Los Angeles Chapter — California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
Voices — October 2021
Jenni J.V. Wilson, LMFT
Dang. I want to see others, while wanting to stay healthy and keep others healthy, too. And we know how important meaningful connection is for mental health. Sometimes I’m amazed how I’ve come to accept the never-ending limbo that is The Age of Covid as not a limbo at all, but simply as what is; recognizing how the daily adjustments that were once so unnatural are surprisingly natural now. The Now is this confused feeling of fear and frustration, keeping us in and urging us out. The Now is constant re-assessment of our Willingness and Bravery. (There is Bravery in staying in as much as in going out, to be clear.) Who knows what The Now looks like as you read this, as I am writing it in the last week of August and you are reading it in the first week of October.
It was a hot day in early August when some of us met up for the LA-CAMFT Picnic at Cheviot Hills Park—gathered under shady trees and hats, sitting at tables and on grass-friendly blankets. The afternoon felt similar to those early fall days of my youth, returning to school after three months—which felt like 30—working out our social awkwardness, meeting new people, seeing old friends, eating packed lunches, and listening to rock and roll coming from the speakers or the guitar-playing hippie on the lawn (Hi, Jonathan!).
It was the first picnic Special Events Chair Ava Shokoufi organized for us, and she gracefully survived all the back and forth the Board went through deciding whether to meet in-person or not. I want to thank everyone who came by, helped and hung out—with a special shout-out to Kim Sebert who led the laughing yoga and drum circle. Understandably, we were a slightly smaller group than in previous years, but I was happily surprised how many folx came out to play, brought their kids, and made new connections. (A special treat for me was finally meeting Membership Chair Lucy Sladek in-person! She did not disappoint.)
I will admit that showing up for the event wasn’t a given for me. I had to take a good look at my Risk Budget and decide if the risk felt manageable. A part of me felt safer than in most other circumstances because our work as therapists requires us to always consider the safety of others, as well as ourselves. A masked trust prevailed. That was the largest group of people I’ve been around in over a year. Apologies if my conversation didn’t always track or if my loud gleeful singing was unpracticed and brash. Making music alongside Jonathan Flier and Darlene Basch was a big loss for me over the past year and a half, so even while missing our friend Riley, it was lovely to be together again. Perhaps it won’t be so long before the next time. Not sure. I fluctuate on how much of my Risk Budget I’m open to spending these days. My conversations with others reflect I’m not alone in this. How about you?
The “not knowing” is overwhelming some of us, and nevertheless, we persist in The Now. As Pema Chodron says, “Whatever occurs is neither the beginning nor the end.” We still need to get up and feed the pets, brush our teeth and file our paperwork. In spite of The Overwhelm, our purpose is still true, our work is still essential, and our responsibilities are ever-present.
If one of your responsibilities is to take your Suicide Prevention Training for BBS licensure renewal, for any workplace requirements, or for overall reinforcement, I hope you’ll join us on November 7th, from 9:00am-3:30pm for a 6-CE Suicide Prevention, Risk Assessment and Management Workshop presented via Zoom by Dr. Mekel Harris, Ph.D., NCSP, PMH-C. LA-CAMFT is unlikely to offer this training again, so don’t miss out on it this time around.
I want to acknowledge Speaker Chair, Elizabeth Sterbenz, Networking Event Chair, Di Wilson, and Communications & Marketing Chair, Lynne Azpeitia, for coordinating this training. As trainings like this don’t fall under a special interest group and are not part of our regular calendar, they require the team’s extra time and effort to put everything together. We are very lucky to have dedicated volunteers who are sometimes asked to go above and beyond for the good of the group. If you see them, thank them—and register online now!
While you’re at it, why not register for the Diversity Committee presentation, “No, Where Are You REALLY From?” Considerations for Therapy with Mixed-Race Clients. This is a 2 CE follow-up to President-Elect Leanne Nettles’ presentation last year on “What Are You?” Considerations for Therapy with Mixed-Race Clients, and will happen via zoom on October 10th, from 2:00-4:00pm. We live and work in one of the most multicultural cities in the world, and are almost all privileged to see clients with incredibly diverse backgrounds in the course of a day. In 2018, US Census projections indicated that our population will be “minority white” by 2045. Understanding the history and themes of mixed-race identity development, as well as clinical applications, can only fortify our toolboxes. Register here.
