Los Angeles Chapter — California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
Voices — January 2023
Christina “Tina” Cacho Sakai, LMFTPresident, LA-CAMFT
Finding Your Niche within LA-CAMFT
In 2017, I found my niche within LA-CAMFT’s Diversity Committee. At that time, I was among a group of like-minded therapists of color that felt there was a need to increase ethnic and racial diversity within LA-CAMFT ’s membership and leadership. Initiatives we created were the Therapist of Color (TOC) Support Group; Presentations that highlighted issues that impact underrepresented communities; Outreach to community mental health agencies, graduate schools & community organizations; and Expansion of resources and events to the broader Los Angeles Area.
On a monthly basis, we met as a committee and attended the monthly Therapist of Color (TOC) Support Group, which alternated between the office of Diversity Committee Chair, Janaki Neptune in Inglewood and my office at the time in Atwater Village. It was through these two monthly meetings where we began to build solid professional and personal relationships that highly impacted my social justice commitment to LA-CAMFT.
In July 2020, I was honored to become the LA-CAMFT Diversity Committee Chair and be involved in the “Anti-Racism as a Movement, Not a Moment” Roundtable where 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. Two of the many needed supports identified were a Black Therapists Support Group and Therapists of Color (TOC) Mentorship Program.
In 2021, the LA-CAMFT Diversity Committee implemented the Black Therapists Support Group, White Therapists Anti-Racist Group, planning of the Therapists of Color (TOC) Mentorship Program, hosted the second “Anti-Racism as a Movement, Not a Moment” Roundtable and launched the Therapists of Color (TOC) Grant Award. All of these social justice initiatives aligned with a highly esteemed colleague and dear friend of mine Akiah “Kiah” Selwa, LMFT to get involved and inevitably become the current Diversity Committee Chair who alongside Diversity Committee Co-Chair, Rachell Alger is expanding the vision of the Diversity Committee and LA-CAMFT exponentially.
The Diversity Committee has expanded its support groups to include the Asian American Pacific Islander+ Therapists Circle and Middle Eastern and North African Therapist Community Group. To find out more about the Diversity Committee and all its programming, please visit the Diversity Committee webpage or reach out to DiversityCommittee@lacamft.org.
In 2022, I was honored to become President-Elect and lead the Therapists of Color (TOC) Mentorship Program’s launch of its two 6-month rounds of mentorship. First round of TOC mentorship was from April - Sept 2022 and 46 mentees were matched with 24 mentors. Second round of TOC mentorship was from July - Dec 2022 and 24 mentees were matched with 13 mentors. A BIG shout out to the TOC Mentorship Program Committee Members that made these two rounds possible: Keonna Robinson, Leanne Nettles, Perla Hollow, Akiah Selwa, Rachell Alger, Stara Shakti, Maisha Gainer and to all the mentors that volunteered their time. Thank You! We learned a lot and are currently in the process of fine tuning the third round of TOC mentorship to begin early 2023. For more information, Therapist of Color Mentorship Program or reach out to TOC Mentorship Program Chair, Keonna Robinson, LMFT at email@example.com.
Back in 2017, I would have never imagined that all these initiatives and more would have been possible. However, with the support and guidance from LA-CAMFT leaders, members and participants, I now believe that anything is possible.
As 2023 LA-CAMFT President, I encourage you all to find your niche within LA-CAMFT and step by step participate in one of our many programs and/or assist in the creation of something new. If you have an idea for a program/special interest group and/or would like to get involved in the abundant amount of programming within LA-CAMFT, please email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to getting to know you and assisting you in finding your niche within LA-CAMFT! And, for those of you who have already found your niche within LA-CAMFT, a HUGE thank you for all the time and energy you have put into this organization to make it what it is today! A BIG Welcome to the 2023 Elected LA-CAMFT Board of Directors! I highly recommend getting to know them as they are all phenomenal!
Christina “Tina” Cacho Sakai, LMFT
Christina "Tina" Cacho Sakai, LMFT (she/her) is a Latinx (Mexican-American) psychotherapist in private practice and a former community based therapist, clinical supervisor, associate director, and adjunct faculty at CSULA. She provides psychotherapy in a culturally responsive, LGBTQIA+ affirming and social justice-oriented atmosphere. Treatment specializations include healing from trauma, processing grief and loss, exploring creativity, and honoring full intersectional identities. She is currently in the BIPOC Somatic Experiencing Training Certificate Program.
