Los Angeles Chapter  California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists


Voices — January 2020

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  • 12/31/2019 2:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Matthew Evans

    Matthew Evans
    President, LA-CAMFT

    Dear Friends,

    It is truly an honor to take over the reins of LA-CAMFT. For those of you who I have not had the pleasure of meeting yet, my name is Matthew Evans and I am the 2020 President of LA-CAMFT. I have enjoyed my involvement in this organization and have held the following positions: President-Elect, Pre-licensed Board Representative, 3000 Club Chair, and Social Media Chair. My main goals over the next year are to expand LA-CAMFT outreach and events throughout our chapter’s district and to advocate for mental health issues and underserved populations (professionals and clients alike). Collaboration and inclusion are very important to me and I hope to embody these qualities as president of LA-CAMFT. I look forward to meeting each and every one of you and listening to your ideas. 

    I would like to personally thank Clearview Treatment Center for hosting our 2019 Holiday Party at their Venice location. We celebrated the holiday season as we sang Christmas carols, announced the 2020 LA-CAMFT Board of Directors, and honored those attendees who have become licensed within the past year. Becoming licensed is a strenuous process not for the faint of heart. So take a moment during this busy time of year to reflect on your journey and all you have accomplished. Congratulations! 

    As I take on the role of President, Christina Castorena will be stepping into the Past President position and Jenni Wilson into the President-Elect position. Thank you, Christina for everything you have done as the leader of LA-CAMFT over the past year. You have embodied the theme of celebration and have brought a steadfast and unwavering presence to our organization.

    I hope you have all had a great start to the new year and am looking forward to all we can accomplish together over the next 12 months. 

    Matthew Evans, LMFT

    Matthew Evans, LMFT, utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy in his work as a Primary Therapist in Resilience Treatment Center’s residential program for adults. As a licensed therapist, Matthew provides individual and group therapy to adolescents and adults with anxiety-related disorders, including OCD, panic disorder, social anxiety, GAD, and school/test anxiety. 

    Matthew may be contacted at president@lacamft.org.
  • 12/31/2019 1:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    LA-CAMFT

    Networking Event & Presentation

    Friday, January 24, 2020

    Sponsored by

    Robert Strock, LMFT

    Los Angeles Psychotherapist and Author of

    Awareness that Heals: 
    Bringing Heart and Wisdom to Life’s Challenges


    Brunch, Networking, 60-Minute Featured Presentation,
    Literature Table, Round Table Discussion, 
    Business Card Drawing, Participant Announcements
    1.5 CEUs

    We invite you to join us and attend our FRIDAY, January 24 Networking Event at the Olympic Collection. Become a part of our warm, welcoming and supportive community as we gather together for brunch, networking, and to learn about “Cultivating Humility: Dismantling Implicit Bias and Building Allies in Therapy, with Dr. Sayida Peprah and Susan Lowe, LMFT.

    Our meetings feature great opportunities for personal and group networking as well as individual participant announcements, our community literature table, your own participant contact list, and a delicious breakfast buffet—all in an intimate informal atmosphere. 

    Attend and make new professional connections, renew old ones, share your expertise, and gain valuable professional information. Experience our monthly networking  meeting for yourself.

    I hope you will join us for this informative and interesting presentation. I would love to see you attend and urge you to register today.

    Register Here

  • 12/31/2019 12:30 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Lynne Azpeitia, LMFT
    Voices Editor

    Getting Paid: Introducing & Talking About Sliding Scale, Adjusted Pricing & Specialized Alternatives—The Words You Use Make a Difference 

    What’s your sliding scale? Do you have a sliding scale? How low is your sliding scale? What’s your discounted rate?

    These words are often the first thing a therapist encounters when a potential client calls, emails, texts, or DMs about therapy. It’s no surprise that mental health professionals find this a jarring and highly awkward beginning to an interaction about starting therapy—and that therapists, themselves, have many questions, about the best way to respond effectively, both clinically and professionally, to these potential clients during this important first contact.