Lastly, if you are an LA-CAMFT Member who is a Pre-Licensed Therapist of Color who could use some financial assistance with academic, life and licensure expenses, consider applying for LA-CAMFT’s new Pre-Licensed TOC Grant Award by October 29th. The application and more info can be found at LA-CAMFT TOC Grant Award.
Whenever you read this, the time will be The Now. Can you feel it? Can you find something to look forward to, reward yourself for, unburden yourself of, and make this moment magic? This October I expect to celebrate 51 years of life, 12 years of marriage, and making it through 18 months of Covid-World. What might you celebrate this month? This moment? What’s the good news? I want to celebrate with you in spirit until we can once again celebrate in-person.
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.
Connie Zweig, Ph.D.
Event Details: Friday, October 15, 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.
Lynne Azpeitia, LMFT
Getting Paid: How to Introduce Yourself Online and In-Person to Create a Positive, Professional Image, Get More Clients, Referrals, Jobs, and Speaking Opportunities
Currently with so many video meetings, presentations, and events, most therapists are having to introduce themselves quite a lot. Get more clients, referrals, and job opportunities by making a positive professional impression when you introduce yourself, online or in-person, by including the right information.
Read on for tips to make the most of your introductions, tips that reveal little details you may want to include when you introduce yourself.
As you read the following information, be sure to remember:
Tip 1: When you introduce yourself include all the information a person might need to find or contact you with a referral, job opportunity, speaking opportunity or something else:
Derek Johnson, AMFT, At the Angeles University Counseling Center in Culver City, Under the supervision of Shanda Ramos, LMFT, I work with clients who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ and/or the Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Community. I specialize in anxiety, trauma, and relationships.
Tina Duvall, LMFT. At the Beverly Counseling Center I specialize in working with teens and young adults who have eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and anger management issues. Send me your angry teenagers, the angrier the better! They’re my favorite clients to work with.
Tip 2: Whenever you ask a question verbally in an online group of more than five or an in-person event:
1. Whether online or in-person, it makes it easy for the speaker, moderator or person monitoring the chat to quickly pair your name with your face.Yes, you’re right, Zoom and other video features often have your name below the screen view of you. However, when you state your name first, the speaker or person monitoring the chat doesn’t have to take their attention away from looking at and listening to you, to read and process your name—and neither do the participants. Not only do people appreciate this, they tend to have a positive impression of you and they have a better chance of remembering your name the more times they hear you say it.
2. Both in-person and online, stating your full name allows the speaker to know you by name and to address you by name while answering your question.Any speaker appreciates being able to interact with a question asker by name—it makes the speaker look good without having to ask your name. Also if the speaker, or audience member, wants to connect with or contact you after the presentation, knowing your full name makes that possible. This is true for both online and in-person events.
3. Audience members appreciate knowing your full name.
For in-person events, an audience member or the speaker may want to connect with you before you both leave and it makes it easier to find you at the venue or online after. Ditto for video. When someone knows your full name it makes it easy to look you up online. People may contact you with referrals, job opportunities, speaking or workshop presentation invitations, etc.
4. Don’t hurry saying your name to get to your question, take your time.We all need a moment, whether in-person or online, to shift our focus from one person to the next when someone is asking a question. If you hurry through your intro, it doesn’t allow people that extra moment they need to be able to register your name and your presence as well as the question you’re asking.
5. As you’re stating your name, this is the moment when everyone’s attention is on you. Utilize it. It’s a prime marketing moment for people to see you, hear you, and pair you with your name both online and in-person. A clear, focused, unhurried stating of your full name and professional designation before your question allows both the speaker and the audience members to experience you and hear your name and have the opportunity to remember it. Doing this activates people’s focal attention, which is a good thing.
Tip 3: Type your name and contact information into the chat box after you introduce yourself online in a Zoom or other group video call. Full name, professional designation, place you work, location, website, email, and phone; and three or four words about who you work with. Nothing else or people won’t read it.
No more than 3 or 4 words or initials (EMDR, SE, TRM, etc.), or people will ignore it.
Sample typed into chat box:
Shuri Moore, LMFT, Santa Monica and Online, ShuriMoore.com, ShuriMore@gmail.com,310.123.4567, GenZ & Millennial Women.
