Los Angeles Chapter  California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

Voices — June 2021

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  • 05/31/2021 11:30 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

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

    Rules of Reintegration

    I always feel the need to preface my messages by placing you in the space and time I’m writing. The world changes so quickly, that writing a month ahead of posting feels like Time Travel—ahead and behind, all while doing my best to be present in this moment.

    Five days ago, as of this typing, the Anti-Racism Roundtable Phase 2 took place. I’m grateful to everyone who took the time to attend and participate. With President-Elect Leanne Nettles’ energy and openness leading the event, LACAMFT leadership was able to connect with other mental health professionals to discuss difficult topics. People shared and identified practical and creative ideas about how LACAMFT can continue to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion. To take these ideas to the next level, we’ll need more volunteers to get engaged, there’s so much we want to do. Hopefully we’ll see some of you at the June 27th Leadership Retreat! Last year, I met Leanne at the Leadership Retreat—and here we are. A lot can change in a year—in 16 months.

    A year ago it seemed everyone was champing at the bit for things to “get back to normal”—whatever that meant for them. Stepping outside felt like a heroic act, and we were warriors fighting invisible enemies, hoping to return home unharmed and incapable of inadvertently hurting others.

    We’ve been at this pandemic-stuff for a while, establishing new ways of managing our lives and our work as therapists. We’ve been on an island of sorts—an island that at times felt more like an isolated toxic dumping ground. We’ve had to build our own filtering systems, to keep going, to stay grateful, to show up for our clients, loved ones, and ourselves, lest we become septic. Every conversation I’ve had with another therapist has been its own release valve, as we share a particular flavor of survivor’s guilt, for escaping some of the most heart-wrenching consequences of the pandemic. Not all, but some.

    We’ve had work. We’ve had community. We’ve had loss, yes, but we witnessed the losses of others in the world, so we’ve had perspective. We’ve had tools and purpose. Occupation, belonging, interaction, options, and meaning—luxuries to many over the past 16 months were ours every day. Now what?

    Here are some musings on my Rules for Reintegration . . .

    GREETINGS will continue to be different.

    Even though I was raised by old school theatre folx, and am by nature a “people person,” I’ll be less of a hugger. I’m more inclined towards the often hilarious ways to say hello and goodbye, now, like: touching shoe tips, bumping elbows, bowing, tipping an imaginary hat, blowing kisses, waving, and even bumping butts (tho, not with clients).

    EATING will be different.

    I’ll no longer eat three home-cooked (or take-out) meals a day, at home, with my partner and my dog. I could lose some new Covid weight, with more activity and a cortisol reduction. But even if I don’t, I’ll be fine in jeans, t-shirts, and Converse high-tops walking into sessions or into a Starbucks for the first time in forever. Confidence increases when comfortable.

    I’m FORGIVING myself for not . . .

    Finishing this 5000-piece puzzle eating my dining room table; growing any vegetables; crafting; organizing drawers; cleaning out the garage; organizing my music and making cool Spotify playlists. It’s 100% okay that during this time I did not resurrect my podcasts, finish a video game, or participate in a book, movie, or any kind of club . . . wait, does LA-CAMFT count as a club?

    I’m being mindful of any RETREATING.

    Straight up, I’m going to be awkward AF out there in the wild. Over the past 16 months I’ve only been to the grocery store once, had one haircut on my patio given by a friend, and made one trip to the other side of the canyon, over and back. I imagine Reintegration being like Dorothy landing in Oz, for me—beautiful and terrifying.


    I haven’t been to any kind of doctor, had a flu shot, mammogram, or manicure. I haven’t entered, eaten in or around a restaurant. No beach or ATM trips, canyon-hikes, or jet-plane leavings. I’ve not experienced the self-care of any room-service, teeth-cleanings, housecleaners, brow-waxings, or professional massages. I haven’t even been in the same physical space with any other LA-CAMFT board member since early March 2020.


