Los Angeles Chapter — California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
Voices — May 2019
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Would you like to have lunch? This is a question that is often heard at LA-CAMFT networking events. People go to these events because they are looking to build a professional network for referrals, and they are looking for support. One of the most important ways to do this is by sharing your story and building trust.
The LA-CAMFT monthly networking event is a great first step to meeting people, developing professional referrals and gaining mentorship, but networking doesn’t stop when the event is over. Networking takes time and energy and can be a little nerve-racking for those who aren’t used to approaching strangers and striking up a conversation. It can also feel uncomfortable for people to share personal information about themselves.
Networking, to me, is all about connecting on a deeper level. A referral from a colleague can hold much more weight than a google search or a provider list from an insurance company. It can also be a positive reflection on the professional giving the referral.
Because a single referral can reflect so much about both parties, it is important to be a little vulnerable and get personal. Getting to know the other person really well allows you to understand their expertise, and more importantly, you get to know their character.
Setting up a lunch is easy enough. You meet up and start asking questions. I like to ask questions about their practice, their ideal clients and what drew them to this field. We usually swap stories about our journey of becoming therapists and where we are heading in our profession. I have found that the more open and curious I am, the more fun it is to network.
Here are the three things that I love to bring to networking lunches:
1. Genuine curiosity: My favorite thing to ask about is the other person’s life and journey to becoming a therapist. I’ve heard amazing stories from so many therapists. This often gives insight into their values and purpose, which helps me understand how to best refer them. Sometimes having common values inspires a long-term partnership on larger therapeutic initiatives at LA-CAMFT.
2. Authenticity: I am always open to sharing my journey as well. My journey is a series of ebbs and flows. Being myself and talking about my path to feels great! It provides a clear picture of who I am and what I care about. Our stories are important. We should share them.
3. An open mind: It’s absolutely fine if people don’t hit it off right away. What keeps the connection going naturally are shared values and common interests. The key in continuing the conversation and learning about the other person is finding those things you have in common. It may take time and patience.
If you and I have the pleasure of “doing lunch,” here’s what I would love for you to bring:
1. Relax and enjoy it. Have fun being yourself.
2. Share your journey. Your journey is important and deserves to be heard.
3. Build up to the business part of the meeting. Sharing your ideal clientele is only a fraction of this conversation. I want to know about you on a personal level.
By the end of the networking lunch, there are a few things we should know or do in order to help each other. For example:
1. How do I refer a client to you? Exchange professional information such as ideal client(s), fee(s), insurance and location.
2. Add the person to your list of professional referrals. Connect on all social media outlets.
3. Set up another lunch. If you enjoyed the lunch and want to build a stronger connection, set up another lunch for the following month.
4. Plan the next LA-CAMFT event to attend together. If you don’t have the time for another lunch, then discuss other professional events where you could connect.
Getting to know people and letting them get to know you is the key to networking. I’ve found that scheduling regular lunches and collaborating on events through LA-CAMFT are perfect for building strong professional relationships and referrals.
Christina Castorena, LMFT
Christina Castorena, MS, LMFT, worked in community mental health before starting her private practice, Castorena Therapeutic Services, in 2016. She passionately serves adults, couples, and members of the LGBTQ+ community who are dealing with life transitions, parenting, relational conflicts, and anxiety. She employs family systems and mindfulness-based CBT. As president of LA-CAMFT, Christina strongly advocates for her professional community and celebrates the hard-working clinicians that facilitate healing. Her website is castorenatherapeutic.com. Christina may be contacted at email@example.com.
Dr. Amy Costa
PsyD, LMFT, CEDS
Integrating Mind, Body and Dialectical Behavior Therapy
for Eating Disorder Treatment
This presentation looks at the impact of trauma on the brain and how the use of DBT treatment can be effective when working with eating disorder clients. It is imperative to understand how trauma and stress affects the brain and the body. By looking at this impact we can see how trauma responses correlate directly with DBT treatment and philosophy. Eating Disorder (ED) treatment often focuses on the behaviors related to food specifically. This presentation will open the door to working on the underlying issues while maintaining a behavioral treatment focus.
