Los Angeles Chapter — California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
Voices — October 2023
Christina “Tina” Cacho Sakai, LMFTPresident, LA-CAMFT
It is such an honor to introduce LA-CAMFT Diversity Committee Chair, Akiah “Kiah” T. Robinson Selwa, LMFT and Diversity Committee Co-Chair, Rachell Alger, AMFT! Together they are the leading warriors of the Therapists of Color Support Group, Black Therapists Support Group, Asian American Pacific Islander + Therapists Circle, Middle Eastern and North African Therapists Community Group, White Therapists Fighting Racism, Therapists of Color Grant Program for Pre-Licensed Members, Therapists of Color Mentorship Program, workshops that highlight issues that impact underrepresented communities and individuals and so much more.
I have had the pleasure of knowing Akiah “Kiah” T. Robinson Selwa LMFT since we were right out of graduate school and working alongside each other in community mental health. Every fiber of Kiah is intertwined with honesty, compassion, commitment, creativity, artistry, and service. LA-CAMFT has been fortunate to have Kiah as the Diversity Committee Chair for almost two years and as a prominent mentor for the upcoming generation of therapists like Diversity Committee Co-Chair, Rachell Alger AMFT.
Rachell was encouraged to join LA-CAMFT by one of her graduate school professors and attended the first Anti-Racism Roundtable in 2020. It was there where she began forming relationships, getting involved and honing her leadership skills. Rachell shares that through her leadership process she has “learned so much, gained a trust in others and a hope for the future”.
Get to know Kiah and Rachell as they share their “why,” “highlights” and “hopes and dreams” for LA-CAMFT.
Kiah’s “why” to being a LA-CAMFT Leader:
● “I’m a healer and it’s my job to be part of things, people, organizations and opportunities to help bring forth healing to people and this is just one way of doing that by offering support groups, programs and building relationships”
● Representation—When we can, we should be part of things like this and offer opportunities to experience leadership from somebody different from us”
● Being part of a group of people who are creating more equity for ALL mental health practitioners by promoting, educating and creating awareness
Kiah’s “highlights” to being a LA-CAMFT Leader:
● Last year’s Decolonizing Therapy Workshop by Dr. Torres Rivera that sparked our imagination in new ways and is a contributing factor to our next diversity workshop
● Honor and excitement from leading monthly Diversity Committee meetings
● Every time I lead a support group and have an opportunity to offer something
Kiah’s “hopes and dreams” for LA-CAMFT:
● Real connection and shared values
● Working together and building relationships amongst leadership
● More membership and diversity amongst members
● Creation of safety for the trans and undocumented community with representation, discussion, articles, networking and more.
Rachell’s “why” to being a LA-CAMFT Leader:
● To help create a safe space for others to feel heard, seen and empowered with their experiences of inequities and discrimination
● To help clinicians feel grounded in their values of equity and equality, embody that and bring that with them into the sessions with their clients
● Being mentored by senior TOC leadership
Rachell’s “highlights” to being a LA-CAMFT Leader:
● Picnics where you could be with people in person and in nature
● Every time I meet with Kiah and working under her wing
● Witnessing Kiah lead from her authentic self
Rachell’s “hopes and dreams” for LA-CAMFT:
● More in-person events
● For LA-CAMFT to have its own office
● Creation of a “union” which would allow for more protection for associates
● White therapists to be more included in diversity conversations
● More leadership
● More intersectionality
● More engagement with the Latinx therapist community
Special thank you to Kiah and Rachell for sharing your warriorness with the broader LA-CAMFT Community! If you would like to get in contact with either of them you could find them here: https://lacamft.org/Diversity-Committee. If you are interested in leadership opportunities, please email me directly at President@lacamft.org
Hope to connect soon!
Christina “Tina” Cacho Sakai, LMFT
Christina "Tina" Cacho Sakai, LMFT (she/her) is a Latinx (Mexican-American) psychotherapist in private practice and a former community based therapist, clinical supervisor, associate director, and adjunct faculty at CSULA. She provides psychotherapy in a culturally responsive, LGBTQIA+ affirming and social justice-oriented atmosphere. Treatment specializations include healing from trauma, processing grief and loss, exploring creativity, and honoring full intersectional identities. She is currently in the BIPOC Somatic Experiencing Training Certificate Program.