Shuri Moore, LMFT, Santa Monica and Online, ShuriMoore.com, ShuriMore@gmail.com,310.123.4567, GenZ & Millennial Women.
In the chat at the end of your contact info you could also add something about how to contact you, i.e., Contact by email or text is best.
Tip 4: Whenever you are at an in-person event and introduce yourself or ask a question from your seat at a small table, STAND UP.
Tip 5: For professional events, make sure your screen name is your full name, not just your first name or nickname.
That’s all for today on how to make the most of your introductions to fill your practice and further your career.
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.
LA-CAMFT 2021 Grant Awards for Pre-Licensed Members Who Are Therapists of Color
The LA-CAMFT Grant Committee is pleased to announce that for the first time ever, LA-CAMFT will be offering two grant awards 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 2021 Grant Award for Pre-Licensed Members who are Therapist of Color opens on August 27, 2021, and closes on October 29, 2021.
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:
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 2021 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 2021 LA-CAMFT Grant Awards for Pre-Licensed Members who are Therapists of Color opens on August 27, 2021, and closes on October 29, 2021.
My Retirement from Clinical Practice:
A Late-Life Ritual
Throughout my career as a therapist, I shared intense intimacy with clients and guided them where others fear to tread—into the shadow. I felt privileged to mentor them and watch them alter deeply ingrained patterns and lead more fulfilling lives.
But during my sixty-eighth year, I noticed a restlessness, a stirring that I had felt several times before at the end of a cycle and the beginning of another—when I had stopped teaching meditation but had no vision of a new career and felt like I stepped off a cliff; when I had stopped working in journalism but didn’t hear a new call and stepped into the unknown; when I had left book publishing to go to psychology grad school, but without financial or emotional support. Each time my soul had whispered, and I left behind a former role and entered liminal space, not knowing what lay ahead. Each time, a path appeared, with allies and guides and, eventually, a fulfilling destination.
Then, I was aware of approaching a threshold again. I noticed that it no longer bothered me when clients disappeared without a formal closure. Previously, I felt that I was left holding the relationship when a client stopped communicating. Now, I could let it go. Previously, I looked forward to traveling from the mountains into town. Now, I didn’t want to do the drive. Previously, I enjoyed traveling into others’ inner worlds. Now, I wanted more time to explore my own.
My attention was moving away from the work, and my heart was opening in other ways. What was it moving toward? A new orientation to time—less structure, more flow. A new orientation to responsibility—less obligation, more choice. A new orientation to purpose—from role to soul.
Then, the most essential question arose: Who am I, if I’m not Dr. Connie, a therapist, the shadow expert? What would it mean to let go of my role and my brand? What have I sacrificed to maintain that role? Who am I if I am no longer the Doer? How do I overcome resistance to letting go in this transition?
First, I stopped accepting new clients. When they emailed, I took a breath, wished them well, and referred them out.
Next, I began discussing my departure with clients, exploring how to move toward completion.
A few months later, the opportunity came to give up my city office. I went for it—and let go into the unknown.
I suspected that, with the gain of freedom, there also would be loss. I would feel less needed and less important for a while. I would feel less secure and more uncertain for a time. It would change my partnership with my husband, who was still working. And I might feel less purposeful and a bit disoriented, with the path ahead still hidden.
Perhaps hardest of all, I would lose the precious vehicle, the clinical relationship, in which to transmit all that I’ve learned from my own inner work, intellectual development, and spiritual growth to others. As I’ve carried that positive projection over the years, I’ve become accustomed to wearing it like a gown and standing in the archetype for them, rather than disclosing my personal story. It will be a loss to give up the power and status of that projection—and a gain to cultivate more equal and reciprocal relationships. It will be a loss to give up the “brand” of shadow expert—and a gain to extend it into this whole new territory of late life.
So, for me, retirement from clinical practice was not simply stepping away from paid work at the office. It meant retiring a spiritual path to my own deepening and widening awareness. It meant retiring the need to help; it meant retiring the need for answers; it meant retiring the need to be appreciated. It meant retiring from a life that’s known and facing an unknown, liminal time. And it meant retiring a practice of love that connected me to the depths of the human soul and to the journey of the human species. It has been a privilege.
I decided to mark it with intention, with a rite of passage, because I knew I was letting go, stepping into liminal space, and would emerge with the renewed vitality of an Elder.