Read More and Register
Lynne Azpeitia, LMFT
Our professional community is much richer each month because LA-CAMFT’s Voices newsletter is created, published and disseminated to us. Along with our monthly networking events, Classified Advertising eBlast, and meet-ups, Voices is a vehicle of, and for, community connection in addition to being a delivery system for high quality business, professional, clinical, and community information and resources. Through the diverse points of view from each month’s authors, Voices keeps the LA-CAMFT community up-to-date on interesting and topical issues and questions — and, hopefully, inspired.
Do you enjoy reading Voices each month? I do. What do you read first? I like to look at the President’s message to see what’s there. What I find there is always food for thought and reflection — and sometimes, too, the subject matter finds its way into conversations with colleagues. I’m grateful that each of the LA-CAMFT presidents has taken the time and expended the effort to write something meaningful for us.
The Member Spotlight is probably my favorite section because there’s always something new I discover about the person featured. Besides, I always enjoy getting to know people better and appreciating who they are. It’s also fun to be the featured member!
Maria Gray’s Private Practice Success adventures are always interesting to me, too. I like having a seat next to her as she moves through her focus each month and shares that with us. I appreciate that Maria shares what’s relevant and important to her and her practice and includes the little important stuff, not just the big important stuff. In talking with other LA-CAMFT community members, Maria’s column is a popular touchstone for many of us.
Billie Klayman’s "Ask Billie” column each month is always another opportunity for thought and reflection for me. I read, with interest, Billie’s focus for the month and benefit from looking at the topic through another’s eyes. Plus, if I have a question or want to discuss something with her I can since we’re both on the LA-CAMFT Board of Directors and we also see each other at the networking meeting each month.
Voices has so many wonderful contributors each month. Have you thought of being one? Please consider it. Or, if you know someone who you think should write an article on a certain topic for Voices, invite them to contribute. They might not have thought of doing that.
Here’s an example. I was reading one of Sylvia Cary, LMFT’s email newsletters and saw she had this nice little graphic at the bottom of which was captioned, “Is writing a book on your bucket list?” Since I knew that in addition to being a psychotherapist, Sylvia is an editor and book consultant who specializes in helping mental health professionals get published, I thought that was a great title for an article, one I’d like to read. So, I called her up and asked her to write it for Voices — and she did! You can do the same with those you know or encounter.
I do have a secret wish list for Voices contributors. Do you? First on my list is to have monthly articles from the 3000 Club about topics that pre-licensed therapists want to know about. Second on the list is to have the Diversity Committee contribute an article, too. There are a few more wishes but I’ll keep to those two today.
Lastly gratitude, appreciation, and saying thank you is on my mind and in my heart. Thank you to all the Voices readers, contributors, and, of course, our publisher, Mike Johnsen. Thank you, thank you, thank you for contributing to my professional development and to the growth and enrichment of our LA-CAMFT professional community.
We need to do something about our website. It’s gotten so slow! Or words to that effect, spoken by soon-to-be LA-CAMFT's past president, Shelley Pearce, just before the 2018 holiday season. And she was right. Like so many things in this brave new world of information technology, a very well-designed website had slowed to a crawl, the victim of newer systems it could no longer keep up with, much less meet the needs of an active membership. (Why do you think new computers now only come with a two-year warranty?)
So, after the holiday activities, our website project began in earnest. A little background is in order here. The previous website was built using WordPress, the popular blogging platform (though we never actually used the blogging feature). Building the new website again on WordPress seemed like a good idea, except for one thing: we would sooner or later (think sooner) find ourselves in the same dilemma. Thus, we turned to Wild Apricot. Wild Apricot is the background software on which our membership and events run. It’s where you go when you need to renew or update your member profile, or register for, say, the LA-CAMFT May Networking Event. And included in the annual fee we pay, is a web platform on which many associations construct their websites. The beauty of using Wild Apricot is their constant updating of their systems, saving LA-CAMFT the time, and the expense to do so, on our own. That ensures our site will always keep pace with new developments in the world of the Internet.