Friday, January 20, 2023
9:00 am-11:00 am
11:00-11:30 am (optional) —Participant Announcements
Meaningful Collaboration Between
Psychiatrists and Therapists
Leigh Goodrich, M.D. and Brittany Booth, M.D.
Do you ever get anxious about when, if, or how to best collaborate with a psychiatrist? If you do, this presentation will help! It addresses how to create meaningful collaboration between psychiatrists and therapists. Drs. Booth and Goodrich will use clinical case vignettes to examine ways in which effective and efficient communication between therapists and psychiatrists can improve the quality of care and optimize mental health outcomes for our clients. We will explore how to determine when to reach out a psychiatrist and common barriers to meaningful communication between psychiatrists and therapists.
Event Details: Friday, January 20, 2023, 9:00 am-11:00 am (PT)
Where: Online Via Zoom
After you register you will be emailed a Zoom link the Thursday before the presentation.
More information and register today by clicking the Register Here button below.
Lynne Azpeitia, LMFTVoices Editor
Getting Paid: 5 Money Tips for Increasing Practice Income and Fulfilling Your New Year’s Resolutions
The beginning of the year is always the time for resolutions. This year everywhere I go money is on is on therapist’s minds and in their New Year’s Resolutions. The top resolutions mental health professionals tell me they’re making this year are about money—mainly increasing their income so it covers the rising costs they’re facing in their practice and at home.
Here are five tips for increasing your practice income. To make it interesting, these tips are selected from some of the articles I’ve been recommending to the therapists I’ve been doing practice coaching with. I’ve included links to the articles they’re from.
Tip 1: How to Set Your Fee to Make Your Private Practice Profitable and Sustainable
Overall, to know how to set your fees you need to be able to look at the big picture and what you need to cover your expenses and make a profit. Do your research. Find out what your actual expenses will be. Also keep in mind where you need to be financially. Then set your fees based on the cost of doing business, what the market will bear along with knowing what you need to make in order to be profitable and stay in practice.
By doing these things, you can make your private practice as a counselor or therapist successful, profitable and sustainable over time.
Article: Fees and Knowing What to Charge
Tip 2: The Mistake Therapists Make When They Set Their Hourly Rate
There is a mistake I see so many early career therapists make when they set their hourly rate in private practice: undercharging.
In reality, here’s what actually happens with this strategy: when potential clients see that you charge much less than the other local therapists, they take it as a sign that you’re having trouble getting business. Most people then make the further assumption that you must not be a very good therapist if you’re unable to fill up your practice.
Marie FangArticle: Set Your Hourly Rate in Psychotherapy Private Practice
Tip 3: When to Offer Sliding Scale
In a self-pay practice, sliding scales are a great way to help people who can’t afford your full fees. However, if you always offer it most prospective clients will take you up on it even if they don’t need one.
In order to rectify this problem, I recommend only offering your scale when a client clearly demonstrates need. Always explore all of their potential resources with them before jumping to the conclusion they need a sliding scale. The client will take the easiest solution, however, there may be a mutually beneficial solution that takes a little exploration in order to get there.
Keith Kurlander Article: 5 Ways to Earning More Money With Sliding Scales
Tip 4: How to Set Private Practice Fees So Your Fee Allows . . .
How to set private practice fees as a social worker, therapist, psychologist, or counselor means looking at what you need to earn to thrive. I teach my clients to look at what is sustainable, aligned, and values-based for them. That means making sure your private practice fee can cover the following things. Ask yourself, does my fee allow me to . . .
Consider how much money you need to be making annually to account for the above questions, then reverse-engineer your way there.
Article: How To Set Fees In Private Practice
Tip 5: Missed Session Fees
In my consultations with therapists nationwide, we strategize on how to keep more of their hard-earned money—without working harder. While there are many factors we can’t control, I am struck by how often these therapists are leaving thousands of dollars on the table each year due to one thing they can control: their cancellation policy.
It’s true, insurance generally won’t cover missed/late-cancelled sessions, and shouldn’t be billed for them. EAPs also don’t usually allow you to charge for a no-show, or it may count as one session (some EAPs will pay for part or all of the first no-show—check your contract).
However, if you are in-network with the client’s insurance, you can usually charge the client for a missed or late-cancelled session. You may only charge your insurance session rate, and you must have gotten the client to sign your cancellation policy in advance. Out-of-network therapists can charge clients up to their full fee.