    In fact, the most often asked question I encounter in Money Matters Workshops and at LA Practice Development Lunches is: “What’s the best way to respond when the first thing a caller—or a text, email or message—asks about is a discounted rate or sliding scale?”

    As I wrote about in Talking about Sliding Scale Pricing, responding to callers and clients who are asking, but don’t really need or qualify for a lower therapy rate, is a very different type of conversation than the one clinicians trained for and are familiar with—people who genuinely have, a financial need. 

    Just because clients are anxious about the price or cost of services doesn’t necessarily mean therapists should automatically give a price accommodation. The price a client can afford and the price a client wants to pay may not always be the same thing.

    It’s often hard for us as helping professionals to remember that helping a client doesn’t always have to mean giving everyone who asks a reduced rate or routinely offering the lowest possible price for therapy. It also can mean helping people find a lower priced type of treatment and referring them.

    While I wholeheartedly support the values that the term “sliding scale” represents, that professionals can help people in need by sometimes—at their discretion and when their schedules allow it—charging less or making other specialized arrangements, so that people can still get affordable help when they need it, I also firmly support mental health professionals charging and being paid a fair price for the professional services they provide to clients.

    As therapists, our task is to find the right balance of how, and how much, we can adjust session prices, for which clients, and how many—and not go out of business. In the current climate, navigating talking about prices with these clients takes more specialized skills and requires a totally different mindset, approach, and vocabulary.

    This is the fifth article in a series on Getting Paid: Talking with Clients About Money Matters:

    1. Talking with Clients About Money Matters Series: Talking with Clients About the Price & Value of Therapy  
    2. Talking Fees, Pricing, Prices—The Words You Use to Talk to Clients About Money Matters Do Make a Difference
    3. Talking Pricing, Services, Rates—The Words You Use to Talk with Clients About Your Services and Rates Makes a Difference
    4. Talking About Sliding Scale Pricing—The Words You Use Do Make a Difference 

    The Wording You Use Can Make Difference in Your Income

    As in any clinical endeavor, the words you use to describe your services do make a difference. Yes, the meaning our words convey can either increase or decrease the amount of money we earn and are paid for our professional services. You’ll find that more people will pay in full and out of their own pocket for your services, when they believe you are the professional who can give them what they want—and the wording you use to describe your services conveys that.

    Money Talk: Words & Phrases to Consider
    Here are some examples of words that can make a difference in income when a clinician talks, writes, or communicates about therapy or money matters—and how and why these words can affect the perceived value, and subsequently, the amount a person is willing to pay for the therapy services provided as a clinician.

    This information applies equally to face-to-face conversations in real time or virtually, to emails, texts, social media postings, and what’s printed in marketing materials or is on your website. Each one of these words and phrases can have a direct effect on the amount a client pays you for your clinical services.

    As you read the following information, be sure to remember:

    • Only do and say things that fit for you, your clients, and your practice—and always within legal and ethical guidelines.
    • You can ignore everything written in this article and still be successful. Discover what works for you, your clients, and the practice setting you work in.

    1. Pricing & Adjusted Pricing: Specialized Options Based on Income and Financial Need

    When therapists talk about the price or hourly rate for services and clients ask about sliding scale or a discount or even the lowest amount that can be charged, that’s a good time for the therapist to talk about the price of therapy and options for those who need a price accommodation to pay for therapy sessions.

    When therapists do make price accommodations for those in financial need, using words and phrases such as

    adjust the price/amount/rate . . . adjusted price(s)/pricing/ amount(s)/rate(s) . . . adjusted cost of services /therapy/sessions . . . alternate price(s)/amount(s)/rate(s) . . . special/specialized price(s)/rate(s)/arrangement(s)/accommodation(s)

    enable potential clients to understand that it’s okay to discuss a different price but that it’s not guaranteed to everyone upon request.