    It’s almost cliché now, how amazingly resilient we humans are. We’re not coming out the same people we went in. We figured out how to work, date, organize, study, and play poker online. We gathered people together from all over, from all periods of our lives, filling screens with groovy Brady Bunch Squares allowing us to become super vulnerable from the comfort of our own homes. This era has normalized video connection. We’ve crossed over into Jetsons-land, and I like it. I like being able to see my big sister in Canada and to bring all my sisters into one room, until we can be together IRL again.

    I’ll continue DELETING and rewriting dated programs from my life.

    Now that I’m vaxxed, I’ll still wear a mask, but I’m losing the sweat-inducing rubber gloves at the CVS. And I might start mindlessly browsing again, instead of hightailing it out there like a member of an elite seal team whose objective is Melatonin and mouthwash—“You get in, get the goods, and get out, dammit!” Maybe I’ll even cut back on the Silkwood-like showers of spray-bottled rubbing alcohol and hand-sanitizers. Maybe.

    I’ll still fill the online cart with things later to be deleted or added to “wish lists,” ordering delivered to my home only what I primarily need, as I did pre-Covid. Because I’m lazy. And, if I have the time, I’d rather nap than go shopping. I wish I had time to be bored. Don’t @ me.

    Paz y Amor. Keep musing and amusing, my fellow soldiers of sanity.

    JJVW — Jenni June Villegas Wilson

    Jenni J.V. Wilson, LMFT is a collaborative conversationalist, trained in narrative therapy and EMDR. She works with creative and anxious clients on improving, avoiding, and eliminating co-dependent and toxic relationships, while finding healthy ways to be unapologetically themselves. She is the primary therapist at Conclusions Treatment Center IOP in Mission Hills, and has a private practice in Sherman Oaks.

  • 05/31/2021 11:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    June 2021 ONLINE Presentation
    including Q&A

    Friday, June 25, 2021

    9:00 am-11:00 am (PT)

    Via Zoom

    2.0 CEUs

    Bi+ Affirmative Psychotherapy:
    Supporting our Bisexual, Pansexual,
    and Non-Monosexual Youth

    Dr. Mimi Hoang, PhD

    More and more youth are coming out as bisexual, pansexual, queer, or sexually fluid (AKA "bi+"), yet are less likely to be out to classmates, teachers, or families, and are more likely to be bullied, threatened or harassed than gay/lesbian youth, sometimes even by their own romantic partners. This sets an greater impetus for teachers, mentors, and health care providers working with LGBT+ youth to gain knowledge about the intricacies of bi+ identity development, to improve awareness of incidents of biphobia and bi erasure, and to learn what it takes to truly be an advocate for bi+ young people.

    Event Details: 
    Friday, June 25, 2021, 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.

    Register Here

  • 05/31/2021 10:30 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Lynne Azpeitia, LMFT
    Voices Editor

    Getting Paid: 5 Key Tools for Private Practice Success That Work for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, Associates, Trainees, and Students

    Therapists want to know the secret to private practice success—filling one with enough clients to pay for the business, support ourselves, take a vacation, and save some money. Private practice success is doable with planning, skill, and the right kind of ongoing effort.

    Five Key Tools for Private Practice Success

    1. Your Introduction
    2. Your Business Card/Email Signature/Social Media Profile
    3. Your Contacts & Referral Sources
    4. Your Website or Other Online Presence
    5. Listings in Online Web Directories 

    1.    Your Introduction
    What you say or write when introducing yourself online or in person is a very useful tool for letting people know who you are, where you work, who you work with—vital info for those looking to employ you, refer clients or have you as a therapist. 

    You may be surprised to learn how many therapists introduce themselves by just saying their first name—not where they work or who they work with as clients. How can people find you or know who they can refer without this info?  

    Say your full name, license or professional status, type of work, office location or work place, and who you work with—or would like to. This gives people the right information to connect and refer. 

