Los Angeles Chapter  California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

Voices — January 2021

  • 12/31/2020 11:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Jenni J.V. Wilson, LMFT
    President, LA-CAMFT

    Representation Matters

    I was catching up with incoming President-Elect Leanne Nettles a couple of weeks after the 2020 election, and we found ourselves giddy over the outcome. Being biracial women, we both shared a particular elation watching Senator Kamala Harris ascend into her new role as Vice-President Elect. We spoke of how exciting it was that more women and children of color will see someone who looks like them in the history books, and from that, perhaps more will come to believe that there’s a place for them in leadership, that their voices matter.

    Expanding representation means new generations may be inspired to pursue previously discouraging paths and change the world in some unimaginably positive way. Every time someone from a marginalized group is elevated and offered a seat at the table, we are closer to realizing the American Dream.

    When another mixed-race traveler, Barack Obama, won the presidency in 2008 and 2012, I felt an undeniable sense of pride in my country. I never held any illusion that after 400+ years, an ingrained system of racial oppression could be magically undone with the election of one politically-moderate, exceptional man of color—an acceptably light-skinned color, to be clear—but I did recognize progress and felt hopeful that our government was beginning to look more like the world I was living in. However, what to me and others felt like an important baby-step in course correction, unearthed a fear-of-otherness from the forgotten working class and an ironically elite underground vein of the pale and privileged that, admittedly, I was not prepared for.

    Since President Obama left office in 2017, my heart seemed to break on a daily basis as it became obvious to me that we hadn’t grown as much as I’d hoped. I watched as the hidden or denied depths of hatred found in racism, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and other forms of discrimination bubbled (at times exploded) to the surface in both subtle and violent ways. As a result, my baseline of optimism became skewed.

    My deepest and most annoying Suzie-sunshine, silver-lining-seeking positions were thrown into question and were internally wrestling with rising cynicism, anger, and an overall existential concern. Feeling impotent against the forces of division, and trying not to be seduced by them, I found myself sustained and continually energized by the people in my life—including clients, colleagues, and my fellow LA-CAMFT brothers and sisters—as we focused on what we might do to be part of the change we wished to see in the world.

    From where I’ve been positioned in this life, I’ve come to understand white guilt and white fragility, about as well as I understand the pain and intergenerational trauma that stems from belonging to an oppressed or marginalized group. Growing up, I witnessed my Mexican-American father being targeted, harassed, sidelined, and underestimated, feeling how his experience impacted him and our family.

    Unlike my father, I’ve navigated the world unencumbered by others routinely projecting their fears onto me. Like many biracial children, consciously or not, throughout my life I’ve found myself caught in a space that is neither the belonging nor the not-belonging, assigned to a place I call The In-Between.

    I believe that existing in the In-Between allows me to seek out and recognize human commonalities, with respect and curiosity for individuality and difference. As a result, I prefer and gravitate towards groups that promote cultural diversity and inclusion, over homogeneity and exclusion. It is hardly a surprise then that the promotion of LA-CAMFT as a welcoming group encouraging people to come as they are is paramount to me. 

    I’ve been proud to be a part of LA-CAMFT leadership in the era that has seen the formation of The Diversity Committee and the Therapists of Color Support Group. As Speaker Chair and Co-Chair for the past four years I’ve focused on increasing representation amongst our slate of presenters. I was honored to be one of the board members coordinating with the Diversity Committee on the recent Anti-Racism Roundtable event and the creation of a Declaration of Inclusion, Diversity, and Anti-Racism Statement. I’m always interested in finding ways LA-CAMFT can more aptly reflect the beautiful diversity of our community, of the city and populations we serve.

    I’m excited to welcome and be part of the most diverse Board of Directors LA-CAMFT has seen, yet. While some seasoned LA-CAMFT leaders remain, providing deeply appreciated continuity and stability, other beloved board members willingly and gracefully stepped up by stepping aside to create room for new voices on the board, redirecting their board experience to strengthen the organization through mentoring and spearheading new projects.

    The reality is that we’re an all-volunteer driven association that needs the involvement of its enthusiastic members who are willing to offer their skills, creativity, and energy for the survival and betterment of the larger group. Expanded representation and succession in leadership are fundamental for evolution, to avoid stagnation, encourage regeneration, and ensure longevity for LA-CAMFT.

