Los Angeles Chapter  California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

Voices — July 2024

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  • 06/30/2024 11:01 PM | Gina Balit (Administrator)

    President's Message

    Jennifer Stonefield, LMFT
    LA-CAMFT President

    Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

    Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, observed every July, underscores the unique challenges faced by racial and ethnic minority groups concerning mental health. This month serves as a vital reminder of the disparities in mental health care access, stigma, and treatment outcomes experienced by these communities. It highlights the importance of culturally competent care and the need for increased awareness and education about mental health within minority populations. By recognizing and addressing these challenges, we can begin to bridge the gap in mental health care and promote a more inclusive and equitable system for all.

    Strength plays a crucial role in the context of minority mental health. Individuals from minority communities often demonstrate remarkable resilience in the face of adversity. This strength is deeply rooted in their rich cultural heritages, strong community bonds, and enduring spirit of perseverance. Despite systemic barriers and discrimination, many minority individuals find ways to cope and thrive, drawing on their cultural practices, family support, and community resources. Celebrating this strength is essential, as it not only honors their resilience but also encourages the development of mental health interventions that are respectful and responsive to their cultural contexts.

    However, recognizing the strength of minority communities should not overshadow the need for systemic change. While individual resilience is commendable, it is not a substitute for comprehensive mental health services and equitable access to care.

    Advocacy efforts during Minority Mental Health Awareness Month aim to address these systemic issues, calling for policy changes, increased funding for mental health services, and the elimination of discriminatory practices within the healthcare system. By combining the recognition of individual and community strength with a commitment to systemic reform, we can create a more supportive environment for minority mental health and well-being.

    Be kind to yourself and stay strong.

    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.

  • 06/30/2024 11:00 PM | Gina Balit (Administrator)

    LA-CAMFT July 2024
    including Q&A

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

    11:00-11:30 am (optional)
    Participant Announcements

    Via Zoom

    2 CE Credits

    Pathological Demand Avoidance:
    Across the Lifespan and in the Therapy Room

    Tara Holmquist, PsyD

    This is an illuminating virtual presentation on Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA), a complex profile within the autism spectrum. In this 90-minute session, we delve into the intricacies of PDA, exploring its distinct characteristics, challenges, and management strategies, as well as how it may manifest throughout one’s life. Participants can gain profound insights into the nuanced needs of individuals with PDA, fostering empathy and understanding. This presentation equips participants with practical tools to support individuals with PDA in various settings. Don't miss this opportunity to deepen your knowledge and enhance your ability to provide effective support and intervention for clients of all ages.

    Educational Goal:

    This presentation will enhance participants’ understanding of Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) within the autism spectrum and equip them with strategies to support individuals with PDA effectively. At the end of this presentation, participants will be able to:
    1. Identify the key characteristics and diagnostic criteria of PDA within the autism spectrum.
    2. Recognize the unique challenges faced by individuals with PDA in various contexts, including home, school, and social environments.
    3. Acquire practical strategies and approaches for effectively supporting individuals with PDA, including communication techniques, behavioral interventions, and environmental accommodations.

    Tara Holmquist, PsyD (she/her) is an AuDHD + PDA clinical psychologist, advocate, and activist. She has worked in the mental health field for 18+ years, with seven of those years in private practice. Tara’s areas of specialty are in relational and attachment trauma, substance use, and neurodivergence. Her approach is specifically from an anti-oppressive, anti-capitalist lens with a focus on decolonization, liberation, and justice. Along with providing individual therapy to adults, Tara offers neurodiversity affirming evaluations of both Autism and ADHD. These evaluations are designed to be “peace of mind” evaluations that both professionally confirm one’s experience, and more importantly, affirm their identity from a strengths-based perspective.

    For more information, contact Jenni J.V. Wilson.

