Los Angeles Chapter — California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
Voices — January 2022
Leanne Nettles, LMFT
Onward and Upward!
My first introduction to LA-CAMFT was coming across a flyer for a Therapist of Color (TOC) Support Group in 2018. At that time, I was a burning out, freshly licensed therapist in a community mental health center in East Los Angeles. Finances were tight, and I didn't understand what state-wide CAMFT had to offer as a worthwhile investment of my already stretched resources beyond the first few years after grad school.
I had been witnessing and experiencing racial discrimination and microaggressive jokes in my workplace but struggled to put into words my feelings or decide who was safe to talk to about it.
When I came across the flyer for the LA-CAMFT TOC support group, and saw that it was free, I’d hoped it could be an outlet I desperately needed, but I wasn't entirely sure whether I'd be welcome.
I remember my first time attending, several Therapists of Color circled round an office in Inglewood, my stories of the racial jokes at work being met with solemn stares and gaping mouths. No one laughed. Instead, everyone validated how awful that was, and put words to what I couldn’t. For the first time, I felt seen and heard. I felt valued and respected. And I began attending nearly every meeting since.
There is no charge to attend the free TOC Support Group which is held on the second Sunday of the month from 11am-1pm on Zoom.
I felt honored when, through my participation in the TOC Support Group, I was invited to join the LA-CAMFT Diversity Committee. In what seemed like a whirlwind in the transition to leadership, I began to see the inner workings and values of LA-CAMFT.
I was invited to the 2020 Leadership Retreat, had an opportunity to share my experience facilitating two workshops on therapy with Mixed-Race clients, and saw the true work of social justice in action as two LA-CAMFT Antiracism Roundtables came out of that. To see how we almost seamlessly transitioned online and continued our programming even during a pandemic amazes me! And I understand better than ever before the incredible value of my financial investment into this organization.
The phrase "actions speak louder than words" is something which resonates deeply within me. There are so many organizations these days which talk a big talk about social justice. And while those words can be beautiful, talk can be cheap without the boldness of action to back it up.
Since joining the Board, I have seen numerous times where leadership has pressed into uncomfortable and tough conversations, all to embody our values and grow as an organization. Beyond the conversations, LA-CAMFT leadership has taken action on initiatives which promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging; Large initiatives like increasing Board diversity and representation of speakers, expanding the no-cost support groups, developing a trailblazing TOC mentorship and grant program, and more.
And I have also witnessed and experienced tough personal conversations, apologies and accountability for microaggressions, and a passionate and continual call to be better and do better individually and as a whole on our mission to further social justice in this field. This greatly encourages me.
As we enter 2022, my hopes for LA-CAMFT this upcoming year is that we continue to press into these hard conversations. Where DEI is not just a verbal value, but a way of being personally and professionally. Where we emphasize belonging in addition to diversity. Where we train up therapists to serve the community more competently and with humility. Where we make therapy a better, more accessible career in Los Angeles for culturally diverse professionals.
And where we train, network, and encourage our community to live up to the values they espouse. I truly do believe that we are stronger together, and that we as therapists are changing the world for the better, one client at a time. I am honored to get to lead us into the next year as we keep reaching for new heights together.
Thank you for welcoming me as your next President. And thank you to each and every LA-CAMFT member and leader, both new and seasoned with experience. Each of you have played an important role in the growth and success of this organization.
To all the volunteers, thank you for all the time, effort, energy, and work you've put in over the past year. Please know that you are incredibly valued, and you matter. To the incoming board, our most diverse in LA-CAMFT history, I am so excited for what we have the opportunity to do together!
And I'd like to share a special, HUMONGOUS thank you to our outgoing President, Jenni J.V. Wilson for all of your guidance and being a stellar example of a leader. Your shoes will be hard to fill, but I'm confident you have set LA-CAMFT up for success in 2022!
Leanne Nettles, LMFT is a School-based Clinical Program Manager in a community-mental health agency and an Adjunct Professor at Pacific Oaks College. She specializes in child and adolescent therapy, while practicing and supervising from a systemic and structural therapy approach. Leanne works to advocate for cultural diversity and equity within the field, and is passionate about training quality mental health professionals to serve low income, historically disenfranchised communities using a team-based, collaborative approach.