    Personally, and professionally, we have all been challenged to rethink our approach to the micro as well as the macro in our everyday lives. Being more involved with LA-CAMFT right now is an opportunity to further a sense of community during these disconnected times, giving and receiving support from others who know what this work can ask of us.

    On my end, I invite you to write to me at President@LACAMFT.org with your visions for LA-CAMFT, sharing your best, your craziest, and your most ambitious ideas. I can’t promise we’ll make them all happen, but I’ll definitely listen and who knows! Presidents come and go, only steering the ship for a year before peacefully transferring power to the next President-Elect—but your great ideas could impact the future of LA-CAMFT forever.

    In this first President’s Message, I want to emphasize that LA-CAMFT is about supporting its membership, and I’m a member, just like many of you. What matters isn’t just what I see LA-CAMFT being, it’s about what we see LA-CAMFT being. And representation matters! So, whether we gather in the Zoom-iverse or in-person, I hope you will be inspired to raise your voices, join in, and help make this a truly transformative and Happy New Year ahead.

    With warm regards,

    JJVW—Jenni June Villegas Wilson

    As a collaborative conversationalist, Jenni uses an integrative approach based on post-modern and existential principles. She works with creative and co-dependent clients on improving, avoiding, and eliminating Toxic Relationships, while increasing authentic expression. She has a BA in theatre from Occidental College, an MA in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University LA, and completed certification training in Narrative Therapy from Caspersen Therapy in Minnesota. She produces and co-hosts The Relationship Show podcast, facilitates creative expression groups at Valley Hope Outpatient Clinic in Van Nuys and sees individuals in private practice in West LA and the Valley. Contact Jenni June Villegas Wilson at president@lacamft.org.

  • 12/31/2020 10:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    January 21 ONLINE Presentation
    including Q&A

    Friday, January 22, 2021

    9:00 am-11:00 am

    Via Zoom

    2.0 CEUs

    The Evolving Couple – Introduction:
    A Guide to Self-Awareness Through Intimacy

    Dr. Steve Wolf

    Dr. Steve Wolf is a Clinical Psychologist working with couples and individuals since 1986. He co-authored, Romancing the Shadow with Dr. Connie Zweig, developed “Taming Your Anger,” “Taming Your Anxiety,” “EQ 101: Building Blocks for Emotional Intelligence,” and CoupleZwork Workbooks. He produced Remedy for Rage, a documentary on the "Taming Your Anger" program, developed to reduce violence and increase emotional intelligence for at-risk youth. 

    Event Details: 
    Friday, January 22, 2021, 9:00 am-11:00 am

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

    Register today by clicking the Register Here button below.

    Register Here

  • 12/31/2020 9:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Lynne Azpeitia, LMFT
    Voices Editor

    Getting Paid: Top 5 Private Practice Resources for Fulfilling Your New Year’s Resolutions

    The beginning of the year is always the time for resolutions, and this holds true for private practice, too. The top resolutions mental health professionals tell me they’re making this year are increasing practice income, cultivating new connections and referral sources, how to make dealing with insurance less time consuming and stressful, how to attract more ideal clients through branding, and publishing that book you want to write. Oh, and I almost forgot—how to add coaching to your practice.

    So, here are the five best books to help you and your practice meet your goals for more and better with less stress in your private practice.

    1.    Increasing Practice Income

    If your New Year’s resolution is increasing the income in your practice by money, doing good, and having fun, then Chellie Campbell’s From Worry to Wealthy: A Woman's Guide to Financial Success Without the Stress is the one for you. Reading this will help guide you to creating a richer and more fulfilling practice based on your values, interests, and needs.

    So if you’re interested in more income, time off, time for home and family, charging a fair price while contributing to the greater good, From Worry to Wealthy is a practical and friendly ticket to fulfilling that resolution.

    2.    Cultivating New Connections and Referral Sources

    If you are not a natural networker—most therapists find networking challenging—and would like your own personal guide for what to do to make new connections with others and to cultivate new referral sources, How to Work a Room: The Ultimate Guide to Making Lasting Connections—In Person and Online by Susanne Roane will give you the guidance you need.

