Los Angeles Chapter — California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
Voices — September 2021
Jenni J.V. Wilson, LMFT
Respect the Journey
My parents met doing theatre in Florida. Young, talented, arrogant, and aspirational, it was only a matter of time before they founded their own company—but it didn’t last, because they didn’t know how to build and sustain something so large on their own. It’s hard to build something big and new all by yourself.
In Florida both my parents worked in local television and radio, but by 1969 they were lured up north by Michigan’s teachers-boom, where my mother taught English and theatre, while my father landed a job at a college university. In the early ‘70s they continued to do regional theatre throughout the year, and in the summers traveled with friends as an educational performance troupe called something groovy like, “The Moving Company.” My parents always undertook creative performance projects in their “down time.” In those days there wasn’t endless content to stream and work wasn’t life—they were people… people who need people because there’s no business like show business and that’s how I came to be born in a trunk.
When I was 3 years old we moved to a town with a renowned community theatre my parents immediately joined. My youth was spent inside most days, at rehearsals, set load-ins and load-outs, tech run-thrus, and running crew backstage. Any rare outdoor time was spent watching boats from the large parking lot outside the theatre Load-In door that edged on Lake Saint Clair, or spinning until I was dizzy, rolling down the grassy hill of what was once the enormous pristine waterfront yard of a mansion long ago donated to the city as the War Memorial community center which now housed a ballroom and theatre addition. This place was a second home, where generations of theatre folx and their kids surrounded me on the weekends, and too many late weekday-nights. While other kids were regularly soaking up Vitamin D elsewhere in the fresh air, I was building sets, running lines, running light cues, running around getting in the way, or observing quietly in the cool darkness of the house and wings, as characters, words, movements, and choices became magic.
I grew up at parties filled with shit-talkers and saints. Cigarette-smoking, beer-drinking, euchre-playing old-timers and bawdy, exhibitionistic, eager up-and-comers taught me how to listen and what a good story sounded like. Combinations of these persons were always around, helping my mom edit the theatre newsletter or convening as play-reading committees deciding the upcoming seasons or gathering to cast the ballots for their yearly performance awards at what was referred to as The Witch Hunt (which I swear had some crazy masonic-like undertones, but I’ll never know). Members loved and hated each other. Drama thrived on and off the stage. But everyone would rally-round when someone got married, drank-up when someone divorced, and together mourned the fallen when someone died. There was a continuum to it all. My parents who started out as bright young things resented by the former in-crowd, later were the ones pretending not to be threatened by new faces or hurt when passed over for a position.
Like so many, this isn’t my first career. I went from being a theatre dork, to being a dorky theatre major, to working in the film & television industries as an awkward adult before switching tracks at the age of 40. All that time, my academic, theatre, and professional communities saved me and kept me sane. My post-undergrad friends taught me about Trader Joe’s and the business of “The Business”, as we played cards in each other’s kitchens. In the days before Facebook, I found an online chosen-family comprised of fine-and-dandy wackos of all ages, experiences, and talents, who mostly worked in entertainment and tried to make each other laugh—but we cried a lot together, too. And when the time came, it was one of my best music and theatre friends from undergrad, a few years younger, that I followed to Antioch where we pursued our Clinical Psychology degrees together.
All my life it’s been natural to have people around who are older than I am, and folx who are younger. I’ve been fed and done the feeding. I’ve BEEN the elder, and I’ve been the foaling finding my footing. I’ve come and I’ve gone, and always cared. I’d never have gotten where I am without community… my community, wherever I could find it.
Changing careers meant a necessary absence from beloved former groups as I carved out an identity as an LMFT. I’ve always understood that it’s not what you know that gets your business off the ground, it’s who you know—why would the mental health world be any different? And of all the Los Angeles networking meets I dropped in on, LA-CAMFT events were the ones where the enthusiasm of the new and seasoned members drew me in beyond the CEU presentations. I met therapists who were my people—writers, musicians, artists, actors, mystics, intellectuals, yogis, naïve experts, and wizened fools—who invited me in and engaged with me when I showed up. Like any respectable Gen X-er, I said, “Sure, okay, whatever, I’ll check it out.” And here I am. Welcoming YOU.
