Los Angeles Chapter  California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

Voices — April 2024

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  • 03/31/2024 11:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Jennifer Stonefield, LMFT
    President, LA-CAMFT

    Stress Awareness Month

    April is Stress Awareness Month, which serves as a crucial reminder for individuals to recognize, understand, and manage the impact of stress on their well-being. Throughout this month, the focus is on increasing awareness about the various sources of stress, both external and internal, and the importance of adopting healthy coping mechanisms. The aim is to empower both ourselves, as well as our clients, to take proactive steps in mitigating stressors, fostering mental resilience, and ultimately leading to a more balanced and fulfilling life.  

    Central to stress awareness is the notion of finding strength within oneself. It emphasizes the power of self-awareness and self-care as essential tools in navigating life's challenges. Whether through mindfulness practices, seeking support, or developing positive habits, individuals are encouraged to tap into their internal reservoirs of strength. This approach not only aids in managing stress but also contributes to personal growth, building a foundation for long-term well-being.  

    Strength within oneself, as highlighted during Stress Awareness Month, is not about avoiding stress altogether but rather developing the capacity to face challenges with resilience. It involves recognizing one's abilities, cultivating a positive mindset, and fostering a sense of self-efficacy. By acknowledging the link between inner strength and stress management, individuals can proactively enhance their mental and emotional fortitude, leading to a more empowered and balanced life. Wishing you all a month filled with strength and stress awareness.


    Jennifer Stonefield, LMFT

    Jennifer Stonefield, LMFT, is Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. She’s always had a passion for psychology and going on the therapeutic journey with her clients reminds her of this every day. She has a wide array of clinical experience ranging from working with children in an educational setting to those suffering from dementia to individual work in several group, private practices where age holds no boundaries. She has an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University, with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy. Jennifer applies a person-centered approach when working with clients, as she believes that a “one size fits all” approach simply won’t cut it.

  • 03/31/2024 10:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    LA-CAMFT April 2024
    including Q&A


    Hurts So Good:
    How Reality TV Shows Skew Our Clients’ Perception of Healthy Romantic and Sexual Relationships

    Friday, April 19, 2024
    9:00 am-11:00 am

    2 CE Credits

    Hurts So Good: How Reality TV Shows Skew Our Clients’ Perception of Healthy Romantic and Sexual Relationships

    Amanda Lopez-Martinez, ALMFT

    Who doesn’t enjoy some easy entertainment at the end of a long day? The reality TV space is swimming with relationship-centered programming such as The BachelorVanderpump Rules90-Day Fiancé, and so many more. "Hurts So Good" takes a critical look at these popular reality TV shows and discusses how they can skew what clients perceive as “healthy” romantic and sexual relationships. Clinicians will be able to identify how this sneaks up during sessions, and ways to challenge these thoughts in the therapeutic space, as well as how to cultivate room for a discussion about sex, relationships, and media in 2024.

    Event Details: Friday, April 19, 2024, 9:00 am-4:00 am (PT)
    Where:  Online via Zoom

    More information and register today by clicking the Register Here button below.

    Register Here

  • 03/31/2024 9:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Lynne Azpeitia, LMFT
    Voices Editor

    Embracing the Private Practice Lifestyle: The Journey of Running a Successful Private Practice as a Psychotherapist and or Coach

    Running a private practice as a psychotherapist and or coach is more than just a business endeavor; it's a lifestyle. It's a journey of personal growth, professional fulfillment, and the pursuit of an integrated life. Today we’ll explore the unique aspects of the Private Practice Lifestyle, the challenges it presents, and how to navigate them to achieve success as well as well-being.

    The Path Less Traveled

    Choosing to establish a private practice as a psychotherapist and or coach usually means stepping off the beaten path. It requires courage, determination, and a deep commitment to one's craft and profession. Unlike traditional employment settings, where schedules are predetermined and roles are clearly defined, being a private practitioner offers a level of freedom and autonomy that is both liberating, challenging, and creative.

    Blurring Boundaries

    One of the defining characteristics of running a private practice is the blurring of boundaries between work and personal life. Unlike a traditional 9-to-5 job, the demands of managing a practice can seep into every aspect of one's existence. It's not uncommon for therapists to find themselves thinking about clients during off-hours or feeling the pressure to constantly market their services.