One night I gathered a circle of friends and colleagues to ritualize my retirement from clinical practice. I lit candles and lowered the lights. I read for a few minutes from the opening to this chapter so that my observers would share my framework. Then I lifted each of four white cards, one at a time, that had my careers written on them: meditation teacher, journalist, book editor, therapist. And I lifted the five books that have been my gifts to the world.
I spoke for a bit about who might have been influenced by my work, including the known influences, such as my meditation students and therapy clients, and the unknown influences, such as readers of the books I wrote or the hundred books I edited, whom I would never meet. And I acknowledged myself for these contributions and deeply felt the value of those years spent working.
I held up these symbols of my work, roles, and responsibilities and offered them to the world: “I bless and release you to find your way now.” And, letting go in my heart, I set them down.
Then I asked each member of the group to offer a blessing. I stood for a moment, then crossed a threshold of silver tape on the floor, empty-handed, into open space.
Connie Zweig, Ph.D., Retired therapist and author, is a wife and grandmother, and an initiated Elder by Sage-ing International. After investing in all these roles and doing contemplative practices for 50 years, she is practicing the shift from role to soul—and authored her new book, The Inner Work of Age: Shifting from Role to Soul which extends her work on shadow and spirituality into midlife and beyond. Website: ConnieZweig.com.
This article has been adapted from The Inner Work of Age: Shifting from Role to Soul.
Feeling More Alive While You’re Alive
Some spiritual seekers are wan and dull and gray. They haven’t committed to being fully alive in their bodies, and their interest in spirituality becomes a way to avoid being so. There is no reason spiritual people can’t be the most vitally alive people on the planet. Increasing a sense of aliveness has to do with allowing more energy into the body and releasing blocks that keep energy trapped.
Forbes magazine recently featured Richard Branson, the adventurer, entrepreneur, and founder of Virgin Airlines. Now in his late 60s, he has started a new travel company for outer space, continues his sailboat racing, and spends 70% of his time on philanthropy. When asked for advice on how to increase energy, he responded, “Work out more.” Working out gives him at least four hours of additional productive time a day, he said.
It seems counterintuitive that we would gain energy by expending energy, but in the case of vigorous exercise, that’s the case. Athletic training improves metabolic efficiency, blood circulation, and general fitness so that more energy is available.
In addition to exercise, there are somatic disciplines that make available energy that is trapped in the body by promoting relaxation and reducing chronic tension. Weight training is an example, as are various bodywork therapies: Rolfing, Polarity, the Alexander technique, breathing practices, and massage of all types.
Taking care of our bodies includes proper nutrition. Many of the foods we eat today do not promote vitality. If we are not eating right, we will not feel alive. The key is to eat as many fresh vegetables and fruit as possible.
Psychotherapy can release energy that is being used to suppress our feelings, keep a lid on our inner life, and deny our reality. When therapy is successful, it lifts repressions, unblocks defenses against strong feeling and resolves internal conflicts, infusing a whole new energetic response to life.
© 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.
"No, Where Are You REALLY From?" Considerations for Therapy
with Mixed-Race Clients
Sunday, October 10, 2021
2:00 pm-4:00 pm
"No, Where Are You REALLY From?"
Considerations for Therapy with Mixed-Race Clients
Leanne Nettles, LMFT
Event Details: Sunday, October 10, 2021, 2:00 pm-4:00 am (PT)
What Famous Screenwriters Say About Rejection
I couldn’t get past the readers in the studios. The minute the people, actually at the studios who read boring scripts all the time, actually read my scripts they’re like—this shit is awesome, send it right to us. But the readers would never let it get there.— Quentin Tarantino
Rejection. It’s important to remember that it’s happened to every screenwriter. No one magically starts writing great screenplays. It’s a process of trial and error. You learn, you try things, you learn from your mistakes, you try it again.
How do writers stay confident in the face of rejection? It’s not easy. And it may be the greatest challenge any writer will have to face. You will have to start a screenplay knowing full well that up to a year of your life may go into it—yet, it may not sell. In fact, the odds are pretty much against it.
What are some ways to cope with the difficult odds? What do you tell yourself when you sit down to write?How about this? I can always raise money through crowdfunding and produce the film myself. Another. I can always rewrite this as a novel and self-publish. One more. I can always sell this someday as a TV series. Why not? It happens all the time.
