Los Angeles Chapter — California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
Voices — July 2021
Jenni J.V. Wilson, LMFT
…working from home in comfortable pants…the feeling when notes are done
…the DO NOT DISTURB feature on a cell phone
…a long semester’s end
…Simple Practice…to be your own boss
…a passed exam
…renewing the license
…being back in the office
…clearing the schedule
…a phone with full bars…a working computer
…cutting the cable
…to mute, to block, to un-friend
…less than a few thousand followers
streaming on demand
…a fully charged device
with unlimited data
…emptying the inbox,
ignoring the outbox
…full-throated singing…a moment
…a long-term goal reached
…riding the wave
…finding the thought or the word or the move
…typing “Fade In…” or “The End”
…breaking through writer’s block
…a standing appointment…a savings account
…a credit card on file
…a retirement plan
…the promise of social security
…wrinkle-free clothing…well-fitting shoes
…the option of going mask-less
…healthy teeth and gums
…clean water, fresh air, thriving oceans, fertile soil
…knowing what you’ll eat and where you’ll sleep tonight
…pizza for breakfast, dessert for lunch,
and cereal for dinner
…more than 1200 calories
…a functioning mind, a healthy body…good REMs and BMs
that you can afford
…loving your shape and form
…routines and rituals, and rules sometimes broken
…sticking the landing
…knowing your strengths and limitations
…not having to take care of children…having children to take care of you
…knowing — really knowing — you’re loved
…having someone to call,
somewhere to go,
and something to do,
and always the option not to
…being fine being alone.
…no alarm set
…air conditioning…indoor plumbing
…a doggie door
…a car that runs
…a metro card
…a clean house
…knowing your loved ones are safe and accessible
…living without fear…wearing a hoodie
…walking alone at night
…escaping abuse…a war-free zone
…arriving on the other side
…an open road
…enjoying a three-day weekend…a theme park Fast Pass in hand
…a bad dress rehearsal
…just another word for nothing left to lose
…not found on a bumper sticker…not wrapped in a confederate flag
…an excellent George Michael song
…found in the art, on the page, through the sound
…to believe or not to believe…emotional
…not always a choice
…living (and loving) unapologetically
…knowing who you are
…in the boundaries set and held
…beyond the processed and unprocessed traumas
…more than a thousand words.
Join us for a little Freedom from the grind at the 11th Annual LA-CAMFT picnic on August 8th! Look for the information in your inbox soon! Attending the event is FREE but registration is required. Please sign up at lacamft.org. For more information contact: Ava Shokoufi at email@example.com
Hope to see you there!
Whatever Freedom means to you, wishing you and yours all the Freedom you seek this summer. 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.
Dr. Doni Whitsett, PhD, LCSW, MFT
Event Details: Friday, July 16, 2021, 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: A Private Practice Success Primer for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, Associates, Trainees,
& Students—How to Get Started
Private practice success is on therapist’s minds—and wish lists—wherever I am these days. Associates want to work in a good paying supervised private practice. Students and trainees want to know what they can do now so they’re in the best position for private practice when the time comes. Licensed therapists want affordable offices, many clients, and enough income to pay their business expenses, have a vacation, and to support themselves financially.
Each therapist wants to have an affordable, successful private practice in a preferred location when the time is right—and everyone wants to know how to make this happen as quickly as possible.
LMFTs, LCSW’s, LPCCs, Psychologists, and Associates have many effective, low cost, and practical tools at their disposal to build, develop, or revitalize their private practices. While trainees and students are not permitted to work a private practice, there are many things they can do today to set things up for the time they’re permitted to practice privately when licensed or as a Registered Associate under supervision.
The information shared here comes from my full time private practice experience, as well as time spent teaching, training, supervising, and doing private practice coaching with licensed mental health professionals—and lessons learned from interacting with LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, Psychologists, Associates, Psych Assistants, trainees, and students during the past 10+ years while being an active participant in several professional organizations as well as a board member and event attendee.
How Do I Get Started? I have no clients and can’t afford a full-time office.