    Embracing Flexibility

    At the same time, the Private Practice Lifestyle offers unparalleled flexibility. As a private practitioner, you have the freedom to set your own schedule, choose your clients, and design your therapeutic approach. This flexibility allows for a greater sense of work-life balance and the opportunity to tailor your practice to align with your values, priorities, needs and life circumstances.

    Nurturing Personal Growth

    Running a successful private practice is not just about helping others; it's also a journey of personal growth and self-discovery. As you navigate the complexities of human psychology and interpersonal dynamics, you inevitably learn more about yourself. Each client interaction offers an opportunity for reflection and insight, deepening your understanding of both the human condition and your own inner world.

    The Entrepreneurial Spirit

    To thrive as a private practitioner, you must discover and embrace your inner entrepreneur. Building a successful and sustainable practice requires not only clinical expertise but also business acumen. From marketing and branding to financial management and client retention, you wear many hats as a business owner. Embracing the entrepreneurial spirit means being willing to take calculated risks, adapt to change, and continuously innovate.

    Navigating Challenges

    Running a private practice comes with its fair share of challenges. From managing finances and navigating legal requirements to dealing with difficult clients and maintaining self-care, there are numerous obstacles along the way. It's essential to develop resilience and seek support when needed. Building a network of peers, mentors, and professional associations can provide invaluable guidance and encouragement.

    Cultivating Work-Life Integration

    Rather than striving for a strict work-life balance, many private practitioners aim for work-life integration. This approach acknowledges that work and personal life are interconnected and seeks to find harmony between the two. This might involve setting boundaries around work hours, prioritizing self-care, and finding ways to incorporate personal interests and passions into your professional life.

    Embracing the Journey

    Ultimately, running a successful and sustainable long term private practice as a psychotherapist and or coach is a journey, not a destination. It's about embracing the ups and downs, the challenges and triumphs, and the growth that comes with each experience. It's about finding meaning and purpose in your work, while also nurturing your own well-being and fulfillment.

    In conclusion, the lifestyle of running a successful private practice as a psychotherapist and or coach is a multifaceted journey that requires dedication, resilience, creativity, and a commitment to personal and professional growth. By embracing flexibility, nurturing personal development, cultivating an entrepreneurial spirit, and navigating challenges with grace and resilience, you can create a practice that not only supports your clients but also enriches your own life.

    Lynne Azpeitia, LMFT, AAMFT Approved Supervisor, is in private practice in Santa Monica where she works with Couples and Gifted, Talented, and Creative Adults across the lifespan. Lynne’s been doing business and clinical coaching with mental health professionals for more than 15 years, helping professionals develop even more successful careers and practices. To learn more about her in-person and online services, workshops or monthly no-cost Online Networking & Practice Development Lunch visit www.Gifted-Adults.com or www.LAPracticeDevelopment.com.

  • 03/31/2024 8:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    LA-CAMFT Diversity Committee

    White Therapist Fighting Racism

    Sunday, April 21, 2024

    Third Sunday of Every Month

    3:00 pm-5:00 pm

    Via Zoom

    White Therapists Fighting Racism

    The goal of White Therapists Fighting Racism (WTFR) is for white-identified therapists to become effective allies in support of decolonization and racial justice in our clinical practice, therapy association, and community. Recognizing that racism is maintained when whiteness is invisible to white people, White Therapists Fighting Racism provides a forum for white-identified therapists to explore what it means to be white. While this process includes learning about structural racism and deconstructing the false narrative about race, a primary focus in the group is on doing inner work. To learn more, click on the Diversity Committee page.

    Open to LA-CAMFT Members and Non-Members

    Licensed Therapists, Associates, and Students

    Event Details: 
    Sunday, April 21, 2024, 3:00 pm-5:00 pm (PT)

    To join this group, go to  https://lacamft.formstack.com/forms/wtfr_member_questionnaire

    For more information contact Randi Gottlieb at rgottliebmft@gmail.com.

    Register Here

  • 03/31/2024 7:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Van Ethan Levy,

    Saving Lives One Letter

    Affirming care that is trauma-informed and anti-oppressive for trans, non binary and many more non cis people is supporting the client where the client is at and removing barriers that are within our power to grant basic access to. Using a person’s name, pronoun(s), and validating who the person is, is the bare minimum and basic. We would be doing this for a cis client as we do not question the pronoun(s) the person uses, the name that the person shares with us or invalidating the person’s understanding, knowledge and exploration of self. Trans, non binary and many more non cis community members are constantly misgendered, dead named (using a name that the person was assigned at birth or is legally the person’s name), having to prove that the person really is who the person shares the person is, having to go through assessments in order to gain access to live saving medical care that affirms who the person is. 

