LA-CAMFT Blog

President’s Message: Passing the Baton

Randi Gottlieb
Randi Gottlieb
President, LA-CAMFT

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Passing the Baton

It is with great pleasure that I announce on June 11th at our Chapter’s Summer Leadership Retreat, that President Elect Shelley Pearce will take the helm as President of LA-CAMFT and I will move into the position of Past President. Since this will be my last President’s Message, I’ve been pondering what it is that is most important for me to say at this precise moment in time as I pass the baton. I gave thought to doing an inventory of the goals set and met since Jonathan Flier passed the baton to me 2-½ years ago, but decided to provide that information in a different forum. I rather keep this message more personal and focus on the process and timing of the leadership transition itself.

So first, let me express what a pleasure and an honor it has been to be your president. I risked being myself with you — bringing in poetry, ritual, somatic centering, and challenging the chapter to broaden the lens of our clinical work to include a greater community and world context. I strived to write heartfelt and relevant monthly messages to connect with you across the impersonal internet distance, and to set a tone for our Networking Events that encouraged us to be mindful of the sacred space of our experience together in the here and now. I realize how “70s” these words sound, but as I said, I’ve risked being myself with you and this is who I am.

Now then, let’s shift the focus to the process and timing of the change that is before us. It is time for me to move into the wings, and for Shelley to take center stage; time for the chapter to benefit from the vision of someone with fresh eyes, gazing out from a different vantage point, someone who brings new energy, unique talent, and a different set of skills.

I came into the position with tremendous excitement about what I believed I could contribute from my past experience in executive leadership in other arenas, and prepared to devote a significant amount of time to the effort. At the same time, I knew it was imperative to the health of the chapter not to stay in the position for too long. Jonathan Flier had been president for six years while he rebuilt the chapter into a vital community. My goal was to pass the baton after two years, and to set in motion a new policy and practice of succession-planning for chapter presidents: a one year term within a three-year commitment that begins with one year as President Elect, then one as President, followed by one as Past President. Reflecting on my contributions to the chapter, I think this single practice shift may be the most important. Here’s why.

The longer the term of office, the greater the tendency to identify the role of the president with the person sitting in the chair. The more people identify the role with the person, the less likely they are to see themselves doing the job. The result: a classic Catch 22. The current president can’t leave because no one is willing to step up. No one is willing to step up because they can’t see themselves being the person in the chair.

Without minimizing the importance of having competent and reliable persons as chapter president, I believe it is critical to demystify the notion that only a few can do it. The way to ensure chapter sustainability is to develop a healthy leadership team culture, and build a solid infrastructure of supports, policies, as well as practices to keep the boat afloat regardless of who is at the helm. And a policy that is critical is a time-limited term of office for the role of president along with a protocol for reliable succession!

Another reason to have limited terms of office for the president is that a continuous flow of people in our highest leadership role enriches the chapter by increasing the variety and diversity of ideas that guide the formation of the chapter’s vision, direction, culture, and programs. The chapter needs continuity to be sure, but we must guard against the kind of continuity that fosters myopic uniformity of identity and programming.

Transitioning from a 6-year term to an ideal protocol of a 1-year term (within the context of a three-year commitment as described above) is a massive change to set in motion. As I stated above, I set a goal of limiting my term of office to two years, but missed the mark by 6 months because our succession policy was a theoretic ideal, not yet grounded in practice. Despite great effort, I was unable to recruit someone to become President Elect for the entire first year and a half of my projected 2-year term. And then, out of the blue, appeared Shelley Pearce!

On January 1, 2016, Shelley attended her first Networking Event to see if LA-CAMFT might be a community she would be interested in joining. Lucky for us, she had a positive first impression, continued coming to the Networking Events each month, and enrolled in the Leadership Development Workshop Series we offered to LA-CAMFT members. When Shelley attended the Summer Leadership Retreat in June, she had begun to see herself stepping into chapter leadership at some point a couple of years down the road. By the time she left the retreat, she had decided to join the board immediately.

I appointed her to fill a vacant position as Director at Large in September, and several months later she was elected to be President Elect. Although Shelley’s journey from first-time attendance at a Networking Event to LA-CAMFT President is unusual because it happened within a mere 18 months, it is nevertheless worth noting what factors were at play that allowed (contributed) to her making this commitment. Part of the answer is that Shelley already had decades of executive leadership experience prior to becoming a therapist and could see herself stepping into a high-level chapter board position; i.e. she recognized that she had the requisite leadership skills we needed at this moment in the chapter’s development. The second part of the answer is that Shelley spent the time she needed to get to know me and the rest of the leadership team, to recognize what a uniquely wonderful and cohesive team we have developed, and to trust the support she would receive from all of us were she to become president. Third, she understood that her commitment would be limited to a year-and-a-half term ending December 31, 2018. And last, but not least, she understood how being President of LA-CAMFT is an extraordinary opportunity that would bestow great benefit to herself as well.

So, let me ask, who else among you truly understands this last point about dynamic synergy; how being in service to the chapter is simultaneously an incredible opportunity of tremendous personal and professional gain? I am not asking a theoretical question. Within the next few months, we need to identify the person who will step into the role of President Elect, thus ensuring that person is ready to have the baton passed January 1, 2019. Might you be that person? I invite anyone who is inclined to explore that possibility — whether you have executive leadership experience or not — to call or email me right away.

Understandably, President Elect may be too big a step for you to take . . . and that’s okay too. What matters is that enough of you decide to get your feet wet. If there is to be a successful flow of leadership succession at the top, there must be a substantive pool of people downstream who are winding their way from smaller to greater levels of commitment and responsibility. I am passionately inviting you to challenge yourself, to move from thought to action, to make a commitment to jump into the water at whatever depth you can, and to become part of the team that supports the chapter that in turn supports you!

Editor’s Message


Sylvia Sandler, M.A., MFTi

Dear LA-CAMFT colleagues,

It’s hard to believe that with the publication of the June Voices we also mark the halfway point of the 2017 calendar year. As we reflect back upon the last six months there is a realization that the Los Angeles Chapter of CAMFT has much to be proud of and to celebrate. Month after month, our membership is increasing and networking attendance numbers indicate that our organization is thriving. We launched a mentor program that reached maximum capacity in a matter of a few months into its inception. Our chapter president, Randi Gottlieb, was recently nominated and awarded the “Outstanding Chapter Leader Award.”

