Los Angeles Chapter  California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

Voices — May 2024

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  • 04/30/2024 11:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Jennifer Stonefield, LMFT
    President, LA-CAMFT

    National PTSD Awareness Month

    National PTSD Awareness Month serves as a crucial reminder of the impact of trauma on individuals and communities. It's a time to raise awareness about the prevalence of PTSD and the importance of understanding and support for those affected. Through education and outreach, we can help reduce the stigma surrounding PTSD and encourage more people to seek help and treatment. 

    Finding one's strength in the face of PTSD is a deeply personal journey. It involves acknowledging the pain and struggles caused by trauma while also recognizing the resilience and inner resources that can lead to healing and growth. Whether through therapy, support groups, or self-care practices, individuals can discover their own unique path to recovery and reclaim a sense of agency over their lives. 

    It's also essential to recognize that finding strength doesn't mean overcoming PTSD alone. Building a support network of friends, family, and professionals can provide invaluable assistance and validation along the way. By fostering a culture of empathy and understanding, we can create a safer and more compassionate environment for those living with PTSD to thrive and find their strength. Be kind to yourself and stay strong.


    Jennifer Stonefield, LMFT

    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.

  • 04/30/2024 10:30 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    LA-CAMFT June 2024
    ONLINE Presentation
    including Q&A

    Friday, June 21, 2024
    9:00 am-11:00 am

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

    Via Zoom

    2 CE Credits

    Basics of Non-Suicidal Self-Injury (NSSI)

    Angela Caldwell, LMFT & Jessica Tang, LMFT

    Therapists are reporting an alarming rise in cases of self-injury. Unfortunately, there is an abundance of confusing and misleading information that only makes it more difficult for clinicians to understand how to distinguish Non-Suicidal Self-Injury (NSSI) from other clinical presentations. Therapists can better serve their clients if they can identify the typical clinical presentation of NSSI, understand the difference between borderline and non-borderline NSSI, and are up to date on what recent literature is saying about prevalence, correlations, and trends in NSSI. This presentation provides a sophisticated, clinical lens through which to understand the nature and etiology of this behavior, while offering recommendations on how to avoid common treatment failures and work effectively and confidently with Non-Suicidal Self-Injury when it shows up in the room.

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

    LA-CAMFT Members, Prelicensed Associates and Students, Trainees, Associates, Interns and Non-Members.

    Event Details: Friday, June 21, 2024, 9:00-11:00 am

    Where: Online Vis Zoom

    LA-CAMFT Member: $25
    LA-CAMFT Prelicensed Member: $15
    Non-Member: $35

    (To be sure you receive any information we send prior to the event, please add specialeventschair@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 closes on Thursday, June 20, 2024, at 10:00 pm

  • 04/30/2024 10:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Lynne Azpeitia, LMFT
    Voices Editor

    Getting Paid: The Power of Specializing and Identifying Your Niche in Private Practice

    Standing Out in Today’s Market
    In today's marketplace, generic approaches most often get lost in the noise. Having a niche, and knowing what it is, allows a therapist to carve out a distinct identity and differentiate their practice from others in their local area and in the profession.

    By identifying and specializing in a particular area of expertise—whether it's trauma therapy, working with children or teens, couples counseling, or mindfulness-based interventions—a therapist positions themself as a go-to authority in their area of practice. Also, today, potential clients are more likely to seek out specialists for their unique psychotherapy needs, making it easier for people to find and choose you and the services you provide.

    Establish Your Expertise and Credibility
    Specializing in a niche solidifies a therapist’s reputation as an expert or a professional with knowledge and experience in their chosen area. Clients are drawn to practitioners who demonstrate deep knowledge and experience in addressing their specific concerns—ADHD, LGBTQIA+, Multi-racial, Pre-natal, Chronic Illness, etc.

    By honing your skills and staying abreast of the latest developments in your therapeutic niche, you build trust and credibility with both clients, colleagues, job recruiters, and referral sources. This expertise not only attracts more clients to your practice but also helps you fosters a sense of confidence and satisfaction in your work as a therapist.