    If a cis person wants to have surgery and/or start hormones, the person meets with a medical provider and is able to move forward with accessing care without needing a mental health provider to assess and provide a letter for approval. This is not the same equitable and accessible process that trans, non binary and many more non cis community members get to experience. The difference is the power and privilege that a cis identity holds over all other identities. Trans, non binary and many more non cis people have to endure a series of questions that question the person and the person’s identity. The person has to attend and afford therapy to access this care (the average yearly salary of a trans person is 10k a year).  

    We are all familiar that therapy is not cheap and/or free and many people don’t have access to insurance. Many of those who do, understand that having low income/no income insurance can be almost impossible to gain access to me mental health provider, let alone one who is trans https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=Best+restaurants+in+pasadena&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8affirming. Once the person has accessed mental health therapy and proven that the person truly is who the client shares that the person is. The person then may receive a piece of paper that enable the person to gain access to starting hormones, having surgery, medical procedures, electrolysis, hair removal and/or different medical interventions to create safety and/or comfortability in the person’s body both internally and externally. 

    I want to invite you to please read through all the information below which includes statistics of realities of the impact of having access to affirming care, surgery, hormones and/or medical procedures. While also holding that we have the power to create access and remove barriers to people who are just wanting to be true to oneself and to be able to experience one’s body in a way that aligns with who the person knows themselves to be. 

    More often than not, therapists communicate, “Oh, I don’t work with that population” when referring to the LGBTQPIA+ or even just trans and non binary people. Their reality is we do, we have and we will. 2022, 44% of adults in the United States of America know a person who is not cis. This percentage rose in one year from 41% in 2021 (https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/5-percent-of-americans-under-30-transgender-nonbinary-new-research-140030354.html?guccounter=2). That means that more than 4 in 10 of our potential clients may hold identities that are not cis and we may not even know it. Which indicates that we absolutely have worked with clients who hold these identities, that we know people who are trans, non binary and many more non cis identities and that in the future we will work with people who are not cis. We then must question how safe am I, am I willing to be an ally, what will I do to make it safer for my clients share these parts of the client’s identity(ies).  

    There are mental health providers who have gaslit many people in this community due to ignorance and/or naivety. People are unfamiliar with the vast amount of identities that a person can hold. Here are a few and not limited to, trans, non binary, two-spirted, A, fluid, Male Alyha And Hwame, Ninauposkitzipxpe, Ashtime, DemiGirl, Non-Conforming, MTF, FTM, Questioning, Non Binary, Variant, Inter, Hijra, Female, Mahu, Nadleehi And Dilbaa, Pan, Sekrata Poly, Winkte, Xanith, Whakawahine, Tri, Quiariwarmi, Neutrois, Lhamana, Kathoey, Guevedoche, the list of labels & identities does not stop here. 

    The potential identities that exist, that we embody, that we hold that are affirming and so much more are not limited to just the list above and it is vital that we are understanding that just because we don’t recognize an identity, it does not mean that it is not valid and/or real. Our role is to trust the client, who is trusting you enough, to share with us as mental health providers in sharing who the person is with us and believing our clients. 

    More than 5% of Americans under the age of 30 years old have shared that the person’s identity is trans, non binary and many more non cis identities. In 2018, that number was 1.8% (Pew Research Center 2022).( https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/5-percent-of-americans-under-30-transgender-nonbinary-new-research-140030354.html?guccounter=2 )(https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2022/06/07/the-experiences-challenges-and-hopes-of-transgender-and-nonbinary-u-s-adults/).

    This community continues to grow, not because it is a fad or because it is contagious, but because we are creating a world that is a little safer for some of us to be able to push past the societal constructs that define us and really lean into ourselves as we continue to explore and find more of who we are. This not true for many of us and it is vital that we are doing our part, as mental health providers and humans, to create accessibility and safer spaces for ourselves and our clients. I am inviting you to be part of the live saving solution. This is a moment in life where we get to decide and chose which side of history we will be on. 

    The Trevor Project, is one of the leading suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ+ youth, found in a 2022 national survey of 34,000 LGBTQ+ youth ages 13-24 that over 50% of trans and non binary youth in states across the US had seriously considered or attempted suicide in the past year (2022 U.S. National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health by State | The Trevor Project). 