That being said, our chapter’s goals for the future remain fluid and we must not rest on our laurels. Any good organization will recognize the importance of creating space for the possibility of change, action and new opportunities for growth.

Sometimes growth and change is bittersweet. This notion is fully captured in the changes soon to impact our chapter. As you delve into the June 2017 Voices, you will notice we are wishing our dedicated President, Randi Gottlieb, a fond farewell and extend our deep gratitude for her tireless service and commitment to LA-CAMFT. Thankfully, the upcoming transition in leadership was directly overseen by Randi herself, and with a keen eye for true talent, Randi handpicked our new President-Elect, Shelley Pearce. Just as Shelley has stepped up to the challenge of leading our chapter into the future, this is a call for our readership to ask how they, too, can step up their commitment to serve LA-CAMFT and the therapeutic community at large. Where and when can you become more active and of service? What committee have you wanted to engage with and become a part of? The time is now to join our new President in helping to direct our chapter into a bright and successful future.

Speaking of opportunities, we wanted to remind our readership of a new column aimed at addressing the needs of pre-licensed and newly licensed clinicians. Be sure to send any of your questions and concerns to cfo@lacamft.org. Our new “Ask Billie” section is committed to providing a voice to pre-licensed and newly licensed therapists while at the same time supporting them in their licensing journey. This journey is also often characterized as bittersweet. “Ask Billie” is meant to offset the sting of the ups & downs inherent in this process of becoming and being a licensed therapist.

Come join us and lend your voices to ours.

Sylvia J. Sandler, M.A., is the current editor of Voices for LA-CAMFT, and holds a subsequent registration with the Board of Behavioral Sciences as a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern, #90381. Sylvia is bi-lingual and fully proficient in reading and writing in the Spanish language. Sylvia is currently gaining hours for licensing at The Ness Counseling Center on a volunteer basis. You may reach her by email at newsletter@lacamft.org.

 

Networking Event News


Darlene Basch, LCSW

Everyone is Excited to be Part of our Community

This year, 70 to over 80 people are attending our monthly events. Everyone leaves excited and happy to be part of our warm and welcoming community. Our success is due to the time and effort of our hardworking team.

One of the biggest responsibilities is that of Registration Chair. The registration team arrives early to greet and sign in attendees. They are the first warm and friendly contact we have when we arrive.

For the last few years, Tracy Bevington has done an outstanding job as Registration Chair. Every month she put together a magnificent team to make all of us feel welcome. When I stepped into being the Networking Events Chair four years ago, Tracy made the job easier for me. Her experience and hard work helped me learn the ropes to create our wonderful events.

Tracy started out as an intern, got her license and opened offices in Manhattan Beach. She’s now expanding to new Westside offices. With the growth of her business, it’s time for Tracy to step down from her position as Registration Chair. Although we wish Tracy the best in her new endeavor, we will miss her warmth and reliability. We wish to acknowledge Tracy with a great big THANK YOU for all her contributions over the years.

Before leaving, Tracy trained Lauren Hooten to take her place. Lauren, an MFTI, stepped into this leadership position only a few months after becoming involved in LA-CAMFT. Lauren is a quick learner, responsible, friendly, and takes initiative. She’s already expanded her role and is recruiting new people to help. We are fortunate to have her.

We continue to reach out to increase the number of people helping out before, during and after the Networking Events. We hope you’ll join us and become part of our Networking Event team. Please contact me at networkingchair@lacamft.org if you are interested. We look forward to seeing you at our next event on June 23rd.

DARLENE BASCH, LCSW is a body psychotherapist helping overcome daily anxiety, panic attacks and other life challenges. Her practice emphasizes parents, children, teens, and families. Darlene’s powerful stabilizing transformation therapy techniques help clients open up and move forward with a new sense of well-grounded calm. In private practice for over 25 years, Darlene also teaches workshops on parenting, relationships, stress management, meditation, and Holocaust issues. Check out her website at www.transformationtherapy.com. She can be reached at networkingchair@lacamft.org.

Kane’s Korner


Kane Phelps
Membership Chair, LA-CAMFT

Membership continues to grow and thrive! A glorious welcome to recent, new or renewing members: Kathleen Memel, Kirstin Carl, Marta Castillo, Harvey Glen, Carol Kochoff, Ellen Richey, and Casy Weitzman. It should be noted that both Kathleen and Kirsten have demonstrated their faith in our community by becoming lifetime members. In other membership news, congratulations to Paula Gluck, LMFT, on becoming newly married. We also want to extend our best wishes to Darrel Slack, who just recently moved here and made a priority of joining LA-CAMFT.

I am honored this month to introduce Tracy Bevington, LMFT, as the featured Member Spotlight for June. Tracy has been active with LA-CAMFT since 2009 when she was an intern, and since then has established a thriving private practice. As you will read, she has further extended her entrepreneurial skills by creating a clinic for other MFT’s in her community. Tracy currently serves as Co-Chair of the Networking registration team. She is a sterling example of giving first (volunteering) and then receiving.

Member Spotlight: Tracy Bevington, MA, MFT


Tracy Bevington, MA, MFT

I’ve been a proud member of LA-CAMFT since it’s rebirth in 2009. Jonathan Flier, my supervisor at the time, encouraged me to join and participate in the Leadership that soon made it one of the top-notch chapters in California. As an Intern, I was nervous about taking this step. Thanks to the support and guidance of Jonathan, Karen Wulfson, and Lynne Azpeitia, I have grown with this vibrant chapter and created valuable and long lasting relationships. As the current Co-Chair of the Registration Team, in support of Darlene Basch, my career continues to grow.

Being a part of the Leadership Team provides me with unlimited possibilities for networking and marketing my practice. As a result, I have grown significantly in my career and now am the proud owner of a thriving group practice called Pacific MFT Network. With offices in Manhattan Beach and a brand new location in Santa Monica/West LA, we are creating a unique organization that processes all out of network insurance claims for our clients and offers hourly pay, benefits, flexible schedules, and support to our clinicians. In addition to basic therapy work, we offer groups and workshops such as: Playful Parenting (PCIT based), Cooperative Co-parenting, Middle School Children of Divorce, TRE-Tension Release Exercise, and several more in the works.