One day the fresh therapists of today will be the establishment of tomorrow, feeling as skeptical and fearing irrelevance as their predecessors might do now. But skepticism aside, no one is irrelevant here. We need everyone in this community to keep this community knowing, growing, and flowing. New generations must continue to be invited in, and older generations must hold the door for them. In many cases, we’re not working in the same ways, with the same kinds of clients, or from the same scripts – but we all have something to learn from each other.
One day I’ll read the names of new board members or SIG Chairs wondering who these people are, and what happened to all those cool so-and-sos I served with back-in-the-day. But I hope I’ll still be motivated to meet the new team-members or lead a group. I hope I’m invited to help however I can. I won’t always be on the board, and frankly, I don’t want to be, but I’ve got a lifetime membership, baby, so you’re all stuck with me.
Paz y Amor.
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.
Cristina Mardirossian, LMFT
Event Details: Friday, September 17, 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 Professional Associations, Peer Consultation Groups & A Professional Will Can Bring Support & Continued Success to You, Your Practice, and Your Clients
Therapists are always wanting to know what they can easily do to keep their practice full, their clients happy, their income high, their expenses low, their license safe, and their services competitive.
Here are the top three things therapists can do to have a robust practice, a professional support system, and peace of mind:
1. Join and Get Involved in Your Professional AssociationWhenever I tell therapists that belonging to and getting involved with their local, state, and professional associations by attending events and volunteering is the number one thing that will save them money, get them known in their community, keep their practices full, their referral sources plentiful, and their clinical work up-to-date legally, ethically, and clinically—and more, they are very surprised.
Invariably a very lively, interesting, and informative discussion about how professional associations help meet the needs of therapists in practice follows—a very eye-opening one for those who haven’t been aware of how the benefits of membership, participation, and volunteering sustain therapists and their practices.
Most therapists look at joining a professional association as a necessary evil that takes money out of their pocket for dues so they can get member pricing for continuing education hours—and access to general legal advice if they have a question or problem or want a discount on malpractice insurance.
Professional associations are so much more than that.
Check out the short articles in this section to discover why joining and volunteering for your local, state, or national professional organization is a really good use of your time, energy, and money—and how it will keep your practice profitable. I guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
2. Find and Join A Peer Consultation Group
Having a regular peer consultation group is one of the joys of being a therapist. The mental health professionals I know who belong to these groups and attend regularly consider them vital to their own wellbeing and that of their practice, too.
Having a place among peers that’s safe and confidential where you can share about yourself professionally, your clients, and your practice, offer feedback and have interactions with other professionals in the group, enhances clinical learning through exposure to multiple perspectives and new ideas—and keeps burnout, professional isolation, and loneliness at bay.
Peer support is of great value at any stage of your career—and the peer interaction further develops your professional sense of self. Clearly these group experiences are crucial tools for success as a therapist.
Sharing about cases, clients, clinical and professional experiences; therapy and marketing and business strategies/issues/tips; emotional and social support, and more—this is what peer consultation is all about. Get some for yourself.
Read on and find out which of these short articles speaks to you and your practice needs.
3. Set Up A Professional Will for Your PracticeHaving a plan in place that takes care of your clients and manages your practice’s clinical and business affairs should something happen to you that interferes with you doing that is what a professional will is all about.
While putting a professional will together takes a little thinking and planning, it brings peace of mind to the practitioner when it’s in place. Knowing that your practice will be taken care of and that your family members won’t be burdened with having to figure out what to do to legally and ethically to take care of your clients and manage your practice due to your illness, disability, or death, will bring you peace of mind.
Here are 5 short articles that describe and detail what Preparing a Professional Will For Your Practice entails. See which one is the most helpful and informative for you and your practice.
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.
How To Create A Perfect Workspace for Writing
Where do you like to write? Where do you feel the most comfortable, and the least distracted? Do you like it dark and womb-like, or open and bright? Do you decorate your office with family photos or movie posters? Where do you do your best work?
Clearly, your mood can vary depending on your surroundings. Generally, writers like a fairly quiet space to work where they won’t be too distracted. If you work best in a clean, organized, uncluttered environment, make sure your workspace reflects that.