    Research also consistently shows that when a person's identity is affirmed, via access to medical care, hormones, surgery and more, these numbers significantly are reduced. 

    For instance, the largest study of this kind (Psychosocial Functioning in Transgender Youth after 2 Years of Hormones | NEJMNew England Journal of Medicine, January 2023), which tracked over 300 trans and non binary youth across the country for over two years as they took testosterone or estradiol, found that depression and anxiety symptoms decreased and life satisfaction increased after starting and continuing affirming hormone therapy. 

    In the article, Long-Term Regret and Satisfaction with Decision Following Gender-Affirming Mastectomy, published on August 9, 2023, the question was asked “What is the rate of regret and satisfaction with decision after 2 years or more following gender-affirming mastectomy?” The findings indicated a significantly low rate, almost no rate of regret and/or dissatisfaction. This means that the rhetoric we have been receiving and potentially regurgitating is not based on facts and evidence. Studies are continuously showing that this is lifesaving care, so why are we exposed to apposing content and information? 

    The reality is, we live in a transphobic world that wants this community eradicated since colonialism. The media, religious institutions and so much more would rather us die because it goes against the systems that currently exist. The same systems that were created to keep privileged identities in positions of power because people are scared of what people do not know. 

    Transphobia is deeply connected to transphobia and what I mean by this is that people hold so much internalized transphobia that a person would rather blame and/or harm a trans person for “tricking them” versus holding that you can be a man, attracted to a woman who has a penis and not be labeled as gay. Yet our fragility prevents us from holding that being attracted to a trans, non binary and/or another non cis person does not change our sexuality nor is it ever okay to equate a trans woman as a man or a trans woman as someone who was “born a man” “biological male” “was a man” as all these are so deeply rooted in transphobia. 

    Biology is chromosomes, hormones, cells, receptors, and so much more. When a baby is a born, the doctor looks between the baby’s legs and determines the gender marker based on genitalia that is observed. Biology is not taken into account. Equating a person’s gender marker that was labeled on a person to a who a person is and/or was transphobic. 

    Forcing people to live based on who we were told we were as a baby is harmful and oppressive. We were born a certain weight, does that mean we can’t buy clothing that would fit us at the weight we are now because a document that a person recorded information on however many years ago dictated that, this is now our weight forever? 

    We grow, we change, we gain access to information, and we learn more about who we are, so if it doesn’t match who others told us to be, it doesn’t mean we are mentally ill/unstable or that we need to be assessed. It just means that the world is scared of us because history has shown us, we are scared of what we don’t know and our history in the United States of America shows us that we are scared of who can take power from us and change what we are comfortable with. 

    One of the largest studies was released in the New England Journal of Medicine that showed a decrease in anxiety & depression in trans youth after tracking over 300 trans and non-binary youth across the country for 2 years who were on hormones. The study’s conclusion was that the trans and non binary youth who received hormones that lead to the youth feeling a congruence between who the person is and who the person saw directly improved the psychosocial functioning of the youth (https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2206297). 

    Another study did a systematic review and meta-analysis of regret after having surgery to affirm oneself in one’s identity and the conclusion was that the prevalence is extremely low of regret with trans patience who had surgery.(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8099405/). 

    Mental health providers are often afraid of being sued for providing an assessment and a letter to a trans, non binary and/or another non cis identity. To date, there hasn’t been one case that a trans, non binary and/or another non cis person has won a law suit against a mental heath provider for providing a letter after an assessment for affirming surgery, procedures and/or hormones. 

    Studies continue to show an increase in livelihood, functionality, sense of self and so much more. 

    How you can be part of the solution 

    I am asking you to be part of this life saving care where we prioritize people’s livelihoods over our own fears and discomfort. I am asking you to please hold that engaging in assessments and writing letters for LGBTQPIA+ people to get access to medical care is vital and life saving. It could literally mean life or death for another person. It is up to us to choose to be on the right side of history and work towards ending gatekeeping. 

    I hold and understand that many mental and medical care providers often feel insecure in their ability to engage in an assessment and write a letter. This is why I developed an easy-to-use application called No More GateKeeping (https://nomoregatekeeping.org) that can be used on your phone, computer, tablet and/or many more smart devices. Following this app provides both the training to understand what is needed to write a letter, as well as an easy-to-follow process for writing them. 