    This small book is the encyclopedia of how to easily and practically make connections with others whether you’re online or in person—just reading the table of contents is reassuring and encouraging! So whether you’re interested in opening lines for greeting and meeting, tips for introducing yourself and your practice or how to build bridges, bonds, and business relationships, check out How to Work a Room and find the answers you seek.

    3.    Make Dealing with Insurance Time Consuming and Less Stressful

    If your practice depends on insurance reimbursement as either an in-network or out-of-network provider, Barbara Griswold’s Navigating the Insurance Maze: The Therapist's Complete Guide to Working with Insurance—And Whether You Should is for you.

    Navigating the Insurance Maze is the must have reference for every therapist. This easy-to-use manual guides you through what every therapist needs to know about insurance—and answers the questions you have. Joining plans, instructions for claim forms, how to get more sessions approved, how to make appeals, common therapist mistakes, and how to stay out of trouble are all part of the great value of Barbara’s seventh edition. It’s well worth the price.

    4.    Attract More Clients Through Branding

    If your resolution for this year is to attract more clients—more ideal clients—to your practice then you'll be really interested in reading or listening on Audible to Robin Fisher Roffer’s Make a Name for Yourself: 8 Steps Every Woman Needs to Create a Personal Brand Strategy for Success. Robin says it best on her Big Fish Marketing Website because it greets you with the words, “We guide you to write, tell, and live your greatest story.” Her book does just that.

    Make a Name for Yourself shows you how to easily identify your own unique traits and talents for career success and personal fulfillment. This friendly, fun, practical, and easy to apply book is like attending a workshop and learning the 8 steps that “unearth your authentic self to develop a brand that reflects your natural talents, abilities, and passions.”

    I recommend this book to practice coaching clients and every single one has said that they were very surprised by how much they enjoyed reading this book and how effective it was in helping them to identify what attracted the clients they love to work with—and to more easily and authentically, write, tell, and share the story of who they work with, why, and how they successfully work with those in their practice.

    5.    Publish That Book You Want to Write

    If writing and publishing that book you’ve been wanting to write is your resolution for this year then Sylvia Cary, LMFT’s The Therapist Writer: Helping Mental Health Professionals Get Published is the book you’re going to want. As Sylvia tells it, getting a book published can lead to more—more attention, referrals, business, and money. She’s also right when she says it’s one of the quickest ways for a therapist to become known as an expert.

    The Therapist Writer is a practical, useful, easy to use guide that helps you make your book idea into a completed manuscript. With Sylvia’s guidance—and she knows the ropes since she’s a local LMFT as well as a writer and book coach—you’ll figure out what to write, how to get it written, and how to market and sell it once its complete. If you’re wanting to have your book published, then this little volume belongs on your bookshelf. This is the book I recommend to those I train and coach who have a book on their wish list. Make yours happen this year by getting this one.

    Bonus: How to Add Coaching to Your Practice

    If you’re interested in how you can add coaching to your practice this year then David B. Ellis’ Life Coaching: A Manual for Helping Professionals is a good choice for you to purchase. This is one of the best overall coaching books I’ve come across, read, and used. It’s written to assist the currently practicing mental health professional—one who’s already been specifically trained as a counselor, minister or social worker—begin practicing as a life coach.

    Life Coaching, like the other books in this list, is a practical, easy to read and apply, step-by-step guide that helps therapists add coaching to their practices. One of the reasons I like this book is that David B. Ellis has an interesting approach to coaching. He doesn’t view it as merely skills training and advice, he views coaching as assisting people in creating their own solutions, arriving at their own answers, and discovering options for themselves through using a coaching framework and approach. This is a way of working that therapists can appreciate as well as enjoy when doing coaching work with clients.

    So now you have this recommended list to aid you in your goals for the year. Have fun in looking over these resources and choosing the one that’s right for you.

    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 them 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.

  • 12/31/2020 8:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)
    Amy McManus

    Amy McManus, LMFT

    How to Make New Year’s Resolutions That Stick in an Age of Uncertainty

    Did you make plans for 2020? Hahahahahahahahahaha.