    Introductions don’t have to be fancy, just key information delivered in a calm, friendly, professional manner: 

    Eric Hernandez, Registered Associate MFT, at the West Hollywood Counseling Center where I counsel gay men and their partners under the supervision of Dr. Aaron Cohen. 

    Lisa Chan, MFT Trainee, with School Counseling Services. I counsel middle school students and their parents in Silverlake. Tina Martinez, LCSW is my supervisor. 

    Matt Samson, student at Pepperdine’s Encino Campus. I’m interested in working with men and anger management in the Culver City area. 

    Jen Harvey, Licensed MFT. I work at Harbor House in Van Nuys treating adults with addictions and have a Telehealth/private practice in Sherman Oaks working with teens and their parents. 

    If you’re typing the intro online, list your website last, so people can click on it. 

    Getting the word out about your services is a community service. Make sure your community knows how you can be of service to them—and how to find you when they need your services.

    2.    Your Business Card, Email Signature or Online Profile
    For in person interactions, your business card, including your email address, is a good marketing and connecting tool for clients, colleagues, referral sources, other business people, and professionals. Online, your email signature  or social media profile info is your business card. 

    Licensed therapist’s business info:

    • Full name
    • License status
    • Address or List Telehealth
    • Phone Number
    • Email Address
    • Type of Services Offered or Clients Served 

    Your email address is a must. Clients, colleagues, and others want to be able to connect via e-mail, text, phone. Use a business, not personal, email on your card. Save time, make a good impression, by not having to write it on the card. Make sure the printing is large so it can be read quickly and easily. Associates and Trainees wanting a business card including this information should check with their supervisor and the organization they work for about their requirements. 

    For an Associate or Trainee business card for networking, I recommend the personal calling card format:

    • Full Name
    • Phone Number
    • Email Address

    You can pass the calling card out to colleagues and others so they can contact you about jobs, organizations or other information. I don’t recommend you give it to potential clients, just use it for networking purposes—it makes a better impression than writing your info on a piece of paper. 

    3.    Your Contacts, Referral Sources & Resources
    Who you know, those who know you, and those who refer to you are a valuable resource in filling a practice. 

    Building your contact list, email list, referral sources, followers, and resource list is a long-term project. Start today! Students who start this will have a good head start—don’t wait until you’re licensed to build the list of people who you know, who know about you, and the work you do. 

    Who’s on your contacts list? Colleagues, licensed and pre-licensed therapists you know, counseling centers, current and former supervisors, graduate program instructors, business people you do business with, medical and dental professionals you do business with or refer to, friends, family members, neighbors, members of your church/temple/mosque, members of organizations you or your family belong to, social contacts, community contacts, etc. Online these are your social media contacts—followers, friends, members of the groups you have or belong to. 

    Each is a potential referral source for your practice. Find a way to keep contact and keep them current on you and your practice. Whenever they send you a referral, thank them with a handwritten note or an e-mail or even a call—no client name necessary so confidentiality isn’t an issue. 

    4.    Your Website or Other Online Presence
    You’ll most likely need some online presence to maintain your practice since most clients who are willing to pay or use their insurance find therapists online. Think of your website or webpage, blog, podcast, TikTok, YouTube Channel, FB Page, Instagram, etc., as your online office. Ask any therapist with a thriving practice—most will report a high percentage of clients come from sources online. Think about it, people save time by searching online. Give prospective clients a website or other page to become informed about services. Even if they find you in a directory, prospective clients will look at your website or other web presence before they contact you. 

    Many therapists think a website is expensive. This is not the case. You don’t need to spend a lot for a website to attract clients. However, you do need at least a page or a few pages/videos/audios for clients to find or check you out when they’re referred. Clients like to see a picture or video, read something about you, your services—and e-mail you from your website. If you are going to have enough paying clients, having a website or page is a necessity. 