    How the app works 

    The app provides the trauma-informed questions to ask the client. The provider types in the responses of the client. Once all questions have been answered, the app populates a ready to go letter that just needs the providers signature and date. The letters and information store locally to the device you are using to continue the protection of our clients. 

    A little about me 

    A little bit about me: I am a trans, non binary, autistic, person of color, who is a dually licensed mental health therapist. To date, I have trained 3,000+ providers across the country on how to write affirming letters for clients. My life’s work has been dedicated to creating safer and accessible ways for my community and many more communities to have access to life saving care, affirming spaces, and safer engagements. I spend at least 10-20 hours a day, 7 days a week trying to find a way to make this world a little safer for all of us. 

    I am inviting you all to help me in this work, aligning ourselves with anti-oppressive and trauma-informed engagements so that we truly are meeting our clients where they are at, and supporting them in trusting themselves. I am asking you to affirm that our clients are the experts of their realities, so that we can do all we can within our power and scope to affirm and protect our clients.

    Van Ethan Levy, MA, LMFT, LPCC, (they) (elle), a trans and non binary therapist, is a queer, non binary, trans, socialized as female, nBPOC (not Black Person of Color), who is autistic, and has dynamic disabilities amongst many more historically excluded identities. Van provides consultations and trainings on trans and non binary identities, is the organizer of the upcoming 2022 Virtual International Do Something: Identity(ies) Conference, authored the interactive book, Exploring My Identity(ies), and produced the Documentary, Do Something: Trans & Non Binary Identities, Website: VanEthanLevy.com.

  • 03/31/2024 6:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Steven Unruh,
    MDiv, LMFT

    5 Reasons to Choose Divorce Mediation

    Imagine standing at a crossroads, one path leading through a dark, tangled forest, the other, a bridge spanning a chasm, promising a clearer journey ahead. This is the metaphorical decision facing many couples at the precipice of divorce. The forest represents the traditional, adversarial court process, fraught with uncertainty, stress, and potential for conflict. The bridge? Divorce mediation – a path less traveled, yet illuminated with the promise of control, confidentiality, and a touch of humanity in a process that is all too often devoid of it.

    The Core Issue: More Than Just Legalities

    The journey of divorce is laden with a triad of challenges: external, internal, and philosophical. Externally, couples grapple with the logistics of separation—the distribution of assets, custody arrangements, and future financial planning. Internally, the emotional turmoil can be overwhelming, with feelings of failure, fear, and uncertainty clouding judgment.

    Philosophically, there’s a pervasive sense that the adversarial legal process exacerbates these challenges, pitting spouses against each other in a zero-sum game that leaves no true winners. It underscores a fundamental question: in the midst of restructuring lives, shouldn’t there be a more compassionate, equitable way to part ways?

    It doesn’t have to be this way. There is a path that prioritizes mutual respect, emotional well-being, and constructive dialogue.

    As a divorce mediator with over 30 years of experience guiding couples through one of life’s most challenging transitions, my approach is rooted in the belief that even in separation, there can be dignity, understanding, and hope for a positive future.

    Here are five compelling reasons why divorce mediation is not just an alternative, but often, the better choice:

    1. Control Over the Outcome

    Mediation grants both parties the power to craft their own final agreement, ensuring that critical life decisions aren’t left to the court’s discretion. This hands-on approach leads to a sense of ownership over the outcome, fostering a higher commitment to the agreed terms. Consequently, statistics reveal that agreements reached through mediation see better compliance rates. This is because individuals are more inclined to follow through on decisions they had a hand in creating.

    2. Cost-Effectiveness

    Divorce via traditional litigation can lead to substantial expenses, encompassing not just legal fees but also the considerable amount of time involved. Opting for mediation, however, can significantly cut down these costs. By facilitating a more streamlined process, mediation not only lowers legal expenses but also saves valuable time, making it a cost-effective alternative for resolving disputes.

    3. Privacy and Confidentiality

    Mediation stands out from court proceedings by offering a private and confidential process, shielding your family from the public eye and the potential exposure of sensitive details in public records. This level of privacy ensures a safe space for open expression of emotions and concerns, offering a secure environment where the intricacies of personal situations can be discussed and resolved without external scrutiny or judgment, thereby protecting the dignity and privacy of all involved.