    Reduce the Likelihood of Burnout
    One of the greatest challenges facing private practice owners is the risk of burnout. Working with a diverse range of clients with varying needs and issues can be emotionally draining and overwhelming. Having a niche allows therapists to focus their energy and resources on serving a specific population that aligns with their interests and strengths. By working primarily with clients who fit within a therapist’s niche, a therapist can reduce the likelihood of experiencing compassion fatigue and burnout.

    Attract Your Ideal Clients
    When a therapist specializes in a niche, the therapist attracts clients who are a better fit for their practice and therapeutic approach. These "ideal clients" are more likely to be motivated, engaged, and receptive to the therapist’s interventions. By working with clients who resonate with your niche as a therapist, you create a more fulfilling and effective therapeutic experience for you and your clients. This alignment leads to better outcomes, increased client satisfaction, and stronger therapeutic relationships.

    Enhancing Referral Networks
    Having a niche or specialty makes it easier to establish and maintain referral networks with other professionals in your field. When colleagues know exactly what type of clients you specialize in, they're more likely to refer suitable clients or job opportunities your way. This targeted approach to networking not only generates more referrals but also strengthens collaborative relationships with other practitioners and related professionals. As a result, the therapist becomes an integral part of a supportive network of professionals who are aware of and sensitive to your passion and vision.

    In the realm of private practice, having a niche isn't just a luxury; it's a strategic advantage. Specializing in a specific area of expertise allows a therapist to stand out in the marketplace, establishes the therapist as an expert, as well as attracts their most ideal clients, and reduces their risk of burnout.

    When therapists focus their efforts on a niche that aligns with their interests and strengths, they are more likely to create a thriving practice that not only meets the needs of their clients but also nourishes the therapist’s own well-being and professional fulfillment.

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

  • 04/30/2024 9:30 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Stara Shakti, LMFT
    LA-CAMFT Diversity
    Committee Chair

    Creating More Sustainable Community for Us All!

    Hey LA-CAMFT family! 

    As the new Diversity Committee Chairwoman for 2024-2025, I wanted you to be aware of some of the many changes in the air . . .

    Therapist of Color Support Group (TOC-SG): In January, we decided to switch the 6+ years and running FREE support group from monthly to quarterlystarting in 2024! We have already had two meetings (in Jan and Apr); the remaining two TOC Support Group dates for the year are July 14th and October 13th (still on the 2nd Sundays of the month from 11am-1pm). So, please mark your calendars (and register on the LA-CAMFT website) if you’d like to attend again . . . OR check it out if you’ve never been!  

    Other TOC Support Groups with changes:
    • Black Therapists Support Group (BTSG) now meets on the 2nd Monday of the month, 6-7:30pm
    • Asian-American Pacific Islanders (AAPI+) Circle is (sadly) *canceled*—for now (due to a lack of facilitators),
    • Middle Easterners and North Africans (MENA) is on break / hopes to return soon, maybe with a new name (in an effort to decolonize it): Southwest Asians and North Africans (SWANA).

    Latinxers: We’d still love to launch a support group for you—but, we need passionate, committed facilitators to do this! [Hint; Could this be YOU???] Actually, we are . . . 

    ***LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS*** who understand the urgent need to create and maintain these safe spaces for therapists of color (in today’s political climate, etc. AND)—especially those with intersectional (multiple, marginalized) identities and backgrounds—i.e. POC / BIPOC, LGBTQ+, Neurodivergent, and other underserved populations. [NOTE: Our D.C. support groups will continue to increase inclusivity by highlighting the “diversity within diversity” or what we in the D.C fondly call “Race AND . . .”] 

    Part of the reason we had to cut back on some of the D.C. support groups this year was: we didn’t have enough therapists of color to keep them happening on a regular basis! So, if these groups are important to you, please consider lending a hand!  

    And, as I mentioned in my January article, I’m still very focused on nurturing our TOC leaders more—to create more sustainable community for all of us! (which leads me to our most exciting announcement . . .) 