    Licensed Therapists, Associates, Students, & Related Professionals

    Event Details: 
    Friday, July 19, 2024, 9:00-11:00 am
    8:30-9:00: Check-In
    11:00-11:30 am  (optional) Participant Announcements

    9:00 Meeting Begins
    11:00 Presentation and Related Announcements End
    11:30 (optional) Participant Announcements
    11:00 Meeting Ends

    Online Via Zoom

    Your registration confirmation email will include the Zoom link and instructions for accessing the event.

    (To be sure you receive any information we send prior to the event, please add networkingchair@lacamft.org to your known contacts or safe list and check your bulk, junk or promotions mailboxes for any emails from us about this event.)

    $25 for LA-CAMFT Members
    Other CAMFT Chapter Members
    CSCSW Members
    $15 for Prelicensed Members of Other CAMFT Chapters
    $15 for Prelicensed Members
    $35 for Non-Members
    $20 for Prelicensed Non-Members

    2 CE Credits Provided

    For anyone interested in expanding your professional networking opportunities, please join us from 11:00 to 11:30 and sign up to make an announcement when you register.

    Registration closes Thursday, July 18 at 10:00pm.

    Register Online today for a Quick & Easy Check-In.

    CAMFT Approved Continuing Education Provider 59450. This course meets the qualifications for 2 continuing education credits for MFTs, LPCCs, and/or LCSWs as required by the California Association of Marriage Family Therapists. Participants will receive an evaluation form as part of the sign in/out form and must complete form at the conclusion of course in order to receive CE credit.

    Refund policy: 48-hour notice required for refund of fee minus $5.00 administrative cost. Exceptions can be made for 48-hour notice in cases of emergency. Contact Jenni J.V. Wilson, LMFT, Course Organizer, at NetworkingChair@LACAMFT.org.

    Accommodations for Special Needs: Contact Jenni J.V. Wilson, LMFT, Course Organizer, at NetworkingChair@LACAMFT.org.

    Grievances: Program Administrator, Di Wilson, LMFT, manages all grievances—and will acknowledge, investigate and remedy grievances. Response to grievances will be made in writing within 30 days. Contact her at cfo@lacamft.org.

  • 06/30/2024 11:00 PM | Gina Balit (Administrator)

    Editor's Note

    Lynne Azpeitia, LMFT
    Voices Editor

    Getting Paid: Tips for Preventing and Managing Burnout as a Therapist

    Burnout is a hot topic for therapists these days since many mental health practitioners face daily challenges like excessive caseloads, long working hours and limited control over their schedules. As professionals in a demanding field, therapists need to remember to take care of themselves especially when they are overworked and stressed.

    Self-care is not a luxury for therapists, it's a necessity—and this skillset, and professional practice, is an essential part of maintaining our well-being, our clinical practice, and preventing burnout. When therapists ignore the signs of burnout it can result in decreased performance and loss of joy in our work. Let’s make sure this doesn’t happen or when it does, let’s address it as soon as we can!

    Here are some practical, supportive tips, and inspiration, for your professional self-care tool kit. These tips, highlights and inspiration have been selected from articles that have been useful to those who do practice coaching, training, supervision, and consultation with me. I promise you will feel hopeful and optimistic when you read them. They are practical and doable things that don’t cost a fortune or take a lot of time.

    Links to the articles are included.

    While the tips and highlights from each article do include a few of the usual exhortations to take breaks/vacations/time off from your practice, read them more closely because they are very supportive, and validating of therapist stressors and challenges to making those things happen.

    Top Tips & Highlights from each article…….

    1. Therapist Burnout: Signs, Causes, and Tips to Prevent it

    Courtney Gardner, MSW

    Burnout—It’s Not A Permanent Condition

    Experiencing burnout can be a daunting challenge, but it's essential to know that it's not a permanent condition. There are many highly effective strategies can help prevent and overcome burnout. Some of the most efficient techniques for avoiding and managing burnout are relatively easy to apply and can yield significant results. With time and patience, you can recover and return to your optimal self.