    There are many free or very low cost services for creating a professional looking website. It’s fairly easy, no coding necessary. Squarespace, Weebly, Wix, and others provide these. Check them out—ask colleagues or friends about their experiences. 

    If you decide to pay for a website, contact therapists you know who have websites you like—ask who designed it, what they paid—or search online and see who designed the websites you like, then contact them. 

    If you are pre-licensed—especially if you’re a student—I suggest you have at least a page with your name, license status, contact information—with your own domain name. If your page says that mentions or counseling you’ll have to include a supervisor’s name and information. 

    If you don’t want a webpage or think that you can’t afford to spend any money, consider a blog.  Blogs are free at Blogger.com—you can direct people to that to check out your practice information. TikTok, FB, Insta, YouTube are free, too. 

    5. Your Online Listing in a Paid or Free Directory
    Having a listing in a few online directories helps. Do consider that paying for a directory listing can be a good investment in reaching potential clients. Clients find you when you’re listed in a therapist directory since they advertise and promote aggressively so they’re first in online searches. 

    If you don’t want to pay for an online listing like Psychology Today, there are many free directory listings. CAMFT and AAMFT Clinical members have a listing as a membership benefit. Listings are also not limited to licensed therapists. Many sites have pre-licensed listings, but you must include supervisor information. 

    I hope you’ve found this information helpful and encouraging as you create, maintain, or upgrade your practice. I wish you much success in your private practice endeavors.

    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.

  • 05/31/2021 10:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)
    Amy McManus

    Amy McManus, LMFT

    Why We Are Anxious About Getting Back to “Normal” 

    I write this article in late April 2021, at a point in time where at least half of Americans have received at least one shot. This means, presumably, that by the time this article is published on June 1, at least half of Americans will be fully vaccinated, and certainly many more will have the 80% coverage afforded by just the first shot. Herd immunity is imminent.  

    Hip hip hooray! We can begin to go back to normal life again! Except . . . this is not what I am seeing in my therapy practice. Now that the long-awaited moment is nigh, people are apprehensive about returning to some of the activities they engaged in pre-covid. How can this be true? After over a year of severely restricting our interactions with others, why are so many people worried about what the future holds? 

    First the Positive 

    One of the most striking effects I have noticed of the COVID pandemic is that it has led many people to re-evaluate what is important in their lives. 

    Some people realized how much of a drain that daily commute to work was, and are now looking for any way possible to continue their remote work plan. Others realized how important those little interactions with their co-workers are to keep them happy and engaged in their job, or that without an environment solely dedicated to work, they are easily distracted from their own intended work activities. 

    Many people realize how important it actually is to share holidays and significant events with their extended family, even if in the beforetimes they were constantly annoyed by having to fly across the country to see everyone. On the other hand, some people who had previously spent every holiday with relatives or in-laws found out how much they enjoy hosting their own Christmas or Passover. 

    With almost all of our interactions with friends occurring on video for months on end, many realized that they could easily reconnect with friends all over the globe. It became possible to spend time with the friends we chose, rather than friends who were simply geographically desirable. This is especially apparent in Los Angeles, where geographically desirable often means a radius of only about 10 miles. 

    Perhaps one of the most interesting effects of a year of pandemic restrictions is the way we came to view time. Pretty early on most of us began noticing that one day simply blended into the next, and it was hard to distinguish Tuesday from Friday, or even from Saturday. Our time was in many ways ours to plan as we wished, and so we were required to decide what it was we actually wished to do. 

    Most of us had a few false starts—Work all the time? Sure, not much else to do. Then . . . burnout. Or—Stay up all night binge-watching Netflix? Sure, it finally feels like “my time.” Then . . . chronic sleep deprivation just made it not worth it. Eventually we mostly figured out how we want to spend our time in a way that matters. 

    What’s the Downside? 

    Now that we are clearer on the things that are truly important to us, a return to “normalcy” means that we may surprise people with some of the new choices we make. And these people may not be so happy about the changes. People, in general, are not happy about changes. 