Friday, October 20, 2023
9:00 am-11:00 am
2 CE Credits
Online Via Zoom
The Deep End: Treating OCD with Exposure
Adriana Diaz, LCSW
This presentation focuses on the identification and treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder with Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) in clinical settings. Participants will learn how to distinguish obsessions from compulsions (including mental compulsions aka “pure O”), common OCD themes, and sub-categories of OCD that are often overlooked or misdiagnosed. Information and examples on how ERP works to create changes in behavior as well as how exposure sessions are conducted will be provided.
After you register you will be emailed a Zoom link the Thursday before the presentation.
More information and register today by clicking the Register Here button below.
Lynne Azpeitia, LMFTVoices Editor
Getting Paid: Thriving in Private Practice — How to Avoid and Prevent Burnout
Working as a psychotherapist in private practice is both rewarding and challenging. Unlike therapists in institutional settings, in order to succeed, private practitioners must manage the various aspects of their practice, from administrative tasks to client management and community marketing.
While it is widely known that large numbers of therapists in private practice continually struggle with long hours and burnout, many clinicians thrive in this setting, avoiding burnout, and achieving both professional and personal fulfillment.
Discover the secrets highly successful private practice clinicians use to succeed, thrive, and sustain a practice while providing high-quality client care.
1. Freedom, Flexibility & AutonomyOne of the most significant advantages of private practice is the freedom, flexibility, and autonomy it offers. Psychotherapists in private practice have the freedom to set schedules, determine caseloads, and create therapeutic approaches. This level of control allows practitioners to adapt their practice to personal preferences and work in a way that aligns with their strengths and values. This autonomy helps prevent burnout by allowing therapists to create and develop a work environment that suits their needs, preferences, clients, and business.
2. Tailored Client Selection & Caseload ManagementOne of the key reasons psychotherapists thrive in private practice is their ability to control their caseloads. In private practice, clinicians can be selective about the clients they work with. They can carefully select clients based on therapeutic fit, which helps establish a strong therapist-client relationship.
This does not mean turning away individuals in need but rather ensuring there is a good fit between the therapist's expertise and the client's needs. By working with clients who are a good match for their expertise and style, clinicians can achieve more positive outcomes, which, in turn, increases their job satisfaction. The ability to choose clients whose issues align with a practitioner’s specialties leads to more successful outcomes and reduced therapist burnout.
Many successful private practitioners find fulfillment by specializing in a specific niche or population. By utilizing this type of focus, therapists become experts in a chosen area, attracting clients who seek their specialized expertise. This specialization not only enhances job satisfaction but also reduces the risk of burnout by working with clients who align with a clinician’s professional interests.
3. Efficient Administrative Support & TechnologyTo be successful in private practice—and prevent burnout—psychotherapists who flourish invest in administrative support and technology that streamlines administrative tasks. They may hire a virtual assistant or administrative support—or use practice management software to streamline scheduling, billing, and record-keeping.
Efficient and effective administrative processes significantly reduce the burden of paperwork, appointment scheduling, record-keeping, and billing; allowing therapists to focus on what they do best—providing therapy.
By staying organized, utilizing tools, and resources, therapists reduce the stress associated with managing a practice, making it easier to thrive and allowing clinicians to focus their energy on delivering quality care and thriving in their practice.
4. A Pricing Structure That Reflects Expertise & ExperiencePrivate practice therapists have greater control over what they charge and are paid for psychotherapy services and can set rates that reflect their expertise and experience. A fair and competitive pricing structure reduces financial stress, providing clinicians with the financial stability they need to succeed, thrive, and sustain themselves as well as their practice.
5. Effective Time Management: Setting A Sustainable & Realistic ScheduleSuccessful private practice therapists allocate their time wisely.
Using their autonomy to design their own schedules, practitioners ensure their schedule has time, not only for client sessions, but also for administrative tasks, documentation, continuing education, networking, and marketing. They make sure they have sufficient breaks and enough emotional and physical space between sessions to recharge and avoid burnout.
