Los Angeles Chapter — California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
Voices — March 2020
Each year in February, Board Members from 28 CAMFT chapters throughout California, as well as CAMFT State Board Members, attend the annual Chapter Leadership Conference. This year, the CLC conference was held in San Francisco and the presentation topics included Engaging Members, How to Govern your Board Effectively, Building Relationships with Sponsors and Market Effectively, Manage your Chapter as a Business, and Surviving and Thriving in Chapter Leadership.
Our own Past President of LA-CAMFT and Member of the Diversity Committee, Christina Castorena facilitated a training on Diversity and Inclusion which received an overwhelmingly positive reception from attendees. All the hard work by Christina Castorena, co-chairs Janaki Neptune and Marvin Whistler, and other dedicated members of the Diversity Committee has paved the way for LA-CAMFT to become one of the leading chapters in discussing and advocating for diversity issues.
The LA-CAMFT Board of Directors was honored to nominate Shelley Pearce as Outstanding Chapter Leader for exemplary service and commitment. In addition, our Los Angeles chapter was nominated for the Chapter Excellence Award for Best Membership Development. The importance of membership development goes beyond the number of members, but is the foundation and lifeblood of any organization. Our achievements related to membership over the past year include continued growth of the Diversity Committee, holding the first LA-CAMFT event located in East Los Angeles, and the 3000 club for pre-licensed clinicians, facilitating its first virtual meeting in order to make attendance more accessible and to discuss issues pertaining to pre-licensed clinicians.
While collaborating with other chapter and state leaders to brainstorm ideas is just one step in continuing to grow as an organization, LA-CAMFT’s Board of Directors will have many more meetings and discussions in order to incorporate these ideas into our chapter so to best meet the needs of our members.
All the best,
Matthew Evans, LMFT
Matthew Evans, LMFT, utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy in his work as a Primary Therapist in Resilience Treatment Center’s residential program for adults.
Matthew may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, March 7, 2020
1:00 pm-4:00 pm
Introduction to Hakomi:
A Mindfulness-Based Somatic Psychotherapy
Susan San Tara, LMFT, and Ashley Ross, LMFT
The Hakomi Method is a powerful psychotherapy that combines unique mindfulness-centered methods with somatic techniques, with a focus on present-time experiencing within an attuned relational field. In this introductory workshop, participants will be presented with a powerful way to identify and work with implicit communications, safely engage and re-negotiate clients' core-schemas and organizations, access their deeper core-affects, and guide and nourish them towards states of self-coherency, creating deeper and lasting change.
Saturday, March 7, 2020
Culver City Veteran’s Memorial Building, Garden Room,
4117 Overland Ave., Culver City, 90230
Register today by clicking the Register Here button below.
Lynne Azpeitia, LMFT
Getting Paid: Tips for Getting the Word Out About You, Your Practice & Your Expertise
Getting the word out about your therapy practice is important. To be successful in private practice, you need a steady stream of clients—QUALITY referrals that are a good match for you and your practice. Letting people know what you do therapeutically and how you can help them, not only helps fill your practice, it helps you help more people.
The more people who know about your therapy services and expertise, the easier it will be for those who need your services to find you and get the help they need. Consider the ways you can let colleagues, prospective clients, and referral sources know about you and your services.
1. Getting the word out about your practice is a community service.
Getting the word out about your therapy services and expertise is really about letting people in the community know about you, your practice and your services. It’s educating those in your community—your peers, prospective clients and referral sources—about what therapy is, who you serve in your practice and how you help them.
Tip: When clients go to your website, directory listing, and social media pages, what they are really looking for is: Who are you? What can you do for me? How can I contact you? Make sure your content on your website, directory listings, and social media pages gives them that information clearly and easily.
Tip: It doesn’t matter what you do to get the word out about your practice and services but you have to do something. Since you have to do something, ONLY do the things you like.
Tip: Remember, only do what fits or makes sense to you to get the word out—and always within legal and ethical guidelines! It’s okay to make things up to do that you like. However, you will have to try things out to see what you like.
Tip: Be sure to make the act of promoting yourself and your skills and services energy producing instead of energy draining.