In my work with clients, I pull from an eclectic style that includes; Solution Focused, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Psychodynamic, Gestalt, Somatic Experiencing, Family Systems, and Attachment Theory. I enjoy working with adults, families, and couples, but especially love working with teens/adolescents and parents. I have had success with anxiety, stress, overwhelm, depression, family problems, relationship problems, addiction, and work and school issues. Clients find my style to be casual, interactive, impactful, and full of laughter. I love expanding my network, so please feel free to contact me at tracy@pacificmft.com or 310.612.2998 or visit our website at www.pacificmft.com.

Tracy Bevington, MA LMFT #53455, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, Supervisor, and President and Founder of Pacific Marriage and Family Therapy Network, a group private practice with offices in Manhattan Beach and Santa Monica. Tracy is committed to empowering clients to live the life they want and helping clinicians do the work they love without the hassle and headache of a solo private practice. Contact: office@pacificmft.com or 310.612.2998 or www.pacificmft.com.

 

Ask Billie


Valerie
“Billie” Klayman,
M.A., LMFT
LA-CAMFT CFO

Altruism As a Licensed MFT

I have been doing pro-bono work as a therapist for a long time. As we all know, this begins in a traineeship and then continues as a MFT Intern. But, what about as an LMFT, can I continue to feel the joy and gratitude of the consciousness of altruism?

I was given an incredible opportunity seven years ago to initiate and help create a partnership with the Culver City Senior Center. The Director, Dr. Eric J. Day and assistant Director, Jill Howe-Vercos, LMFT, of the Antioch University Counseling Center supported and encouraged me to explore with Darren Uhl, Disability Services Specialist how AUCC could help CCSC.

What we formed seven years ago continues to flourish and grow. I led a process group with other co-facilitators for over six years pro-bono and our AUCC trainees and interns continue to provide pro-bono therapy to the members of the CCSC, whether individual, couples or family therapy at the CCSC facility. Hiroko Saeki has been running the process group I started for about a year. Her dedication and therapy style has provided this group of seniors with rich and transformational insights and awareness into their lives.

My volunteer position as CFO for the Los Angeles Chapter of CAMFT and Executive Board Member requires my time and attention. I continue to provide supervision to Hiroko and continue to facilitate and create programs for our Seniors Division at AUCC.

The Antioch University Counseling Center was my training site and now I am providing group supervision as a paid staff member, in addition to offering group and individual supervision pro-bono to interns.

AUCC is one of the very few training sites that does not charge interns for supervision. In exchange, all of us who are involved at AUCC participate in our annul fundraiser. From the Director to staff who practices the art of therapy, all of us must raise the needed funds to continue the incredible work.

AUCC has many divisions that provide pro-bono and low-cost fees for those who are seeking to improve their relationships and emotional well-being. Our School-based Counseling Services continues to grow at a rapid pace; we currently serve 190 at-risk students per week at elementary, middle and high schools at no cost to their families or the schools. We also have our Colors program, in which our therapists address the unique concerns of the LGBTQ youth, their families, and allies at no cost.

The compassionate work we do at AUCC is remarkable. All of us at AUCC have a foundational consciousness of social justice. The meaning we attach to our experience allows us to create this consciousness of altruism. Our consciousness then guides us in our perspective of the art of therapy and how we can be there to help our clients/patients improve their relationships.

I invite you to contact me at therapyforhealing@att.net if you are inspired to support our annual fundraiser. Besides making a monetary donation, you are also invited to attend the conclusion of our fundraiser by purchasing tickets to our Comedy Night at The Improv, June 11, 2017. Again contact me for the specifics.

Thanks to all of you who support our community of Marriage and Family Therapists.

Valerie “Billie” Klayman, M.A., LMFT, an integrative Meaning Centered Therapist, became a supervisor at Antioch University Counseling Center in 2014. Billie initiated a partnership between AUCC and the Culver City Senior Center offering pro-bono therapy and group therapy to members of CCSC. December 2016, Culver City hired Billie to help residents of the community at the Culver City Senior Center. She’s presented on Substance Abuse and Addiction. Billie can be reached at cfo@lacamft.org.

 

The Rebirth of LA-CAMFT


Jonathan Flier, LMFT
Past President, LA-CAMFT
CAMFT Board Directors

The Rebirth of LA-CAMFT
by Jonathan Flier, Past President

Many of you reading this article have been enjoying attending our fabulous Networking Events and Special Interest Workshops for the past several years. These great community offerings were created and honed after our Chapter was reborn in 2009.

The Los Angeles Chapter had a crisis of leadership, direction and support. At that time, The Board of Directors informed CAMFT that the Los Angeles Chapter could no longer sustain itself and wanted to know the process for closing our doors. I was an inactive member of that board as Newsletter Editor, and had shifted my energy to help build a new Westside Networking District for the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy. That group created networking events quarterly that included a breakfast, a short lecture and interactive networking opportunities.

The CAMFT Executive Director asked us to call a meeting to see if we could create a new Board. Everyone at that meeting was looking for a way to keep LA-CAMFT from faltering and fading away. We all felt the value that our chapter could provide all of us; whether we were students, interns, newly licensed, struggling professionals, seasoned supervisors or semi-retired. Eleven people at the meeting stood up and said they wanted to share the responsibility and pledged to do whatever they could to re-create, revitalize and refresh the Los Angeles Chapter. We all shared a vision of LA-CAMFT as a hub for innovative networking, educational programming and supportive professional and social activities.

I reached out to each of the “skilled” people at the meeting and took them each to breakfast. We discussed ways to rebuild the chapter, and I noted for them the successful structure of the AAMFT meetings. I brought in the concept of “community connection” as the key to success, and how the warm friendly experience we had created with the AAMFT District became the new narrative for the Los Angeles Chapter. I then went to the leaders of the AAMFT group and got them to commit to being on the LA-CAMFT board.

