Los Angeles Chapter — California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
Voices — April 2021
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 Niparpon Johansen, LMFT at email@example.com.
Licensed Therapists, Associates, and Students
Event Details: Sunday, April 11, 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 Sunday, April 11th at 1 pm.
Questions about Registration? Contact Christina Cacho Sakai, LMFT at DiversityCommittee@lacamft.org.
In diversity there is beauty
and there is strength.
A New Way to Use The Five Love Languages
Do Your Clients Ask You About The Five Love Languages?
Mine certainly do! The problem is, they usually get it wrong. They expect their partner to change so that they can be loved in the way they prefer.
Sure, it’s a good idea for your clients to tell their partner that they like to be hugged or told “I love you,” but this is not actually the thrust of the popular theory proposed by Gary Chapman in The Five Love Languages.
What Does the Book Tell Us to Do?
Chapman posits that people show and receive love in these five different ways:
As a recent article, in The Atlantic points out, Chapman wrote the book in order to help people identify their partner’s love languages, so that they could make their partner feel loved.
Here’s what I tell my clients:
“If you have been trying and trying to show your partner how much you love them, but they have not been responding to your efforts, it can be extremely helpful to take a minute to ask them about their love language.
If your partner’s love language is physical touch—which perhaps you yourself couldn’t care less about—and you’ve been knocking yourself out giving them acts of service, then nobody is happy. Your partner doesn’t feel particularly loved, and you are not getting any credit for all the effort you’ve been putting in!
If you know their love language you can tailor your actions to their needs, so that you will get credit for all you do—That’s a win-win!!”
Your clients will love to have all their efforts finally be appreciated!
But I would take this idea a step further.
A New Way to Use The 5 Love Languages
Many of my clients come to me because they feel unloved in their relationship. It helps considerably to identify how their partner is already showing that they care.
For instance, your client’s partner shows up on their birthday without flowers, (which of course they were expecting!) and it bums them out.
Their disappointment keeps them from noticing that their partner got all dressed up for them, because they know your client hates their normal “uniform” of jeans and a T-shirt. They even made reservations at a special restaurant, but your client is already too upset to notice or care.
What you want your clients to understand is that:
Knowing your partner’s love language means you have a much better chance of feeling loved!
Often we tell our partner our love language, but because it’s not their love language, they struggle to show us love in that way. They try, but fall short. They’re human; they forget. Their efforts are sporadic, and it can leave us feeling like we aren’t important enough. That sucks. We all want to feel like we are important to our partner!
But . . . If you know your partner’s love language, you can notice when they “speak” it to you!
Once your client learns to identify the ways that their partner has already been showing they care, their anxiety will be considerably reduced, and they will begin to feel loved and valued.
When your client’s partner starts to get credit for all that they are already doing to show their love, they care a whole lot more about learning the love language of your client! It starts a cycle of increasing willingness and ability on both sides of the equation to give and receive love in many different ways!
When my clients insist that it is their partner who should change, I remind them,
“The purpose of noticing what your partner does to show you they love you, is not to give them credit for every little thing they do, so that they don’t have to try to meet you in your love language.
Rather—The purpose of noticing what your partner does, is to give YOU that warm fuzzy feeling of being loved—you deserve it!”
As much as my clients want their partners to learn to speak their love language, they are always much happier when they learn to translate their partner’s actions as loving and caring.
Some of my clients swear they don’t do this—that their partner simply doesn’t ever show them how much they care.
When they are certain their latest love interest does not return their feelings, I say:
“Have you ever obsessed about why they didn’t text you right back? Or right before bed? Or as soon as they landed at LAX?”
Translating the absence of text responses is probably the most common miscommunication I see in my practice. If your clients spend time worrying about that next text, it can ruin their day, their evening, and their peace of mind. Eventually it can ruin their relationship.
The texting app on an iPhone is actually engineered to drive you crazy, because those three little dots that show you someone is composing a response make texting all the more addicting. You can read all about those 3 dots of doom right here . . .
Although most of my clients are successful but anxious young women who are learning to build healthy relationships, I have also seen this dynamic in gay and lesbian relationships, and in anxious young men who are worried about the woman they care for. Anxiety in relationships is equal opportunity!
At the end of the day there are a million wrong ways for your clients to translate their partner’s words and actions, but only one right way—the way they were meant by their partner! When your clients can learn to translate their partner’s love language, they will feel happier, less anxious, and more loved—without having to change their partner at all!
This article was previously published in Voices, December 2019.
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.
White Therapists Antiracist Group:Letter to White Therapists
Are you interested in being part of a local movement to grow white consciousness toward greater responsibility for, and engagement in, anti-racism work in our therapy community?