2. Getting to know people in your community and letting them get to know you, the services you offer, and the type of work you do, brings in quality referrals.
People who already know about, like, or trust you are more likely to refer to you than anyone else. People trust their friends and people they know so that’s why word of mouth, whether in person or online, is the most valuable source of referrals for your practice.
Tip: Connect with local businesses. Introduce yourself to other local business owners who are your neighbors. One therapist I know who moved into a new office went to each one of the businesses around her—introduced herself, met and got to know the business owners and or those who worked there, found out about their businesses and gave them her business cards and brochures.
Tip: Join a professional organization or association. Attend meetings of professional groups, associations or organizations to get known in your community. Become a member. Volunteer. Register and attend a conference.
Tip: Post your professional and or practice information to a directory. GoodTherapy, Psychology Today, LinkedIn, etc. Remember that Linked In is social media for professionals, and is a trusted source for professional services and referrals.
Tip: Either donate products or volunteer your services to a worthy cause and get your name and the name of your practice out there to new people while doing a good deed.
Tip: Consider getting some promotional products with your name, website, phone number, email, and or practice specialties on them to hand out. Pens, notebooks, notepads, post-it notes, shopping bags, led flashlights, etc., are all favorite types of promotional swag that people appreciate.
3. Tapping into existing relationships is the fastest way to fill and grow your practice.
People trust other people and the experiences they have so that’s why when people hear from a friend, someone they know or a professional they trust, about a service or product they choose that one over others. For therapists, the first few referrals after you open your private practice will usually come through in person connections and relationships you’ve already built.
Tip: Build an email list. Who should you put on it? Include those you meet while networking but don’t stop there, add close friends, acquaintances, family members, extended family; neighbors, acquaintances. Professionals you have personally used—medical professionals such as doctors, physical therapists, psychiatrists, dentists, dental hygienists—as well as business professionals who are lawyers, estate planners, financial planners, as well as nutritionists, doulas, Lamaze instructors. Personal trainers, Pilates instructors, meditation instructors, massage therapists, aestheticians, hair stylists. Those who attend your church or who worked with you in the past as well as elementary, middle and high school teachers and coaches. Mentors, past clinical supervisors and professors, classmates and supervision group members. teachers, guidance counselors.
Tip: Send regular emails to your list to keep them informed of what you are doing in your practice—do this at least three times a year. Or start a free monthly email newsletter and send it to your email list.
Tip: Utilize Your Email Signature. Make sure your email signatures contain contact information for your business—links to your website, upcoming workshop, new book or audiobook, podcast, video, YouTube channel, etc. This makes it easy for people to know more about you and what you offer.
Lynne Azpeitia, LMFT, AAMFT Approved Supervisor, is in private practice in Santa Monica where she works with Couples and Gifted, Talented, and Creative people across the lifespan. Lynne’s been doing business and clinical coaching with mental health professionals for more than 15 years, helping develop successful careers and thriving practices. To learn more about services, training or the monthly LA Practice Development Lunch visit www.Gifted-Adults.com or www.LAPracticeDevelopment.com.
LMFT, NMP, CGP
The Language of Grief
One of my specialties is grief and loss, and I did an intensive training at a remarkable place called “Our House” in Los Angeles. During the training, we were encouraged to share our personal experience with grief and discuss our family traditions when someone died. The leaders emphasized the importance of using the correct language when talking to our clients about death. This training had a great impact on me both personally and professionally.
We were taught to use the word “die” instead of “passed” and avoid saying someone “committed suicide,” because that phrase implies someone “committed” a crime. Instead they recommended saying someone “suicided,” died by suicide, or ended their life.
Last year I lost a close friend to suicide, she was the second friend of mine who took her life in 2019. It was traumatic for me; I was with her the night before she died, and I was very concerned about her. When I asked her if she was planning to take her life, she assured me she wasn’t. I drove her home to her family where I thought she would be safe, and she died the next day.
In our death-denying culture, we need to find a way to get comfortable talking about suicide and listening to those who have suffered the loss of a loved one. People are often unsure about what to say. Sometimes they’ll ask questions about the details of the death which can be re-traumatizing for the grieving person.
Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services opened the first suicide prevention center in Los Angeles in 1958. Today their state-of-the-art facility in Century City offers a hotline, support groups for the general public and specialized training for professionals.
California recently passed a new law requiring mental health providers to complete six hours of continuing education in suicide prevention. Those already licensed will be required to complete this one time training at the time of their first renewal that takes place on or after January 1, 2021. To learn more about the requirements of this law click here “New Requirement for Existing Licensees and Applicants for Licensure: Suicide Risk Assessment and Intervention.”
Maria Gray, LMFT, NMP, CGP, is a psychotherapist in private practice in Century City, where she specializes in trauma and addictions and leads groups. Maria offers individual business consultation and workshops for therapists who want to thrive in private practice. To learn more, go to www.mariagray.net.
How to Deal with Crazy Actors
To paraphrase an old joke, “Do you have to be crazy to be and actor?” Answer, “No, but it helps.” The idea here being that actors have to have a pretty big ego to think they can make it in Hollywood. And sometimes, that means they have inflated, or irrational ideas about their abilities, and that may govern their behaviors.
Actors have to take enormous risks, spend years struggling to make a living, doing odd jobs like driving for Uber, just to get a foot in the door. In addition, they have to open themselves up, in auditions, on stage or on a film set, to reveal their innermost faults, flaws and vulnerabilities.
And it’s not just actors. Almost everybody who aspires to “make it” in Hollywood is going through similar life experiences. They’re face with various financial, social and psychological insecurities. They have to think about spending maybe fifteen years trying to succeed and accept the possibility that it doesn’t work out. They have to live with that all the time.
The competition is fierce in this town, especially for actors.
Millions of other actors are struggling to get auditions, to get parts in plays and films, and to get representation. They have to be tough on the outside and vulnerable on the inside. They have to persevere against insane odds.
You, as an aspiring writer will, no doubt share many of these same insecurities. You have to open yourself up, too. You have to share your innermost secrets and fears, except on paper. You get to hide behind the keyboard.
Consider this; your goal as a writer is to sell screenplays and see your work produced. And if you’re successful (and if you’re reading this blog, you will be) you’ll find yourself at some point on a set with these ”crazy actors.”
If you find work on a television show, you’ll most likely wind up being on the set quite often. If not on the set itself, you’ll probably be watching rehearsals or run-throughs, to see how the show is shaping up, so more rewrites can be done.
If you sell a screenplay, you’ll probably want to be on the set to see your work realized. You may also be asked to be on the set for last-minute rewrites. Hopefully, this will be a fulfilling experience for you.
Let’s say one of these possibilities presents itself and you’re going to be meeting actors on the set. Of course, producers, directors and studio executives will also be on the set, some of them possibly possessing huge egos themselves.
How do you prepare yourself to meet the actors?
You should know that you might be meeting actors (or others) who will avoid eye contact with you, throw tantrums, or otherwise exhibit “crazy behaviors.”
One thing to keep in mind is that when you’re on the set, it’s not really your movie or TV episode anymore. You wrote it, but don’t expect actors, directors and power-brokers to treat you well. Keep in mind the power structure in Hollywood. Producers, directors and actors are powerful. Writers, not so much.
No matter what, always be respectful, discreet, and gracious to anyone on the set. That includes crew members, and production assistants. You don’t want word getting around that you’re critical, temperamental, snide or have an attitude.
Remember, on the set, almost everybody outranks you.
Be careful what you say. Be polite. And If you’re asked to get coffee, do it cheerfully.
As for the most powerful people on the set, and this usually means the actors, some of them may display an array of undesirable character traits.
Especially watch out for these behaviors from the power-players or the movie stars; they might be extremely demanding of excessive admiration, they may lack empathy, they will probably be speaking more than listening, and they probably won’t remember you or anything you talk about.
The worst of them tend to they blame others around them, including you, for anything that goes wrong. Similarly, they tend not to take responsibility for their own mistakes, they like to tell others what to do, and they don’t like to be challenged.
At the extreme end of the spectrum, they may humiliate you; make demeaning comments about you, (sometimes disguised as a joke). They may treat you as if you’re not there at all. They might be outright verbally abusive. They may throw tantrums if they don’t get their way.