The following week, I created a follow-up meeting to brainstorm a vision of for the Los Angeles Chapter that would fulfill our professional and personal needs as MFTs. An image emerged of LA-CAMFT as a central gathering place for therapists that reached beyond the MFTs. Our vision was to include others in the healing community including: Psychologists, Social Workers, Mediators, Lawyers Medical Professionals and those working at community agencies. Those at the meeting wanted real opportunities to know and be known by others in the community, to refer to each other, mentor each other, and learn from one another. A structure of multiple committees was conceived, some dedicated to organizational needs and some to fulfill the many interests, social groupings and expertise of our members.

I decided to try out a new monthly schedule of General Networking Meetings on alternate Friday and Saturday mornings with two free Sunday special social afternoon gatherings. We found a new venue with easy freeway access at a tree lined Cheviot Hills location with free Valet parking, and a delicious breakfast buffet. We had plenty of space to grow while maintaining a warm intimate atmosphere conducive for networking and experiential educational programs.

So a vision was honed, the structure grew and solidified. People gathered and created an atmosphere that filled educational, social and professional needs that was exciting, welcoming and fun.

Our first meeting was in March 2009, and for the first time we were sold out! Our next scheduled meeting in April was going to create a conflict with the AAMFT Networking meeting so I proposed to the AAMFT board that we combine forces and create a co-sponsored AAMFT and CAMFT event. Historically the two organizations were considered fierce competitors and fought against each other nationally and locally in California. Our successful joint efforts created a shift in that culture that has led to a cooperation and coordination representation of MFTs all over America.

This success moved us forward and the next necessary step for the future was for me to find a leader who would be willing to step into my shoes to carry on and grow the legacy we had created. After serving as President for 4 years, and overseeing the development and solidification of an organizational structure I knew I had to find someone willing to step in as the next President. After all, it was a crisis of succession that had caused the Chapter’s failure. I had to find someone who shared the collective vision I had for the chapter, and who could bring in skills that were missing in my leadership style.

I looked within our community and noted the skills, warmth and vision of Randi Gottlieb. I recruited her to join the board as Secretary. That gave her a front row seat of the organizational structure and her keen eye started to see the changes that would need to occur to move the Chapter to the next level. She then agreed to be Vice President and did an amazing job of streamlining, outlining and defining the organizational structure. We worked closely together and collaboratively refined the vision and mission of the Los Angeles Chapter. In 2014, Randi felt ready to step into the Presidency and has made her vision for our community a lived reality.

Soon after beginning her Presidency, she began to put into motion looking for her replacement. This year she has completed that all important task for the future of the Los Angeles Chapter by finding and preparing her replacement, Shelley Pearce. We are all very excited to see how the organization will grow under Shelley’s sharp eye, warm heart and sensitive professional style. I look forward to being one of her guides for the next couple of years.

*Lynne Azpeitia, LMFT, Founder and Karen Wulfson, LMFT, Co-Founder of SM-WLA AAMFT Networking District, were the leaders of the AAMFT Group from 2007-2014. From 2009-2013, the highly successful LA-CAMFT SM-WLA AAMFT Collaboration presented monthly networking meetings that were well attended, interesting and invigorating, along with joint gatherings for the members of both organizations, and the local therapist community.

Jonathan Flier, MFT is currently serving on the Board of Director of statewide CAMFT. In 2008 he became President and restarted the Los Angeles Chapter of CAMFT. He has supervised interns for over 20 years at the Southern California Counseling Center and has a thriving practice that specializes in working with men, treating trauma and anxiety with somatic based therapies including EMDR, high conflict couples and passionless couples and consultations with licensed MFTs and LCSWs.

A Session with an Upset (Fragmented) Client

A Session with an Upset (Fragmented) Client
By Riley K. Smith, M.A., LMFT

PREMISE: The upset about a current experience will have roots in an individual’s early history and effective psychotherapy addresses both – current event and early history.

One of my favorite topics covered in my Study/Support Series is a matrix for a somatic psychotherapy session that I learned as part of Integrative Body Psychotherapy1. It’s called Steps Out of Fragmentation.

My experience of the Steps Out of Fragmentation, both as client and therapist, is that it is both a powerful mental health tool and a step-by-step outline for a profound therapy intervention. Profound in that it addresses our upset pattern at the root of the problem and offers a self-healing experience at the level of the attachment injury. In the process of guiding our clients out of their fragmentation, we are also teaching them a way to handle their own upset whenever it comes up.

DAVID
“I haven’t been able to sleep or think straight for 2 days,” David was talking as he came through the door and flopped down in the chair.

This was David’s fourth session. I had learned his history. He had responded well when I introduced him to Charge Breathing2 leading to a feeling of aliveness and calm. I had helped him identify his Basic Wound3 which is the tender place, the attachment injury that is the primal source of his upset and the problem that brought him in.

David slouched in the chair looking miserable. This was a perfect opportunity to take him through the “Steps Out of Fragmentation” so that he can begin to learn to do the process for himself. I asked him if he’d like to learn how to get himself out of “the miseries.” He said he did, looking slightly hopeful. I guided him through the steps.

STEP ONE: Notice that you are fragmented. What you’re experiencing right now and for the last two days, the upset you feel, we’ll call it Fragmented.
“Describe it as best you can .”
“I made a mistake at work and it came out in a meeting. I felt exposed and ashamed, just like when I was a kid at school.”
“What’s the feeling in your body?”
“My face is hot. My solar plexus is on fire. I want to cry but I can’t breathe .”
“Anything else?”
“My mind is racing. That’s why I can’t sleep .”
“All those feelings and thoughts are parts of being fragmented. That’s the experience of being fragmented.”

STEP TWO: Reality check. Say, “I’ve been fragmented before and gotten out of it. I’ll be fragmented in the future and I’ll get out of it and I’ll get out of it this time too.” Say it until you can feel the truth of it in your body. This will usually bring a little relief and calm so that you can proceed to the next step.

STEP THREE: Identify the fragmenting event or events.
“When did you fragment? When was the last time you were calm?”
“I was calm when I went into the meeting. When my boss identified my mistake, I felt like I’d been pole-axed and I’ve been like this ever since.”