    Jumpstart Your Self-Care Routine to Avoid Burnout

    As a therapist, it is imperative to prioritize self-care to avoid burnout. You should make self-care a habit and a priority in your life instead of considering it an afterthought.

    Prioritizing self-care will help you prevent burnout and enable you to assist your clients from a place of renewal. Take the time to explore activities that help you relax and soothe, and include them in your routine. Although it may be difficult to start implementing self-care strategies, it is essential to remember that your physical and mental health, as well as your ability to care for others, depend on it.

    Connect with Other Therapists for Support

    As a therapist, it's crucial to establish connections with other professionals who can relate to the demands and pressures of your job.

    The lack of social support can be a significant factor contributing to therapist burnout, emphasizing the importance of fostering connections within the professional community.

    Consider joining a local professional organization or support group, or talk to your colleagues to create a robust support system to help you combat feelings of isolation and burnout. Don't hesitate to lean on each other for self-care tips or to vent when needed. Engaging with like-minded professionals is essential for your well-being and longevity in this field.

    2. How to Manage Private Practice Burnout

    Zencare Team

    Take a hard look at what is and what isn’t crucial for running your own business.

    Running your own business can be challenging, and chances are you enjoy certain aspects of it more than others. Do an inventory of what professional activities and habits might be contributing to your burnout, and ask yourself what you can delegate or move off your plate entirely.

    Consider the following domains of private practice management that can impact how much free time you have: Billing services, investing in practice management software, hire an office manager, dealing with insurance panels, correspondence and documentation; renting your own office space, office sharing; a jam-packed schedule.

    3. 6 Ways to Manage Private Practice Burnout

    Christi Gorbett

    Nobody said that being a therapist would be easy. As a therapist, your attention is constantly focused on the needs of others, which can be draining. When you add the stress of owning a private practice to an already challenging profession the odds of becoming burned out increase significantly.

    Network with Other Therapists

    It's also vital that you have access to a supportive professional network to help you deal with the symptoms of burnout.

    When you talk with other therapists, including your own, you'll soon find out that you're not alone; many other mental health professionals have struggled with similar feelings and can help you process what you're going through and support you as you heal.

    Give It Time

    Don't expect that burnout will resolve itself quickly. This condition didn't develop overnight which means it's going to take some time to recover completely. By making conscious lifestyle changes, delegating non-therapeutic tasks, tapping into a strong support network, and allow yourself time to heal, you'll once again find joy and satisfaction in your work.

    Overcoming Burnout: A Journey Towards Fulfillment and Balance

    Remember as a therapist your well-being is not just essential for you but also for the clients you serve. Prioritizing your needs, incorporating joy into your daily life, connecting with your community of therapists, and allowing for recovery time can restore your enthusiasm and dedication towards your profession. Burnout may seem like an insurmountable mountain but with patience, persistence, and the right strategies, it's one that can be conquered.

    Enjoy these articles and tips as you continue on your journey of having the best life and practice that you can imagine for yourself. All is possible.

    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 visiwww.Gifted-Adults.com or www.LAPracticeDevelopment.com.

  • 06/30/2024 11:00 PM | Gina Balit (Administrator)

    Therapists of Color (TOC) Mentorship Program

    TOC Mentorship Committee

    TOC Mentorship Program Committee Gears Up for 2024 with Enthusiastic Matchmaking

    The Therapist of Color (TOC) Mentorship Program Committee convened in May to embark on one of the most anticipated tasks of the year: matching mentors and mentees for the 2024 cycle. The atmosphere was electric as committee members pored over interest forms, each brimming with unique stories, aspirations, and goals. The excitement was palpable, and the dedication to making thoughtful, intentional matches was evident in every discussion.

    Reading through the interest forms was not just a task but a delightful journey into the diverse and dynamic lives of our applicants. Each form provided a glimpse into the passions and potential of both mentors and mentees, making the selection process both inspiring and challenging. Committee members were deeply moved by the enthusiasm and commitment shown by everyone involved, reinforcing the importance of creating meaningful connections that will foster personal and professional growth.