Shannon Carlin, LMFT & Brooke Balliett, LMFT
The use of psychedelics as part of a structured therapeutic intervention is relatively new despite having been used for thousands of years for social, spiritual and physical health due to previous regulations that restricted their use in research and practice. Now, MDMA, Psilocybin and Ketamine offer the promise of exceptional efficacy for recovery from treatment resistant depression, PTSD, anxiety, Bipolar depression and substance use disorders. This presentation examines traditional indigenous practices, where many of the common elements of modern-day psychedelic therapy originated, alongside clinical research, treatment outcomes and practical practice for today’s therapist. Two clinicians experienced in using these substances in legal, clinical settings will explain treatment options, considerations for referrals, contraindications, and treatment planning.
Event Details: Friday, January 21, 2022, 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: Top 5 Private Practice Resources for Fulfilling Your New Year’s Resolutions
The beginning of the year is always the time for resolutions, and this holds true for private practice, too. The top resolutions mental health professionals tell me they’re making this year are still the same ones as last year increasing practice income, cultivating new connections and referral sources, how to make dealing with insurance less time consuming and stressful, how to attract more ideal clients through branding, and publishing that book you want to write. Oh, and I almost forgot—how to add coaching to your practice.
So, here are the five best books to help you and your practice meet your goals for more and better with less stress in your private practice this year!
1. Increasing Practice Income
If your New Year’s resolution is increasing the income in your practice by money, doing good, and having fun, then Chellie Campbell’s From Worry to Wealthy: A Woman's Guide to Financial Success Without the Stress is the one for you. Reading this will help guide you to creating a richer and more fulfilling practice based on your values, interests, and needs.
So if you’re interested in more income, time off, time for home and family, charging a fair price while contributing to the greater good, From Worry to Wealthy is a practical and friendly ticket to fulfilling that resolution.
While you’re checking out Chellie’s book, check out her other ones which are equally great! The Wealthy Spirit and From Zero to Zillionaire.
2. Cultivating New Connections and Referral Sources
If you are not a natural networker—most therapists find networking challenging—and would like your own personal guide for what to do to make new connections with others and to cultivate new referral sources, How to Work a Room: The Ultimate Guide to Making Lasting Connections—In Person and Online by Susanne Roane will give you the guidance you need.
This small book is the encyclopedia of how to easily and practically make connections with others whether you’re online or in person—just reading the table of contents is reassuring and encouraging! So whether you’re interested in opening lines for greeting and meeting, tips for introducing yourself and your practice or how to build bridges, bonds, and business relationships, check out How to Work a Room and find the answers you seek.
3. Make Dealing with Insurance Time Consuming and Less Stressful
If your practice depends on insurance reimbursement as either an in-network or out-of-network provider, Barbara Griswold’s Navigating the Insurance Maze: The Therapist's Complete Guide to Working with Insurance—And Whether You Should is for you.
Navigating the Insurance Maze is the must have reference for every therapist. This easy-to-use manual guides you through what every therapist needs to know about insurance—and answers the questions you have. Joining plans, instructions for claim forms, how to get more sessions approved, how to make appeals, common therapist mistakes, and how to stay out of trouble are all part of the great value of Barbara’s seventh edition. It’s well worth the price.
4. Attract More Clients Through Branding
If your resolution for this year is to attract more clients—more ideal clients—to your practice then you'll be really interested in reading or listening on Audible to Robin Fisher Roffer’s Make a Name for Yourself: 8 Steps Every Woman Needs to Create a Personal Brand Strategy for Success. Robin says it best on her Big Fish Marketing Website because it greets you with the words, “We guide you to write, tell, and live your greatest story.” Her book does just that.
Make a Name for Yourself shows you how to easily identify your own unique traits and talents for career success and personal fulfillment. This friendly, fun, practical, and easy to apply book is like attending a workshop and learning the 8 steps that “unearth your authentic self to develop a brand that reflects your natural talents, abilities, and passions.”