STEP FOUR: What happened in your childhood that felt that way – the earlier the better? He told of an experience of being shamed in class when he was in second grade. What nurturing or parenting was missing in that moment that would have soothed or prevented the upset? Make a note of the missing nurturing message(s). Examples of nurturing messages: I see you and I hear you. It’s not what you do, but who you are that I love. I’ll take care of you. You don’t have to be alone anymore.

STEP FIVE: I coached him in Charge Breathing until he was energized, present, alert and calm.

STEP SIX: Give yourself the nurturing message(s) as if you were talking to the upset child that you were. I fed him the nurturing messages that he had identified, one at a time. He repeated them until he could experience the effect of each one as a body sensation. Each message deepened the relaxation and calm that he felt until he was peaceful and present. I then asked him to think about the upsetting event at work and report what he experienced right now. He reported that he had lost the upset about it and was beginning to think about what to do to fix the mess.

He said that it didn’t feel like a catastrophe anymore, only a problem to solve.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: LMFT in private practice since 1976. Faculty member at the Integrative Body Psychotherapy Central Institute in Venice since 2004. Trained therapists for eight years as Clinical Director at an out-patient drug program. AAMFT certified supervisor till 2008. Co-author of How to Be Happy Partners, a cooperative problem-solving manual for couples. Member of CAMFT, AAMFT and U.S. Assoc. of Body Psychotherapists.

1Integrative Body Psychotherapy was developed by Jack Lee Rosenberg, Ph.D., Beverly Kitean-Morse, Psy.D., Marjorie Rand, Ph.D, and others. For more information about IBP and the training, see www.ibponline.org Also there is a summary of IBP at www.wikipedia.org

2Charge Breathing. Breathing fully is essential to feeling and being alive. Regulating the breath is also the first and most fundamental somatic pattern for coping with the Basic Fault. When an infant experiences the stress of a need not being met, it reduces its breathing to reduce the intensity of the stress it feels. Reduced breathing also makes it impossible to feel fully alive and present. We must breathe fully to experience our Core Self. In IBP, breathing fully is the most important tool for attaining and sustaining mental and physical health.

3BASIC FAULT. The Basic Fault is the bad feeling, the somatic reaction, psychological upset, confusion and negative belief about the self that results from needs not met in infancy. It is the primal wound that is the foundation and reason for the psychological, behavioral and somatic patterns that interrupt aliveness and wellbeing. The Basic Fault is a lie about the Self that is held deep in the body and the psyche. It is also the root of upsets in the present. Everyone has a Basic Fault.

Inside the Writer’s Mind — Mark Twain


David Silverman,
LMFT

Inside the Writer’s Mind — Mark Twain
By David Silverman, LMFT

The way I view a writer’s personality is shaped in part by being a writer, a journalist, and a TV/Film writer, and by studying the lives of writers, reading their biographies, and studying their books, plays and films. Now I specialize in treating writers and other creative individuals in my private practice.

What is a writer’s personality? On the surface no two writers seem alike. However, I’ve noticed that most writers (not all) seem to display a matrix of personality traits and experiences. Some of those traits include; a tendency toward introversion, shyness, a studious nature, a strong goal orientation, ability to empathize, an intuitive thought process, perseverance, and extreme high productivity.

Almost all writers’ day-to-day existence is made up of spending up to ten hours a day in complete solitude, living inside their heads and staring into a computer screen creating something from nothing. These daily activities would not sit well with most extroverts, who require more social stimulus and thrive in the company of others.

Many of the writers I’ve talked with, or treated, have told me they feel like they fit into the category of “highly sensitive persons” or HSPs. Those of you familiar with Elaine Aron’s work on the subject will recognize many of the above listed traits as “highly sensitive.” Writer’s lives almost always involve long term self-sacrifice, since they rarely get discovered after their first novel, play, poem or screenplay. Include the stress that comes with self-sacrifice, and the results of that stress; damage done to relationships, financial crises, and a tendency to self-medicate which can lead to full-blown addictions.

Many writers could also be characterized as adopting a bohemian existence, or a lavish lifestyle, in addition to various personal eccentricities, and odd habits, drinking or drug problems, and possibly an array of neuroses, and sometimes serious mental disorders.

Of course, some writers manage to keep more balance and moderation in their day-to-day lives. Some writers may be able to shift into a somewhat more extroverted state when they’re not writing, and around others. Other writers may not be able to shift gears that way.

Many actors are painfully shy and only “come alive” on stage. In the same way, writers who are sensitive and introverted can “come alive” occasionally, and be extremely outspoken, or even carry on quite flamboyantly in social circles and in the media.

After studying the lives of many writers in depth, including Mark Twain, Franz Kafka, George S. Kaufman (who wrote Marx Brothers’ films) and Woody Allen, I’ve noticed some early characteristics, abilities and needs that tend to make a person more apt to become a writer.

In the early years, back in their families of origin, writers develop a strong need for attention, starting with their mothers. There are many circumstances that play into this need. Sometimes a child is a middle child, who competes for, and feels starved for attention.

I’ve chosen to focus on Samuel Clemens’s (Mark Twain’s) life story to demonstrate how certain dynamics that make for a driven and productive writer can evolve out of their family dynamics and other early interpersonal relationships.

Clemens was born premature, the sixth of seven children to his mother Olivia Langdon. Being a sickly child for a few years, he became used to constant attention from his mother. Olivia was considered to be in a loveless marriage, so her affections were focused on her children, and especially young Sam.

During Sam’s childhood, he loved spending time with an uncle who was known for telling funny stories, or “whoppers.” At three years of age, Sam began to mimic his uncle and to make up his own “whoppers.”

Then his younger brother was born and Olivia focused on her seventh child, which left Sam virtually further starved for her attention, and affection. Around the same time, his father began travelling, trying to sell his family’s real estate.

According to psychologist Erik Erikson, it’s during these early years children are thought to develop a sense of trust, or mistrust, generally about their world. Sam’s mother could not keep up the levels of attention Sam was used to after her husband left, and she had another son to take care of.

It’s likely that Sam felt somewhat abandoned, leaving him with a general sense of mistrust about his world. It’s no surprise that Sam blossoms into a major skeptic as a writer, taking pot shots at politics and religion, making fun of authority figures while championing the common man. Humorists are generally skeptics by nature, and satire is all about finding faults (especially in the “high and mighty”) and exploiting them for laughs.