    4. Emotional and Psychological Well-being

    The adversarial nature of traditional divorce processes often amplifies stress, anxiety, and depression among those involved, taking a significant toll on emotional and psychological well-being. In contrast, mediation promotes a collaborative and supportive environment that notably reduces conflict and mitigates the emotional strain on the entire family. This approach is especially beneficial for children, who research shows are less likely to experience distress and adjustment issues in the wake of mediated divorces. This nurturing atmosphere fosters healthier emotional outcomes for all parties involved, highlighting the profound impact of mediation on family dynamics during such pivotal transitions.

    5. Faster Resolution

    The congested nature of court schedules frequently results in protracted legal battles, significantly delaying the resolution of disputes. Mediation, however, presents a more efficient alternative, offering the flexibility to schedule sessions according to the convenience of all parties involved. This streamlined approach typically leads to swifter resolutions, enabling individuals to expedite the process of moving on from disputes. The ability to quickly conclude these matters allows everyone to focus on rebuilding and moving forward with their lives in a more timely manner, highlighting mediation’s effectiveness in facilitating faster closure.

    Take the First Step

    Some may question whether mediation can handle complex divorces or high-conflict situations. In my three decades of experience, I’ve found that with skilled mediation, even the most contentious disputes can be navigated successfully. The key is a willingness to engage in the process and the right mediator to guide the journey.

    If you’re at this crossroads, consider the bridge of divorce mediation. It’s not just about ending a marriage; it’s about beginning the next chapter of your life with clarity, respect, and a sense of peace. Reach out to explore how this process can work for you. Together, we can traverse this bridge, leading you towards a future filled with possibilities.

    Embarking on the mediation path doesn’t mean navigating alone. With the right guidance and support, couples can turn a period of ending into a foundation for new beginnings. Find out how mediation can reshape your divorce into a constructive, healing process—and create a better ending together.

    Steven Unruh, MA, MDiv, is a Divorce Mediator and LMFT. He and his team at Unruh Mediation complete the entire divorce process, including all assets, pensions, properties, alimony and child supportalong with all required documentation. Unruh Mediation files in 13 different courthouses throughout Southern California. Website: stevenunruh.com.

  • 03/31/2024 5:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Marvin Whistler

    LA-CAMFT Therapists of Color Grant Award: Grant Award Registration Opens May 1

    On February 25, 2024, the most recent awardees of the LA-CAMFT TOC GRANT AWARD were randomly selected.  They are Michelle Williams and Mia Lamar.  Each will receive a check for $530, and free admission to 3 LA-CAMFT workshops or networking events.  The next cycle for the grant will begin on May 1, 2024.  It is limited to members of LA-CAMFT, and the award is limited to once per calendar year.

    Description of Grant Stipend

    Every 4 months (3x per year), a grant award will be offered to two applicants who meet the following criteria: (1) must be a current LA-CAMFT member, (2) identify as a Therapist of Color, and (3) must be either an Associate, Trainee, or Student still in graduate school.

    Grant winners will receive

    • $530 to be spent at the winner’s discretion
    • Free admission to 3 LA-CAMFT workshops or networking events of the winner’s choosing with the exception of the Law & Ethics Workshop.

    The $530 award can be used at the recipient’s discretion based on their own individual needs (whether it be for BBS fees, testing materials, memberships, rent, groceries, etc.). Confirmation for the purpose that the money is used will not be required.

    Application and Selection Process

    Interested members can complete the 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 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, whom will also be contacted via email directly. Registration for the next award cycle will open on May 1, 2024 and will close on June 29, 2024. The drawing will take place on June 30, 2024.

    Best regards,

    The LA-CAMFT TOC Grant Committee

  • 03/31/2024 3:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Chellie Campbell,
    Financial Stress
    Reduction Expert

    Yeah, Buts

    "You can have what it is you want, or you can have your reasons for not having it.

     Werner Erhard

    It is an interesting phenomenon that when told of a problem, most people will try to be helpful and offer advice to try to help solve it. It seems to be just naturally what people do. The response to the helper’s advice often sounds like this: “Yeah, but that won’t work for me because…,” or “Yeah, but I tried that once and it didn’t work…,” or “Yeah, but my case is different….”

    This is the voice of someone who is defending their position, not looking for solutions. They are great at finding evidence for why problems can’t be solved rather than actively looking for help to change their situation.