Keep your distance.
The best advice if you find yourself on a set is to have minimal exposure to the more famous (or famously-crazy) stars. Stand back. If you need to communicate with stars about the script or scene structure, or dialogue, try to do so through the director.
If the star talks to you, keep it short, be discreet, and have an exit plan. If you somehow get drawn into a conversation with a star, make sure you’re talking about them. Talk about some of the other movies you’re seen them in. Keep everything upbeat. Be complementary.
Don’t let them draw you into an argument or a difference of opinion. If you can’t avoid a longer conversation with a star, and find yourself stuck with one, don’t share too much about your private life at least not at first. Hollywood narcissists have been known to use your own vulnerabilities against you in some way later.
If you witness some extremely narcissistic behaviors, such as humiliating a production assistant, for no good reason, let it go. Resist the temptation to come to the assistant’s aid. Again, that’s what directors and producers are for.
Don’t spread gossip about a star.
Don’t go around talking about the star’s behavior, even if it was way out of line. Remember, gossip gets around. Be prepared to witness some unseemly actions, diva-like behaviors, and try not to let it phase you.
Your relationship with these powerful, difficult people may change over time. You may be on a TV show for years and end up interacting with the actors more often.
As you move up on the writing staff, or sell more scripts, you’ll be taking meetings with the actors, and maybe even seeing them at holiday parties, at lunch or in the parking lot. Even, then, you’d be well advised to be careful.
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.
Image credit: Creative Commons, Charlie-Sheen-Duh-Winning 2011 by justafo is licensed under CC By 2.0 is licensed under CC By 2.0
From Breadcrumbing to Zombieing:An Online-Dating Dictionary for the Uninitiated
Do you have clients who are navigating the world of online dating? If you haven’t been dating in the last few years, you need a primer to navigate all the latest dating trends and terms. Here is a roadmap to some of the trends—both new and old.
How is dating different now?
People have entire courtships via text, which most millennials refer to as “talking”—as in, “When we were ‘talking’ last night, he ‘said’ X, and then I ‘said’ Y.” The unlucky dater who is much better in person than on a 5-inch screen draws the short straw here. By the same token, people are attracted to matches who are clever texters, even if they may be sorely lacking as partners in real life.
Literally thousands of potential matches are available to anyone with enough time and energy. Daters believe they can be super picky about what they are looking for, because there is so much choice. Do you prefer a guy with a beard—no problem! Do you prefer a woman who surfs—you got it!
This illusion of choice results in many daters giving up very quickly after meeting someone if they don’t feel instant chemistry. I often have young women in my office who complain that they aren’t good at being themselves on first dates, and that guys should not just write them off if they seem too chatty or too quiet. Yet they do the same thing to the guy who doesn’t text them back quickly enough in-between dates. Abundance of choice makes you less persistent.
Rejection hurts—and there’s a ton of rejection in today’s dating world. In fact, we know that rejection, even virtual rejection, fires up the same part of our brains as physical pain. Anyone on the dating apps these days knows that they need to be emotionally ready to experience constant rejection as part of the process. Not just after a date, like in the old days, but every single time they open the app.
New Words for Old Behavior: (Sorry Millennials, you didn’t invent this stuff!)
When someone gives you just enough attention to keep you interested.
Similar to breadcrumbing—keeping you “on the bench” in case the first string doesn’t work out.
Suddenly disappearing without a trace. Almost everyone I see in my practice complains about being ghosted, and almost everyone I see has also ghosted someone. It’s marginally acceptable now.
When a date from the past arises from the dead to suddenly send you a message as if nothing ever happened in-between.
Same as zombieing, basically. Different metaphor.
Words for Behavior Made Possible by New Technology:
When someone is on all your social media but never contacts you directly. Frustrating if it’s someone you’d like to see less of, but sometimes exciting if you think they’re interested in you. Unfortunately, if they are interested in you, and this is how they show it, it’s not a particularly good sign…
Same as orbiting, different metaphor, more negative.
New Words That Are Interesting Psychologically:
One of the newest arrivals in the dating dictionary, “whelming” was just coined at the end of January this year. It describes the behavior when a match complains that they are totally overwhelmed by all the attention they are getting on the apps.
