Los Angeles Chapter — California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
Los Angeles Chapter — CAMFT
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.
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