    It’s also possible for a therapist to say that instead of a sliding scale, they offer different type of specialized pricing or rates for those with lower income or who are in need, when their schedule allows. Clinicians can do this by sharing the type they offer. Some examples are:

    • College Student price/rate
    • Teacher price/rate
    • Unemployed price/rate
    • Professional Courtesy price/rate
    • Introductory price/rate
    • Retired price/rate/pricing
    • Limited time price/rate/arrangement
    • Family & Friends price/ rate
    • Cash Payment price/rate

    2. Low Cost Options as Alternatives or Additions to Sliding Scale

    If a therapist decides not to offer a sliding scale or wants additional choices to go along with a sliding scale or specialized rates, here are some of the options that mental health professionals in private practice are using to make therapy more affordable and accessible.

    1.    Pricing Based on Lower Income or Financial Need
    • Adjusted cost/price/amount/rate for session(s)/ services/ therapy
    • A set number or unlimited number of sessions or amount of time
    2.    Fixed Number of Lower Priced Client Spaces
    • A certain number of places or a percentage of the practice
    3.    Shorter Session Length for Lower Price
    • 40 or 45 minutes Instead of 50 or 60 minutes
    4.    Less Frequent Scheduling/Flexible Scheduling at Full Price
    • Three sessions per month, every other week, etc.
    5.    Specialized Session Pricing
    • A lower price is paid during slow periods of the day or week
    6.    Scholarships
    • A lower session price
    • A set number or unlimited number of sessions or amount of time
    7.    Payment Plan—for full adjusted session prices
    • Pay a set amount now and another amount when therapy ends until balance is clear
    8.    Special Arrangements Based on Special Circumstances
    9.    Pro Bono Sessions
    • For 1 or two clients
    • A set number or unlimited number of sessions or amount of time

    These are just a few of the arrangements available for affordable therapy options. It’s up to each private practitioner to decide what will work best for their own practice, and clients, when their schedule permits.

    3. Words & Phrases to Consider for Presenting Pricing & Adjusted Pricing

    These days the term “sliding scale” seems to come with a lot of baggage for clinicians, clients, and those seeking therapy. For many lay people, the word “sliding scale” means: the price can slide all the way down to zero; the rate will, of course, upon request, always be adjusted to the lowest possible price regardless of the financial need or available resources of the asker; and therapists will always give a lower price to anyone who asks because it’s their job to take care of people’s needs.

    An alternative to using “sliding scale” is to use more definite or declarative wording:

    For those with a lower income or who demonstrate a financial need—and are eligible, pricing based on lower income . . . special arrangements . . specialized price/prices/pricing . . . price accommodation(s) can be discussed/made. The adjusted price for a 50-minute session of therapy is . . . The charge for your therapy session is . . . 

    Here are three examples of what can be said when callers or clients ask about or mention a sliding scale, discount or reduction. These are meant to be tailored to what works for you, your practice, and clientele.

    Example 1

    1. There are A/1/2/3/couple/few places/spaces/openings when my schedule allows it
    2. For clients who pay/receive/qualify for/ are in need of
    3. An adjusted fee/alternate price /special rate/economy rate, etc.

       and

    4. Those are filled/there aren’t any openings/I can put you on the waiting list

    or

    Those are reserved for low income and those who have a financial hardship when possible/when available/ when my schedule allows

    5. To qualify for those, you’ll need to submit proof of your household’s income—pay stubs/ tax return/bank statements etc.

    Example 2

    1. There are A/1/2/3/couple/few places/spaces/openings/slots when possible/when available/ when my schedule allows it
    2. For clients who pay/receive/qualify for/ are in need of
    3. An adjusted fee/alternate price / special rate/economy rate
    4. You don’t seem to qualify for those.
    5. We can talk about other options to be able to manage paying the session cost—less than weekly sessions/shorter length sessions/group therapy/family loan/ credit card payment/
    6. If you’re not able to work out paying the session price/If you don’t want to pay the session price
    7.  I can refer you to a low-cost counseling center, free clinic, training center, or counseling practice specializing in low income clients.

    Example 3

    1. If you’re not able to pay this session price
    2. I don’t offer a sliding scale or adjust the price for a session
    3. I can refer you to a low-cost counseling center, a training center, free clinic, or counseling practice specializing in low income clients.