    “Yeah, buts” have a very negative psychological effect on the person trying to help. They’ve just been rejected, essentially told that their advice is no good, inappropriate or doesn’t work. It’s very difficult to keep trying to make positive suggestions to Yeah But-ers. “Yeah, buts” build a big dam in the river of creative ideas.

    I had buttons made for my workshops that have the words “Yeah, but” on them surrounded by a red circle with a red line through it—“No yeah, buts.” I explain that that phrase is not allowed in my classroom. So during each class, when someone is offered advice and forgets and says, “Yeah, but…” I throw them a button. Sometimes, with incorrigible Yeah But-ers, other people in the class get up, grab a button and throw it at them. People have been known to leave class wearing eight or ten buttons!

    You will find yourself getting richer and happier when you eliminate the words “yeah, but” from your vocabulary. Instead of “Yeah, but” say, “Thank you for the suggestion! Help me see how I can apply that to my situation.” Now you have two people working on the problem side by side, instead of two people, with the problem between them, arguing about it.

    Think you can make it through today without one “yeah, but?”

    Today’s Affirmation:
    “I am now enjoying great financial prosperity!”

    I admit to being a World Class Yeah But-er myself.


    Yes. We often teach best what we need to learn most, as Richard Bach said.

    When someone said, “Chellie, you should teach workshops!” I said, “Oh, no, I don’t think I can do that.”

    When someone said, “Chellie, you should write a book!” I said, “Yeah, but that’s too much work and I don’t want to schlep product around.”

    When someone said, “Chellie, you should franchise your workshops!” I said, “Yeah, that’s a great idea, but I’m not ready to do that yet.”

    Upon reflection, I think “yeah, buts” are often the way we work things out in our minds before we take action. We do need to be thankful for the cautionary voice inside us that reminds us that there might be potential downsides to our plan. We have to consider the ramifications of our actions before embarking on a new course of action. What are the problems we might encounter? What would we be willing to do to surmount them? How might our life be changed if we get what we want?

    And then we have to be prepared with a Plan B if Plan A doesn’t pan out…

    Sometimes “yeah, but” is just a wishy-washy way of saying we don’t want to do it. So pause before the next time you’re about to say “yeah, but” and think if what you really mean is “Thanks for the suggestion, but I’ve decided against doing that.” It’s certainly fine to say, “No.”

    But you want to be careful not to shut-down your Creative Contributors from having great ideas for you. You want them to keep coming, because sometimes they have an idea that is so perfect for you, your answer is going to be, “Wow! That’s a fabulous idea! I’m going to get started on that right away!”

    Isn’t that what you most want to hear when you offer someone a suggestion?

    We have to consider the ramifications of our actions before embarking on a new course of action.

    Chellie Campbell, Financial Stress Reduction Expertis the author of bestselling books The Wealthy Spirit, Zero to Zillionaire, and From Worry to Wealthy: A Woman’s Guide to Financial Success Without the Stress. She has been treating Money Disorders like Spending Bulimia and Income Anorexia in her Financial Stress Reduction® Workshops for over 25 years and is still speaking, writing, and teaching workshops—now as Zoom classes and The Wealthy Spirit Group on Facebookwith participants from all over the world. Website: www.chellie.com.

  • 03/31/2024 2:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    LA-CAMFT Diversity Committee

    Black Therapist Support Group

    Second Monday of the Month

    Next Meeting:
    Monday, April 8, 2024
    6:00 pm-7:30 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

    For more information contact Stara Shakti, LMFT at DiversityCommittee@lacamft.org.

    Event Details: 

    Licensed Therapists, Associates, and Students

    Event Details: 
    Monday, April 8, 2024
    6:00 pm-7:30 pm (PT)
    Time of Check-In: 5:50 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  Diversity Committee, diversitycommittee@lacamft.org.

    Register Here

  • 03/31/2024 1:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Kim Scott, LMFT

    A Tapestry of Life: Reflections on The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully

    As I approached my 60s, a mix of emotions accompanied me. Unlike the upheaval of turning 30 or the stark realization of fifty looming over me, my 60’s felt different. This decade came with societal labels—was I now considered old or a senior citizen? Elderly or geriatric? While I didn’t identify with any of these labels, I knew I was entering a new stage of life. I felt a desire to explore this new phase of life, not only for myself but also for the benefit of my older clients seeking guidance.