Licensed Therapists are smart about private practice. We know how costly it can be to set up an office full time on our own, so we share offices and rent space to each other to defray our costs and to keep each other company. Entrepreneurial therapists sometimes lease a suite with a few offices and then rent them out to therapists full time, part time or hourly—or start a group practice and hire Licensed Therapists on salary or pay a per hour rate to serve the clients referrals that the group practice generates from business marketing efforts.
There are many options for licensed therapists to choose from to begin a private practice. Here are some:
Many in the therapist community are under the impression that the most common type of private practice for a Licensed Therapist is a full time one, where they lease their own office. While this was largely true until the early 2000s, the most prevalent form of private practice today is where the Licensed Therapist is employed full or part time at a counseling related entity and has a part time private practice in a shared office or one rented by the hour, half or full day.
If you want a full time private practice where you have your own office, you don’t have to start with that. You can start your practice while working full or part time and renting space hourly and then gradually build up your practice. You can increase your office time as your client flow increases. When you have enough clients and can afford the overhead then you can move to a full time practice with your own office if you choose. Many therapists have transitioned to full time private practice this way.
How do you find these office leasing or subletting opportunities?
Get to know those who share or rent out office space in an area where you’d like to have your practice. While you can look at ads in professional publications or postings on Social Media Websites for Therapists, most offices are rented by word of mouth or through professional connections. Get to know these professionals in your community and before you know it you’ll have the office setting that’s just right for you.
Private Practice Success Factors
Ultimately, private practice success depends on these six factors:
Is it where your clients are and can easily travel or go online to see you?
2. Your referral sources, including your website, webpage, and/or directory listing(s) and social media.
Is parking easy and inexpensive for clients. If this seems silly, think about places you’ve stopped going because parking is difficult or expensive.
How much does your practice cost? What is the total monthly/yearly cost for your practice. How much are your expenses?
How much do you cost?
How many clients do you need weekly/monthly/yearly at what fee to pay your business bills and yourself a salary?
5. Reaching your numbers
6. Knowing where your money and your clients are coming from.
I hope you’ve found this information to be helpful and encouraging as you create, maintain, or upgrade your private practice. Private practice success is doable but it does take planning, skill, and ongoing effort.
I wish you much success in your private practice endeavors, whether online or in person
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 them 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.
Odd Places Famous Writers Like to Write
When you set out to become a writer you have to really commit to working at it–24/7. And, it’s not easy writing and rewriting, day in and day out, chained to a desk. That’s why some of the most successful writers throughout history sought out some very odd places to work.
One of the more interesting places some well-known writers have chosen to write was at a book store on the Left Bank, in Paris called Shakespeare and Company. Some of the writers who’ve worked (and actually stayed) there include Henry Miller, Ernest Hemmingway, Jack Kerouac and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Over the years a variety of writers have stayed in the apartment upstairs (once used by the owner) or in one of the little bedrooms set up around the bookstore in odd niches, like next to the piano. Writers from around the world come to work and stay at the Parisian bookstore to this day. Some of its recent residents include screenwriter Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan) and author Dave Eggers (The Circle).
While some writers are drawn to public places, others prefer the solitude of the outdoors. For example, D.H. Lawrence wrote such sexually graphic novels as Women in Love under a massive ponderosa pine tree on his ranch in New Mexico. Lawrence was also known to warm up before he wrote by climbing a mulberry tree in the nude.
Virginia Wolfe had a special shed built out in her garden in Sussex, with big windows that opened onto a beautiful view of Mount Caburn. She liked to write in this “writer’s lodge,” as she called it all year round. She did complain, however, that during the winters she could barely hold a pen, her fingers were so cold.
Dylan Thomas, known for the play Under Milkwood, and the novel Adventures in the Skin Trade, liked to write out in a 6 foot by 7 foot shed near his home in Laugharne, Wales, overlooking the Taf estuary. Inside he had a small desk, a bookcase and some chairs. On the walls he hung photos of his favorite writers.
According to author Roald Dahl’s widow, Felicity, he needed to get away from the noise his five children made around the house in order to concentrate. Dahl was inspired by a visit to Thomas’ shed. He took down the exact dimensions and created his own writing sanctuary, where he worked on the screenplays for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and You Only Live Twice.