    Many people are prepared to insist on some combo of remote and in-person work—or change jobs. If the boss is inflexible about this, it seems silly not to confront them with some obvious reasons why it can work. And yet, even will all the facts on our side, most of us would much rather avoid this confrontation. 

    As therapists we may have decided that teletherapy is the way to go, and now we need to convince our clients that this is beneficial for them as well. And we probably need to explore a whole new way of marketing. Sigh. 

    After a year of not visiting those relatives you really can’t stand, you may be more motivated to continue this pattern. But how to do this in the least offensive way, or, at least, in a way that doesn’t piss off the relatives you actually like? Or will you decide to just suck it up and do your best to ignore bad behavior at the next family gathering? Somehow it seems like much more of a conscious choice now, rather than the default. Everything is more intentional these days. 

    This is the big one! With whom do we really want to spend our time? And will they still want to spend time with us? It seems like everything is up for grabs. Additionally, many of my clients who were very social in the beforetimes are suddenly worried that they will now be awkward in larger social gatherings. 

    As we return to normal, we have a giant chance for a “fresh start.” In many ways, this is a terrific opportunity. Studies have shown that having a fresh start makes it much easier to change old habits. 

    Obviously, this can also be seen as a burden. It’s a big responsibility to live your life according to your values. It’s so easy to let things just slide along and go with the flow. Now that we have a chance to shape how we want to interact with the world, we need to not only identify what we want, but we may also have to fight for it. This can be a daunting prospect! 

    The gift that this return to “normal” gives us is the chance to be more intentional about our lives. When we can help our clients reframe the changes this way, it can ease their anxiety. After all, they can intentionally try to change things, or they can choose to intentionally go with the flow. Making the choice is what makes all the difference.

    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.

  • 05/31/2021 9:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    David Silverman,

    How to Become an Addicted Hollywood Writer

    It’s relatively easy. First you get a job as a screenwriter or TV writer. You get to deal with deadlines, rejection, and a rollercoaster of ups and downs in your career. You might encounter heartache, or agonize over where your next job is coming from. You might freak out under the pressure, or go into a depressive cycle.

    On the other hand, you might just become successful, buy a house in the Hollywood Hills, drive a Lamborghini, and chase after beautiful starlets. You might have wild parties where your friends and acquaintances share drugs, or get hammered and carry on long into the night.

    Whether you bottom out or become wealthy, you’ll find there’s a rich tradition around getting drunk or high while writing or hanging out with other writers.

    There was a long tradition of writers drinking in Hollywood. Everyone likes tradition.

    Back in the day, the infamous hard-boiled detective novelist, Raymond Chandler could be seen drinking at the Formosa. Chandler went on to write the Oscar nominated The Blue Dalia and got stuck at some point. He’s said to have gone on an eight-day bender, which helped him break through the slump.

    In the 1930s, Herman Mankiewiz had the reputation as a reckless drunkard who picked fights with actors and studio executives alike. Mankiewiz would one day write such classics movies as Duck Soup, The Wizard of Oz, and—he won the Oscar for Citizen Kane.

    Robert Benchley, George S. Kaufman and Robert Sherman were all known to “drink their lunch” at the Algonquin Hotel, and are now known for writing classic screenplays and Pulitzer Prize winning plays.

    Once you're a writer, you’ll be surrounded by intoxicants at parties, and even at work.

    I remember an Executive Producer of a certain TV show I worked on, who smoked “a pipe,” during our rewrites. One day, he dropped his “pipe tobacco” on the floor and it was clearly pot.

    He finally admitted he was smoking pot all year at the rewrites. Being the boss, nobody was going to do anything about it. Interestingly, he told us that the “hide the pot in the tobacco pouch” trick was something he learned from Rodney Dangerfield. When you realize your boss is getting baked, why not join him?

    When you find out how little respect you get as a writer in Hollywood, you might easily find yourself “self-medicating.”