    2020 was a rough year for everyone; for some it was devastating.

    And yet . . . babies were born, people got married, people celebrated graduations and anniversaries, people fell in love.

    We did some good work, read some great books, slept more, ate worse, became engaged politically, took up a hobby, happily gave up our commutes, sadly gave up movies, concerts, and large social gatherings, eventually perhaps gave up trying to do anything.

    We believed things would be over soon, we believed our leaders would protect us, we believed it wouldn’t happen to us, we believed things would be “normal” by now. We were wrong.

    Things were forever changed.

    Now there is a new year ahead, vaccines that bring us hope, and the possibility of a new beginning in 2021— a “new normal.”

    But what will that look like, and how can we make plans to move forward when everything has been so volatile and uncertain?

    The “New Normal” is something that, to a certain extent, we each have to figure out on our own.

    We are being told when we can leave our homes, when we can go back to work, how we can gather with friends and family, what we are allowed to do in public spaces, when and where we can travel.

    But what that actually looks like is up to us.

    We can take charge and create a life within the constraints of the new normal. We can create our new normal.

    Vaccines are being slowly rolled out, and we can reasonably assume that before 2021 is over life will feel more familiar and more safe. In the meantime, we can make some choices now that will enhance our lives until and beyond the time when we resume our “normal” lifestyle.

    Here is an easy system for making the small changes that can lead to the big differences in our lives in 2021!

    Step One: Clarify Your Values

    This is the first step in planning for anything, but for planning your life direction it’s critical!

    What are your top 3 values? Good health, providing for your family, socializing with friends? Spirituality, family, contribution? Creativity, love, fitness? Service, personal growth, being in nature?

    Sometimes there are so many it’s hard to narrow it down, but if you don’t keep your list short you risk becoming overwhelmed and unable to pursue any of them.

    Step Two: Identify Your Goals

    Pick 1 or 2 Goals for each of your three top values. Some examples are:

    Health: Get 8 hours of sleep every night; Start each day with a healthy breakfast; work out 3 times a week.

    Family: Talk to a distant family member twice a week; have a family Zoom every week; Have a socially-distanced meetup with a family member once a week.

    Personal Growth: Read a new book every month; learn to play 5 sing-able songs on the guitar; Keep a journal and write something every day; start weekly therapy.

    Tip: Notice that each of these goals is specific in action and timing! For instance, the goal is not “get healthier,” but “get 8 hours of sleep” or “eat a healthy breakfast every day.” Without specificity you are going to struggle to develop new habits.

    Step Three: Make a Plan

    Now take one of those goals and break them down into small, specific, time-sensitive steps.

    For example, “Get 8 hours of sleep each night” might be:

    1. Download a meditation app like Calm or Headspace
    2. Set daily alarm for 10 pm to remind myself to start my bedtime routine
    3. Bedtime routine: put away things from the day, shower, brush teeth, read in bed until 10:45 pm. (if you have trouble falling or staying asleep, you will have much more success if you stay off of your phone or other screens in the two hours before bed! For suggestions on how to do that, read this)
    4. Set second alarm for 10:45 pm to remind myself to listen to a short calming meditation on my new app!

    Or “Workout three times a week” might be

    1. Sign up for online workout classes
    2. Add “set out workout clothes and workout mat, choose tomorrow’s workout” to bedtime routine three times a week.
    3. Set alarm for 30 minutes earlier on the mornings I am going to work out.

    There is a common misperception about the number of days necessary to form a habit.

    Studies show that the amount of time necessary to form a habit varies according to many factors, so be patient with yourself until your new behavior becomes second nature. For an excellent review of how to build successful habits, read Good Habits, Bad Habits, by Wendy Wood.

    Things to remember about building a habit:

    1. Build motivation

    Example: Use social support for accountability. Check in daily with a friend about the goals each of you worked on that day.

    2. Remove Friction

    Example: Setting out your clothes the night before removes the friction (read: excuse) of not having any clean workout clothes available.

    3. Plan for Obstacles

    Example: If I plan to meet a friend for a walk tomorrow morning and it’s raining when we wake up, we will do an online workout together on Zoom instead.

    There is even a science-based app called WOOP that can help you with this process! Check it out.