George Bernard Shaw also liked to write in a shed in his garden. His shed was constructed on a revolving platform, which allowed him to get enough sunlight all day long. In addition, he had his staff refer to the shed as “London,” so they wouldn’t be lying when they said he wasn’t home—he was in London.
Another unique place authors have chosen to work in is the bathtub. For example, Dalton Trumbo, the screenwriter of Roman Holiday, Exodus, The Brave One, and Stanley Kubrick’s classic, Spartacus, liked to write, and even take meetings with producers in the bath.
If you’ve seen the movie based on his life story, Trumbo, you’ll recall the setup. He had a tray that spanned the tub from side to side — where there was room for a yellow pad, an ashtray, and a cup of coffee. Kirk Douglas, the star of Spartacus, was so thrilled with his writing; he gifted Trumbo a parrot that the writer kept near the tub for company.
Others who enjoyed the womb-like comforts of the tub include Edmund Rostand (author of Cyrano de Bergerac) and mystery writer Agatha Christie. As the story goes, Christie ordered an extra large bathtub built in one of her homes, with a ledge on the side where she stored her favorite snacks.
Another writer one could certainly call eccentric, William Faulkner, once outlined the entire story to his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, A Fable, on the walls of the office he liked to write in. Apparently, he enjoyed the feeling of being totally immersed in his work.
Faulkner’s wife, however, did not appreciate this unique approach, and painted over the walls in white paint. Not to be outdone, Faulkner rewrote the entire outline, chapter by chapter, back onto the walls and then shellacked over them so they’d stay that way forever. To this day, one can visit Rowan Oak, Faulkner’s home in Oxford, MS, where you can see the offensive writings on the wall of his office.
The venues where many writers have chosen to work are parts of a routine, a routine that’s essential to their craft. Writing is often about spending long hours doing the same thing every day, putting a pen to paper, or sitting at a keyboard, playing around with ideas in one’s head. You can’t blame these occasionally unorthodox artists for making their days a bit less harrowing by finding comfort and inspiration in some very strange places.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Licensed Therapists, Associates, and Students
Event Details: Sunday, July 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 on the day of the event.
Questions about Registration? Contact Christina Cacho Sakai, LMFT at DiversityCommittee@lacamft.org.
In diversity there is beauty
and there is strength.
LMFT, NMP, CGP
Have You Reviewed Your Informed Consent Form?
Our Informed Consent forms provide our clients with important information about what psychotherapy is and our business agreement. I recently updated my form after a client tried connecting with me on Facebook, by adding some language explaining that “I do not accept “friend” requests from clients on social media.”
Once I was done with the social media part, I decided to review the entire document. I discovered a sentence asking for permission to contact clients via their “office phone.” I deleted it since all my clients have cell phones. Next, I updated the language in “About the Therapy Process.” This section explains the way therapy works, and how clients and therapists can evaluate whether the treatment is effective or not. I added some collaborative language—“Over the course of therapy, I will attempt to evaluate whether our work together is beneficial to you. We are partners in the therapeutic process, and I encourage you to ask questions and give me feedback at any time.”
Now that I’ve updated my document, I feel more grounded in discussing the content with my clients. During our first appointment, I ask clients if they have any questions about Informed Consent and, usually, they say “no.” Despite their answers, I keep a printed copy of my form handy (my clients complete their forms online) and review the details with them during our first session.
Maria Gray, LMFT, NMP, CGP, is a psychotherapist in private practice in Los Angeles. She is a Brainspotting Specialist who specializes in trauma and addictions. Maria is a Certified Group Therapist and currently offers three online groups in her practice. She enjoys working with adults who grew up around mentally ill or addictive family members. To learn more, go to www.mariagray.net.
Monkey See, Monkey Do
The pain in their eyes is chilling. The baby monkeys cling desperately to their mothers-made-of-wire for up to eighteen hours a day. They barely have appetite for food; they are starving for affection and warmth. If you search YouTube for “Harlow monkeys,” you can view the old videos from the 50s and see what I mean.
When Dr. Harry Harlow began his work in the 1930s, he set out to conduct experiments on the nature of love. Child rearing practices of the time maintained that too much physical touch would spoil children. Dr. Harlow’s research was controversial, but at least that harmful theory was discarded.