Another way. Remind yourself, it's not always about selling your script. No matter where you are in your career, a great writing sample is essential. You don't need to sell this script.
You have to clear your mind to write anything. You can't have a million racing thoughts in your head as you write FADE IN. So, when you sit down to write, clear your mind of all thoughts that get in the way of writing. And that includes the odds of rejection. Forget about it. That will not help in any way. It's a Jedi Mind Trick.
Fool yourself into thinking writing is fun, despite the odds of selling. It's not a lie, writing can actually be fun. It's like putting a big, giant, time-consuming puzzle together. Some people like to do the Sudoku or the Jumble. Consider the screenplay your puzzle.
What else? Another Mind Trick. Remember that your writing gets better the more your write. How else do writers improve? Right? Another way to think about it; you're keeping your mind active, and therefore combating the onset of dementia. You're keeping yourself out of trouble and off the streets.
And finally, of course; you write because writers write. That's what they do. It can be that simple. What else are you going to do? You decided to be a screenwriter.
Whatever mind trick you use to keep you going, know that you're in good company. Everyone else who's toiling over a screenplay is doing exactly the same thing.
And if you're still having trouble facing the keyboard in the face of rejection, I’ve gathered some quotes, by well known screenwriters on the subject. They share their experiences, their observations and in some cases, their advice on dealing with rejection. You might find some of them inspiring.
“You have to put one foot in front of the other and keep going. Put blinders on and plow right ahead.”
— George Lucas
“The good ideas will survive.”
— Quentin Tarantino
“Everybody passed on Memento. It was a really unique road. I don’t think I’ll ever have a moment like that in my career. We took a huge knock, back as far as we could go. But we came back from it with sheer good fortune.”
— Christopher Nolan
“If you’re not failing now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.”
— Woody Allen
“To aspiring writers, I would tell them that we live in a wonderful time where you’re able to make your work visible, easily. If you think about it, even ten years ago or twenty years ago there was a middle man, there was a publisher, there were studios, there was this world of rejection letters. Now we’re in a place where we have the technology and the ability to go shoot our own movies or put stuff on YouTube, or a blog, if you’re a writer, or self-publish.”
— Diablo Cody
“Often, you have to fail as a writer before you write that bestselling novel or ground-breaking memoir. If you’re failing as a writer—which it definitely feels like when you’re struggling to write regularly or can’t seem to earn a living as a freelance writer—maybe you need to take a long-term perspective.”
"You only fail if you stop writing.”
— Ray Bradbury
"I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat."
— Sylvester Stallone
"If I went by all the rejection I've had in my career, I should have given up a long time ago.
— Mike Myers
"The first rejection that 'Dexter' got, I was like, 'OK. This hasn't worked. Let's try something else. I'll go get a teaching job or something."
"We all learn lessons in life. Some stick, some don't. I have always learned more from rejection and failure than from acceptance and success.”
— Henry Rollins
“It’s probably not a good idea to put too much of your self-esteem on something like this, because, really, you can make a bad movie and it can be well received, and you can make a good movie and it can be badly received.”
— Wes Anderson
“Don’t lose faith in what you are trying to do, even though you will get pummeled emotionally left and right. There are a lot of NOs to any YES. And that’s OK.”
— Jennifer Lee
“John [Cassavetes] was rejected by studios, he borrowed money and did movies with his own money. You’re either courageous or not. You have to find a way.”
— Ben Gazzara
“You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance.”
— Ray Bradbury
“Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae.”
— Kurt Vonnegut
“Don’t give up. You’re going to get kicked in the teeth. A lot. Learn to take a hit, then pick yourself up off the floor. Resilience is the true key to success.”
— Melissa Rosenberg
If nothing else, these quotes will reinforce the notion that rejection is just part of the process. All writers live with it daily. What made these writers different? Somehow, they were able to stay focused, shake off the knocks, and continue to do their best work. Resilience appears to be the key.
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.
Carrying the Mental Load—
Why Women Are Anxious
Women often complain that they do all the work in the house, even when they also have a full-time job and career. When they complain that they are overwhelmed by all they have to do, their partners say “You shouldn’t worry so much!” This is not as helpful as their partners think it is.
Research shows that women do more of the physical household work, although the ratio has changed dramatically in the last 50 years.
But what about the Mental Load?
What about the cognitive labor—the thinking, planning, deciding, and problem-solving necessary to run a household and a relationship?