    This year, we’re working on hosting an amazing NEW event called a “Rest Retreat”—an attempt to nurture therapists of color facilitators of our various Diversity Committee TOC Support Groups who’ve volunteered their time and energy to maintain safe places for therapists of color to attend, share our struggles and successes, and feel supported on the often arduous path of becoming licensed and the difficulties often faced by therapists of color in this field. We have to work harder than our white counterparts…so, it’s time to rest, y’all! Please, come join us! 

    Curious? Wanna get involved with the Diversity Committee? Come check out a meeting (4th Sundays, 10am-12pm) or contact me at: diversitycommittee@lacamft.org. I look forward to hearing from you! .

    Stara Shakti, LMFT is a psychotherapist and lightworker with a private practice in Los Angeles. Stara helps young adults—(in their 20s / 30s) who are LGBTQ+, POC/BIPOC, 1st-gen Americans, neurodivergents, and adult children of narcissistic / emotionally immature parents—heal from past trauma so they can love themselves, fully express who they are, and attract healthier adult relationships. Stara also has a new YouTube channel on “all things healing from trauma.” www.StaraShaktiLMFT.com.

  • 04/30/2024 8:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Joanna Poppink,

    Threshold Crossings: Vital in Personal Growth

    Threshold issues are a huge force in your life, whether you are aware of them or not. The issue of threshold is around us every day, perhaps even every moment.

    What exactly is a threshold? This seemingly simple word encompasses various meanings and implications, each shedding light on different aspects of our lives

    and experiences.

    1. A Physical Boundary:
      A threshold can be a physical entity. It's the piece of wood or stone placed beneath a door, often referred to as a doorsill. This unassuming element serves as both support for the entry and a foundation for your feet or vehicle as you cross into a space. 

    2. Symbolic Entryway:
      Beyond the physical, a threshold can also be metaphorical. It represents an entrance or doorway, not confined to the material world. In this sense, a threshold embodies the idea of transition and change, extending its reach beyond mere physical territory. 

    3. Starting Point:
      Another facet of the threshold is its role as a starting point or outset. When you step across a threshold, you leave behind what's established and embark on something new. This transition doesn't necessarily imply a linear path or a known destination. It's about venturing into uncharted territory, where the familiar gives way to the unknown. 

    4. A Trigger for Change:
      In a different context, a threshold can also be the point at which a specific effect, result, or response is triggered. For example, a low threshold of pain means that a minimal amount of discomfort can induce a reaction. This concept extends beyond physical pain; it can encompass mental, emotional, and spiritual experiences that challenge our existing boundaries and perspectives.

    As we navigate our lives, we encounter thresholds regularly. Consider the simple act of walking to the curb of a sidewalk. You are about to cross a threshold into the street, where moving cars pose new challenges.

    To do so safely, you must possess awareness, physical balance, and an understanding of traffic dynamics. Meeting these criteria enables you to cross this threshold successfully.

    In our society, entrance requirements and criteria for crossing thresholds are evident in various aspects, such as job applications, school admissions, military positions, and competitive sports. Striving to bypass these criteria can lead to entering unprepared for the challenges that lie ahead.

    Confronting barriers before being able to cross a threshold should not be viewed as a personal and forced limitation. It is a safeguard to ensure your ability to adapt and thrive in the new environment on the other side.

    However, not all thresholds come with explicit criteria. Events like marriage, parenthood, or leaving home offer less structured transitions. When you experience fear or anxiety in the face of a decision, it may signify that you are approaching a threshold.

    These emotions act as signals, urging you to assess your readiness for the changes that await. Are you adequately prepared to survive, adapt, and flourish on the other side of the threshold? Probably not entirely, as crossing a threshold often involves learning as you go.

    The minimum requirements for crossing may be all you need initially. The key is to recognize when you're stuck in life, as this might indicate an inability to move through an important threshold. In such cases, you need to find a way to fulfill the necessary criteria.

    Recovery work, too, can be seen as a threshold—a point where healing and growth await. When something feels just beyond your grasp, it might be an indication that a threshold is approaching. Knowing its existence and appreciating the criteria for crossing can help you determine if this is the path you want to follow.

    Consider whether the criteria for crossing weaken or strengthen you. Do they demand conformity to standards you don't uphold, or do they require you to become more self-assured as you uphold your values?