Sam’s needs for constant attention led him to become what they called a “show off,” even in his middle childhood. After gaining a following as a storyteller, he wrote his first short story (while still a young child) called Jim Wolfe and his Cats.

His childhood curiosity about pirates, bandits and riverboats will all become fodder for his humorous novels. At 18 he worked as a typesetter and reporter for some local newspapers. Not long after that, he made friends with a circle of like-minded writers who worked around San Francisco at that time, including other promising humorists, Bret Harte and Artemus Ward. They became a kind of reference group for him, helping him to solidify his identity as a professional writer.

Ward convinced Clemens to add his short story The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County to a collection of short stories published that year. Sam and Bret Harte became lifelong friends (and foes), and they later collaborated on Luck of Roaring Camp.

Always the show-off, grown-up Sam (famous author of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer) became known for wearing ostentatious white suits (like another writer, Tom Wolfe). As an adult, he always brandished a cigar, drank to excess, and eventually lectured to crowds of thousands.

In reading about other authors, I found some similar early dynamics; a strong need for attention, coupled with a curiosity about storytelling, keen powers of observation, and an ease and confidence in playing with words.

Often, the shyness, or introversion, when coupled with the need for attention, leads writers to learn to express themselves on paper, sitting safely behind a typewriter or computer. Certainly most of the comedy writers I’ve known and studied, have wanted to be funny, but had to hide behind their words.

When writers develop and practice their skill, playing with words, they are able to develop their own style of writing, and in the process, find their own voice.

Often writers work at jobs like journalism, or advertising, where they can hone their skills and develop their unique voices. They meet like-minded people (as Sam did with Ward and Harte) who can offer support, criticism, and share in their successes.

Writers tend to seek out other writers who become their models, mentors, competitors, friends, and supporters. Above all, they’re driven by a need for attention, to show off, to be productive, and to create stories that thrill us, scare us, inspire us, make us laugh or cry, or simply to entertain us.

Some writers are truly extremely shy or introverted (like Kafka or Kaufman), whereas some are able to shift, and live in both worlds – with occasional bouts of extroversion (like Mark Twain, during his lectures), but generally spend most of their lives creating, and writing inside their inner words, where the writing process generally happens.

While not all writers display the exact same personality traits, it seems they share many common characteristics –perhaps the most important, the ability to thrive in isolation. Writers spend long, difficult hours alone with their thoughts, writing, and rewriting endlessly.

They are driven to express themselves, and have a strong need for attention that is traceable to their childhoods. They come up against rejection, creative blocks, and long hard odds, but they persist. To do so, they must have an unyielding belief in their abilities, and a sense of hope – that they will eventually be recognized and rewarded for their efforts.

David Silverman, M.A., LMFT, treats creative and highly sensitive individuals in private practice in LA. He received training at Stanford University and Antioch University. Having experienced the rejection, stress, creative blocks, paralyzing perfectionism and career reversals over a twenty-five year career as a writer in Film/TV, he’s uniquely suited to work with gifted, creative and sensitive clients experiencing anxiety, addiction or depression. David can be reached at silverman.email@gmail.com or 310.850.4707.

Image credit: Creative Commons Mark Twain1907, 1907 by FotoGuy49057, is licensed under CC By 2.0

Links:
Mark Twain 1907
https://www.flickr.com/photos/fotoguy49057/13379538154/in/photolist-moiCyj-bimfje-4jxPXt-aeHrLv-8wLjDY-vdUhd-n4WVaZ-7HQTxA-apGEAB-n4MfVk-n7BV4K-ebaLeB-8Vh4QN-8Rgq6K-8Vh52u-8Vh5zG-kcbZdz-fAGpLc-n4FHqr-8VdZQc-c5RKtu-8Vh4mL-5t7hQ9-ouS6sL-8VdYZv-4fcpHy-S4LpdY-7zNfEk-68yeFN-n4HvPW-e9mJNe-ofpmYf-7VeARK-nbUD3X-8XB9jz-4NeZDA-fAWFG1-5is91U-owTWCK-gZFeBL-8RjxAN-9BNJy3-smva9F-fCjpnS-ctkBJ-d7NEmS-6D9h9t-ctkDm-68u2pB-ebgnLG

FotoGuy49057
https://www.flickr.com/photos/fotoguy49057/

The 3000 Hour Club Connection


Lauren Hooten, M.A.


Turn On, Tune In, and Drop By Starbucks
with the 3000 Hour Club

by Lauren Hooten, MA

The 3000 Hour Club Connection is an informal networking opportunity for students, trainees, interns and licensed practitioners to discuss the MFT licensing experience.

  • Ever feel isolated, confused or frustrated with the process?
  • Do you want to connect with colleagues at varying levels of licensure?
  • Would you like to share self-care ideas?

When:Every Wednesday, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Where:Starbucks
6150 Slauson Avenue
Culver City, CA 90230

The group is free of charge and a forum to get related, ask questions and share experiences. Stop by or contact Lauren Hooten at 512.940.0789 or via email at LaurenHootenMFT@gmail.com.

Visit our new LA-CAMFT webpage at https://lacamft.org/special-interest-groups/the-3000-club/.

Lauren Hooten, M.A. is a graduate of Antioch University and a Marriage and Family Therapy Registered Intern. She is LA-CAMFT’s Co-Chair of Registration and actively exploring opportunities to gain clinical experience towards licensure. Lauren can be reached at LaurenHootenMFT@gmail.com or 512.940.0789.

Voices Publication Guidelines for 2017

Calling all community writers and contributors!

Are you searching for a unique platform to express your passions and showcase your expertise in the Marriage & Family Therapy field? Look no further, as we welcome your input!