Note that by “running a household” we’re not just talking about vacuuming and grocery shopping, etc., but also financial planning; interactions with extended family; gifts for friends, family, service workers, and colleagues; travel; insurance; pet care; healthcare; car maintenance; sports equipment purchases and maintenance; neighborhood involvement; and other aspects of adulting. And that’s if you don’t have kids.
Allison Daminger, Ph.D. candidate in Sociology and Social Policy at Harvard University, has done research about the way couples divide the mental load. She breaks down the mental load into 4 parts:
Ms. Daminger found that often when couples say their decision-making is collaborative, they are referring to the “Decide and Execute” phase of the decision-making. The “Identify Options” phase is sometimes shared as well.
Couples will tell you they chose that new sofa together—but chances are that the woman is the one who pointed out that they needed a new couch and researched the options. She is probably the one that deals with any problems with production or delivery as well.
The “Anticipate a Need” phase and the “Monitor Results” phase, however, are by-and-large tasks that fall on the woman alone.
These tasks are mostly invisible, so women don’t get “credit” for doing them—often they aren’t even aware of it themselves! These tasks are often time-consuming, and demand that a woman take time from a busy career or from personal activities in order to perform them.
But one of the least-appreciated aspects of these tasks is that they require constant vigilance.
Ms. Daminger tells us this cognitive labor imbalance can engender a “pervasive sense of anxiety: Which needs have they failed to anticipate? What schedule conflicts have they not foreseen? Which ongoing home project might they have lost track of along the way?”
“Decide and Execute” is a one-and-done task. “Identify Options”, though it can be time-consuming, has a distinct beginning and end. Also, interestingly enough, Ms. Daminger’s work does not identify whether there is a difference in genders in the amount of time spent on identifying options. Other researchers have pointed out that women tend to worry more about things household-related, because our culture will judge them more on the results. This could easily lead to them spending more time trying to find the best option available.
As therapists when we have a woman in our office who is suffering from a feeling of being constantly overwhelmed, we may approach this issue in a number of ways.
We may teach her relaxation techniques, or use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to challenge her beliefs about perfectionism. We may explore her attachment issues to see why she feels like she needs her home to be so well-run.
In these cases I would encourage you to also explore the relationship your client has with their partner. Even in the case of a healthy relationship, the bearing of the bulk of the mental load is often invisible, and often on the woman.
You can help your client:
One helpful tool is Eve Rodsky’s excellent book Fair Play, which gives couples a system for dividing up household tasks that includes both physical tasks and cognitive tasks.
Fair Play also addresses another common relationship issue—that the woman is “in charge” of managing the household.
French blogger Emma Clit addresses this in her hilarious feminist comic, “You Should’ve Asked.” The woman in the comic knocks herself out taking care of the house and the children and dinner for the guests, while her partner drinks cocktails and chats with their friends. When something boils over on the stove and makes a huge mess, he says to her, “What a disaster! What did you do???” She screams back, “I did everything, that’s what I did!”. Her partner, nonplussed, responds, “You should’ve asked. I would’ve helped!”
The woman is not the boss of running the household that two people share. Do your clients say things to their partners like, “Can you help me and take out that garbage tonight, honey?” Make sure they understand how their language promotes the idea that they are the boss and their partners are merely helpers. This dynamic is completely unconscious in many couples, and it eats away at equality and fosters resentment—but it is easy to change!
Sometimes when women present these ideas to their partners, their partners will say something to the effect of, “I just don’t care as much about these things as you do, sweetheart, so you should take charge on this.” Women can get sucked into this philosophy—after all, maybe they do care more about the new sofa, or the dental insurance, or the neighborhood meeting—but if this response is all they ever get, you can help them see the passive-aggressive nature of that dynamic. In these situations a referral to couples therapy can do wonders to assist your client with the anxiety that presents in individual therapy. Refer your client and her partner to your friends and colleagues—it’s a win-win!
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.
Black Therapist Support Group
First Saturday of Every Month
Saturday, October 2, 2021
12:00 pm-1:30 pm (PT)
Online Via Zoom
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, email@example.com.
Licensed Therapists, Associates, and Students
Event Details: Saturday, October 2, 2021, 12:00 pm-1:30 pm (PT)
Time of Check-In: 11:50 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 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.
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California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists
Los Angeles Chapter