I recommend this book to practice coaching clients and every single one has said that they were very surprised by how much they enjoyed reading this book and how effective it was in helping them to identify what attracted the clients they love to work with—and to more easily and authentically, write, tell, and share the story of who they work with, why, and how they successfully work with those in their practice.
5. Publish That Book You Want to Write
If writing and publishing that book you’ve been wanting to write is your resolution for this year then Sylvia Cary, LMFT’s The Therapist Writer: Helping Mental Health Professionals Get Published is the book you’re going to want. As Sylvia tells it, getting a book published can lead to more—more attention, referrals, business, and money. She’s also right when she says it’s one of the quickest ways for a therapist to become known as an expert.
The Therapist Writer is a practical, useful, easy to use guide that helps you make your book idea into a completed manuscript. With Sylvia’s guidance—and she knows the ropes since she’s a local LMFT as well as a writer and book coach—you’ll figure out what to write, how to get it written, and how to market and sell it once its complete. If you’re wanting to have your book published, then this little volume belongs on your bookshelf. This is the book I recommend to those I train and coach who have a book on their wish list. Make yours happen this year by getting this one.
Bonus: How to Add Coaching to Your Practice
If you’re interested in how you can add coaching to your practice this year then David B. Ellis’ Life Coaching: A Manual for Helping Professionals is a good choice for you to purchase. This is one of the best overall coaching books I’ve come across, read, and used. It’s written to assist the currently practicing mental health professional—one who’s already been specifically trained as a counselor, minister or social worker—begin practicing as a life coach.
Life Coaching, like the other books in this list, is a practical, easy to read and apply, step-by-step guide that helps therapists add coaching to their practices. One of the reasons I like this book is that David B. Ellis has an interesting approach to coaching. He doesn’t view it as merely skills training and advice, he views coaching as assisting people in creating their own solutions, arriving at their own answers, and discovering options for themselves through using a coaching framework and approach. This is a way of working that therapists can appreciate as well as enjoy when doing coaching work with clients.
So now you have this recommended list to aid you in your goals for the year. Yes, it’s the same list I recommended last year. After looking over the books, I decided to share the list again because it is such a good one.
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.
Sunday, March 20, 2022
9:00 am-3:30 pm
Meets BBS requirements for mandatory 6 CEUs/Ethical Education
Defining and Redefining the Standard of Carefor Mental Health Practitioners:Clinical, Ethical and Legal Considerations
Dr. Ofer Zur, Ph.D.
This interactive training reviews standard of care practices that mental health practitioners need to know while also using a critical approach to examining myths and redefining best practices for standards of care. Discussions will include clinical examples exploring the intricacies involved in potential ethical conflicts and ways to resolve them. Participants will examine the complexities of boundary issues in psychotherapy such as dual relationships, touch, self-disclosure, and interventions outside the office. Concerns and considerations arising through the use of social media and Tele-mental Health, and as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic will be addressed. Participants will also learn ways to protect themselves from losing their license.
Event Details: Sunday, March 20, 2022, 9:00 am-3:30 pm (PT)
Where: Online Via Zoom
After you register you will be emailed a Zoom link the Saturday before the presentation.
Akiah T.R. Selwa,LMFT
Harambee: Reconsidering Mentorship
My African ancestors’ words of wisdom are relevant when we consider the importance of mentorship. It does “take a village to raise a child.” It also takes a village of people to inspire and guide mental health practitioners on the journey from being a student to a seasoned professional all the way through to approaching retirement.
But I’ve noticed that something happens when a person crosses over from adolescence to adulthood; there seems to be less emphasis on the necessity and value of formal mentorship relationships. Apparently the thinking seems to be that as certified, licensed, or experienced mental health workers or professionals we have it together “enough” not to need mentors or mentees. There’s less urgency to develop impressionable minds.
I don’t think this is true; no one gets anywhere by themselves.
The last two years of my life in the United States have reminded me that I need my mental health community more than ever before. I challenge us to “Harambee”—Swahili for “push together”—to help each other continue to excel professionally.
While I am grateful for the things my mother and aunties taught me with their actions and inactions, the five mentors I had from age fifteen to middle adulthood built on what my family taught me and as a result they helped me become the mental health professional I am today. I know I am further down the road than I would be without my mentors’ love, wisdom, and feedback.