Setting realistic hours with this type of time management enables therapists to maintain a healthy work-life balance, preventing overexertion—while making sure they don't overextend themselves. This prevents exhaustion and emotional depletion—and fosters well-being, helping clinicians thrive both professionally and personally.
6. Robust Referral NetworksPrivate practice therapists who excel, establish strong referral networks with other healthcare and legal professionals, such as doctors, chiropractors, acupuncturists, psychiatrists, and social workers as well as attorneys, mediators, etc. These networks provide an ongoing steady stream of referrals, helping therapists maintain a full and consistent caseload, preventing financial stress, and sustaining their practice.
Private practitioners who thrive understand the importance of effective marketing and client attraction strategies. By implementing effective marketing, creating a strong online presence, and developing referral networks, they ensure a steady flow of clients who are a good fit for their practice. This not only boosts their caseload but also contributes to professional satisfaction.
7. Specialized Training & Ongoing Professional Development (Continuing Education)Private practitioners who thrive, invest in specialized training and ongoing professional development (continuing education) to enhance their clinical and business skills, expertise, and knowledge. These mental health professionals are constantly seeking opportunities for growth and improvement in their practice.
They stay current and excel by pursuing ongoing professional development. They attend workshops, conferences, and training to expand their knowledge and stay up to date with the latest research and therapeutic techniques and approaches, business ,and professional practices, HIPPA requirements, and legal and ethical imperatives.
This commitment to professional growth not only keeps therapists engaged and motivated but also ensures they provide the best possible care to their clients and maintain a high level professional and clinical reputation.
8. Connect with a Supportive CommunityBuilding connections with other professionals in the field is crucial for thriving clinicians. They are active in professional associations, attend networking events, and develop-participate in a supportive community of colleagues who understand the challenges and rewards of the profession.
9. Regular Self-ReflectionThriving psychotherapists engage in regular self-reflection. They examine their own biases, emotional triggers, and personal as well as professional growth areas. This can be done with the help of a trusted colleague, peer consultation group, therapist or paid clinical or business consultant. This practice allows the therapist to identify areas for improvement, adjust their approach, and continuously enhance their effectiveness.
Thriving psychotherapists also regularly reflect on their successes rather than only focusing on setbacks or challenges. Celebrating the positive outcomes of their work reminds mental health professionals of the impact they have on their clients' lives and reinforces their passion for the profession.
10. Understand the Value of Seeking Support When NeededSuccessful clinicians recognize that they are not invincible and are not hesitant to seek support when it’s needed. Whether it's personal therapy, peer consultation with colleagues or an ongoing group, or business coach, they understand the value of asking for help when facing personal, professional, or practice challenges.
11. Participation in Peer Consultation & Support GroupsAlthough they may not have direct colleagues in their practice, private practitioners often engage in peer consultation groups. These groups provide a space for therapists to discuss cases, share insights, and receive support from their peers. Receiving ongoing case consultation and support from peers in these groups is about continuously improving skills and effectiveness.
Seeking case consultation and consulting with peers is a proactive strategy adopted by thriving psychotherapists. It provides valuable insights, fresh perspectives, and support in challenging cases. This type of peer interaction keeps counselors professionally accountable and contributes to their growth as clinicians—it also helps maintain high standards of care and prevents professional isolation, a common contributor to burnout.
12. Client Engagement and FeedbackThriving psychotherapists actively engage their clients in the therapeutic process and seek feedback to assess progress. They create an open and collaborative environment that empowers clients to take an active role in their therapy, leading to more successful outcomes and therapist satisfaction.
13. Adherence to Clear Ethical GuidelinesOperating successfully in private practice requires adherence to clear ethical guidelines. Those clinicians who thrive in private practice prioritize ethics—ensuring that their work is conducted with the utmost integrity and respect for client well-being and confidentiality. Ethical practice enhances a therapist’s reputation and builds trust with clients, contributing to their success. Adhering to these ethical principles not only ensures the welfare of clients but also helps clinicians maintain their own professional integrity, reducing the likelihood of burnout.
Ultimately, psychotherapists in private practice can find fulfillment and satisfaction in their work, maintain their well-being, and avoid burnout while providing the highest quality care to their clients—and enjoy a fulfilling and sustainable career that benefits both themselves the clients they serve, the local and professional community, and the profession.