    Work on only one or two habits at a time. Allow yourself to build new habits only one step at a time if that helps.

    For example, build a habit of working out in the morning by doing only a 5-minute stretch for a few weeks. Even if 10 years from now all you ever did was stretch every morning for 5 minutes, you will have spent 18,250 minutes increasing your flexibility and mobility!

    For most of us, 2021 is bound to be better than 2020, but with a little planning, it might even be a great year!

    Happy New Year to All!

    Amy McManus, LMFT, helps anxious young adults build healthy new relationships with themselves and others after a breakup. Amy’s blog, “Life Hacks,” offers practical tips for thriving in today’s crazy plugged-in world. Learn more about Amy from her website www.thrivetherapyla.com.

  • 12/31/2020 7:00 PM | 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

  • 12/31/2020 6:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Maria Gray,

    Increasing Your Fees During a Pandemic

    When I met with my business coach in November, I mentioned that I was concerned about raising my fees during a pandemic. She asked me why the process of raising my fees should be any different during this time and I didn’t have a good answer for her. Most of my clients have continued to work during the pandemic, however, there are some who may not be able to afford a higher fee. Additionally, my costs for credit card fees have increased since I am no longer able to swipe my client’s cards in person.

    Generally, I review my fees every two years, but that’s not written in stone. In the past when clients were experiencing financial difficulties, my process was to tell them about the fee increase and explain why I would not be raising their fees at this time. I’d say we would continue to discuss their financial situation during our work together and raise the fee when they felt they could afford it. I sometimes propose that we revisit the topic in three months or whatever time is appropriate for the client’s situation.

    Once I’ve told a client that my fees are going up, I pause and wait for a reaction. If there is no reaction I will ask if they might be willing to explore any thoughts or feelings they are having about my new fee. Sometimes people are unable to access their feelings in the moment, instead they might show me indirectly through arriving late at our next session, “forgetting” to pay their invoice or canceling. This is fertile ground for a topic that is often neglected in therapy.

    For some clients discussing the new fee can lead to an exploration of the way money was handled by their parents or reveal anger at a partner who is not carrying their fair share of the financial responsibility in the relationship; there are a multitude of possible responses to this situation.

    In his book Difficult Topics in Group Therapy: My Journey from Shame to Courage, Jerome Gans, MD advises therapists to prioritize the exploration of clinical material over managing financial transactions. He explains that so much can be gained by discussing the client’s feelings about money, especially if it’s done in the moment.

    Our own beliefs about money affect our clinical work and the way we approach the business of private practice. We are expected to explore this sensitive topic with our clients, yet most graduate programs don’t offer a course on financial countertransference. It’s helpful to explore our money stories and issues of worth with our own therapists or in consultation.

    Maria Gray, LMFT, NMP, CGP, is a psychotherapist in private practice in Century City, she is a Brainspotting Specialist and specializes in trauma and addictions. Maria is a Certified Group Therapist and currently offers three online groups in her practice. She enjoys working with adults who grew up around mentally ill or addictive family members. To learn more, go to www.mariagray.net.
  • 12/31/2020 5:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    LA-CAMFT Diversity Committee

    Therapists of Color Support Group

    Sunday, January 10, 2021

    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 Niparpon Johansen, LMFT at niparpon@yahoo.com.

    Event Details: 

    Licensed Therapists, Associates, and Students

    Event Details: 
    Sunday, January 10, 2021, 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 Saturday, January 9th at 11 pm.

    Questions about Registration? Contact Christina Cacho Sakai, LMFT at DiversityCommittee@lacamft.org.

    Register Here

    In diversity there is beauty
    and there is strength.

    Maya Angelou

  • 12/31/2020 4:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    David Silverman,

    10 Archetypal Film Stories That Sell: Part 3

    “The ten genre’s that Blake Snyder identified in the 'Save the Cat' books . . .These are my single favorite tool for screenwriters, and I strongly recommend writers know these types, and seek to write squarely within one of them.” Erik Bork: Screenwriter “Band of Brothers.”