So why aren’t we charging clients regularly for missed sessions?
Article: Missed Sessions: Being Nice Can Cost You Thousands
Hope you enjoyed the food for thought in these 5 tips for increasing your income—and found some inspiration and support for ways to increase your income in this next year.
Lynne Azpeitia, LMFT, AAMFT Approved Supervisor, is in private practice in Santa Monica where she works with Couples and Gifted, Talented, and Creative Adults across the lifespan. Lynne’s been doing business and clinical coaching with mental health professionals for more than 15 years, helping professionals develop even more successful careers and practices. To learn more about her in-person and online services, workshops or monthly no-cost Online Networking & Practice Development Lunch visit www.Gifted-Adults.com or www.LAPracticeDevelopment.com.
LA-CAMFT TOC Grant
LA-CAMFT Grant Award for Pre-Licensed Members Who Are Therapists of Color
The LA-CAMFT Grant Committee is pleased to announce that LA-CAMFT will be awarding two grant awards In for LA-CAMFT Pre-Licensed Member Associates, Trainees, and Students who are Therapists of Color.
If you are not an LA-CAMFT member, in order to apply for the award, you must first join LA-CAMFT.
Registration for the LA-CAMFT 2023 Grant Award for Pre-Licensed Members who are Therapist of Color opens on January 2, 2023. Registration closes on February 25, 2023. The drawing will take place on February 26, 2023.
Please read the information below regarding the description of the grant award, criteria for applying, application process, and selection process.
Description of the LA-CAMFT Grant AwardEvery 4 months (3x per year), a grant award will be offered to two applicants who meet the following three criteria:
Grant winners will receive:
The $500 award can be used at the recipient’s discretion based on their own individual needs (whether it be for BBS fees, testing materials, memberships, living expenses, etc.).
Confirmation for what the Grant Award money is used for will not be required.
Application and Selection ProcessInterested Pre-Licensed LA-CAMFT members who are Therapists of Color can complete the 2023 Grant Award Application on the LA-CAMFT website.
The selection process entails using a Randomized Generator of the applicants who met the full criteria and complete the application online in order to take out human bias and decrease activation of one's trauma history.
The drawing will be recorded via Zoom and posted onto social media along with an announcement naming the grant winners, who will also be contacted via email directly.
Registration for the LA-CAMFT 2023 Grant Award for Pre-Licensed Members who are Therapist of Color opens on January 2, 2023. Registration closes on February 25, 2023.
The drawing will take place on February 26, 2023.
The LA-CAMFT TOC Grant Committee
Andrew Susskind,LCSW, SEP, CGP
Desperately Seeking Consultation
My very first twelve-step meeting was a combination of relief and terror. I knew I needed help, but my inner voice was telling me that I could do it on my own, just like I had always done. Instead, I listened intently as I sat in the well-worn chairs of this dusty Pasadena church, and soon I understood that I could learn to ask for help. In other words, it was time for me to seek consultation from my fellows in program and eventually a power greater than myself, whatever that would turn out to be.
As a seasoned private practitioner, newer therapists often ask me the keys to building a practice, and I share three basic ingredients:
In summary, therapy is often about consulting with a person you respect. Consultation groups help you stay on your growing edge as you ask for perspectives from those you learn to trust. Advanced trainings are a way to keep the beginner’s mind sharp, and each of these are forms of seeking consultation.
Let’s turn the wheels of time back to 1993. I had just celebrated my 29th birthday and it was two years after completing my MSW at UCLA—in other words, I was wet behind the ears. In 1992 I was invited into the world of private practice as an associate at a dynamic group practice called West Coast Counseling Center. On some level, I knew that I was a bit over my head but with tight supervision and two talented therapists who believed in me, I managed to stay afloat and eventually thrive.
In 1988 I moved to Los Angeles with the intention of being closer to my West Coast family including my Aunt Ruth, a private practice psychologist in Encino. For years she had been attending a monthly consultation group with her mentor Burt, and she suggested I talk to him about joining their group. Because Ruth has always been an extraordinary role model of mine, I felt honored and a bit intimidated to be offered a space in Burt’s group, but he believed in me in a way that I didn’t believe in myself at the time—one of the hallmarks of a quality consultant. I stayed in the group for eight formative years absorbing as much as possible from a psychoanalytically-informed therapist who also incorporated decades of multi-layered experience.