    In Hollywood, the writer is at the bottom of the totem pole. Actors are important, directors are important, they both have power to change the story, and rewrite the lines. The actor brings people into the theater. Not he writer. The director can have the last word on a film. Not the writer. Writers are not famous. They are, however, quite expendable.

    After all, anybody can write. Who remembers who wrote “Casablanca?,” or “Gone With the Wind?,” or “Silence of the Lambs?,” Everyone remembers the stars, Bogart, Bergman, Clark Gable, Vivian Liegh, and Jody Foster and Anthony Hopkins.

    Once you decide you can make a living by writing for tv or film, the roller-coaster ride begins. You'll live with insane deadlines, paralyzing creative blocks, out of control bosses, anxiety, resentfulness and sometimes even depression. You'll have to constantly try to reinvent yourself, stay “twenty-one” forever, prove you're still “hot,” otherwise, it’s “what have you done lately?"

    These troubling emotional states all make terrific excuses to get drunk or stoned.

    Being high also allows you to forget about the stress, or depression, or get over your perfectionism long enough to write a decent script.

    Think about your heroes. Your role models. They did it. Consider the writers you’ve idolized since childhood; Hemmingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner and Steinbeck, who all won Nobel Prizes, while (allegedly) drinking heavily. Steven King and Phillip K. Dick both (allegedly) used hard drugs to get through their first drafts.

    And who can forget Academy Award-winning screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin, author of “A Few Good Men,” and “The Social Network,” who was (allegedly) caught with hallucinogenic mushrooms at an airport?

    The way role modeling works, you watch an idol of yours, heavily reinforced for writing critically-successful original screenplays, or best-selling novels which spawn brilliant, successful films.

    It’s only natural; you'll observe their behavior, witness them winning awards, (reinforcement) and follow in your idol’s famous footsteps.

    There you have it. It won’t take much time, or effort, to give in, to bow to peer pressure, join the party, follow your role models and drink or get high while writing, or socially at parties.

    Then, when you’re not getting high, you’ll be irritable, or sick or everything will seem less interesting, and less fun, so you’ll want to drink or do drugs all the time.

    Follow these easy steps and you’ll get to enjoy a serious addiction.

    If it’s serious enough, you might hit bottom. What’s hitting bottom? Everybody hits bottom in their own individual way. If you’ve got yourself a severe enough addiction, you’ll find yourself checking in and out of rehab, humiliating yourself, losing your self-esteem, your job, your family, or even find yourself homeless, or dead.

    If you die because of your addiction, you’ll be remembered always in the same sentence with literary giants like Ernest Hemmingway, Edgar Allan Poe, Hunter Thompson, and the guy who wrote “A Confederacy of Dunces.” You’ll only add to your legendary status.

    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.

  • 05/31/2021 8:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    LA-CAMFT Diversity Committee

    Black Therapist Support Group

    First Saturday of Every Month

    Next Meeting:
    Saturday, June 5, 2021
    12:00 pm-1:30 pm (PT)

    Online Via Zoom

    Black Therapist Support Group

    A safe place for healing, connection, support and building community. In this group, licensed clinicians, associates and students can come together and process experiences of racism (systemic, social, and internalized), discrimination, implicit bias, and micro-aggressions, along with additional experiences that therapists of African descent encounter in the field of mental health. As the late great Maya Angelou once said, “As soon as healing takes place, go out and heal someone else.” May this space, be the support needed to facilitate that journey.

    Open to LA-CAMFT Members and Non-Members

    First Saturday of Each Month
    Location: Zoom Meeting

    Baaba Hawthorne LMFT, bhawthorne@twochairs.com.

    Event Details: 

    Licensed Therapists, Associates, and Students

    Event Details: 
    Saturday, June 5, 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 on the date of the event.
    (Registration is open and available until the group ends.)