    On June 1st, our 4th mentoring cohort began, with all our mentees successfully paired with licensed mentors of color. Mentors and mentees kicked off the 4th cycle by participating in a virtual orientation organized by the committee, where they learned about program highlights and available resources. We are one month into the 6-month mentorship program, and the feedback from both mentors and mentees has been exceptional. They appreciate the connections established and feel a great sense of relief knowing they have additional support within their professional village.

    Our committee is steadfast in its mission to pair individuals in ways that will maximize the mentorship experience. We believe that these connections will not only provide guidance and support but also cultivate lasting relationships that transcend the program. As we move forward, we are filled with optimism and excitement for the incredible journeys that await our 2024 mentors and mentees. The TOC Mentorship Program is more than just a matching process; it is the beginning of transformative experiences that will shape the future of our community.

    Congratulations again to all our 2024 mentors and mentees selected this year!

    Call to Action: If you are interested in joining the program next year, visit our webpage and drop us an email. We are excited to connect with you and provide further information!

    Keonna Robinson, MA, LMFT, is the TOC Mentorship Program Chair. Visit: TOC Mentorship WebpageEmail: Tocmentorshipprogram@lacamft.org.

  • 06/30/2024 11:00 PM | Gina Balit (Administrator)

    Member Article

    Assembling Your Divorce Dream Team

    Steven Unruh, MDiv, LMFT

    Picture this: You’re standing at a crossroads, your heart heavy with the weight of a decision you never thought you’d have to make. Divorce. It’s a word that carries so much more than just its definition. It’s a seismic shift, a redefining of your life’s path, and it can leave you feeling lost and overwhelmed. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

    The Problem

    Divorce is a profound life upheaval, far beyond legalities and paperwork. The legal complexities, emotional turmoil, and financial strains can be overwhelming, compounded by feelings of failure, loss, and uncertainty about the future. It challenges our core beliefs about love, commitment, and life’s fairness. Yet, amidst this turmoil, there’s a beacon of hope: assembling your divorce team. This team, comprising professionals like lawyers, therapists, and financial advisors, can provide the support and guidance needed to navigate this challenging time. With the right team by your side, you can find clarity, confidence, and a path forward to rebuild your life with purpose and resilience.

    A Guide to Your Divorce Team

    As a divorce mediator with over 30 years of experience, I’m here to guide you. By assembling a team of professionals to support you, you can navigate the complexities of divorce with clarity and confidence.

    The Lawyer

    When considering who to have on your divorce team, hiring a lawyer often comes to mind first. While this is a common choice, there are both benefits and drawbacks to consider.

    On the positive side, a lawyer will advocate solely for your interests. You can express your desires for the divorce settlement, and your lawyer will work to either achieve them or provide realistic explanations if they might not be attainable. If the divorce becomes contentious and court appearances are necessary, your lawyer is well-versed in the law and court system, sparing you the stress of navigating bureaucracy alone.

    However, lawyers can be extremely costly. There is typically an initial retainer fee, along with an average hourly rate that can be substantial. By the conclusion of the process, lawyer-led divorces can cost tens of thousands of dollars per person. It’s not uncommon for couples to spend a hefty sum before turning to mediation as a more cost-effective alternative.

    It’s important to note that you can add a lawyer to your team at any point during the divorce process. Just because you don’t hire one initially doesn’t mean you can’t seek their advice later on. Lawyers can also be involved in various ways that many people might not be aware of, a topic your mediator can help clarify.

    The Therapist

    Divorce can exact a heavy toll on your emotional well-being. A therapist or counselor can offer invaluable support and guidance to help you navigate the emotional challenges that come with it. They can provide a safe space for you to express your feelings, process your emotions, and develop coping strategies to manage the stress and uncertainty that divorce brings.

