh Mediation complete the entire divorce process, including all assets, pensions, properties, alimony and child supportalong with all required documentation. Unruh Mediation files in 13 different courthouses throughout Southern California. Website: stevenunruh.com.

  • 01/31/2024 11:00 AM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Keonna Robinson,

    LA-CAMFT Therapists of Color Mentorship ProgramCall for Therapist of Color (TOC) Mentors

    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. 

    Interest Form Due Dates and Mentorship Start Dates: 

    • 6-month Mentorship duration is from June 1st — November 30, 2023. 

    Interest forms submitted before or after the listed dates above will not be considered during the matching process. 

    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

    With Gratitude and Solidarity, 

    LA-CAMFT Therapists of Color (TOC) Mentorship Program Committee
  • 01/31/2024 10:00 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

  • 01/31/2024 9:00 AM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Attention LA-CAMFT Members!
    2024 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.

    February 9
    March 8
    April 12
    May 10
    June 14
    July 12
    August 9
    September 13
    October 11
    November 8
    December 13

    Online Via Zoom

  • 01/31/2024 8:00 AM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Voices Publication Guidelines for 2024

    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 2024 calendar year to Voices, LA-CAMFT's monthly newsletter:

    Upcoming Voices Newsletters  Submission Deadlines
    April March 1
    May April 1
    June May 1
    July June 1
    August July 1
    September August 1
    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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