I went online to check with members of the many screenwriting groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. They're all free in case you're interested in joining. One is called Zero Draft Thirty, one's called 1 Page a Day Screenwriters, another—Screenwriters Who Can Actually Write.
Many of the group members told me they try to limit distractions by leaving their cell phones in another room while writing. Some like to work in complete silence. A few have been known to soundproof their workspaces. Others use special software that keeps them from surfing the web when they're supposed to be working.
Some prefer to work in silence, others want a pot of coffee nearby, some may need to smoke. Some like to write on a laptop in their kitchen. A few said they like to work on their kitchen counters. Other just like the proximity to the refrigerator. Oddly, one mentioned that the gentle hum his refrigerator emitted had a soothing effect.
While one writer preferred his office uncluttered and quiet, another said he liked loud rock music playing. Many writers told me they liked having the TV on, and some preferred clutter—explaining it made them feel they were getting things done.
One screenwriter I talked to said she liked plenty of room in her office so she could act out a scene as she was writing it. A writer/director mentioned he occasionally videotaped himself acting out a scene so he could transcribe it later. Another liked to talk the story out with his cat. Similarly, one said he talked to the disembodied computer voice of his Amazon Alexa, asking her to play smooth jazz, or when he needed to work faster—to set a timer.
While it helps some writers to walk around or talk out their scenes, others find it helps to gaze at a beautiful view. Several writers mentioned that they liked to look out their windows at a body of water. It was a calming influence that helped them center, and focus. One writer liked the view of a lake. Another, the Atlantic Ocean. A man who worked as a swim coach in another incarnation liked to write with a view of his swimming pool.
Another writer said she had a special setup for writing horror films. She’d sit in the dark, burning graveyard incense, with only Christmas lights on—and dark music playing. Her favorite music for the task—Marilyn Manson or Dead Can Dance.
She liked to call this space her portable altar of death. She said it also completely freaked her out. It was so intense she’d have to undo the setup after she was done writing. The dark energy that came with it troubled her. She wanted it gone when she was finished writing. After she was done writing she said she burnt sage and prayed.
Some of the other members liked to brainstorm in one location, for example, in a rocker, a barber chair, a La-Z-Boy, on the floor, or in the car driving up the coast, stopping to admire the view. They’d text or email themselves the work. Then they’d do the actual writing on their computers back at the office.
I know I like to write in longhand first, generally on the bed in the other room, then type it up back at the desktop. I move around a lot during different stages of the writing process. I always print up the scene and take it somewhere else to pencil in changes—usually in a noisy place—sometimes with the TV on and music blaring. Then it’s back to the keyboard.
I’m not sure why I like to have that wall of sound while I write. At some level, I’m sure it has to do with the occupational hazard for all writers—not wanting to feel so alone. Come to think of it, the combination of the TV talking heads and the loud music feels like working in a bar.
Another thing about the office I like to work in—I like it dark and womb-like, with the fan on, and maybe a small window open. I like to be surrounded by cool stuff. I have some artwork, some photos of my family and friends, and of my dog. I have an Egyptian stone cat with marbles in her eyes that light up when the fireplace is crackling.
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.
"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: Friday, October 10, 2021, 2:00 pm-4:00 am (PT)
Working with Boys: One Size Does Not Fit All
I have four 7-year-old boys in my practice. Right now, age and gender are their only commonalities. They are in therapy for different reasons, and all interact with me in their own way:
When I speak with a parent for the first time, they very often ask me about my approach. Typically, my first response is “it depends.” An important factor is the reason why the parent is seeking therapy for their child. However, more important factors are the ways in which a child feels comfortable communicating and how deep their hurts are buried.
All these components influence my approach, which over time, may be adjusted several times.
Therapy with children is rarely a linear process. Although the child is the client, they are not the only therapy ingredient. Familial relationships are also ingredients.
Sometimes, experimentation and time is needed to allow for the exploration and processing of emotions and the resulting behaviors.
What are some of the challenges you have had with 7-year-olds? What worked for you?
Frances Barry, LMFT is a psychotherapist in private practice in West Los Angeles where she loves working with children, teens, and parents. She engages children in play therapy, mindfulness exercises, creative activities or talk therapy, depending upon their age. Frances has returned to seeing clients in-person at her West LA office. However, remote sessions via video-conferencing are also available for those who prefer virtual work. To learn more, visit www.francesbarry.net.