    By using this type of wording, the therapist will be conveying the message that the stated cost of services is the actual price and not just a negotiation starting point when no fee adjustment is realistically needed—but that some pricing accommodations are available to those in need of them. As a result, of making this wording change the clinician’s money conversations are usually shorter and the amount decided upon is usually higher but still what the client can afford.

    Only Do What Fits You, Your Clients, and Your Therapy Services Best
    Confidently take charge of money conversations about prices by using any of aforementioned professional and clinical language recommendations that work with your client population and clinical practice. Focus on the value, cost, worth of the therapy service to the client and their life.

    Remember to keep the language, wording, and focus of the clinical and professional money matters conversations on the client responsibility for payment for services needed, received and provided— not on what or how much the therapist gets or charges or how much the number is. Allow the client to pay a fair price for the therapy benefits they receive from you, the highly skilled and trained professional that you are.

    See for yourself how the words you use can increase the amount of money you earn in your practice while still serving the community and keeping your services affordably priced.

    The therapists I coach and train find that when they can set a session price that works for their practices and clients, they stop undercharging and reducing the price for every client but limit accommodations to a certain number of clients when their schedule allows it—and refer those who can’t or aren’t willing to pay the clinician’s set minimum amount—their practices fill (and stay full) and they earn more money while helping more clients.

    I encourage more clinicians to consider taking the risk to do this—set the session price at a rate that represents the worth of the therapy and professional services they provide; have a set minimum that no adjusted pricing goes below (you can still have a pro bono client or two at your discretion); and refrain from adjusting session prices for every client who asks—it benefits both clients and therapists as well as the profession.

    That’s enough about how to introduce and talk about sliding scale, adjusted pricing, and specialized alternatives. I hope the information presented about how the wording you use as a clinician to talk about sliding scale pricing can increase or decrease the amount of money you earn from your client work has been useful—and that you’ve found this article—and the others in the Getting Paid Series—to be supportive and encouraging of your efforts to be paid what the valuable therapy services you provide are worth in the professional marketplace.

    Lynne Azpeitia, LMFT, AAMFT Approved Supervisor, is in private practice in Santa Monica where she works with Couples and Gifted, Talented, and Creative people across the lifespan. Lynne’s been doing business and clinical coaching with mental health professionals for more than 15 years, helping develop successful careers and thriving practices. To learn more about services, training or the monthly LA Practice Development Lunch visit www.Gifted-Adults.com or www.LAPracticeDevelopment.com.

  • 12/31/2019 12:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)






    Maria Gray,
    LMFT, NMP, CGP

    January 2020 Intentions for the New Year

    Happy New Year! In January, I write down my business intentions on a large index card that I update every few months. The card includes the number of clients I’d like to see in my practice, my projected gross income and the deadline for accomplishing my goals. In addition to my clinical work I offer Brainspotting and business consultation, and I have separate lines and goals for these two lines of business.

    Next, I write down the number of weeks of vacation time I plan to take, last year I budgeted for four weeks off and this year I will take five weeks. Not all of this is travel time; I take relaxing “staycations” during Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays.

    If you’ve read this far you might be wondering why the heck I spend all this time writing things down on cards? I started doing this after I read Jack Canfield’s book The Success Principles. In the book Canfield cites research showing that people who wrote down their goals, verbalized them to others (friends, colleagues, family) and held themselves accountable to another person, achieved 76% of their goals in comparison to a control group that only thought about their goals but did not take the other actions mentioned above. The cards inspire me and help me stay focused on what’s important.

    Last month’s column covered Profit and Loss Statements. It’s important to dream big while being realistic about your business expenses and the number of hours you want to work. Take some time to compare your goals for the year with your Profit and Loss numbers from last year; you may need to fine tune some categories.

    If the idea of goal setting resonates for you, Canfield takes it a step further by suggesting people make a list of 101 goals they want to achieve in their lives. The goals should be specific and described in detail. I personally cannot come up with 101 goals, but I was able to come up with 25 that feel meaningful to me. I’ve shared this exercise with my clients, and it has led to some fruitful conversations.