Fast forward to my Somatic Experiencing (SE) training from 2007 to 2010, and during that time I participated in several consultation groups. The SE training can be esoteric at times, but I was determined to understand how to apply it to my clinical work. The first group was experiential where we practiced SE on one another, and it was led by a seasoned practitioner who I knew prior to my training so I had a pre-existing trust and admiration for the creativity of his work. The second one was a peer consultation group which was also valuable in a different way as we examined our cases through the lens of SE. Both groups turned out to be vulnerable, intimate and inspiring.
More recently, I have been a devoted member of a Group Therapy Book Club for the past ten years. Although it has morphed into a support group since the pandemic, there has always been a valuable element of consultation. My love and gratitude for this remarkable group is enormous and has been a touchstone both personally and professionally.
Several years ago it became evident to me that it was time to give back what I had been given so I started a consultation group with my associates and past associates. The experience was clinically-stimulating and memorable, and I felt so grateful to be witness to the emotional risks and deep introspection that took shape there.
So why am I sharing this now? After more than thirty years of clinical work, I believe that quality consultation is part of my professional mandate. It keeps me on my growing edge. It reminds me what I do and do not know. It allows me to integrate other clinical perspectives, and it creates a sense of camaraderie and community. In addition to my so-called book club, I currently meet with my private consultant almost every week which keeps me open-hearted and respectful of the complexity of our work.
Reprint December, 2022, Westside Post.
Andrew Susskind is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Brainspotting and Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, Certified Group Psychotherapist, Consultant and Author based on the Westside of Los Angeles since 1992 specializing in trauma and addictions.
Sunday, March 19, 2023
9:00 am-3:30 pm
Meets BBS requirements for mandatory 6 CEs/Ethical Education
Online Via Zoom
Curt Widhalm, LMFT
Therapists in Los Angeles have the opportunity to face it all! Whether it is a the glitz and glamour of being on the latest reality show or working on the streets with homeless clients with severe mental illness, Los Angeles therapists can find themselves facing almost any ethical or legal challenge imaginable. This workshop covers what Los Angeles area therapists are currently facing that is making the local and national headlines…and provides guidance on how to best manage these situations. This workshop meets the 6 CE BBS requirement for licensure renewal.
At the end of this presentation, participants will have a general understanding of the legal and ethical challenges facing LA therapists and best practices for handling them.
Event Details: Sunday, March 19, 2023, 9:00 am-3:30 am (PT)
Where: Online Via Zoom
After you register you will be emailed a Zoom link the Saturday before the presentation.
Simple Cures for Loneliness
Loneliness is on the rise. The most recent US data studied by John Cacioppo, a social neuroscientist at the University of Chicago, found that almost a quarter of people today are plagued by frequent loneliness, regardless of gender, race, or education levels. A 2010 AARP survey found that of the people age 45 and up who participated in their study, 35% reported chronic loneliness compared with 20% ten years ago.
This disturbing trend reflects the fact that increasing numbers of people are living alone, added to the decrease in people joining groups and organizations that in the past fostered a sense of community. Robert Putnam, Ph.D. from Harvard (Bowling Alone, 2001), puts the blame on the long- term decline in Americans’ civic engagement. Boomers and those younger have been less likely to join churches or other groups that supported feelings of belonging to something meaningful. The fact that a person has hundreds if not thousands of “friends” on Facebook can actually make loneliness worse, because we seem to need to be in the presence of each other’s bodies.
The hidden costs of this isolation are now linked to serious health problems such as depression, alcohol abuse, sleep disorders, chronic pain, anxiety, and even dementia and Alzheimer’s. The World Health Organization has rated loneliness as a higher risk to health than smoking and as great a risk as obesity. Lonely people’s immune systems become compromised, increasing their risk of health problems, as well as their feelings of discouragement which affect their willingness to practice good self-care.
Despite this epidemic, there appears to be a positive correlation between spirituality and lower reports of loneliness. In a study by Jacqueline Olds, M.D., people who identify as “very religious or spiritual” report half the degree of loneliness than people who identify as “not religious at all.” People who attend religious or spiritual services once a month or more reported the lowest incidences of loneliness of all.
There is also a correlation between low reports of loneliness among people who donate their time to charities and other nonprofits. Volunteers who work together toward a common goal of helping others often develop meaningful relationships with each other.