Yes, there were challenges. The Wild Apricot platform doesn’t provide all the features you would expect to find in WordPress, so we needed to find workarounds to create the ones we wanted. There was a lot of “phone” time with Wild Apricot tech support, looking for “hidden” solutions to visible problems (nothing’s perfect). But in the end, we were successful in building a website that would accommodate even the busiest of therapists.
Our newly-updated website is fast. Make that very faaaast! We used the same color scheme and kept style changes (including the menu — well, sort of) to a minimum, so that members and visitors, alike, would feel pretty much at home. There are also a few added benefits to using this new web platform. Wild Apricot goes to great lengths to ensure the site works and looks the same on all computers and Internet browsers. The website is extremely mobile-friendly, making it perfect for viewing it on your iPhone or Android cell, or any of the various tablet devices currently on the market. And on nearly every web page you will find an icon that allows you to download a mobile app, an app which gives you access to your membership profile, as well as the ability to register for LA-CAMFT events. Without needing to access the website, directly. What I like about this mobile app is I log in once, and it retains my login credentials so that I don’t have to log in again. To the right of this article, you will see the icons, one for iOS (Apple) and one for Android devices. The icons are linked so that you can download the apps from this page.
We’re not stopping here. It’s part of our web project to regularly update and improve our new site. As new features come available, we will make them accessible to you. Whenever we make changes within the LA-CAMFT chapter, you will see those changes reflected on our site.
Stay tuned. Send us your comments and ideas on how we can make our website even better. You can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike Johnsen, MFA, BSBM, MCP, plays a number of roles with LA-CAMFT. He is the Webmaster, IT Admin and Chapter Administrator. Additionally, he publishes the Voices newsletter. He has a deep background in business management, and is a Microsoft Certified Professional. Mike holds a masters in creative writing. His company, Your.Virtual.Admin, works with several CAMFT chapters. He can be reached at email@example.com.
The LA-CAMFT Expressive Arts Special Interest Group (SIG) has been an integral part of the community. We’d like it to grow. We are reaching out to our whole community of 5000 Los Angeles therapists to locate and connect with all of you who have studied and utilize expressive arts in your work.
Expressive Art Therapies use a wide range of modalities in the service of human growth, development, and healing. Examples include: art (visual/digital arts), music, movement, dance, poetry, bibliotherapy, play, sand tray, drama, role-playing and storytelling. These therapeutic approaches are often used with individuals, couples, families, groups, and in community-based programs.
If you identify as an expressive art therapist and are interested in becoming a member or learning about leadership opportunities of this SIG, please take a minute to fill out the survey below. Email Jonathan Flier if you have any comments/questions.
Click here to complete the brief survey.
We’re looking forwarding to learning more about you.
Jonathan Flier, Special Interest Groups Chair
Gina Balit and Michelle Bee, Expressive Arts SIG Co-Chairs
I asked a member of LA-CAMFT, who is also our recording secretary, to speak to all of you about her experience with our chapter. I will occasionally be reaching out to our members to write about their experiences in our chapter.
As membership chair, I can write all day about being involved in our chapter. I feel hearing from other members is more authentic and genuine for all of you.
Enjoy reading the text below from our wonderful recording secretary and LA-CAMFT member, Tina Setteducate.