    Maria Gray, LMFT, NMP, CGP, is a psychotherapist in private practice in Century City, where she specializes in trauma and addictions and leads groups. Maria offers individual business consultation and workshops for therapists who want to thrive in private practice. To learn more, go to www.mariagray.net.
  • 12/31/2019 11:30 AM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)



    LA-CAMFT Somatic SIG Workshop

    presents

    Introduction to Hakomi:
    A Mindfulness-Based Somatic Psychotherapy


    Save the Date

    Saturday, March 7, 2020
    1 - 4 pm

    3.0 CEUs

    with

    Susan San Tara, LMFT, and Ashley Ross, LMFT

    The Hakomi Method is a powerful psychotherapy that combines unique mindfulness-centered methods with somatic techniques, with a focus on present-time experiencing within an attuned relational field. In this introductory workshop, participants will be presented with a powerful way to identify and work with implicit communications, safely engage and re-negotiate clients' core-schemas and organizations, access their deeper core-affects, and guide and nourish them towards states of self-coherency, creating deeper and lasting change.

  • 12/31/2019 10:30 AM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Leila Aboohamad,
    LMFT

    Do You or Your Clients Love Too Much? The Secrets to Creating a Loving “I-Thou” Relationship: The Eighth Step

    In working with the clients in my practice who are either in unfulfilling relationships or alone, I have discovered the steps they need to take and what they need to know and to find that perfect mate for them. This is the sixth in a series of articles on The Steps to Creating a Loving “I-Thou” Relationship.

    The Eighth Step in learning how to create a loving, committed relationship is to believe that we deserve the happiness and sense of security which come from the formation of a solid, loving, supportive and ever evolving union with another human being. All too often in my over 30 years of psychotherapy practice have I worked with sad, lonely clients who want more than anything to love and be loved in a good relationship. Those clients needed to know at the very deepest soul level that they had a right to experience the joys and challenges of a healthy relationship.

    Before I go on to explain more about the Eighth Step and how to accomplish this, here are the first seven steps:

    • The First Step to creating a loving “I-Thou” relationship is to recognize that we are complete and whole unto ourselves.
    • The Second Step to finding your soul mate and a happy, fulfilling, committed relationship is to understand your Family of Origin.
    • The Third Step to creating a loving “I-Thou” relationship is to become acutely aware of how we feel.
    • The Fourth Step to finding a happy, fulfilling, committed relationship is to understand that it is a wounded inner child which has never healed that goes out into the world looking for love, acceptance and companionship.
    • The Fifth Step in learning how to create a loving, committed relationship is to understand the importance of setting boundaries.
    • The Sixth Step to creating a loving, committed relationship is to understand the importance of communication.
    • The Seventh Step in learning how to create a loving, committed relationship is to know with every fiber of our being our own unique qualities and character—who we really are in so many different areas.

    I have noticed through the years that most of my clients would enter therapy because of unhappy relationships or pain and confusion as to why they were alone when so many friends were married and seemingly happy. At least 75% were in their early 30s and coming to the realization that they were not married, engaged or even dating a possible good mate. They were all afraid that they were destined to be alone, without a partner, and without children, if they so desired. They were, and are, an equal number of men and women who wanted companionship and a family structure on this lovely pathway of Life.

    Why did they end up in my office, sad, confused and needing help in creating a healthy partnership? Because at their deepest soul level, they did not believe they were worthy of the joys of true love . . . they had not accepted their Divine right to love and be loved. Many had grown up with parents who had not shared a joyful, compatible and loving partnership.

    My clients had not experienced the serenity and positive energy of parents who truly knew how to love and be loved. So . . . how could they possibly create for themselves something which they had never experienced and did not know how to create?

    Trial and error led these lovely clients to my door, hurting, confused yet still hopeful that there must be an answer. And there are lots of good, healing answers. But . . . and this is a big “but,” our chronic deep-seated pain in our past and current relationships must be surrendered to the belief that there is a way to stop the pain and create the love we deserve. We have to reach out for help, listening to that still, small Voice within, that intuitive wisdom which is at the center of us all. We must forget the world of appearances and delve deeply into the Truth which lies within each human being. 

