Los Angeles Chapter  California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

Los Angeles Chapter — CAMFT

President's Message

07/31/2021 11:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

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

Insanity and Enlightenment

The saying sometimes goes that, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.” As we well know, because we’re therapists and also flawed humans, change is hard, takes time, and only happens when external and internal conditions allow. 

Looking for inspiration and direction this month, I re-read a selection of past Presidents’ President’s Messages—some as far back as 2009—and noticed reoccurring visions, themes, and grandiose plans for changes to the chapter that still haven’t come to pass or last. I wonder to myself if I’m insane to think that current leadership can actually accomplish any of these things if we haven’t yet? 

Every year LA-CAMFT holds a Leadership Retreat, to build stronger bonds and talk about what’s working or not working within the chapter. We take time out to listen to what people want to see and do in LA-CAMFT, and then brainstorm how to manifest all the brilliant cool ideas moving forward. And each year, it seems, the new voices ask for the same things, and the established voices (like mine, at this point) nod along and validate—“Yes, yes—absolutely,” while also defensively explaining how we’ve been hoping to bring these things to fruition and haven’t had the time, ability, and/or person-power to do so, yet. Some oft reported suggestions include: 

  • Update and trick-out our webpages, branding, and marketing
  • Create a Social Media Committee (again)
  • Create and post descriptions (written/video) on the website of all open and ongoing leadership positions
  • Offer recordings of CEU speaker events on the website
  • Expand programming and outreach into larger areas of Los Angeles beyond the Westside
  • Send ambassadors to graduate programs to talk about what LA-CAMFT can offer to support practicing and aspiring therapists
  • Increase outreach to community mental health agencies
  • Update Bylaws
  • Create Succession Guidelines for leadership
  • Increase collaboration, dialogue, and trainings with related organizations and aligned entities in Los Angeles
  • Revitalize existing and dormant Special Interest Groups (SIGs), and establish new ones (meditation, experiential, LGBTQ+, etc.)
  • Offer new/more Mentoring opportunities to associates 

And as if on cue, all of these things turned up again at this year’s Leadership Retreat. However, something did seem different. President-Elect Leanne Nettles and I sought to use the time we had to discuss a vision for a post-Covid LA-CAMFT, while forming and deepening connections between those who are currently in Leadership—as board members, committee or SIG chairs, facilitators, and more. Expanding diversity in representation on the board, on the speaker calendar, and in everything LA-CAMFT does, has always been a priority—and it has taken a long time for the changes supporting that commitment to become apparent. Looking at the Zoom squares, it was heartening to see what a beautiful representation of divine weirdos cut from many kinds of cloth we are, and I was struck by how at least half the attendees are active members of the Diversity Committee. We are on our way. It’s a new generation of Leadership and there’s space for everyone; I’m excited and hopeful about the future of LA-CAMFT. Any cynicism I was holding onto has melted. 

So, perhaps I’m not insane (not completely, at least)—even if we need to keep doing the same things over and over again, ultimately it’s worth it. Maybe with more meetings, retreats, president’s messages, inclusion, and brainstorms on the future of LA-CAMFT, things do change, as they have changed, and will continue to change. They’re changing and the future is NOW. Wishes keep coming true as we get more folx on board, and find more hours in the day, and as conditions make it externally and internally possible. Be patient, please. We will keep doing what we can with the talented overtaxed team that we’ve got . . . and we could always use more help. There will always be more we can do. 

Enlightenment is a kind of stupidity, seeing with new eyes, forgetting what we think we know (“You know nothing, Jon Snow.”), releasing ourselves from suffering and desire in order to let things happen at a natural pace. It is an effortless effort. Change comes when we have created the environment for it to take root, and we have to work hard to get lucky. (Thank you, Leanne, for working so hard with me on the Leadership Retreat. We were incredibly lucky to spend the afternoon with all the fierce leaders who joined the conversation.) 

There is a Japanese legend that says anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish from the gods, or maybe happiness and eternal good luck, or perhaps recovery from illness or injury. Cranes are also folded as dedications to lost loved ones, and I can always get with that. Although I started folding them many years ago, I really dug in during Covid, completing my first thousand origami cranes in March of this year. After a thousand, I waited for enlightenment, and this is what I now understand: there will always be more cranes to fold. There will always be more wishes to be granted, more souls to be honored, more happiness, luck, and recovery to be had. I ordered more paper, and have begun my next thousand. There will always be more we can do. 

Cranes are a symbol of peace, and I always wish you Peace . . . and Love. 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.


  • 08/01/2021 10:05 AM | Amy Gottlieb
    I love this “President’s Message” Jenny. I love the message and I really like how you were both entertaining and meaningful; sometimes those can be challenging to accomplish at the same time. Congratulations on folding a thousand cranes!! I wish something absolutely magical would have manifested. Stranger things have happened. But yes, life in its predictable unpredictability marches on. Or stands still. Or goes backward. And yes, there are always more cranes to fold. I read your message rather randomly this morning, and I’m so glad I did. You have contributed meaningfully to my day. Thank you for that.

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