As a newly licensed therapist working in private practice full time, I feel I have finally broken out of the hectic nature of working two jobs, collecting my hours, and studying for the licensing exam. Last May, after I passed the exam and enjoyed some much-needed self-care time, I found myself eager to invest further in my career. I had been attending LA-CAMFT meetings for years and have always loved the community within this organization. Working in private practice full time can be isolating, and I knew I wanted to be around other therapists as much as time could allow. As I was contemplating all of this, I was at a networking event when I heard that the board was looking to fill the secretary position. With the timing feeling just right for me, I was eager to inquire and learn more, which ultimately led to me becoming a member of the board.
This involvement on the LA-CAMFT Board has been important for me as a therapist. Not only am I surrounded by a large support system of other therapists who understand the nature of the day to day of this work, but I am continuing to grow my practice, network with new therapists on a monthly basis, and learn more about this important community that we are a part of. The number of connections and relationships that I have made during my short time on the Board are invaluable, and I am continuing to learn and grow both as a leader and a clinician. As a new therapist, I think that support from others in the community is of upmost importance, and I have found this through my involvement with LA-CAMFT. Being on the board has been a way that I have been able to serve my community and invest in my career. I encourage any and all who are interested to get involved where you can. Invest in the community and yourself! Inquire to learn more about LA-CAMFT and how you can get involved.
Some of the Reasons Why
I Love My Virtual Assistant
It’s hard to keep up with the many administrative tasks it takes to run a private practice. Last year I was complaining to a friend about “administrative overload” when she suggested I hire an assistant. Although I’m a recovering perfectionist, I realized she had a point. Now instead of wasting time on routine tasks I can focus on more important things like writing my book and self-care. Here are some of the tasks I delegate to my assistant:
Don’t jump to any conclusions; if you received a card from me, I wrote the note myself!
Right now, my assistant is helping me format and proofread the materials for my upcoming live online course. I’m so grateful to have an extra set of hands to help me run my business, what kind of tasks would you like to delegate?
Charlyne Gelt, Ph.D.
“I don't know what to do anymore
except maybe die,” Jim.
Those of us who work with adolescents and families sometimes assign them a movie to watch as “homework.” Film can be a helpful tool, offering a psychological mirror that reflect their own difficult issues. One such film is the 1955 classic, Rebel Without a Cause, starring James Dean, Natalie Wood, and Sal Mineo. The camera lens gives us a close-up look at the alienated, rebellious, defiant lives of three lost, identity-seeking teens and their families. The cars and clothes may look different, but the interpersonal dynamics and psychological truths are the same as they are today, provoking us to look deeper into the unseen factors that are the real causes of adolescent rebellion.
In Rebel Without a Cause, three middle-class, emotionally confused teens — Jim (Dean), Judy (Wood), and Plato (Mineo) — feeling alienated from their families, are unconsciously drawn to each other, seeing themselves as outsiders who share a common wound: emotional neglect and ineffective parenting. Their families, more focused on acquisition of material things and what the neighbor's might think, don’t understand the underlying causes of their children’s acting-out behaviors: the need for validation, belonging, and approval.
We view this world of unruly teens and their anxious families from the perspective of Jim Stark, (James Dean), whose enabling parents have again moved to a new town thinking they are giving Jim another chance to escape from his troubles instead of facing them. Instead, Jim bonds with two equally disturbed teens and makes new enemies. Jim’s deep-rooted anger is at his father for being a spineless “chicken” for not standing up to his mother and grandmother (who make mush out of him). Jim’s fear is he'll end up just like his father — chicken.
From the get-go, the family chaos, drama, and enmeshment is apparent. The film opens with Jim curled up drunk on the street. He is hauled to the police station where he connects with two other problem teens: Judy, whose father can't handle her passage into womanhood, has been found wandering the streets, and assumed to be a hooker; and Plato, whose upbringing and care has been left to a housekeeper, is arrested for shooting puppies. When Jim's family arrives to rescue him, his father makes light of his son's drunkenness and recalls how he, too, got “loaded” when he was a young man. This sparks a family argument, prompting Jim to cry out, “You're tearing me apart!”