I am pleased to report that I have had the privilege of mentoring several associate therapists as well as paraprofessionals. I have found that if the mentors and mentees are teachable and intentional, the experience can be equally rewarding and educational for both parties.
Let’s reconsider the necessity for formal mentorship relationships and reserve the capacity to receive or give mentoring this year.
Akiah Robinson Selwa, LMFT, President of Sunrise Therapy Center, specializes in biblical counseling, trauma-informed therapy, anxiety management, family therapy, grief & loss, and lifespan transitions. With 24 years of collective experience as a domestic violence prevention advocate, psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, and mentor, Akiah is skilled in working with families, individuals, children, the BIPOC population, abuse survivors, and members of adoption/foster care constellations. She approaches therapy with cultural humility that promotes acceptance, safety, empowerment, and creativity.
LA-CAMFT 2022 Grant Awards for Pre-Licensed Members Who Are Therapists of Color
The LA-CAMFT Grant Committee is pleased to announce that 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 2022 Grant Award for Pre-Licensed Members who are Therapist of Color opens on December 22, 2021, and closes on February 26, 2022.
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 2022 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 2022 LA-CAMFT Grant Awards for Pre-Licensed Members who are Therapists of Color opens on December 22, 2021, and closes on February 26, 2022.
Time to Enjoy Your Money
“There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.” — Bill Watterson
“Jerry makes plenty of money,” his wife Judith said when I called. “He doesn’t need your class. What he needs is more time to enjoy the money he makes.”
I had met Jerry when we appeared together on Paul and Sarah Edwards’ radio show. He was happily making large sums of money in his public relations business, but reacted strongly when I mentioned that my workshop was called Financial Stress Reduction. “I’d really love to keep making money but reduce the stress,” he said. “Call me and let’s talk about it.”
I called as instructed, and that’s when Judith let me know the real problem: Jerry’s work hours (24/7), his time off for fun (zero), his time with family (minimal) and her frustration with this situation (huge). I commiserated with her, then let her know that my class was not just about making money, but about having lots of time off to enjoy it as well. “Sign us up!” she exclaimed, and enrolled the two of them in the next course on the spot.
At the beginning of the class, they spoke of the goal they had put on their “Intended Results” list—to take a month off to travel in France with another couple. It seemed unreachable then. Jerry’s fear of losing clients was a palpable force keeping him chained to his telephone at all hours. But as they did the work of the course, they came to see that when they practiced positive thinking about money, sent out ships consistently, and counted the money to keep score, they could relax. The system worked and could be relied upon. Customers could understand—and admire—a commitment to family and balance. They could be alerted to the fact of an impending vacation and get their work in early. Reciprocal deals could be made with other professionals to handle emergencies in Jerry’s absence. As Jerry’s fear decreased each week, he began to relax. He started smiling more often—and so did Judith.
They had a wonderful time in France.
And where are you going? When?
“I have abundant time to enjoy all my abundant riches!”
A couple of years ago, I took a weekend off to enjoy my money with a road trip to Pechanga with my poker buddies, Shelley and Debby. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and we were delighted with our little jaunt out of town. We had a ball, and I played in two poker tournaments and finished 9th out of 238 in one and one of 7 finalists out of 127 who split the prize pool in the second. Made over $1,000 having fun with my hobby!
And who knows, you might even turn a profit from it, too.
Planning for fun in the future is fun in the present, too. And then you have all the fun of your “I can hardly wait until . . .” every day looking forward to it. We’ve already planned our next trip, too. I am an expert at multiplying fun!
You can do it, too, you know. Make a Fun Plan today!
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.
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, January 9, 2022, 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 Diversity Committee, firstname.lastname@example.org.
In diversity there is beauty
and there is strength.
Zen and the Stages of Screenwriting Growth: The Novice Stage
The Novice Stage: Stage 1
I was there too. A novice. In my first couple of screenplays I was mainly trying to be funny. I know they were funny. However, they didn’t get me an agent or a manager. And I didn’t get them to people who could give me professional level feedback.