    And the Truth is that each person must stop looking outside oneself for love and acceptance and learn how to live peacefully with oneself. I guide clients to accept the fact that for 24 hours every day of our lives we must live with our self. No matter how dismal our love life has been, we are absolutely capable of leaving that ugliness behind if we are willing to have the courage to spend quality time alone, exploring the wonderful aspects of our self.

    Spending time in nature, hiking, biking, taking classes in subjects which interest us, decorating our home, meditating, meeting new friends and forming a community which nurtures us. And this must be done without any ulterior motives . . . just the joy of growing in new areas and building a fuller, more inspired life.

    Reach out to others as a friend and learn about them. Smile and say hello to others as you take your morning or evening walk. Stop looking for a mate. The mate will appear as you grow and develop into a person of love and character. Your light will shine and another whose light shines will come into your life. It will be so natural and comfortable that all will unfold quite simply and easily, because we have taken the time to reach out to life and participate in so many new and exciting ways.

    It has been so much fun watching my clients step out into the world with a whole new attitude. It is like watching a baby take their first steps. I have been there to guide and encourage, but they have been willing to step out into the world with a positive, centered attitude that knows deep down that this is a new, more fulfilling path. I have celebrated at so many weddings as I watched my clients fulfill their dreams of love. It is absolutely possible to transform the negative into positive experiences. I have done it and so can you!!

    Leila Aboohamad, LMFT, is a psychotherapist practicing in Brentwood, Santa Monica and West Los Angeles, California. She specializes in helping individuals and couples create successful, committed loving relationships. She has studied and practiced spirituality and mindfulness for over 35 years. Leila also works with gifted, talented and creative adults helping them to identify and share their special gifts and passions with the world. Website: www.leilalmft.com.

  • 12/31/2019 10:00 AM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)


    David Silverman,
    LMFT

    Finding Your Writer's Voice

    Finding your voice is a lot like looking deep inside yourself and trying to figure out what makes you a different person from everybody else.

    Most writers don’t give it a lot of thought. They just keep writing until they develop a voice. It just comes with time and lots and lots of writing. What if writers made more of a purposeful effort to find their own voice? It could save them months and years of writing their way through to it.

    Let’s say you wanted to try to find your own unique voice? How would you go about it? Here are some ideas.

    Think about the experiences you’ve had, preferences and characteristics that set you apart from others. Think about the most extreme examples. It doesn’t help much to describe yourself in bland generalities. You have to skip over the “honest, loyal, like to read, like to play soccer, like to ride rollercoasters” stuff.

    Look instead at what makes you different, and by different, I mean, strange, odd or even bizarre.

    For example, I know I’m interested in stories about people’s weirdness. How did I discover this? For one thing, a good friend of mine pointed it out.

    I was telling her stories about why heroin addicts would rather live on the streets, homeless, than stay in a shelter. I discovered it was because shelters had rules. You couldn’t bring food or drugs into the shelter. You couldn’t even bring a dog.

    This same friend noticed that my humorous Facebook posts tended to point out weirdness or showcase odd or strange things about life. She’s right. I find those things interesting.

    Keep in mind, I don’t just like pure weirdness in story and character, I like a funny take on it. Above all else, for me, my voice has got to be funny. So, odd, strange, funny, it’s a mix.

    I also noticed that I like movies like Nightcrawler, A Clockwork Orange, and Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas, no doubt because all three films were populated with people who 1) obsessively photographed accident scenes, or 2) who needed to wreak havoc on everybody, or 3) about people with no limits, especially when it came to getting high.

    When I spent a summer reading every novel that appealed to me, I found myself reading Kafka, Camus, and James Joyce, writers who populate their novels with very odd, quirky and downright weird characters.

    Add to all these influences, that of funny people. People like Lenny Bruce, Charlie Chaplin, Mark Twain, George Carlin, Groucho Marx, and especially, Woody Allen. I was obsessed with that group of people. Totally.