    The concept of thresholds is both profound and omnipresent. It represents the myriad transitions we encounter in our lives, from the physical to the symbolic. Understanding and appreciating these thresholds can empower us to navigate life's changes with confidence and resilience.

    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

  • 04/30/2024 7:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    LA-CAMFT Diversity Committee

    Black Therapist Support Group

    Second Monday of the Month

    Next Meeting:
    Monday, May 13, 2024
    6:00 pm-7:30 pm (PT)

    Online Via Zoom

    Black Therapist Support Group

    A safe place for healing, connection, support and building community. In this group, licensed clinicians, associates and students can come together and process experiences of racism (systemic, social, and internalized), discrimination, implicit bias, and micro-aggressions, along with additional experiences that therapists of African descent encounter in the field of mental health. As the late great Maya Angelou once said, “As soon as healing takes place, go out and heal someone else.” May this space be the support needed to facilitate that journey.

    Open to LA-CAMFT Members and Non-Members

    Second Monday of the Month

    Location: Zoom Meeting

    For more information contact Stara Shakti, LMFT at DiversityCommittee@lacamft.org.

    Event Details: 

    Licensed Therapists, Associates, and Students

    Event Details: 
    Monday, May 13, 2024
    6:00 pm-7:30 pm (PT)
    Time of Check-In: 5:50 am

    Online Via Zoom

    Once you have registered for the presentation, we will email you a link to Zoom a few days before the presentation.


    No Charge

    Online Registration CLOSES on the date of the event.

    (Registration is open and available until the group ends.)

    Questions about Registration? Contact  Diversity Committee, diversitycommittee@lacamft.org.

    Register Here

  • 04/30/2024 6:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Van Ethan Levy,

    Pronoun(s) Series

    When sharing pronouns or listing your pronouns, please only list one in a series. 

    It is helpful to only put one pronoun in a series to prevent the erasure of folx who use different pronouns. 

    Often when we are reading someone’s pronouns and we see the first pronoun, we may stop there and assume the rest of the series, which prevents us from noticing if someone uses more than one pronoun. 

    Example of when to list one pronoun: If your pronoun is she series, we know that it will be she/her/hers/herself. When listing this pronoun, use she only. 

    Example of when to list more than one pronoun: If your pronouns are she serieshe series and zi series, then you would list your pronouns like this: she | he | zi or she/he/zi

    This way, when people read our pronoun(s), the person/people will read all that are listed to know to alternate versus only the first one and assume the rest. 

    Oftentimes, people will list a person’s pronouns in the order of usage. An example is if someone’s pronouns are she series and they series, and the person wants people to use they series mostly, and is okay with she series, the person may list the pronouns like this: they | she or they/she

    Another factor is language; please only include pronouns in the language that you speak and/or use, even if you are in a space where people will need to use your pronoun in a different language. My pronouns in English are they. I speak Spanish, and my pronoun in Spanish is elle. When I list my pronouns, I list my pronouns like this: they | elle. This indicates that these are my pronouns and that I can communicate in Spanish. If I did not speak Spanish but was in a space where I know others speak Spanish, I would share my pronoun as they and inform those who may need to know my pronoun in the language the person uses as elle as to not be misgendered.

    Van Ethan Levy, MA, LMFT, LPCC, (they) (elle), a trans and non binary therapist, is a queer, non binary, trans, socialized as female, nBPOC (not Black Person of Color), who is autistic, and has dynamic disabilities amongst many more historically excluded identities. Van provides consultations and trainings on trans and non binary identities, is the organizer of the 2022 Virtual International Do Something: Identity(ies) Conference, authored the interactive book, Exploring My Identity(ies), and produced the Documentary, Do Something: Trans & Non Binary Identities, Website: VanEthanLevy.com.