It appears that spirituality is good for your physical, emotional, and relational health. Research indicates that the best prescription to prevent loneliness is to meet with others on a regular basis, join and become active in groups, volunteer for causes you believe in, and to put into action your understanding that we are all in this together.
Catherine Auman, LMFT is a licensed therapist with advanced training in both traditional and spiritual psychology with over thirty years of successful professional experience helping thousands of clients. She has headed nationally based psychiatric programs as well as worked through alternative methodologies based on ancient traditions and wisdom teachings. Visit her online at catherineauman.com.
LA-CAMFT Diversity Committee
Therapists of Color Support Group
Second Sunday of Every Month
A safe place to receive peer support and process experiences of racism (systemic, social, and internalized), discrimination, implicit bias, racist injury, aggression, and micro-aggressions, along with additional experiences that therapists of color encounter in the field of mental health.
Open to LA-CAMFT Members and Non-Members
Second Sunday of Each Month
Location: Zoom Meeting
For more information, contact the LA-CAMFT Diversity Committee at DiversityCommittee@lacamft.org.
Licensed Therapists, Associates, and Students
Event Details: Sunday, January 8, 2023, 11:00 am-1:00 pm (PT)
Time of Check-In: 10:50 am
Where: Online Via Zoom
Once you have registered for the presentation, we will email you a link to Zoom a few days before the presentation.
Online Registration CLOSES on the day of the event.
Questions about Registration? Contact Diversity Committee, email@example.com.
Barry Davis,Divorce Mediator
Resources to Help Your Clients Through Their Divorce
It’s the beginning of a new year so many of our clients will be contemplating divorce. Going through a divorce is one of the most challenging, destabilizing experiences that most people will ever face. Unfortunately, this means that most of our clients ‘react’ based on their strong emotions (often, very negative emotions) rather than ‘responding’ to this crisis in a way that protects their children and sets them up to move on with their life as quickly as possible.
This is why it is so important to have both the guidance and support of a therapist as well as relevant and effective resources during this critical time. Whether it is a good book to help children understand and process the changes that are happening or a helpful online resource to explain the divorce process, the right resources can make all the difference for clients experiencing the upheaval of divorce (and many times even more so for their children). Having relevant information will help clients:
This is why it's so important for therapists to be informed about the helpful resources available to support their clients during the divorce process. Below are some of the best resources available for both parents and children.
Websites for Parents
Websites for Children
Books for Children
Books for Parents
Helpful Information Sheets and Handouts
Barry Davis, Divorce Mediator, Founder of Davis Mediation, has been helping clients get through the divorce process in the most amicable, affordable manner possible for 16 years. His passion is keeping children out of the middle of divorce so they can grow up healthy. As a divorce mediator, Barry holds Masters Degrees in Clinical Psychology and Conflict Management and has served on the Torrance Family Court and Second Appellate District mediation panels. For more information and resources, visit www.DavisMediation.com or Davis Divorce Mediation’s YouTube Channel.
Middle Eastern North African (MENA)
Therapists Community Group
Friday, January 6, 2023
9:30 am-10:30 am (PT)
The MENA Therapists Community Group is a safe place across the Middle Eastern and North African therapist diaspora to build community and a sense of belonging. We hold an inclusive space to process the impact of cultural biases experienced by people of MENA descent and the effect it may have on our work as mental health professionals. Within the process, we will strive to create healing, support, and empowerment. We will collaboratively exchange ideas, experiences and resources while acknowledging cultural differences and shared similarities. As the poet Khalil Gibran states — “The reality of the other person lies not in what he reveals to you, but what he cannot reveal to you.” — our community will create a place to be seen, heard, and understood.
Open to LA-CAMFT Members and Non-Members
First Saturday of Each Month
Location: Zoom Meeting
For more information contact Akiah Robinson Selwa, LMFT at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Licensed Therapists, Associates, and Students
Event Details: Friday, January 6, 2023, 9:30 am-10:30 am (PT)Time of Check-In: 9:30 am
Where: Online Via Zoom
Upon registration for the presentation, you will receive a confirmation email that includes a link to our Zoom meeting.
Registration is open and available until the group begins.
Questions about Registration? Contact Tyana Tavakol, Perla Hollow, & Tania Osipof at DiversityCommittee@lacamft.org.
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