This is most often characterized as obnoxious behavior that shows the “whelmer” for the jerk they are. Most likely, though, this behavior is simply the easiest way for someone to prove their desirability in the 7 seconds of attention they are allotted from their latest match. Awkward, yes; jerk, no.
Patia Braithwaite, who coined the term “whelming,” says, “Whelming is what happens when my matches spontaneously lament about how overwhelmed they are by their other matches instead of, you know, flirting with me.” I would posit that flirting with her is exactly what this guy was doing, however badly.
A term coined from the popular show, Fleabag, where Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s character repeatedly dates the wrong guy. Of course, repeatedly dating the wrong guy is what dating is. When you find the right guy, you stop. So many of my clients bemoan the fact that all the guys they date are just wrong. This is generally where we take a moment to clarify expectations.
Fleabag’s character takes this practice to the limit, though, when she chases after a priest in Season 2. Perhaps Fleabagging should be reserved for describing people who date others only if they are completely inappropriate or unavailable.
Fleabag is such a colorful show, that there is some controversy over what the term Fleabag actually means. Don’t be confused if you hear it used to describe someone who slips a critical comment into an otherwise inane conversation, or to describe a character who speaks in asides directly to the audience.
Negging is when someone puts their date down by saying something negative about them—a “neg”—to make them feel inferior. Often it is subtle, and the recipient isn’t even quite sure if it’s a joke or if it’s real. Either way, they are often caught in a web of manipulation, as they try hard to impress them and prove them wrong. This toxic dynamic can be strangely compelling, and I have seen quite a few clients in my office who have fallen victim to this practice.
This is my personal favorite of all the new dating terms, because it describes a practice that therapists have long seen in relationships, but that clients rarely understand. Having a specific name for it means that public awareness of this behavior is skyrocketing, which is always a good thing when it comes to unhealthy relationship dynamics.
Good news for therapists—though dating has changed, feelings are the same! Unhealthy behaviors adapt to recent technology, but rejection, heartbreak, and all the feelings associated with dating are timeless.
Price for the workshop includes expanded continental breakfast,
buffet lunch, presentation and 6 CEUs
Don’t miss LA-CAMFT’s annual Law and Ethics Workshop on SUNDAY, MARCH 22nd.
The purpose of the program is to help therapists be aware of their legal and ethical responsibilities to clients and the new security of platforms to use when providing telehealth services.
Our presenter is Curt Widhalm, LMFT. Curt is a brilliant and entertaining presenter on Law and Ethics.
This workshop will fulfill your bi-annual BBS Law and Ethics requirement.
As usual, the workshop includes 2 meals: a delicious breakfast buffet of eggs, bagels, fruit, etc. Lunch features two fantastic salads and a complete sandwich bar and afternoon snack of fresh-made chocolate chip cookies.
Free all-day parking is also included.
Sylvia Cary, LMFT
Writing for Your Inner Circle
Writing a book takes about 10% of the effort; publishing takes about 15%; and marketing takes about 75%! ― Author Unknown
Getting a book published is a big job, but the biggest part of it isn’t the writing or even the publishing, it’s the book marketing. For many authors, book marketing is a chore and a drag. And scary! Put myself out there on social media? No way! Have a Facebook business page? Express an opinion on LinkedIn? Tweet on Twitter? Participate in an online chat? You gotta be kidding!
But book marketing is a fact of the writing life, right? It’s an absolute necessity, right? There’s no way around it, right? So you might as well grin and bear it and face it like a grown-up, right? Well, yes and no. Yes, book marketing is a must if the main reason you are publishing is to make a name for yourself and make money. But No, if you are writing for other reasons, such as sharing your expertise with audiences or colleagues or clients or putting together a book of your poems or photos as a gift for friends.
One of the beauties of self-publishing in today’s digital world is that you can pick any reason you want to publish a book, and knowing your reason will take the marketing pressure off your shoulders. For your particular book, marketing may not be what you need so in that case, you don’t even have to bother with it.
What Does Writing for Your “Inner Circle” Mean?