  • 04/30/2024 5:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    LA-CAMFT Diversity Committee

    White Therapist Fighting Racism

    Sunday, May 19, 2024

    Third Sunday of Every Month

    3:00 pm-5:00 pm

    Via Zoom

    White Therapists Fighting Racism

    The goal of White Therapists Fighting Racism (WTFR) is for white-identified therapists to become effective allies in support of decolonization and racial justice in our clinical practice, therapy association, and community. Recognizing that racism is maintained when whiteness is invisible to white people, White Therapists Fighting Racism provides a forum for white-identified therapists to explore what it means to be white. While this process includes learning about structural racism and deconstructing the false narrative about race, a primary focus in the group is on doing inner work. To learn more, click on the Diversity Committee page.

    Open to LA-CAMFT Members and Non-Members

    Licensed Therapists, Associates, and Students

    Event Details: 
    Sunday, May 19, 2024, 3:00 pm-5:00 pm (PT)

    To join this group, go to  https://lacamft.formstack.com/forms/wtfr_member_questionnaire

    For more information contact Randi Gottlieb at rgottliebmft@gmail.com.

    Register Here

  • 04/30/2024 4:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Marvin Whistler

    LA-CAMFT Therapists of Color Grant Award: Grant Award Registration Opens May 1

    On February 25, 2024, the most recent awardees of the LA-CAMFT TOC GRANT AWARD were randomly selected.  They are Michelle Williams and Mia Lamar.  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 May 1, 2024.  It is limited to members of LA-CAMFT, and the award is limited to once per calendar year.

    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 May 1, 2024 and will close on June 29, 2024. The drawing will take place on June 30, 2024.

    Best regards,

    The LA-CAMFT TOC Grant Committee

  • 04/30/2024 3:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

    Chellie Campbell,
    Financial Stress
    Reduction Expert

    The City at the Summit from “The Wealthy Spirit"

    "You cannot put the same shoe on every foot.

     Publilius Syrus

    The white-washed walls of the city of Santorini sparkle atop the steep cliffs that rise majestically from the cerulean blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Ships nestle in the harbor, surrounded by three islands that some say are the remains of the mythical city of Atlantis.

    From the boat dock, you can climb the one thousand steps to the summit, or, if you prefer, you can ride a donkey—the local guides take groups up every half hour. Tour busses can take you around the island before dropping you off at the top. 

    The fastest way to the city is to take the cable car. Some people find their own precarious way up the mountain, slowly and laboriously climbing over the rocks.

    A few visitors go directly to the city. Others take the detour around the island, looking at ancient ruins, and arrive at the summit later in the day. Some play all day on the beach, and still others stay on the ship and just gaze at the stars from below.

    Among the visitors, there are sometimes arguments about which is the better way to get to the summit. 

    “The cable car is faster!” some claim. 

    “But it’s more fun to ride the donkeys!” others retort. 

    Those on the tour busses say, “Why go directly to the top? Enjoy the rest of the island first.” 

    “Climbing is good for your health!” say the rest. 

    But no one says you won’t get to the summit unless you take their route. The cable car riders don’t go to battle with the donkey riders. The rock climbers don’t throw rocks at the people on the stairs. No one ambushes the busses. 

    It is clear there are many paths, and all lead to the city.

    The citizens of Santorini are happy to greet the visitors, whoever they are and whenever they arrive. It makes no difference to them what mode of transportation the visitors choose or what time they appear. 

    They may laugh gently at the slow climbers who choose the most difficult way. And they may wistfully regret that the sun-bathers at the beach or the star-gazers on the ship don’t make it to the summit this trip. Oh, well, they shrug, maybe next year.

    You may come when you wish, how you wish. All roads take you to the top. 

    Whatever path you choose, when you reach the city, you are welcomed.

    Today’s Affirmation: “Whatever path I choose is the perfect path for me.”

    Chellie Campbell, Financial Stress Reduction Expertis the author of bestselling books The Wealthy Spirit, Zero to Zillionaire, and From Worry to Wealthy: A Woman’s Guide to Financial Success Without the Stress. She has been treating Money Disorders like Spending Bulimia and Income Anorexia in her Financial Stress Reduction® Workshops for over 25 years and is still speaking, writing, and teaching workshops—now as Zoom classes and The Wealthy Spirit Group on Facebookwith participants from all over the world. Website: www.chellie.com.

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