When you first start out, most writers don’t know a lot of the things they need to know to get a break. A lot of writer’s first attempts turn out to be lacking in one way or another. I understand it. When we all start writing we’re excited about our ideas, and we’re in a hurry to get them up on the screen, where everybody can see how talented we are.
Writers at this stage tend to be driven by their ego, and the excitement of creating something completely original. They’ve watched movies all their lives, they might have read a book or two about screenwriting. They may have even read a few produced screenplays. A good start.
You do have to start somewhere. And who wants to wait and go to film school, or take some UCLA extension courses, when they can take an online seminar and get started the next day? Quentin Tarantino didn’t go to film school. He just watched a lot of videos. So novices hear stories like that and tend to rush through their first screenplays.
Chances are, however, at this stage, most novices don’t really have a strong grip on what a three act structure means, how the protagonist is supposed to drive the action or even what good dialogue looks like. They have a general idea of how to tell a story. And they've seen enough films to kind of fill in the blanks.
Some rookie writers throw all the cool ideas they can think of into their first script. They may have a lot of cool ideas, too. But without a sense of how to string them together in a way that makes dramatic sense, they’re often left with a story that takes on an episodic feel. The stories don’t build.
Novice writers know a lot about movies, but not so much about writing, and not so much about the craft. They know the basics; that script is supposed to be around 100-120 pages, that their characters should tell a story, and they know something about structure, but they haven’t learned to think like a screenwriter yet.
One cool thing about the novice level is—it’s fun to write. It's new, it's cool, and it’s exciting. You watch movies to see how they did it. You study your favorite writers or directors and start incorporating ideas. This is the great thing about starting out.
Some examples of rookie mistakes; format errors, describing what a character is saying or thinking in the stage directions, telling too many stories, using filler scenes that don’t move the story. Writing long (7 page) talky scenes, with no movement or action, not knowing when to start and where to end a scene, writing way too many scenes before introducing the protagonist.
Much of the time these beginners tend to reject, or somehow avoid hearing criticism and feedback. If they do accept it, they don’t know how to fix it, and don't have the patience to ask how. Those that do ask, may not even know the right questions.
After long months of struggling with creative decisions, they get to the end of their script—and it’s hard for them to think about even changing a word. They don’t do the necessary rewrites, and instead, make superficial changes and push for something to happen with the script, as is.
This is one of the hardest lessons that novice screenwriters have to learn. They may not have the skills to improve a scene, or a story. They may not know how to make the necessary cuts. Even if they get solid feedback from a seasoned professional, they can’t implement them.
How long does this stage last? It’s different for everybody. Even the professional writers work for years before breaking in. You definitely have to have patience. If you’re in a hurry to make a film, there is something you can do that will be well worth your while.
Take some time away from your feature length screenplays, and write a short film. Get some actors, or some talented friends to help you film it. Even if you can only afford to shoot on an iPhone, people are doing it. Professionals even. You'll learn a lot about writing in the process.
It will help if you can read lots of screenplays, you can find them online—watch lots of movies and keep writing. Be open to feedback from writers you know are good—and ask questions.
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.
Black Therapist Support Group
First Saturday of Every Month
Saturday, January 8, 2022
12:00 pm-1:30 pm (PT)
Online Via Zoom
A safe place for healing, connection, support and building community. In this group, licensed clinicians, associates and students can come together and process experiences of racism (systemic, social, and internalized), discrimination, implicit bias, and micro-aggressions, along with additional experiences that therapists of African descent encounter in the field of mental health. As the late great Maya Angelou once said, “As soon as healing takes place, go out and heal someone else.” May this space, be the support needed to facilitate that journey.
Open to LA-CAMFT Members and Non-Members
First Saturday of Each Month
Location: Zoom Meeting
For more information contact Akiah Robinson Selwa, LMFT at email@example.com.
Event Details: Saturday, January 8, 2022, 12:00 pm-1:30 pm (PT)
Time of Check-In: 11:50 am
Online Registration CLOSES on the date of the event.
(Registration is open and available until the group ends.)
Questions about Registration? Contact Diversity Committee, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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