Dr. Harlow created “mothers” out of wire and wood. Some were wrapped in terry cloth while the others were left as bare wire. The baby monkeys clung for comfort to the cloth mothers, and even when the wire mothers were equipped to feed the babies, the infants still preferred to cuddle against the soft terry cloth. Harlow concluded that “contact comfort” was essential to the psychological health of infant monkeys and children. He also believed that either fathers or mothers could provide this comfort, which was a revolutionary idea at the time.
The animal liberation movement was begun as a protest against these experiments, and critics don’t see them as having anything to do with love. Dr. Harlow defended his research by saying, “What do we mean that a child loves its mother? We mean that he experiences a great feeling of security in her presence, and when frightened he runs to his mother to touch her to drive away his fears. This contact with the mother changes his entire personality.”
I saw these monkey experiments at the Seattle World’s Fair when I wasn’t much more than an infant myself. I can still feel the heartbreak when I remember the babies trying to get love from such impoverished mothers, or when I re-watch the videos. It makes me consider all the people who go through life having only had “wire mothers (fathers)” who are desperately craving the warmth we mammals need to survive. In my practice, I see many people who didn’t get enough “contact comfort” in childhood, and this lack of love has damaged their lives.
© 2021 Catherine Auman
Catherine Auman, LMFT is a licensed therapist with advanced training in both traditional and spiritual psychology with over thirty years of successful professional experience helping thousands of clients. She has headed nationally based psychiatric programs as well as worked through alternative methodologies based on ancient traditions and wisdom teachings. Visit her online at catherineauman.com.
Black Therapist Support Group
First Saturday of Every Month
Saturday, July 3, 2021
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
Baaba Hawthorne LMFT, email@example.com.
Event Details: Saturday, July 3, 2021, 11:00 am-1:00 pm (PT)
Time of Check-In: 10:50 am
Online Registration CLOSES on the date of the event.
(Registration is open and available until the group ends.)
Questions about Registration? Contact Marvin Whistler & Tina Cacho Sakai at DiversityCommittee@lacamft.org.
Have You Got the Time? Time Management Techniques from the Experts
One of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic is that for the last 14 months or so, time has been very strange. We lost track of what day of the week it was, and eventually many of the weeks and months started to blend together into 10 months of April, 2020.
As therapists many of us have had full schedules—after all, so many people need so much support that it has been hard to turn anybody down. Now many of us are suffering from burnout and are realizing how important it is to be proactive about how we spend our time.
For guidance on how to spend my time in a way that is most likely to increase my happiness, I listened to Dan Harris’ 10% Happier podcast from Jan 25, 2021, where he interviews Ashley Whillans, assistant professor at Harvard Business School, and author of the book, Time Smart. Here’s what I learned:
Do a Time Audit
In order to be mindful about how you are going to spend your time in the future, you need to first know how you already spend time in the present! One good way to do this is to do a “time audit”. Tuesday has been shown to be the most typical day to monitor, so at the end of the day on Tuesday just write down the main activities from your morning, afternoon, and evening. If you want a broader perspective, do this every Tuesday for a month.
Now make a grid with the most meaningful activities on the x axis and the most pleasurable activities on the y axis. The activities that are both meaningful and pleasurable will go in the top right quadrant, and the least meaningful activities will go in the bottom left quadrant.
Funding Time and Finding Time
The first thing to do is to look at all the things that fall into the lower left quadrant—least pleasurable and least meaningful. Can you delegate or outsource any of them? These are the things that should be first on your list to eliminate if you can.
Next look to see where you are spending time mindlessly, without really choosing that activity. Generally this is the category for things like social media and checking your email. Set aside specific times for these activities so that you are consciously choosing to do them, not just responding to notifications. You can plan to check your email just 2 or 3 specific times a day. And when you do, decide how much time you are willing to spend and set an alarm. Be proactive, not reactive!
Social media and messaging systems like email and Slack create what is called “time confetti, little chunks of time that distract you from the task at hand, and make you feel “time-poor” by creating “goal-conflict”—an uncomfortable state of being where you think you should be doing something other than what you are actually doing.