    Delving into the literature on aging, I discovered a wealth of insightful books that expanded my understanding of this developmental stage. The more I read, the more I noticed a gap in my graduate program’s curriculum concerning gerontology. While there were many courses on child development, adolescence and becoming an adult, little was said about the decades from 60 and beyond. Whether you are in a similar situation or are simply curious about this rapidly growing demographic, allow me to introduce you to one of my favorite reads on the subject: The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully by Joan Chittister.

    Joan Chittister, an 88-year-old Benedictine Nun, author, lecturer, and activist, shares profound wisdom accumulated over a lifetime of service through the 41 essays in this book. Covering topics such as regret, ageism, fear, relationships, dreams, loneliness, success, and the meaning of life, The Gift of Years offers a reflective framework rather than prescriptive therapeutic techniques. It sets the stage for understanding the concerns and changes that occur as we age and as Chittister points out we are aging from the time we are born. In this beautifully written book, Chittister emphasizes how our mental and spiritual attitudes shape our journey through life's challenges and ultimately determine our growth in older age.

    If I were to choose one quote from Chittister’s book that encapsulates its message it would be, "Life is about becoming more than we are, about being all that we can be." This quote resonates deeply with my personal philosophy and professional approach, and it is a message often forgotten as we age. It is important for clinicians to remember when treating older adults that growing and becoming can continue throughout one’s life. Yes, there may be losses but even loss can lead to growth, new insights, and a broader understanding of life. In The Gift of Years Chittister shares insightful essays that can help clinicians guide their clients through this journey of growth and becoming. It can also help the younger clinician understand some of the challenges and blessings of aging.

    Chittister's exploration of forgiveness acknowledges the weight of regret and the struggle to attain perfection. Striving for perfection and experiencing regret when we do not achieve that impossible standard is something I see clients of all ages grappling with. Whether it is attaining the perfect body, being the perfect parent, or writing the perfect book, helping our clients let go of these unrealistic standards and shutting down their internal critic is an integral part of therapy. This can be even more important with our older clients as they think back on their lives and realize that some missteps cannot be changed. Self-forgiveness may be the only answer. Chittister emphasizes that self-forgiveness is a vital part of personal growth but that it often takes learning to forgive others first. She says that as we forgive others, we gain the right (and the ability) to forgive ourselves. This is a powerful concept. By helping our clients accept other’s imperfection, we can help them become more accepting of themselves as well.

    In addressing ageism, Chittister dismantles misconceptions about cognitive decline in older adults. In fact, she observes that, “...most older people retain their normal mental abilities, including short-term memory, their entire life. They are just as able to learn and remember as younger people, though they begin to process information differently, and they may take longer to complete a project.” She champions the depth, reflection, and philosophical awareness that come with age, challenging societal biases.

    Chittister's insights into aging and accomplishment are particularly relevant in today's political landscape, where candidates in their senior years face scrutiny. It underscores the importance of combating age-related prejudices and recognizing the richness of experience that older individuals bring.

    As clinicians, we can help our clients confront their internal biases and self-limiting beliefs about aging. To assist in this process, we can debunk myths and misperceptions about aging, normalize what healthy aging looks like while highlighting their valuable skills and experiences. This will help our older clients foster a deeper sense of self-awareness and confidence in navigating this stage of life.

    Each essay concludes with reflections on the burdens and blessings associated with each topic. Chittister's nuanced approach highlights how every life experience, even regrets, can be reframed as an opportunity for growth and understanding. Helping our clients examine their lives and their regrets can give them the space to find the learning lessons, strengths and blessings that may have come from their experiences. As we have learned from trauma treatment, often old, painful memories stay frozen in time when unprocessed. Through exploration of the topics in Chittister’s book we can help our clients review and process old issues in the safety of our office. They can review their memories in a new way with less pain and more understanding. They can find the gift in the wound or at least relegate the experience to the past.

    The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully is a poignant and thought-provoking exploration of the emotional, philosophical, and spiritual dimensions of aging. It encourages clinicians to delve deeper into their own understanding of these issues while offering invaluable insights for supporting their clients. I wholeheartedly recommend this book.

    Kim Scott, LMFT is a licensed marriage, family and child therapist. She has a private practice in Granada Hills where she works with couples and individuals, in-person and via Telehealth. Kim has been licensed for 30 years and has expertise in working with older adults and women issues. To learn more about Kim's practice and to read more of her articles visit her website: www.kimscottmft.com.

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