Los Angeles Chapter  California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

Los Angeles Chapter — CAMFT

President's Message

09/30/2021 11:00 PM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

Jenni J.V. Wilson, LMFT
President, LA-CAMFT

The Now

Dang. I want to see others, while wanting to stay healthy and keep others healthy, too. And we know how important meaningful connection is for mental health. Sometimes I’m amazed how I’ve come to accept the never-ending limbo that is The Age of Covid as not a limbo at all, but simply as what is; recognizing how the daily adjustments that were once so unnatural are surprisingly natural now. The Now is this confused feeling of fear and frustration, keeping us in and urging us out. The Now is constant re-assessment of our Willingness and Bravery. (There is Bravery in staying in as much as in going out, to be clear.) Who knows what The Now looks like as you read this, as I am writing it in the last week of August and you are reading it in the first week of October.

It was a hot day in early August when some of us met up for the LA-CAMFT Picnic at Cheviot Hills Park—gathered under shady trees and hats, sitting at tables and on grass-friendly blankets. The afternoon felt similar to those early fall days of my youth, returning to school after three months—which felt like 30—working out our social awkwardness, meeting new people, seeing old friends, eating packed lunches, and listening to rock and roll coming from the speakers or the guitar-playing hippie on the lawn (Hi, Jonathan!).

It was the first picnic Special Events Chair Ava Shokoufi organized for us, and she gracefully survived all the back and forth the Board went through deciding whether to meet in-person or not. I want to thank everyone who came by, helped and hung out—with a special shout-out to Kim Sebert who led the laughing yoga and drum circle. Understandably, we were a slightly smaller group than in previous years, but I was happily surprised how many folx came out to play, brought their kids, and made new connections. (A special treat for me was finally meeting Membership Chair Lucy Sladek in-person! She did not disappoint.)

I will admit that showing up for the event wasn’t a given for me. I had to take a good look at my Risk Budget and decide if the risk felt manageable. A part of me felt safer than in most other circumstances because our work as therapists requires us to always consider the safety of others, as well as ourselves. A masked trust prevailed. That was the largest group of people I’ve been around in over a year. Apologies if my conversation didn’t always track or if my loud gleeful singing was unpracticed and brash. Making music alongside Jonathan Flier and Darlene Basch was a big loss for me over the past year and a half, so even while missing our friend Riley, it was lovely to be together again. Perhaps it won’t be so long before the next time. Not sure. I fluctuate on how much of my Risk Budget I’m open to spending these days. My conversations with others reflect I’m not alone in this. How about you?

The “not knowing” is overwhelming some of us, and nevertheless, we persist in The Now. As Pema Chodron says, “Whatever occurs is neither the beginning nor the end.” We still need to get up and feed the pets, brush our teeth and file our paperwork. In spite of The Overwhelm, our purpose is still true, our work is still essential, and our responsibilities are ever-present.

If one of your responsibilities is to take your Suicide Prevention Training for BBS licensure renewal, for any workplace requirements, or for overall reinforcement, I hope you’ll join us on November 7th, from 9:00am-3:30pm for a 6-CE Suicide Prevention, Risk Assessment and Management Workshop presented via Zoom by Dr. Mekel Harris, Ph.D., NCSP, PMH-C. LA-CAMFT is unlikely to offer this training again, so don’t miss out on it this time around.

I want to acknowledge Speaker Chair, Elizabeth Sterbenz, Networking Event Chair, Di Wilson, and Communications & Marketing Chair, Lynne Azpeitia, for coordinating this training. As trainings like this don’t fall under a special interest group and are not part of our regular calendar, they require the team’s extra time and effort to put everything together. We are very lucky to have dedicated volunteers who are sometimes asked to go above and beyond for the good of the group. If you see them, thank them—and register online now!

While you’re at it, why not register for the Diversity Committee presentation, No, Where Are You REALLY From?” Considerations for Therapy with Mixed-Race Clients. This is a 2 CE follow-up to President-Elect Leanne Nettles’ presentation last year on “What Are You?” Considerations for Therapy with Mixed-Race Clients, and will happen via zoom on October 10th, from 2:00-4:00pm. We live and work in one of the most multicultural cities in the world, and are almost all privileged to see clients with incredibly diverse backgrounds in the course of a day. In 2018, US Census projections indicated that our population will be “minority white” by 2045. Understanding the history and themes of mixed-race identity development, as well as clinical applications, can only fortify our toolboxes. Register here.

Lastly, if you are an LA-CAMFT Member who is a Pre-Licensed Therapist of Color who could use some financial assistance with academic, life and licensure expenses, consider applying for LA-CAMFT’s new Pre-Licensed TOC Grant Award by October 29th. The application and more info can be found at LA-CAMFT TOC Grant Award.

Whenever you read this, the time will be The Now. Can you feel it? Can you find something to look forward to, reward yourself for, unburden yourself of, and make this moment magic? This October I expect to celebrate 51 years of life, 12 years of marriage, and making it through 18 months of Covid-World. What might you celebrate this month? This moment? What’s the good news? I want to celebrate with you in spirit until we can once again celebrate in-person.

Until next time . . . and as always . . . Paz y Amor

JJVW — Jenni June Villegas Wilson

Jenni J.V. Wilson, LMFT is a collaborative conversationalist, trained in narrative therapy and EMDR. She works with creative and anxious clients on improving, avoiding, and eliminating co-dependent and toxic relationships, while finding healthy ways to be unapologetically themselves. She is the primary therapist at Conclusions Treatment Center IOP in Mission Hills, and has a private practice in Sherman Oaks.

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