    A therapist can also help you gain insight into your relationship patterns and personal growth, empowering you to heal and move forward in a healthy and constructive way. Their professional guidance can be instrumental in helping you rebuild your life and embrace a brighter future post-divorce.

    The Financial Advisor

    Divorce often carries substantial financial implications. A financial advisor can play a crucial role in helping you comprehend your financial standing, strategize for the future, and make well-informed decisions regarding your finances. They can assist in assessing your assets, liabilities, and financial needs, enabling you to develop a realistic budget and financial plan post-divorce.

    Additionally, a financial advisor can offer guidance on tax implications, retirement planning, and investment strategies tailored to your new circumstances. Their expertise can help you navigate the complexities of divorce-related finances with confidence, ensuring that you make sound financial choices that align with your long-term goals.

    By working with a financial advisor, you can gain peace of mind knowing that your financial future is in capable hands as you embark on this new chapter of your life.

    Friends and Family

    Your friends and family can be a crucial source of emotional support and encouragement during the challenging period of divorce. Don’t hesitate to lean on them for support, as they can offer a listening ear, a shoulder to lean on, and practical help when needed. Sharing your feelings and experiences with loved ones can provide comfort and reassurance, reminding you that you are not alone in this journey.

    Their unwavering support can help you navigate the emotional ups and downs of divorce, providing a sense of stability and connection during a tumultuous time. By allowing your friends and family to be there for you, you can strengthen your relationships and find solace in the love and support of those closest to you.

    The Mediator

    Mediation offers a compelling alternative to conventional divorce litigation. It enables you to collaborate with a neutral mediator to address key issues like custody, support, and property division. This approach fosters open communication and empowers both parties to find mutually agreeable solutions, often more efficiently and cost-effectively than litigation.

    Mediation also allows for more flexible and creative outcomes tailored to your unique circumstances, promoting a more amicable and less adversarial process. By choosing mediation, you retain greater control over the outcome of your divorce and can avoid the acrimony and expense associated with courtroom battles. It’s a constructive way to navigate the complexities of divorce, prioritizing cooperation and understanding as you transition to the next chapter of your life.

    You Aren’t Alone

    You might be thinking, “But I don’t want to drag my friends and family into this,” or “I can’t afford to hire a team of professionals.” The truth is, your friends and family want to support you, and there are affordable options available, such as sliding scale fees for therapists and free consultations with lawyers.

    As you navigate the complexities of divorce, remember that you don’t have to do it alone. By assembling a team of professionals to support you, you can navigate this challenging time with confidence and clarity. Reach out to me today to learn more about how mediation can benefit you and your family. Together, we can pave the way for a brighter future.

    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.

  • 06/30/2024 11:00 PM | Gina Balit (Administrator)

    Therapists of Color (TOC) Grant Award Committee

    LA-CAMFT's Therapists of Color Grant Award: Grant Award Winners

    Marvin Whistler, Mediator

    • On June 30, 2024, the most recent awardees of the LA-CAMFT TOC GRANT AWARD were randomly selected.  They are Shruti Shankar and Jacquelyn Perez.  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 September 3, 2024.  It is limited to members of LA-CAMFT, and the award is limited to once per calendar year.

      At the end of this article, there is an update on the impact that the award has had on awardees and their thoughts on its value.

      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 September 3, 2024 and will close on October 26, 2024. The drawing will take place on October 27, 2024.

    Awardees' thoughts on the LA-CAMFT TOC Grant Award


    "It was very helpful. I was poor when I was an AMFT."

    "The grant was very impactful as it eased the burden of some of the costs associated with the MFT process (training and supplies, L&E study materials, etc.)! The grant provided relief and helped finances feel less constrained as a trainee and now Associate."

    "I found the grant very helpful to me particularly during a time when I was in dire need of additional funding & support to help keep me on track for the future."