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.
LA-CAMFT Therapists of Color Grant Award: Grant Award Registration Open
Registration for the next Therapist of Color Grant Awards is now open and will close on November 4, 2023. The drawing will take place on November 5, 2023.
It is limited to members of LA-CAMFT and 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
The $500 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 of 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 qualifying criteria and completed 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 opened on September 5, 2023, and will close on November 4, 2023. The drawing will take place on November 5, 2023.
The LA-CAMFT TOC Grant Committee
LA-CAMFT Diversity Committee
Asian American Pacific Islander+
Third Friday of Every Month
Asian American Pacific Islander+ Therapists Circle
A safe and empowering place for therapists of the Asian diaspora to experience healing, renewal, and belonging. We will collectively process experiences of racism and internalized oppression. We will also explore the coexistence of privilege and marginalization along with invisibility and hypervigilance. This space will help us appreciate and reclaim what we have in common while honoring our differences. Grace Lee Boggs notes, “The only way to survive is by taking care of one another.” May this circle embody her words.
Open to LA-CAMFT Members and Non-Members
Third Friday of this Month
Location: Zoom Meeting
For more information contact Rachell Alger, email@example.com.
Licensed Therapists, Associates, and Students
Event Details: Friday, October 20, 2023, 1:30 pm-3:00 pm (PT)
Time of Check-In: 1:20 pm
Where: Online Via Zoom
Once you have registered for the presentation, we will email you a link to Zoom a few days before the presentation.
Online Registration CLOSES on the date of the event.
(Registration closes 1.5 hours prior to the meeting.)
Questions about Registration? Contact Akiah Robinson Selwa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chellie Campbell,Financial StressReduction Expert
Don’t Make the Redhead Mad!
"Anger is more useful than despair.”
— Arnold S. in Terminator 3
“If you had to wear a T-shirt with a warning label, what would it say?”
I read that post and thought, hah that’s easy! “Don’t make the redhead mad!”
I’m a nice girl most of the time — I was raised to be. It took a lot for me to get angry and express my displeasure. But I had to learn it or risk being a life-long tuna (food for sharks). My experience working with Disney taught me that!
Disney has been in the news often lately, with the feud with DeSantis in Florida and Abigail Disney, one of Walt’s heirs protests about how rich they are and how poorly they pay their people who work in the parks.
Back in the 70s, when I was a young and struggling singer-actress, I was hired to work at Disneyland in a musical show called “Fun With Music.”
There were six of us in the cast, four women and two men. Although we were all told that it was a new experimental show so we were all being paid the same minimum union rate of $50 per day, it did later turn out that they paid the two men more than the four women. Sigh.
We did five shows a day, five days a week for nine months. What a grind! I felt like I was working on a factory assembly line — I was bored out of my skull after about a month.
Several months into the run, a memo was sent to all the cast members that Disney was going to make a film of the show. They were going to do it on a work day after we had done our five shows, and for this extra show we were going to be paid our “per show rate”.
What?! Our “per show rate”?? We did 5 shows a day for $50. That meant our “per show rate” was a measly $10.
Now, as a Screen Actors Guild member, I had done films before and so had others in the cast. We knew what the day would be like: we would have to wait — perhaps hours — while the technicians came in to set up the cameras, lights, and sound equipment. We would work with the director on blocking and camera angles.
Then we would film it and do take after take — because there was a plane that flew overhead, or a fly buzzed the microphone, or someone flubbed a line, etc.
We figured that the filming could last ‘til the wee hours of the morning. For $10??
I said no.
I went to the assistant who passed out the memos and said, “I’m not doing the film. Get my understudy to do it.”
The assistant looked at me in horrified surprise. “You have to!” he exclaimed.
I said, “Really? Show me in my contract where it says I have to do a film.” (It was an AGVA (American Guild of Variety Artists) contract — stage only.)
He was speechless. No one ever said no to Disney! I smiled sweetly and went home.
The next morning when I arrived at the theatre, a phone call came in. One of the production people answered and said, “Chellie Campbell, Fred Duffy wants to see you in his office right now!”