Enter Ray Fremick (Edward Platt), juvenile division counselor, who plays the film’s “responsible father figure.” Ray’s stable hand allows Jim’s deep anger to erupt. Jim’s need for an emotionally-present father, draws him to connect with Ray who later offers him an open invitation to talk. This empathic ear is what Jim needs from his own father, an ineffectual buffoon who is henpecked by Jim's mother and grandmother. His angry, domineering mother always wins the arguments, for his father cannot find the courage to stand up to his wife. Jim betrayed by this fighting and his father's lack of backbone, adds tension, unrest and bitterness. The tension in the move escalates when Jim falls for Judy, the girlfriend of neighborhood tough, Buzz (Corey Allen). This gang taunts Jim, slashes his tires, and challenges him to a knife fight. Jim wins — but the gang still calls Jim “chicken!” This unrest escalates until Jim is challenged to participate in a "chickie run," racing stolen cars towards a cliff. Jim goes home to seek his father's advice, but finds Dad on his knees wearing an apron, cleaning up a spilled tray of food. Wanting guidance from his father, Jim talks about a matter of honor, but his father lets him down again by evading his question. At Judy's house, her father scolds her for kissing him, saying she is “too old for that,” causing her to run from the house in tears. The “chickie run” ends in tragedy for Buzz when his car goes over the cliff. Jim tells his parents what happened and reminds his dad about a conversation regarding “a matter of honor.” His father will not stand up for him, which infuriates Jim, who then attacks him. Wanting to do the right thing, Jim heads for the police station. Later, the gang decides to hunt Jim down at an abandoned mansion to “silence him” — permanently — but her Plato gets shot to death when the police arrive.
The tragedy of Plato's death provokes Jim's father to promise to be a stronger father, a man his son can depend on. Herein, rising from the ashes of tragedy, lies the revelation of a new truth, rebirth, bringing forth a new stage of psychological maturity and development. The camera shows us that emotional trials and challenges are not the end, but offer the client opportunities to slay their fears and transcend the (enmeshed) “family” system.
The film has many defining moments that prompt this question, “What do you have to do to be a man?”
The themes of passage into manhood in Rebel Without A Cause are timeless. It is about leaving “home,” searching for meaning, and finding out who you are when there have been no roots to hold you. There is so much to learn from a movie like Rebel Without a Cause. It brings up many questions, such as What does a parent have to do to raise an emotionally healthy child? How does a boy learn to become a man when there is no effective parental role model and no rituals other than a driver's license to honor that transition? How can three affluent, intelligent teens who have been given “everything” have any cause for rebellion?
The answers are clear: teen rebellion has its roots in childhood narcissistic injury, and not in the lack of material things. Material goods cannot replace a child's early experience of emotional abuse and neglect, or the sorrow of rejection, or the lack of nurturing to create self-esteem, or the anger and disappointment of never feeling understood. In this case, the characters' affluent families lack basic knowledge about the “real” needs of their children. Instead, they focus on the façade: acquisition, money, material goods, gender favoritism, and what the neighbor's might think. Each character is seen reacting to the wounds left by their childhood experience and by being raised by those who lacked knowledge about the “real” needs of their children; parents who were clueless about the concept of “healthy narcissism,” and oblivious to a child's normal, developmental need for love.
In Rebel Without a Cause, Ray's empathic attunement with the teens’ we see the contrast with the deficient parental environments. Jim's father, too weak to give his son guidance about what it means to be a man, results in Jim's fear of being a “chicken,” like his father. This fear draws him to self-destruct and nearly becomes his undoing. Ashamed of being thought of as a coward, Jim states, “I'll tell you one thing: I don't ever want to be like him.” As adults we unconsciously search to be filled up by those who are equally empty. It becomes an unconscious pattern in adult relationships. Healthy narcissism is a concept lost on these parents who remain oblivious to the normal, developmental needs of their adolescent children. Jim deepest need is to have someone listen to him, give empathy and helpful advice, but his father, relative to this need, is an empty well.