    "The grant was very impactful for me, as it helped me to pay my final fees, associated with my graduate program, so that I could finish strong. Every little bit counts, so I am very grateful to have been able to use this money to help toward that end."


    "I just want to express my sincere gratitude to the TOC Grant committee for this program as it truly helps alleviate some of the systemic socioeconomic gaps in this field that passionate therapists of color such as myself have to navigate in our journeys to becoming competent licensed mental health clinicians."

    "I appreciate that this grant exists and can be applied to very easily. The gesture is meaningful and I hope other TOC are taking advantage of it."

    "It really touched me. SFV chapter started giving scholarships too. I think TOC Grant was a positive influence to the therapists community."

    "One additional comment I’d like to make is that it is very helpful that we are able to use the grant money at our own discretion. Removing limitations is advantageous because life happens to us all, and in order for us to be able to do our work well, sometimes we need to be able to address other situations, financially, that may directly or indirectly impact our work."

    Best regards,

    The LA-CAMFT TOC Grant Committee

  • 06/30/2024 11:00 PM | Gina Balit (Administrator)

    Guest Article

    Rediscovering Joy: The Importance of Play for Our Older Clients

    Kim Scott, LMFT

    As summer unfolds, it’s the perfect time to talk about helping our older clients bring more play into their lives. The lyrics from the opera Porgy and Bess remind us, "Summertime and the livin’ is easy," making it an ideal moment to explore how play, or the lack thereof, affects our older clients. 

    In our hard-working, high-pressure society, play often takes a backseat unless it is paired with the concept of working hard to earn the right to play hard. But what about relaxing play—non-competitive, languid, and lazy play that can enrich life during retirement? Is play only for children? Absolutely not!  Play is vital for all ages.

    Frequently older clients come to therapy due to feelings of depression and anxiety, loss of loved ones and loss of activities that they used to enjoy, loneliness, isolation, and concerns about cognitive decline. Play can be a powerful antidote to such suffering. In this post, we will delve into the health benefits of play, the different types of play, and practical ways we can help our clients rediscover the joy of play.

    Some of the benefits of play for our older clients (well, really for all of us) include:

    • Improve Cognitive Functioning: Engaging in different types of play activates enhance cognitive functioning, delaying the onset of dementia and other cognitive impairments, and maintain brain health as we age. Activities like puzzles and learning stimulate the brain, while physical activities like golf, walking, or swimming also contribute. 

    Researcher Jaak Panksepp found that play even stimulates nerve growth in parts of the cortex that are responsible for executive functions and in the amygdala, which manages our emotions.  Play helps us make new neural connections.

    • Enhance Mood and Wellbeing: Play can improve one’s mood, reduce feelings of depression and anxiety, and release endorphins, leading to feelings of happiness and a sense of wellbeing.
    • Creative Engagement: Creative play keeps the mind active and engaged, contributing to an overall better quality of life.  
    • Reduced Boredom: Play provides psychological arousal, which decreases feelings of boredom.
    • Increased Optimism: Play fosters feelings of optimism and positivity. 
    • Improved Health and Immunity: New research suggests that play can enhance overall health and strengthen the immune system. 
    • Inherent Fun: And, of course, play is inherently fun!

    How do adults play?

    In Stuart Brown, MD’s, book Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, he identifies 8 different play personalities in adulthood.  

    • The Joker: Enjoys lighthearted play, often through jokes and humor.
    • The Kinesthetic: Loves physical activity and movement.
    • The Explorer: Thrives on discovering new places, ideas, and experiences, weather through travel, books, or classes.
    • The Competitor: Finds joy in competitive games and challenges.
    • The Director/Planner: Enjoys organizing events and activities.
    • The Collector: Finds pleasure in gathering and organizing collections.
    • The Creator: Loves making things, from art to inventions.
    • The Storyteller: Enjoys creating, hearing, and sharing stories.