Innies and Outies
I used to feel bad about being an introvert. It’s just really supremely nerdy to prefer to stay home and read. I was born that way, though, what can I say? Even when I was little, I remember my mother yelling at me, “Cathy, stop reading and go outside and play.” In a minute, Mom, in a minute. After I finish this paragraph, this chapter, this 800-page book.
America is an extravagantly extroverted culture. People are judged on their social skills, their level of apparent happiness and “positivity,” and their lack of thinking deeply. Other cultures, such as Asian ones, do not particularly value extroversion, and introverted people don’t feel as ostracized as we do here.
Someone once defined the difference this way: extroverts reach out to other people for stress relief while introverts prefer to be alone. This is only partially true, as everyone gets a mood boost from the company of others; rather, it is the number of people to whom one turns. Extroverts love hanging out in groups; introverts prefer meeting one-on-one with close friends.
While extroverts are partying down, introverts prefer less stimulus and more time for listening and reflection. Without introverts, we wouldn’t have artists, writers, musicians, scientists, or computer geeks. The extrovert’s primary life value is happiness; for introverts, it is meaning. Introverts can even find happiness a distraction from sorting out what has meaning and from being engaged in meaningful activities. Extroverts, of course, find this insane.
Very few people are completely one or the other. Introversion/extroversion exists on a spectrum, with most in the middle. With age, people broaden to incorporate more of the opposite characteristics, becoming less extreme and more moderate. Mature introverts may even enjoy parties and meeting new people, as long as it is balanced with enough time alone. I read once that the least amount of time one can spend at a party without seeming rude is one and a half hours, so I’ve encouraged my introverted clients to plan to attend social functions for that amount of time only, before escaping home. We all find this a huge relief.
© 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.
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, September 12, 2021, 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 Christina Cacho Sakai, LMFT at DiversityCommittee@lacamft.org.
In diversity there is beauty
and there is strength.
People Love to Give You Money—But You Have to Ask!
A Lesson in Negotiating from “The Wealthy Spirit”
“Everything is worth what its purchaser will pay for it.”—Albert Einstein
Sarah Edwards, with her husband Paul, has written many books on creating the life you want to live, including Working from Home, Secrets of the Self-Employed, and The Practical Dreamer’s Handbook.
Years ago, she called me to say that a local department store was looking for speakers for a series of events and she had given them my name.
I thanked her for alerting me to the opportunity, and when they contacted me, the department store representative asked what my fee was.
When I said, “$1,500,” she explained that it was a trial program and they didn’t have a large budget. But it would be great publicity and exposure for me in my local area.
Would I be willing to negotiate my fee? I agreed, and discounted my speaking fee to $1,000.
Sarah called me back a few hours later and said that they were asking her to speak as well, and wanted to know the amount of fee they were willing to pay.
Speaking fees are very diverse, and it is often difficult for speakers to know what kind of budget the company has in mind. If you ask for too little, you don’t look professional and if you ask for too much, you can price yourself out of the market.
I was happy to share with her my negotiations with them, since she had gotten me the job.
She called me back two days later, laughing on the phone. She said she just had to tell me this story!
Knowing that I had lowered my price for the department store event, and figuring they would try to negotiate with her as well, she decided to ask for more to begin with.
So she told them her price was $2,000 and settled for $1,500.
But that wasn’t all. The next day, another friend who had also agreed to speak for them called Sarah to compare notes on pricing, too. That woman had said her price was $3,500 and settled for $2,500! It was a perfect lesson in negotiating.
Look again at your price. Who picked that number?
Chellie Campbell, Financial Stress Reduction Expert, is the author of bestselling books The Wealthy Spirit, Zero to Zillionaire, and most recently From Worry to Wealthy: A Woman’s Guide to Financial Success Without the Stress. She is widely quoted in major media including Redbook, Good Housekeeping and more than 50 popular books. She has been treating Money Disorders like Spending Bulimia and Income Anorexia in her Financial Stress Reduction® Workshops for over 25 years. Her website is www.chellie.com.
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