Your inner circle consists of the people you deal with every day, not the “world at large” or the “general public” or “book-buyers,” but your personal world — friends and family, professional colleagues, business associates, your clients, your patients, your neighbors, your local community, people in organizations you belong to. Your inner circle may consist of just a handful of people you feel free to boast in front of. Send them an email: “Hey, I just put my book up on Amazon. Here’s the link.”
Just thinking in terms of writing for your inner circle rather than writing for “everybody” can open up a whole new world of possibilities for authors who have been dragging their feet for years, fretting about the daunting task of marketing it once it’s written. Even if you’re a mental health professional, your book doesn’t have to be “important.” You can write it, put it up for sale on Amazon (somebody will surely find it), buy a dozen copies for your personal use (author discount), or “gift” it to people.
A Few “Inner Circle” Book Ideas
A non-fiction book on your specialty as a therapist, or better yet, some niche aspect of the topic that hasn’t been written about yet so it’s fresh meat. You can sell it when you teach classes, gives talks, or do workshops, or use with clients.
A personal recovery memoir you can now use in your work as a therapist helping others recover from the same thing.
A book based on a hobby or collection. Perhaps for years you’ve collected dolls from around the world, or from different periods of history. You could write about the dolls, and include photos or brief historical write-ups to go with them.
Family research—history of the family, family trees, photos, maps, documents, wedding invitations, birth announcements, or obits. Not the kind of book non-family members would buy, but family members will probably love it and gladly order it from Amazon.
Mystery stories: An ex-cop-turned-fiction-writer wrote a book of short stories about cops and self-published it. While he emailed some of his former cop buddies, he made additional sales because some people love cop fiction and do Internet searches to find new works—and his book popped up. No real marketing involved.
Many professions (mental health, law, show business, music, medicine, science, art, etc.) are divided up into many sub-specialties, any one of which could make a book. While traditional marketing is best for such books, some will simply sell themselves when people do Internet searches on specific topics.
Children’s books. An Asian woman who now lives in the U.S. wrote a book for her daughter, a collection of the children’s stories she grew up with. At the time she published it, she said she couldn’t find any other Asian stories for kids. Someone now searching, as she did, for “Asian children’s stories” just might find her book.
Keywords: The Key to Passive Book Marketing
A secret to having your non-marketed book discovered via an Internet search is to use good keywords (kdp.com allows you seven of them) when you upload your book to Amazon. There are numerous articles online about how to select these keywords. For authors who decide not to do much marketing, it’s especially important to study the keyword advice.
Don’t hold off on getting your book published because you are nervous about the marketing. If you are clear about your personal publishing goals, which may not be the same as the author next door, then you can relax — the pressure is off ― and ironically you might even sell books without meaning to, even while you sleep. Sweet dreams.
Find the beauty of one of your unique, personal, or work-related inner circles, write about it, then publish using good keywords, along with a few other low-key marketing tools (the “set it and forget it” kind), and call it a day. People will surely find you. Maybe not millions, but some.
Sylvia Cary, LMFT is the author of THE THERAPIST WRITER: Helping Mental Health Professionals Get Published (2019 version published on Amazon and Kindle) She’s in Sherman Oaks and does publishing coaching through Cary Editorial & Book Consulting. Website: sylviacary.com.
This article was previously published in Voices, February 2019.
Attention LA-CAMFT Members!
2020 LA-CAMFT Board Meeting Dates
Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at a LA-CAMFT Full Board Meeting? LA-CAMFT members are invited to attend monthly Full Board Meetings hosted at Factor’s Deli in West Los Angeles.
March 13, 2020
April 10, 2020
May 8, 2020
June 6, 2020 (Board Retreat)
July 10, 2020
August 14, 2020
September 4, 2020
October 9, 2020
November 13, 2020
9420 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Voices Publication Guidelines for 2020
Calling all community writers and contributors!
Are you searching for a unique platform to express your passions and showcase your expertise in the Marriage and Family Therapy field? Look no further, as we welcome your input!
Following are the due dates and publication guidelines for submitting articles and ads for the 2020 calendar year to Voices, LA-CAMFT's monthly newsletter:
LA-CAMFT Publishing Guidelines for Voices
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