    When you combine weird, quirky and funny, that’s what I like the best. Think of a movie like Fargo, where the array of bad guys included a funny, inept kidnapper (William Macy), and some very deeply disturbed killers who did things like put bodies through wood chippers.

    Notice I discovered these aspects about myself, by examining what I liked to read or which movies I found the most interesting. I recommend you make lists of books you like, not the classics, but the ones that are way different. The ones you reread.

    Since my partner and I wrote television comedies most of our career, we weren’t able to set the tone of every script we wrote. When you write for an existing show, you write from the voice of the show’s creator.

    However, we tried to find work on shows that we liked, where the show runner shared our sensibilities. We were lucky to work with Larry Charles (Dilbert), Reno and Osborne (Duckman, Private Dick), David Richardson (Manhattan, AZ), and Matt Stone and Trey Parker (South Park). We were also able to create our own shows that showcased our unique voice.

    All the screenplays we’ve written have a dark, quirky sense of humor. The half hour comedies we created (The Wild Thornberrys, Spacecats, Cleghorne) had offbeat sensibilities too.

    After a while, producers found that we wrote edgy, dark comedy and asked to us to work on scripts with those traits, including the animated feature, National Lampoon’s Politenessman, and a Pee Wee Herman live-action, NBC television pilot.

    Think about writers like Quentin Tarantino and Aaron Sorkin. You can sometimes tell, just hearing their dialogue, who wrote it. The Coen brothers are like that, too. And Diablo Cody has her unique sensibility.

    Embrace what makes you different.Think about the way you say things, the language you use your unique visual sense. Give your characters strong attitudes and opinions that you can back up. Find your tone and genre, whether it’s dark, edgy, gross, light, family, comedic, acerbic, grandiose, tragic, bighearted, or a combination. Write from your strengths.

    When producers are looking for something different, something original, your voice will be one of the most important factors that sets you apart from the pack .

    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 DavidSilvermanLMFT.com.

    Image credit: Creative Commons, Edward Scissorhands by Squiddy Johnson, 2014 by Ms SaraKelly, is licensed under CC By 2.0 is licensed under CC By 2.0.

    This article was originally published on Psych Central.

  • 12/31/2019 9:00 AM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)


    LA-CAMFT Law & Ethics Workshop

    Save the Date!

    Date: Sunday, March 22, 2020

    Place: Olympic Collection

    CEUs: 6

    Time: 9 am-4 pm

  • 12/31/2019 8:00 AM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Jonathan Flier, LMFT
    SIG Chair, LA-CAMFT

    From the Archives: LA-CAMFT History
    Jonathan Flier’s President’s Message
    March 2013

    This article originally appeared in the LA-CAMFT newsletter, the LA Therapist Update, in the March/April 2013 edition.

    Dear Members, Friends, and Colleagues,

    As I write this message, we are about to begin our fourth year of programming since the rebirth of the chapter. Three years ago, we had just put together a new leadership team to guide LACAMFT, and we quickly put together a program for February 2009 to show our community we were back in action. We had procured a new location, the Beverly Hills Country Club, arranged for a delicious breakfast buffet, free valet parking, and a beautiful room. We created an all networking program based on "Way of the Council" style sharing that also asked participants what their vision of a "village" LACAMFT community would look and feel like.

    We had 60 seats available and I recalled that the last couple of chapter meetings had 1520 participants. I was terrified! We guaranteed 30 participants to the club's caterer and began a new plan for marketing the chapter. I contacted CAMFT and asked them for the email addresses for all their members in the greater West Los Angeles area. We sent out emails promising a wonderful new LACAMFT experience, one that would be warm and welcoming, informative, and fun. We modeled the meeting after the successful programming created by Lynne Azpeitia and Karen Wulfson and honed by a relatively new Santa Monica-West LA AAMFT Networking District leadership team that I had been a part of for several months. I sent out invitations via Evite and after three emails, we sold over 65 seats. We posted the meeting as a sell out and closed registration. The Networking Presentation was a great success.