Following are the due dates and publication guidelines for submitting articles and ads for the remainder of the 2017 calendar year to Voices, LA-CAMFTs monthly newsletter:

Upcoming Voices Newsletters Submission Deadlines
July 2017 edition June 1
August 2017 edition July 1
September 2017 edition August 1
October 2017 edition September 1
November 2017 edition October 1
December 2017 edition November 1

 

LA-CAMFT Publishing Guidelines for Voices

  • Submissions are DUE by the 1st of each month.
  • Around the 15th of each month, contributors will receive the editor’s call for articles, advertisements, sponsorships, etc., for the next edition of Voices. This editor’s call will allow contributors to have up to two weeks to put together all the materials for submission by the 1st of the month.
  • The LAST call for submissions for the forthcoming issue will be sent by the 27th of each month. This last call for submissions will include a list of the content planned for the next edition of Voices. This editorial list will note submissions received, as well as submissions expected but not yet received, and which must be received by the 1st in order to be included.
  • Hyperlinks need to be specifically included in the body of the article at time of submission. Noting “LIVE LINK” in the body of an article is incomplete and unacceptable. It is the responsibility of each writer to “type in” the hyperlink(s) in their own work by the due date of the 1st of each month. If multiple links are being included, this must be made clear by the writer as to where each link is to be featured.
  • Only universal file formats, like Word (.doc and docx.) will be acceptable. If an entry is submitted in a “.pages” format, it will be returned to the submitter.
  • Per our webmaster, all images should be attached to an email as either a JPEG, PNG or TIF. Images pasted into an email are not acceptable since the quality of such photos is diminished. Any images received in the body of the email may delay publication of the submission.
  • Finally, there is an issue about images. If someone wishes to submit an image other than a personal headshot, please provide proof of how they obtained that photo. Following is a link that covers the importance of copyright issues, but especially so when it comes to anything “Internet” (Sued for Copyright Infringement).

President’s Message: Fertile Ground for Good: Vision and Manifestation

Randi Gottlieb
Randi Gottlieb
President, LA-CAMFT

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Fertile Ground for Good: Vision and Manifestation

I left the Uncoupling Workshop held in Santa Monica on April 8th with the inspiration to find a way to explain how LA-CAMFT is fertile ground for manifesting “good” in our community. As you read my comments about the workshop, please hold the space in your mind for that larger message; i.e. how the workshop is an example of what can happen when someone has the vision and the will to create something wonderful and LA-CAMFT provides the means to make that wonderful something manifest. Further, I want to emphasize that while the workshop itself was a very “wonderful something,” it is but one part of a greater vision still in process of manifestation. Finally, as you read, I invite you to ask yourself what your vision is for bringing good to our therapist/client community. There is ample fertile ground yet for planting!

The Workshop. Uncoupling: From High-Conflict to Conscious was an all-day event put on by LA-CAMFT’s Constructive Uncoupling Special Interest Group. For an extremely reasonable registration fee, fifty-five therapists, mediators, and family law attorneys were treated to state-of-the-art presentations by two stellar, internationally renowned experts: Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq., lawyer, therapist and mediator, and the President of the High Conflict Institute in San Diego, CA; and Katherine Woodward Thomas, LMFT, author of the New York Times Bestseller Conscious Uncoupling: 5 steps to Living Happily Even After. In addition to the presentations, the participants all received free e-book copies of Woodward Thomas’s Conscious Uncoupling, therapists received 5.5 CE units and Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) units are in the process of being approved for attorneys. This will be a first ever cross discipline continuing education opportunity for an LA-CAMFT event!

Vision and Manifestation
How did this extraordinary workshop come to be? Let me take you from initial “shout out” to formation of a new Special Interest Group (SIG), to two years of first-stage SIG activity focusing on multidisciplinary sharing among a small cadre of family therapists and family law professionals, to a desire to reach a wider psychotherapy/family law audience.

The shout out. Over three years ago at one of our Networking Events, noticing there were four mediators and a few family attorneys among the many therapists in the room, I spontaneously shouted out an invitation to the assembled to see if anyone would like to take the lead in putting together a Special Interest Group focusing on children and families going through separation and divorce. Victoria Goldfarb, JD, MS, LMFT, approached me after the event expressing her interest in learning more about that possibility. Not only is Victoria a family law attorney, mediator, and LMFT, but at the time, was serving as the co-chair of a similar special interest group with the Los Angeles County Psychological Association.

Initial Vision. Shortly thereafter, Victoria Goldfarb and Judith Weigle, paralegal and mediator, developed vision and mission statements and an organizational format for a new SIG titled Constructive Uncoupling: Therapy, Mediation, and the Law for Divorcing or Separating Couples (more commonly referred to simply as the Constructive Uncoupling SIG). After approval by the Board, Victoria and Judith kicked off the Special Interest Group by holding three planning meetings to get input from this unique cross section of professionals. Members of the SIG planning group developed a list of hot topic themes of interest to both therapists and family law professionals, selected which topic they would facilitate, and ironed out the logistics for the monthly 90-minute no-host dinner gatherings. Attendee participation over the years has ranged from 18 to 40. Though membership in LA-CAMFT was not a prerequisite for attending the SIG gatherings, since its inception, many mediators and family attorneys have become chapter members and the camaraderie among this cross disciplinary member group has grown strong resulting not only in increased cross pollination of knowledge, but significant networking for consultation and referrals.

Reaching out to a larger audience. In August, after a full first year of Constructive Uncoupling SIG dinner gatherings, co-chairs Victoria and Judith led the core SIG team in planning for Year 2. Part of that planning, included brainstorming ideas to engage a larger audience beyond the SIG participants of the dinner gatherings. While Judith agreed to continue managing the effort to coordinate the dinner conversations, Victoria assumed leadership of the effort to produce what was to become the all-day workshop, Uncoupling: From High Conflict to Conscious. Ultimately, the program planning included time and talent from a team of 13, including attorney/mediators: Dennis Cohen, Kelly Cohen-Leider, and Alik Segal; mediators: Marvin Whistler, Judith Weigle, and Barry Davis, LMFT /mediator; Steven Unruh; Lauren Hooten, intern; LMFTs: Billie Klayman, Daniel Factor, Lynne Azpeitia, and myself; and last but not least, Victoria, who claims all three credentials: attorney, mediator, and LMFT!