    As we noted in Parts 1 and 2, as far as the studios are concerned, they seem to have dropped the word "original" from their vocabulary. You can plainly see by the numbers of prequels, sequels, remakes, reboots, novel and comic book adaptations, that studio films are risk averse.

    For those who still want to try selling a screenplay to the studios (and have a good shot at independent sales, too), here are the next two sub-genres, of archetypal film stories identified in Snyder’s Save the Cat.

    According to research by Bork, the trend since 2012 has been that the studios are only buying original spec scripts in these (and Snyder's the other 8) genres.

    5. The Fool Triumphant

    The mythology of this storyline derives from stories told over time of laughable simpletons who go up against powerful enemies and prevail because of an innate likeability or goodness of character.

    A good example of this story can be found in Being There, starring Peter Sellers as Chance, a mentally challenged gardener who works most of his life for a wealthy Washington D.C. resident, Mr. Jennings.

    Chance has virtually no experience with the outside word and has learned pretty much everything he knows about the world from watching television. When Jennings dies, Chance takes much of Jennings’ wardrobe with him, so looks like an affluent socialite.

    While sent out into the world he runs into successful businessman Ben Rand who mistakes him for what he looks like—a wealthy socialite.

    Rand interprets Chance’s life lessons (based mainly on his gardening experiences) as a refreshingly unpretentious but profound world view. Chance passes for one of the intelligentsia because Rand says so; and the naïve former gardener becomes a major influence among the power-players in Washington.

    These heroes are naïve, or even idiots, who have good fortune on their side. They almost fall into circumstances in which they are thought to be brilliant, gain a following, and ironically prevail against a smarter and more resourceful antagonist.

    Again, to demonstrate the range of variations you can create in this genre here are some more examples:

    Tootsie, Mrs. Doubtfire, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Forrest Gump, Legally Blonde, Sling Blade, Austin Powers, and Big Momma's House. 

    6. Institutionalized

    These archetypal stories involve a hero that finds himself in an institution (which could mean an actual institution) or an office setting, the military, the mafia or the fashion world. The protagonists in these films explore their settings, take in the rules, norms and expectations of their new worlds—and adapt.

    A good example is One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Randal McMurphy (played by Jack Nicholson) is a career criminal who pleads insanity to get out of hard labor in prison and ends up in a mental institution run by the abusive and inflexible Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher).

    As the story unfolds, McMurphy sizes up the way things are done in the institution, and the way the arrogant controlling Nurse Ratched mistreats and demoralizes the inmates. He then instigates a rebellion amongst the inmates against their oppressive and inhumane treatment.

    McMurphy incites the inmates to join him on field trips out of the hospital against “policy.” While he’s successful in restoring humanity to his fellow inmates, against the wishes of Nurse Ratched, she exacts a high price. McMurphy is given a full-frontal lobotomy.

    These films involve a character who finds himself in a new world (law school, reporting, or volunteering in a war zone, in a gang, in the police force, etc.). While adapting, he is changed and finds new ways to work within the system, or to change the system.

    To give you an idea how films in this niche can vary while still following in this genre, here are some more examples:

    M*A*S*H, The Godfather, Training Day, Office Space, Sin City, Dead Poet's Society, Glengarry Glen Ross, and The Royal Tenenbaums.

    You will need to come up with lots of your own original characters, storylines, subplots and plot twists, but these 10 sub-genres will guide you in a more commercial direction and increase your odds of selling an original screenplay.

    So far, we've discussed Out of the Bottle, Monster in the House, and now Superhero and The Golden Fleece, Institutionalized, and The Fool Triumphant.

    Next time in Part 4, we'll look at the sub-genres of Dude with A Problem and Rites of Passage.

    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.

  • 12/31/2020 3:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Attention LA-CAMFT Members!
    2021 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 at Factor’s Deli in West Los Angeles.

    January 8
    February 12
    March 12
    April 9
    May 14
    June 18
    July 9
    August 13
    September 10
    October 8
    November 12

    Online Via Zoom

  • 12/31/2020 1:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Voices Publication Guidelines for 2021

    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 2021 calendar year to Voices, LA-CAMFT's monthly newsletter:

    Upcoming Voices Newsletters  Submission Deadlines
    March February 1
    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

Voices Archive

2022 Issues:

Past Issues:

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