Research shows that 80% of Americans feel “time-poor”. It’s an easy trap to fall into!
How Has the Pandemic Affected the Way We Spend Our Time at Work?
The pandemic has left us underwhelmed with our options for leisure, and even though we thought we’d have all this extra time due to working from home, the average American is actually spending 49 minutes more per day on work!
How can we change this?
Have good boundaries!
Whillans stresses the need to build breaks, boundaries, and transitions into our workday. One thing I’ve done with my therapy practice is to leave longer breaks between clients so I can write notes, regroup, and maybe even have a quick chat with a friend. I know that some therapists are able to see clients back-to-back, but I don’t have that kind of energy, and I get cranky when I don’t have time in between to clear my head. Part of feeling “time-abundant,” instead of “time-poor,” is to know your own rhythms and respect what feels right to you!
Look for casual interactionsAnother thing we miss when we are not in the office is those little interactions with random people. Bridgette, the receptionist at my office, is such a lovely person! It’s only after going back into the office last week that I realized how much I missed seeing her warm smile when I passed by her desk. Research shows that these informal interactions at work with people we know only casually actually bring as much happiness in an average day as a conversation with a close friend or colleague. If you are not going into the office yet, make sure to greet the mail carrier, go for a walk and chat briefly with a neighbor, or get a cup of coffee and say hi to your neighborhood barista!
Take a vacation!We know that during the pandemic virtually no one was taking a vacation, but did you know that even before the pandemic literally 75% of Americans didn’t take all of their vacation days? Don’t let this be you!! People who take vacations are happier and more engaged at work. And if it’s a struggle for you to get time away, know that research shows that the most relaxing vacations are ones that aren’t very long—only 3-5 days.
In ConclusionStudies show that people in countries that stress the importance of time with friends and family over work and making money, are happier and mentally healthier during events like recessions and pandemics. You, too, can improve your own mental health by becoming more aware of and more proactive about how you spend your time. Make sure you spend the majority of your time and energy on that important upper right quadrant—activities that are both meaningful and pleasurable. People who feel “time-abundant” are not only happier, but they also have better relationships, and are at less risk for cardiovascular disease. Taking charge of your time is good for both your mental andyour physical health, so get started right away!
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.
LA-CAMFT Online On-Demand CEU Courses from Charter for Compassionate Education
LA-CAMFT is excited to announce new additions to our online on-demand CEU offerings from Charter for Compassionate Education. Starting in April, you can find links to these great online CEU courses on the LACAMFT.org Home Page under the Information tab:
Emotional Intelligence for a Compassionate World (On Demand) (Barbara Kerr) (20 CEUs)
Maybe you’ve thought about how empowering it could be to join with others who are willing to take action for a more compassionate world.
And maybe you’ve recognized that building Emotional Intelligence skills could be helpful to you in your work with clients, your personal relationships, as well as in building a more compassionate community where you live.
Emotional Intelligence skills and competencies can become the fertile ground for a more compassionate world. The skills that contribute to Emotional Intelligence can lead to the development of empathy and compassion—in individuals, in families, in the workplace, in communities, and among the interconnected societies of people throughout the world.
During this course, you will discover your own Emotional Intelligence strengths, learn ways to add to your Emotional Intelligence competencies, and consider practical ways to apply your skills to build a more compassionate world.
Compassionate Integrity Training (CIT) (10 Week Live Course) (30 CEUs)
Have you ever wondered how you could cultivate the compassion called for in the world or help others cultivate that compassion? Compassionate Integrity Training (CIT) is a great place to start!
CIT is a resiliency-informed program that cultivates human values as skills, so we can thrive as individuals, and a society, within a healthy environment. By learning skills to calm our bodies and mind, becoming more emotionally aware, learning to practice compassion for ourselves and others, as well as engaging with compassion in complex systems, we can build towards compassionate integrity: the ability to live one’s life in accordance with one’s values with a recognition of common humanity, our basic orientation to kindness and reciprocity.
The Compassionate Integrity Training is a 10-week, live-streaming course starting April 26th, 2021, so REGISTER NOW and don’t miss it!
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