    These categories expand our understanding of play.  For instance, being an Explorer does not just mean traveling; it can also mean learning and exploring through books and classes.  Reflecting on these categories can help our clients identify their play personality and find new ways to play within their current abilities. For instance, the older person with an Explore play personality may no longer be able to travel but may be able to fulfill their exploration need through learning, books, classes, virtual reality, or the travel channel. 

    To help your clients add more play into their lives, Dr. Brown suggests that we start by taking a play history.  Have your client think back to their childhood and share the activities they enjoyed doing just for the fun of it. Simply talking about past joys can help rekindle those good feelings. Adding a guided visualization can make this experience even more vivid and emotionally engaging.

    Next, introduce the different play personality types to your client and help them identify their primary play personality. From here, you can explore how they might recreate that joyful feeling in their current life.  What activities might work for them now?

    Sometimes, clients have a hard time engaging in new play activities because they fear they won't be good at it or will look silly. You may need to help your client work through these fears, let go of the need for perfection, and give themselves permission to be a beginner.

    Once your client has identified their play personality, help them make a list of small and large activities they can do daily to reintroduce play into their lives. For instance, if your client loves storytelling, a small step might be to share a short anecdote from the past in each session or start by writing micro stories or flash stories each day. A micro story can be as simple as a two-sentence response to a prompt, or they might start with journaling.

    I knew an artist who began making collages when she no longer had the fine motor skills to draw as she once did. To truly flourish, play needs to become a natural part of our clients' daily lives.

    My play personalities are Storyteller and Explorer. I love exploring through books, classes, visiting new local restaurants, and learning rather than through travel. Every day I read and I also belong to a book club, which allows me to share this kind of play with others. And although Explorer and Storyteller are my primary play personalities, it’s important to add in other types of play for interest, novelty, and health. I do this by walking and playing Wordle daily, swimming during the summer months, and playing board games with my husband and friends.

    Plus, we can make our sessions fun. As the old saying goes, “laughter is the best medicine.”

    To learn more about play, Stuart Brown’s book Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul is a great resource, or visit the National Institute for Play website.

    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.

  • 06/30/2024 11:00 PM | Gina Balit (Administrator)

    LA-CAMFT 3000 Club


    3000 Club Monthly Support Group 

    Saturday, July 6, 2024
    9:00 am- 10:00 am

    Meets First Saturday of Every Month

    FREE Registration

    Via Zoom

    3000 Club Monthly Support Group

    Join the 3000 Club for a one-hour support group. Meet and get to know other pre-licensed members, ask questions about BBS updates, participate in a supportive group of other LA-based pre-licensed MFTs.

    For more information, contact Javan Taherkhani. 

    Prelicensed Associates and Students, Trainees, Associates, Newly Licensed Therapists, LA-CAMFT Members and Non-Members.

    Event Details: 
    Saturday, July 6, 2024, 9:00-10:00 am

    Where: Online Via Zoom

    No Charge

    Your registration confirmation email will include the Zoom link and instructions for accessing the event.

    (To be sure you receive any information we send prior to the event, please add prelicensed@lacamft.org to your known contacts or safe list and check your bulk, junk or promotions mailboxes for any emails from us about this event.)

    Registration is open and available until the presentation begins.

  • 06/30/2024 11:00 PM | Gina Balit (Administrator)

    Member Article

    Perfection, Restricting, and Eating Disorders

    Joanna Poppink, LMFT

    Perfection as Safety through Restricting Food

    Perfection is often the goal in early eating disorder recovery work. Whether clients suffer from bulimia, anorexia, compulsive overeating, or binge eating, the desire for perfection often looms large. When anxious and frightened, they may attempt to control their body shape and size by restricting their food intake in their drive to be perfect.

    This drive to restrict food is viewed as a way to soothe, numb, and distract from suffering. The idea of becoming smaller can be thrilling because, in their minds, being thin and tiny equates to a fantasy of ultimate safety.