There were shocked exclamations of surprise and fear. Fred was the big time — Vice President overseeing all the entertainment productions in the park. Everyone thought I was about to be fired.
Well, so be it, I thought. I can always get another job. I’m not going to be treated badly just to stay here. I got on the go cart they sent for me and then walked into Fred’s big palatial office.
“Hi, Fred!” I said cheerfully.
“Hi, Chellie,” he smiled.
“What can I do for you?” I asked.
“I hear that you don’t want to do our film”, he replied.
I looked at him quizzically and frowned. “Well, you heard incorrectly, Fred,” I answered. “I would love to do your film!”
He looked at me intently. “Then I don’t understand why we have a problem.”
I looked at him intently back. “I don’t want to do the film for $10.”
“$10?” he asked.
I said, “Yes, the memo states we will be paid our “per show rate” We do 5 shows a day for $50 so that’s only $10 extra we get to spend hours waiting for set ups, doing extra takes, etc. I just don’t think that’s fair.”
Now Fred understands — he’s in a negotiation! He smiled.
“Okay, what do you want?”
“I want our hourly rehearsal pay rate of $10 per hour for every hour I have to work overtime after my full day.”
He sat back in his chair and thought about that for a minute.
“Does that sound unreasonable to you, Fred?” I asked with wide eyes.
He had the grace to laugh. “No, Chellie, I think we can make that agreement. I will take care of it.”
“For all the cast, right?” I asked.
“Yes,” he promised.
But then, stirred by my example, one of the other cast members called the Screen Actors Guild, since we discovered we were all SAG members, too. When he explained our situation to the Guild, the SAG rep called Fred and told him that he would have to pay us all SAG minimum wage, which was $400 for the day.
They cancelled the film.
They had budgeted $60 for talent and weren’t going to pay $2,400. And that was that.
When you stand up for yourself, you don’t always get the outcome you want. But it was still a win! I definitely felt empowered by taking a stand to not work for less than I believed I was worth.
That was my last job for Disney. Soon afterwards, I fell into a job that promoted me to Office Manager and put me in charge of finance . . . and the rest was history. Every experience became a useful story for my books and workshops.
I love how it has all worked out!
Chellie Campbell, Financial Stress Reduction Expert, is 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 Facebook—with participants from all over the world. Website: www.chellie.com.
Middle Eastern North African (MENA)
Therapists Community Group
Monday, October 2, 2023
6:30 pm-7:30 pm (PT)
The MENA Therapists Community Group is a safe place across the Middle Eastern and North African therapist diaspora to build community and a sense of belonging. We hold an inclusive space to process the impact of cultural biases experienced by people of MENA descent and the effect it may have on our work as mental health professionals. Within the process, we will strive to create healing, support, and empowerment. We will collaboratively exchange ideas, experiences and resources while acknowledging cultural differences and shared similarities. As the poet Khalil Gibran states — “The reality of the other person lies not in what he reveals to you, but what he cannot reveal to you.” — our community will create a place to be seen, heard, and understood.
Location: Zoom Meeting
For more information contact the Diversity Committee, email@example.com.
For:Licensed Therapists, Associates, and Students
Event Details: Monday, October 2, 2023, 6:30 pm-7:30 pm (PT)Time of Check-In: 9:30 am
Where: Online Via Zoom
Upon registration for the presentation, you will receive a confirmation email that includes a link to our Zoom meeting.
Registration is open and available until the group begins.
Questions about Registration? Contact Tyana Tavakol, Perla Hollow, & Tania Osipof at DiversityCommittee@lacamft.org.
Joanna Poppink, LMFT
Friendship: Recognize and Face Challenges to Maintain Your Friendship
While a good friendship can be incredibly fulfilling, it is not immune to challenges. Various factors can put a strain on even the strongest friendship. Here are some common challenges that can arise in a good friendship. If your friendship is valuable, then you can be alert to these potential difficulties and address them as soon as possible.
MiscommunicationCommunication issues can lead to misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and conflicts.
Different communication styles, assumptions, or a lack of clarity can create tension between friends.