Are you interested in increasing your understanding of privilege, race, racism, and how white people keep systemic racism in place whether consciously or unconsciously?
Have you wished for a safe space where you could meet with other white therapists who are interested in doing the same?
Quoting from poet laureate, Amanda Gorman, “If we’re to live up to our own time,” this is part of “The hill we climb / If only we dare.”
The White Therapists Antiracist Group, a subgroup of the LA-CAMFT Diversity Committee, has been formed to support White Therapists “climb this hill.” The "hill" in this specific case, is the path we need to take to “do our work.”
The White Therapists Antiracist Group Leadership Team—Randi Gottlieb, Matt Evans, and Estelle Fisher, are currently developing a range of options including ongoing consciousness-raising/educational workgroups to provide high-trust spaces that offer a challenging but nonjudgmental exploration of what it means to be white and how to use white privilege and white rights as allies and activists with our colleagues of color in support of racial justice.
Randi Gottlieb, LMFT, is a psychotherapist in private practice in Los Angeles. Her work is rooted in Gestalt, attachment focused EMDR, and Trauma Resiliency as complimentary body/mind approaches. She frames her work within a Narrative Therapy lens. After serving on the LA-CAMFT Board of Directors for seven years, Randi is now a member of the Diversity Committee and is Chair of the White Therapists Antiracist Group. She is currently studying to be a Life-Cycle Celebrant.
of Inclusion, Diversity, and Anti-Racism
Psychotherapy can be transformative in a democratic society, and can open intellectual inquiry that, at its best, influences and results in lasting positive change. In recognition of our shared humanity and concern for our community and world, LA-CAMFT loudly and overtly disavows all racism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, classism, ableism, ageism, and hate speech or actions that attempt to silence, threaten, and degrade others. We in LA-CAMFT leadership hereby affirm our solidarity with those individuals and groups most at risk and further declare that embracing diversity and fostering inclusivity are central to the mission of our organization.
As mental health professionals, we value critical reasoning, evidence-based arguments, self-reflection, and the imagination. We hope to inspire empathy, advocate for social and environmental justice, and provide an ethical framework for our clients, our community, and ourselves.
We in LA-CAMFT leadership are committed to:
(1) the recognition, respect, and affirmation of differences among peoples
(2) challenging oppression and structural and procedural inequities that exist in society, generally, and in local therapeutic, agency, and academic settings
(3) offering diverse programming content and presenters throughout our networking event calendar, as well as in our workshops, trainings, and special events
While we traverse the turbulent seas of the important and necessary changes taking place in our country, in order to form a “more perfect union.” we wish to convey our belief that within our community exists an immense capacity for hope. We believe in and have seen how psychotherapy, therapeutic relationships, and mental health professions can be agents of positive change, without ignoring or denying that the practice and business of psychiatry, psychology, and psychotherapy have historically been the cause of great harm, trauma, and emotional toll, particularly for people of color and other marginalized groups. We are committed to doing our part to help remedy that which we have the position, privilege, and/or resources to do so.
At LA-CAMFT events, all members are welcome regardless of race/ethnicity, gender identities, gender expressions, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, disabilities, religion, regional background, Veteran status, citizenship, status, nationality and other diverse identities that we each bring to our professions. We expect that leadership and members will promote an atmosphere of respect for all members of our community.
In a diverse community, the goal of inclusiveness encourages and appreciates expressions of different ideas, opinions, and beliefs, so that potentially divisive conversations and interactions become opportunities for intellectual and personal growth. LA-CAMFT leadership wants to embrace this opportunity to create and maintain inclusive and safe spaces for all of our members, free of bias, discrimination, and harassment, where people will be treated with respect and dignity and where all individuals are provided equitable opportunity to participate, contribute, and succeed.
We value your voice in this process. If you feel that our leadership or programming falls short of this commitment, we encourage you to get involved, and to begin a dialogue with those in leadership. It is undeniable that the success of LA-CAMFT relies on the participation, support, and understanding of all its members.
Standing together,The LA-CAMFT Board of Directors and Diversity Committee
Attention LA-CAMFT Members!
2021 LA-CAMFT Board Meeting Dates
Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at a LA-CAMFT Full Board Meeting? LA-CAMFT members are invited to attend monthly Full Board Meetings hosted at Factor’s Deli in West Los Angeles.
Online Via Zoom
Voices Publication Guidelines for 2021
Calling all community writers and contributors!
Are you searching for a unique platform to express your passions and showcase your expertise in the Marriage and Family Therapy field? Look no further, as we welcome your input!
Following are the due dates and publication guidelines for submitting articles and ads for the 2021 calendar year to Voices, LA-CAMFT's monthly newsletter:
LA-CAMFT Publishing Guidelines for Voices
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