An implication from Rebel is that mutual attraction to a partner has its basis in similar, but unseen needs and fears. The film teaches us to read between the lines, and uncover what has been hidden. In so many adult love relationships what often attracts people to each other isn't always what's healthy. Jim and Judy “felt” a mutual attraction, like “soul mates,” but the roots of this attraction are in unseen needs and fears. Both are blind to the mutual childhood wounds that drew them to each other. And, although not verbally stated, both characters at depth, felt like “worthless pieces of shit.”
Charlyne Gelt, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist who practices in Encino. She leads Women’s Empowerment Groups that help women learn the tools to move beyond self-destructive relationship patterns. She may be reached at 818.501.4123 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Her website is www.drgelt.com.
As summer rapidly approaches, many of us are starting to think about a more relaxed schedule including long days at the beach, eating outside and hopefully taking some time off to visit family and friends, take a vacation or stay local and – have a staycation. Here are 5 easy ways to get ready for this delightful time of year in sunny southern California.
Prepare Your Barbecue – This backyard appliance is about to enter its busy season when it will be performing regularly for your family and friends. To be certain your barbecue is in tip top shape spend some time preparing it. Perform a little inspection to confirm your barbecue is good for another summer. They don’t last forever but it’s much better to find that out before you actually need to use it. It is also a good idea to check the valve and hose on the propane tank to make sure they are in safe working condition. Deep clean the grill with a metal brush. Finally turn on the gas and all burners to make sure everything is working as expected. If your barbecue uses lava rocks it may be time to replace them since greasy rocks can burn the food. Speaking of grease, empty or replace the grease catching container below the grill.
Clean off the Patio Furniture – if your furniture has been covered, this task should be easy and fast with the help of a wet rag. However, if it has been exposed all winter, you may need a scrub brush, a hose, and some elbow grease on a warm afternoon.
Get the car Summer-Ready – Confirm your car is up to date with its scheduled services to verify all tires, belts and hoses are in good condition and fluids are at the proper levels. It is also a good idea to have the air conditioning checked, and a safety inspection performed. Get the car cleaned and remove any unnecessary items so you’ll have plenty of room for your beach chairs and umbrella.
Replenish your Sunscreen – check to make sure you have a good supply that includes a high SPF and a waterproof version. As always check the expiration dates to see if it’s time to replace anything you already have. Checking your supply early will allow you time to order what you need or take advantage of the many drugstore sales and avoid having to pay a premium in a hotel gift shop.
Arrange for Pet Sitters – Don’t forget the pets as you get busy making summer plans. Make sure your extended family members are well cared for by planning ahead and scheduling pet sitters early, before they book up. If you are working with someone new, have them over to meet your pet a couple of weeks before you leave so they can get acquainted and you’ll have plenty of time to explain the routine, and any special food or medications.
Now that you’ve tackled these easy tasks you can relax and plan how and with whom you will spend your time this summer.
Mishele Vieira, Certified Professional Organizer® (CPO®), has a deep passion for working with people with brain related conditions including ADD, addiction, depression, anxiety, and other behavioral health conditions which make it harder to get and stay organized. And her popular “Get It Done Day” is helping busy people finally get their own stuff done. Lean more at www.AwayWithChaos.com.
Attention LA-CAMFT Members!
2019 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.
May 14, 2019 @ 8:30am to 10:30am
June 7, 2019 @ 8:30am to 10:30am
July 12, 2019 @ 8:30am to 10:30am
August 9, 2019 @ 8:30am to 10:30am
September 13, 2019 @ 8:30am to 10:30am
October 11, 2019 @ 8:30am to 10:30am
November 8, 2019 @ 8:30am to 10:30am
December 18, 2019 @ 8:30am to 10:30am
9420 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Join Our Mailing List
California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists
Los Angeles Chapter