You may not laugh or cry at the same point in a movie or reading a book. The aesthetic sense and emotional reverberations are not the same for everyone. If you are curious and open about your friend’s opinions and responses you can deepen your bond rather than have these differences create distance between you.
Change and GrowthAs individuals grow and evolve, their needs, interests, and priorities may shift. This can sometimes create a distance or divergence between friends if they are not able to navigate these changes together. A classic example is when two friends share the same addiction or disorder. This is a bond between them. If and when one begins recovery or moves faster on the recovery path a rift can occur between the pair.
Life TransitionsSignificant life changes such as marrying, becoming a parent, going for a degree, moving to a new city, starting a new job, or entering into a new relationship can impact the dynamics of a friendship. Time constraints and different life circumstances may make it challenging to maintain the same level of closeness. They may lose their ability to be empathetic with one another as their lives change.
Conflicting ObligationsFriendships can be affected when competing obligations arise, such as work commitments, family responsibilities, or other personal engagements. Balancing these different priorities can sometimes strain the time and energy available for the friendship. Sometimes this happens because of a lag in the maturation of one. That person doesn’t appreciate the other’s rationing their time and energy so they can be alert for reliable for their other commitments. It’s possible for this situation to pass as the offended party mature and appreciates the need for being responsible. But there’s no guarantee that understanding will occur.
Jealousy and EnvyFeelings of jealousy or envy can emerge when one friend achieves success or experiences positive changes, while the other may feel left behind or inadequate. These emotions can create tension and affect the overall dynamics of the friendship. This may be a momentary flash that can be worked out between the two. However, it could be the beginning of a long-lasting resentment. Only open communication and honesty can explore this and make peace if peace is possible.
Disagreements and ConflictConflicts and disagreements are a natural part of any relationship. How friends navigate and resolve these conflicts can determine the strength of the friendship. If conflicts are not addressed constructively, they can strain the bond and create long-lasting resentment.
Neglect and Lack of EffortFriendships require effort and nurturing from both parties. If one friend consistently neglects or fails to invest time and energy into the friendship, it can lead to feelings of imbalance and resentment from the other friend.
Betrayal of TrustTrust is the foundation of any healthy friendship. If one friend violates that trust through betrayal, dishonesty, or breaking confidences, it can severely damage the friendship and erode the sense of security and closeness.
Lack of BoundariesDifficulties can arise when there is a lack of respect for personal boundaries. Overstepping boundaries, being overly dependent, or intruding on each other's personal lives can strain the friendship and lead to resentment or discomfort.
Distance and Lack of Face-to-Face InteractionPhysical distance and limited face-to-face interaction due to various circumstances, such as relocation or busy schedules, can make it challenging to maintain the same level of connection and intimacy. This can require extra effort to bridge the gap and stay connected. Friendships can last through letter writing, Internet face to face chats, text notes and phone conversations.
Many ways to stay in connection exist today that bridge spatial distance. And correspondence can be done at times convenient for each and read when commitments have passed. A time difference no longer presents a formidable barrier to keeping in connection.
It's important to remember that challenges are a natural part of friendship. Addressing them can strengthen the bond. If a friendship has unresolved conflicts or recurring issues that are never fully addressed, it can create a cycle of tension and strain. Ignoring or avoiding these issues can lead to a buildup of resentment and a breakdown in trust and communication.
Good friends are willing to communicate openly, show understanding, and work through difficulties together, ultimately deepening the friendship.
Friendship TipWhen you are waiting for your friend to bring up an issue that has brought you discomfort, pain, sorrow, anger or self-doubt, stop waiting. Find a way to bring it up yourself. You may save yourself and the friendship more quickly and easily than you imagined possible.
Therapists of Color Support Group
Second Sunday of Every Month
A safe place to receive peer support and process experiences of racism (systemic, social, and internalized), discrimination, implicit bias, racist injury, aggression, and micro-aggressions, along with additional experiences that therapists of color encounter in the field of mental health.
Open to LA-CAMFT Members and Non-Members
Second Sunday of Each Month
Location: Zoom Meeting
For more information, contact the LA-CAMFT Diversity Committee at DiversityCommittee@lacamft.org.
