Los Angeles Chapter  California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

Los Angeles Chapter — CAMFT

Private Practice Success

10/31/2019 7:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

Maria Gray,


It’s November and soon we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday, I love cooking and spending time with my family. My nieces know that I want to hear what they are grateful for, and I encourage them to practice expressing their gratitude throughout the year.

I express my gratitude whenever I receive a referral from a colleague.

I consider it an honor and a privilege for someone to have faith in my abilities as a therapist. (I’m not talking about the times where a therapist you don’t know sends you a difficult client without calling you first!). When I receive a referral, I send the person a handwritten thank you note in the mail. Several people have said that they felt pleasantly surprised when they received my note.

Dr. Martin Seligman is the founder of Positive Psychology. Seligman’s research supports the idea that practicing gratitude can increase your level of happiness. Dr. Seligman and his colleagues developed a practice called the Gratitude Visit. This is something you can share with your clients.

  1. Close your eyes.
  2. Take a moment and try and remember the face of someone who did or said something that had a major positive impact on your life.
  3. Take some time to reflect on how that person impacted your life and notice what happens inside.
  4. Write a letter to that person.
  5. Include specific examples explaining what the person did for you and why you are grateful for that person.
  6. Deliver it in person

This can also be done using a person who is no longer living by modifying Step 6 in whatever way feels meaningful. 

The research revealed that those who wrote the letters became much happier during and after the study. If you’d like to learn more about Dr. Seligman’s research go to Positive Psychology Research.

Maria Gray, LMFT, NMP, CGP, is a psychotherapist in private practice in Century City, where she specializes in trauma and addictions. Maria is committed to supporting therapists who want to earn what they are worth, and she offers individual business consultation and live, online, courses. To learn more, go to www.mariagray.net.

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