    While self-improvement and striving for excellence are natural, the relentless pursuit of perfection is exhausting and can blind individuals to opportunities for joy and satisfaction.

    How Perfection Relates to Restricting and Eating Disorders

    Perfection is a pinnacle to reach where no criticism is possible. The person is now flawless and incomparable. Unlike simply being the best, which implies comparison, perfection suggests an absolute ideal.

    However, since perfection is impossible, even when a person reaches their sense of perfection, they need to be vigilant to maintain that condition. Their anxiety now is based on slipping from the pinnacle.

    Plus, since they know being perfect is always out of reach, they now have two terrors. One is that they can’t quite get to real and lasting perfection. Two: that they will lose what they have accomplished. Climbing the endless and steep mountain while always having a precarious grip on the rocks is an agonizing way to live.

    Relying on being the best for self-worth can lead to emotional instability, problems with relationships, and problems reaching realistic goals in life due to underlying insecurities. Even with accolades and recognition, the anxiety and drive to achieve an impossible standard of perfection undermine any satisfaction or freedom to be natural in work, love, or play.

    The Goal of Attaining Perfection

    The quest for perfection is not necessarily about being better than others. It is about reaching an ideal state where no flaws exist. This belief drives communities like pro-ana, where individuals support each other's starvation, aiming not to compete but to attain the mythical state of perfection collectively. The hope is that achieving this state will silence both external judgments and internal critical voices.

    The belief is that perfection will bring ultimate safety, free from harm, fear, flaws, vulnerabilities, or judgments. However, this ideal is unattainable. The endless pursuit of perfection leaves individuals feeling sad, defeated, frightened, and desperate due to inevitable failure and lack of nourishment.

    Courage to Find Your Path to Health and Safety

    True safety comes from health, internal strength, and wisdom. Achieving this requires the courage to abandon the perfection fantasy and commit to genuine recovery. It may initially feel like surrendering to catastrophe.

    This stage is critical. The person will be frightened. She may view her psychotherapist as an enemy who doesn’t understand and who wants to lead her to disaster. The emotional pain is acute.

    This is why psychotherapy often begins slowly. Before the person can even consider leaving the pursuit of perfection she needs to develop a trust in her therapist and a trust in the healing process. Once trust is present she can use her developing courage to risk moving toward a more healthy and imperfect state.

    Over time, letting go of perfectionism brings relief and allows individuals to embrace their wonderfully imperfect selves. This acceptance opens the door to rich relationships with other imperfect people and the possibility of building a happy, satisfying life.

    Joanna Poppink, LMFT, psychotherapist, speaker, and author of Healing Your Hungry Heart: Recovering from Your Eating Disorder, is in private practice and specializes in Eating Disorder Recovery for adult women and with an emphasis on building a fulfilling life beyond recovery. She is licensed in California, Florida, Oregon, and Utah. All appointments are virtual. Website: EatingDisorderRecovery.net

  • 06/30/2024 11:00 PM | Gina Balit (Administrator)

    LA-CAMFT Diversity Committee

    Therapists of Color Support Group

    Now Meets Every Quarter

    Next Meeting:
    Sunday, July 14, 2024
    11:00 am-1:00 pm (PT)

    Online Via Zoom

    Therapists of Color Support Group

    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
      Meets every quarter
      Location: Zoom Meeting

      For more information contact the Diversity Committee, diversitycommittee@lacamft.org.

      Licensed Therapists, Associates, and Students

      Event Details: 
      Sunday, July 14, 2024, 11:00 am-1:00 pm (PT)
      Time of Check-In: 10:50 am

      Online Via Zoom
      Upon registration for the presentation, you will receive a confirmation email that includes a link to our Zoom meeting.

      No Charge

      Online Registration CLOSES on the day of the event.

      Questions about Registration? Contact Stara Shakti, LMFT  at DiversityCommittee@lacamft.org.

      In diversity there is beauty
      and there is strength.

      Maya Angelou

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