Event Details: Sunday, October 8, 2023, 11:00 am-1:00 pm (PT)
Time of Check-In: 10:50 am
Online Registration CLOSES on the day of the event.
Questions about Registration? Contact Diversity Committee, firstname.lastname@example.org.
How Writers Channel their Muse
“Don’t wait for the muse. As I’ve said, he’s a hardheaded guy who’s not susceptible to a lot of creative fluttering. This isn’t the Ouija board or the spirit-world we’re talking about here, but just another job like laying pipe or driving long-haul trucks. Your job is to make sure the muse knows where you’re going to be every day from nine ‘til noon, or seven ‘til three. If he does know, I assure you that sooner or later he’ll start showing up.” —Stephen King
Back in ancient Greece, people spent a lot of time thinking about life, and how best to live it. They also spent a lot of time thinking about the way we think and how we create. Maybe it was because they didn’t have a lot of real world distractions like movie theaters, cell phones, cars, computers, or the live streaming capabilities we have on Facebook.
This was before people stated thinking about themselves in terms of self-determination. In those days the Greek Gods were at the center of the universe—and in fact were the center of all thought—including creativity.
When the philosophers started wondering how people could sit down and write, they decided the Gods had to be involved. They came up with the idea that these Gods (they had a separate God for poetry, adventure stories, comedy, and for some reason—another one for astronomy) somehow worked their magic through us.
A certain amount of that kind of thinking continues today. After all the process of bringing a work of fiction into the world still seems a fairly mysterious and somewhat magical. The concept of a muse still serves a purpose for some writers.
Elizabeth Gilbert gave a Ted talk about her memoir Eat, Pray, Love, in which she talked about carrying this burden after it became a huge hit—and then a hit film. She began to worry whether she could come up with a worthy successor.
One day she was discussing the writing process with the singer/songwriter Tom Waits. He told her he was driving around L.A. one day and the melody to a song “Just came to him.” Since he was in the car he could stop and write it down or record it, so he just looked up—as if to God—and said something like, ‘Excuse me, can you not see that I’m driving?’
As the rest of the story goes, he asked God at that point if he could come back when he was in the studio, when it would be more convenient. Gilbert was moved by this story, and found it helped her get though her next book. She was doing her part, she’d say—showing up at the keyboard every day. If the muse didn’t take over, that wasn’t her fault.
Ray Bradbury, the prolific science fiction author (and screenwriter) also invoked the notion that God gave him his stories. He talked about writing as if it was something he opened himself up to, and was able to channel. He gave credit to God, but at other times referred to the muse as a her, him, it or whatever.
Bradbury didn’t mean to say that writing came easy. On the contrary he talked about the necessity of writing a thousand words a day every day for the rest of your life. He talked about writers having to read poetry, essays, short stories and novels in order to prepare to accept muse’s gift.
A career in writing was about assembling a lifetime’s worth of experiences, learned firsthand, or through reading, or viewing films, or through self-reflection. It was about reading the novels, short stories or screenplays of writers who wrote the way we’d like to write, who thought the way we’d like to think.
Only with this kind of rigorous preparation would a writer be ready to accept the ideas, the poems and stories that flowed from his muse and transcribe them into works of art. The process was not just about sitting back and waiting for inspiration, but about perfecting the craft in order to be ready when inspiration struck.
Nobody could describe the writing process quite as eloquently as Bradbury. "I sit there and cry because I haven't done any of this," he told his biographer about his body of work, "It's a God-given thing, and I'm so grateful, so, so grateful. The best description of my career as a writer is, 'At play in the fields of the Lord.'"
Do you feel there’s a spiritual influence on your writing? Does the idea of being a vessel for creative energies resonate with you? Are you inspired by the persona of a beautiful woman like so many writers throughout history? Wherever your inspiration comes from, you’re lucky to have it—don’t take it for granted.
David Silverman, LMFT, treats creative and highly sensitive individuals in private practice in LA. Having experienced the rejection, stress, creative blocks, and career reversals over a long career as a writer in Film and TV, he’s uniquely suited to work with gifted, creative and sensitive clients experiencing anxiety, addiction or depression. For more information, visit www.DavidSilvermanLMFT.com.
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California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists
Los Angeles Chapter