    In April of this year, 2013, the chapter will be celebrating another anniversary. In 2009, the SM-WLA Networking district had an April meeting scheduled and I didn't want to create a competitive event so I went to the SM-WLA leadership team and posited the idea that we create the first ever, collaborative CAMFT-AAMFT event. The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy and CAMFT seemed at the height of their competitive squabbling but I knew that there was room for "rapprochement" between the AAMFT California Executive Director, Olivia Loewy, Ph.D., and CAMFT Executive Director Mary Riemersma.

    We proposed the idea to our respective directors, won over their skepticism, and went for it. We brought SM-WLA to our new location, found a larger area to hold the meeting (75 chairs) and proceeded to sell out that meeting as well. A while after that April 2009 meeting Mary and Olivia got together and agreed that that cooperative event was a potential model for a new level of cooperation between the National and the California organization representing Marriage and Family Therapists.

    So, from these humble beginnings we rebuilt our chapter and have become among the largest and most active chapters in California. Our chapter has been a model for growth and has inspired chapters throughout the state to emulate and implement the processes that brought our success. We have had over 1000 MFT members and nonmembers actively attending meetings, reading our newsletters, and participating in our Special Interest Groups.

    We are engaged in the process of expanding our programs and involvement opportunities and look ahead to another fantastic year. Our motto and vision, borrowed from Hilary Clinton's book It Takes A Village, has served us well and will continue our success through collaboration, empathy, and connection among all of us dedicated to the mental health and emotional growth of the communities we serve.

    Jonathan Flier, LMFT
    LA-CAMFT President
    March 2013

    Jonathan Flier, MFT, has served on the Board of Directors of statewide CAMFT. In 2008 he became President and restarted the Los Angeles Chapter of CAMFT. He has supervised interns for over 20 years at the Southern California Counseling Center and has a thriving practice that specializes in working with men  treating trauma and anxiety with somatic based therapies including EMDR, high conflict couples and passionless couples and consultations with licensed MFTs and LCSWs.

  • 12/31/2019 7:30 AM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Lynne Azpeitia, LMFT
    Voices Editor

    LA-CAMFT Mobile App:
    The Search Feature

    Did you know you can search our online database for LA-CAMFT members by specialty or insurance? Using the MEMBER Wild Apricot App, current members of LA-CAMFT can search for referrals quickly and easily.

    I encourage you to try it! You’ll like it.


    To conduct a member search using our Mobile App:

    1. Launch the "Wild Apricot" app.
    2. Click on "Members" at the lower left.
    3. Click on the magnifying glass at the upper right.
    4. Enter your search criteria, below.
    5. Press "Search."

    To search for members, enter any of the following keywords:

    1. Insurance: such as Aetna, Anthem, Beacon, Magellan, Medicare
    2. Age Range: Child, Adolescent, Young Adult, Adult, Senior
    3. Specialties: such as Divorce, PTSD, Anxiety, LGBTQ, Grief
    4. Modalities: such as Couples Therapy, CBT, Family Therapy, EMDR
    5. City: Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Venice, etc.
    6. Zip code
    7. Street Address: such as Olympic, Beverly, Pico

    To Download the free LA-CAMFT Mobile App, two easy steps get you started:

    1. First, for iOS from the Apple Store or for Android from the Google Play Store: Simply search “Wild Apricot for Members” and download.
    2. Then, enter your existing LA-CAMFT username (e-mail) and password to login.

    It’s a free download!

    Thanks to Jim DeSantis, PhDGAMHPA President, for putting this easy to follow guide together.

    Lynne Azpeitia, LMFT, AAMFT Approved Supervisor, is in private practice in Santa Monica where she works with Couples and Gifted, Talented, and Creative people across the lifespan. Lynne’s been doing business and clinical coaching with mental health professionals for more than 15 years, helping them develop successful careers and thriving practices. To learn more about services, training or the monthly LA Practice Development Lunch visit www.Gifted-Adults.com or www.LAPracticeDevelopment.com.

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