    Questions about Registration? Contact Marvin Whistler & Tina Cacho Sakai at DiversityCommittee@lacamft.org.

    Register Here

    In diversity there is beauty
    and there is strength.

    Maya Angelou

  • 05/31/2021 6:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Maria Gray,

    Maybe It’s Burnout

    It’s June and we are approaching 2021’s halfway mark. How much vacation time have you taken so far? Are you aware of the number of hours you are working every week?

    In graduate school, our Law and Ethics professor asked us to write a self-care plan describing the ways we planned to enjoy our free time and care for ourselves. He believed it was unethical for therapists to overwork and neglect themselves. To prove his point, he brought in photos from his rock-climbing trips and other outdoor adventures. He patiently explained that if we did not take care of ourselves, we could not be present for our clients and would inevitably feel the symptoms of burnout.

    In my prior career I was rewarded for working hard and staying late, so I was a bit skeptical about his suggestions, I thought I might have more endurance than my professor. When I started seeing more than fifteen clients a week, I remembered his words and I scheduled my first vacation. At the time I couldn’t afford to go far but I was able to spend a few days hiking in Santa Barbara; I’m grateful that I can now afford to spend a full week there.

    One day I was talking to a colleague about burnout, and she asked how you know if you are approaching it. I reached for one of my favorite books The Resilient Clinician by Robert J Wicks where the author (2006) describes some of the symptoms of burnout. Here are a few:

    • Feeling mentally fatigued at the end of the day.
    • Feeling unappreciated, bored, tense or irritable as a result of contact with clients or staff if you work in a treatment setting.
    • The pace of the day’s activities/requirements seems greater than you can handle. Feeling like “you don’t have enough gas in the tank” on a regular basis.
    • Experiencing boredom during client sessions.

    Wicks (2006) states that psychotherapists often make statements that imply that that their chronic symptoms of secondary stress are all “part of the job” as opposed to symptoms of burnout that require a response. One example is engaging in workaholism—the idea that we have to be constantly checking and responding to clients’ texts and emails during non-work hours.

    I love my work as a psychotherapist, it is meaningful and rewarding, however, it is only one aspect of my life. I ask my clients to imagine their lives like a large pie with each section representing a slice of time. One person likes to think of her time as a flower with petals for each section, we explored all the petals and she realized that she wanted to spend more time doing her art and less time at work.

    The antidote to burnout is simple but not easy for some people; create a fulfilling life outside of work. Every March I schedule a hiking trip to Utah; I chose not to fly this year but am planning a local hiking trip next month. Each year in December I block out my vacation time for the upcoming year in a prophylactic attempt to avoid feeling surprised by the fatigue that comes when I haven’t taken enough time off.

    Avoiding burnout was particularly challenging in 2020 as we were holding out clients’ reactions to the pandemic, racial injustice, and multiple sources of collective suffering in the world. I’ll continue to look for signs this year and make sure I am prioritizing my self-care. Now more than ever it’s important to take time for ourselves and do the things that help us replenish our brains and bodies. On the weekends I enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and riding my bike, dinners and walks with friends and family, and daily time with my beloved dog; What do you do to prevent burnout?

    Maria Gray, LMFT, NMP, CGP, is a psychotherapist in private practice in Los Angeles. She is a Brainspotting Specialist who 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.

  • 05/31/2021 5:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Catherine Auman,

    More Than Sexy

    The young woman sitting in front of me in my psychotherapy office is articulate, intelligent, well-groomed and attractive. Jessica has also thrown up her food three times a day, every day, since puberty. “I have to be prettier,” she says. “I just can’t go on looking like this.” 

    We might think Jessica’s anxiety is all in her head, but a disturbing trend is leading to a different conclusion. A new study published in the journal Sexuality and Culture (September 2011) “has found that the portrayal of women in the media over the last several decades has become increasingly sexualized, even ‘pornified,’” according to Erin Hatton, PhD, assistant professor at the University of Buffalo. “In the 2000s, there were 10 times more hypersexualized images of women than men . . . this is problematic because it indicates a decisive narrowing of media representations of women.” 

    A report by the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls (2007) found compelling evidence that the rise in sexualized images of girls and women in the media is harmful to their self-image and healthy maturation. This can mean undermining a woman’s confidence in her body promoting shame, anxiety, eating disorders and/or depression. Sexualized images of women have been found to increase violence against them and to decreased sexual satisfaction between both sexes. 

    “The consequences of the sexualization of girls in media today are very real and are likely to be a negative influence on girls’ healthy development,” said Eileen Zurbriggen, PhD, chair of the Task Force and associate professor at UCSC. “As a society, we need to replace all of these sexualized images with ones showing girls in positive settingsones that show the uniqueness and competence of girls . . . The goal should be to deliver messages to all adolescents, boys and girls, that lead to healthy sexual development.” 

    As parents and other trusted adults, we play a major role in contributing to either the sexualization of the young women in our lives or to giving them a healthier sense of what it means to be a human being. We can take an educative role by encouraging young people to question the images that are being promoted and by sharing information on the negative effects. 

    Sexualization means that a person’s value comes only from his/her sexual appeal to the exclusion of other characteristics. We can help young women like Jessica and all our daughters, nieces, friends, and yes, our young men, to understand that kindness, creativity, intellectual competence, physical abilities, compassion, service, spirituality and love matter more than being sexy.

    © 2021 Catherine Auman

    Catherine Auman, LMFT is a licensed therapist with advanced training in both traditional and spiritual psychology with over thirty years of successful professional experience helping thousands of clients. She has headed nationally based psychiatric programs as well as worked through alternative methodologies based on ancient traditions and wisdom teachings. Visit her online at catherineauman.com.

  • 05/31/2021 3:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    LA-CAMFT Diversity Committee

    Therapists of Color Support Group

    Sunday, June 13, 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, June 13, 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 on the day of the event.

    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

  • 05/31/2021 2:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    LA-CAMFT Online On-Demand CEU Courses from Charter for Compassionate Education

    LA-CAMFT is excited to announce new additions to our online on-demand CEU offerings from Charter for Compassionate Education. Starting in April, you can find links to these great online CEU courses on the LACAMFT.org Home Page under the Information tab:

    Emotional Intelligence for a Compassionate World (On Demand) (Barbara Kerr) (20 CEUs)

    Maybe you’ve thought about how empowering it could be to join with others who are willing to take action for a more compassionate world.

    And maybe you’ve recognized that building Emotional Intelligence skills could be helpful to you in your work with clients, your personal relationships, as well as in building a more compassionate community where you live.

    Emotional Intelligence skills and competencies can become the fertile ground for a more compassionate world. The skills that contribute to Emotional Intelligence can lead to the development of empathy and compassionin individuals, in families, in the workplace, in communities, and among the interconnected societies of people throughout the world.

    During this course, you will discover your own Emotional Intelligence strengths, learn ways to add to your Emotional Intelligence competencies, and consider practical ways to apply your skills to build a more compassionate world.

    Compassionate Integrity Training (CIT) (10 Week Live Course) (30 CEUs)

    Have you ever wondered how you could cultivate the compassion called for in the world or help others cultivate that compassion? Compassionate Integrity Training (CIT) is a great place to start!

    CIT is a resiliency-informed program that cultivates human values as skills, so we can thrive as individuals, and a society, within a healthy environment. By learning skills to calm our bodies and mind, becoming more emotionally aware, learning to practice compassion for ourselves and others, as well as engaging with compassion in complex systems, we can build towards compassionate integrity: the ability to live one’s life in accordance with one’s values with a recognition of common humanity, our basic orientation to kindness and reciprocity.

    The Compassionate Integrity Training is a 10-week, live-streaming course starting April 26th, 2021, so REGISTER NOW and don’t miss it!

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