I think of Victoria as the workshop midwife – the one who saw to its birthing process from conception through 7 months of development and who masterfully, firmly but gently, guided it through the final stage of labor and delivery! Victoria was not daunted by the numerous complications of this workshop’s gestational period! There were some complications that presented as so serious, we thought we might have to terminate the project. But at each of these challenges, she reached out to me to problem solve how LA-CAMFT, as authorizing agency, could find a solution that would allow this baby to see the light of day! In the end, with Victoria’s unwavering vision and skillful midwifery, and LA-CAMFT’s organizational umbrella and constant support, we manifested a most successful event!

The workshop not an end
I described in detail above how the initial vision of the Constructive Uncoupling SIG; i.e. to come together in small casual settings for shared learning and networking, expanded its vision and created a workshop to reach out to the larger family therapy/family law community. The workshop was a manifestation of that larger vision. But as I stated in my introductory paragraph, the workshop was “but one part of a greater vision still in process of manifestation.” It is premature for me to say what the next part of that vision will be. What I can say is that a tremendous interest was generated among a number of attendees – psychotherapists, attorneys, and mediators, to explore the possibility of bringing Bill Eddy’s New Ways for Families program to Los Angeles. To quote from the New Ways for Families brochure, “New Ways for Families is a structured parenting skills method intended to reduce the impact of conflict on the children in potentially high-conflict divorce and separation cases .” The good that LA-CAMFT could bring to our community would be great. It would increase skills for therapists, mediators, and attorneys working with high conflict personalities, resulting in high conflict parents spending less time in court, doing less damage to kids, and decreasing incidents of domestic violence, abuse, and alienation. I believe that LA-CAMFT can provide the fertile ground to support this kind of big vision if members of our community have the will to continue championing the cause.

Editor’s Message


Sylvia Sandler, M.A., MFTi

Dear LA-CAMFT colleagues,

I am excited to announce the launch of a new section in our Voices newsletter, starting with the upcoming May edition. The new “Ask Billie” column will run every month. This section allows pre-licensed interns and newly licensed clinicians an interactive opportunity as it gives them a chance to ask the most pertinent questions about internships, and the licensing journey. Undoubtedly, this new feature will offer great support and foster a sense of community thanks to Billie Klayman and her vision of what LA-CAMFT should be all about! We encourage pre-licensed and newly licensed clinicians to send their questions and topics of discussion right away to cfo@lacamft.org.

Speaking of submissions, this is also a call to all community writers and contributors!

Are you interested in writing, and are you searching for a unique platform to express your passions and showcase your expertise in the Marriage & Family Therapy field? We welcome your input!

Following are the due dates and publication guidelines for submitting articles and ads for the remainder of the 2017 calendar year.

Upcoming Voices Newsletters Submission Deadlines
June 2017 edition May 1
July 2017 edition June 1
August 2017 edition July 1
September 2017 edition August 1
October 2017 edition September 1
November 2017 edition October 1
December 2017 edition November 1

 

LA-CAMFT Publishing Guidelines for Voices

  • Submissions are DUE by the 1st of each month.
  • Around the 15th of each month, contributors will receive the editor’s call for articles, advertisements, sponsorships, etc., for the next edition of Voices. This editor’s call will allow contributors to have up to two weeks to put together all the materials for submission by the 1st of the month.
  • The LAST call for submissions for the forthcoming issue will be sent by the 27th of each month. This last call for submissions will include a list of the content planned for the next edition of Voices. This editorial list will note submissions received, as well as submissions expected but not yet received, and which must be received by the 1st in order to be included.
  • Hyperlinks need to be specifically included in the body of the article at time of submission.  Noting “LIVE LINK” in the body of an article is incomplete and unacceptable. It is the responsibility of each writer to “type in” the hyperlink(s) in their own work by the due date of the 1st of each month. If multiple links are being included, this must be made clear by the writer as to where each link is to be featured.
  • Only universal file formats, like Word (.doc and docx.) will be acceptable. If an entry is submitted in a “.pages” format, it will be returned to the submitter.
  • Finally, there is an issue about images. If someone wishes to submit an image other than a personal headshot, please provide proof of how they obtained that photo. Following is a link that covers the importance of copyright issues, but especially so when it comes to anything “Internet.” (Sued for Copyright Infringement)
  • Per our webmaster, all images should be attached to an email as either a JPEG, PNG or TIF. Images pasted into an email are not acceptable since the quality of such photos is diminished. Any images received in the body of the email may delay publication of the submission.

Sylvia J. Sandler, M.A., holds a subsequent registration with the Board of Behavioral Sciences as a Marriage and Family Therapy Intern, (#90381). Sylvia is bi-lingual and fully proficient in reading and writing in the Spanish language. Sylvia is currently gaining hours toward licensing at The Ness Counseling Center on a volunteer basis. You may reach her by email at newsletter@lacamft.org.

 

Kane’s Korner


Kane Phelps
Membership Chair, LA-CAMFT

Another month and good news keeps rolling in. We had a very successful “Law & Ethics” training with David Jensen, who managed to make what usually is pretty boring seem interesting and even relevant. The mentorship program, launched by member volunteer, Nattan Hollander, has 15 pairs!

Membership is at an all time high for this time of year. A super duper gigawelcome to recent new members: Erik Anderson, Hugh Barton, Jane Bolton, Felicity Chevalier, Rui Dolen (welcome back, Rui), Daniela Girbal, Lauren Goldstein, Christopher Kinnear, Vincent Lombardi, Bianca Marinescu, Emily Matthews, Shawn McClellan, Lee Miller, Rossana Sida, Jessica Tiegs, Joanna Walling, Astghik Zakevosyan.

This month we are pleased to Spotlight Cibele Souza, MFTI, who has almost completed her required hours, and is advancing rapidly on the path to becoming licensed. Cibele discovered one of the great benefits of LA-CAMFT in attending the SIG (Special Interest Group) workshop on TRE, or Trauma Release Exercises. As a result of her experience and her passion for mind/body work, she is now in the process of becoming certified in TRE work and is incorporating it into her work with clients. I think you will find her profile both interesting and illuminating.

Member Spotlight: Cibele Sousa, MFTi


Cibele Sousa, MFTi

TRE For You & Me!!

My name is Cibele Sousa. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern working with Pacific MFT Network. I’m happy to announce that I am close to completing my clinical hour requirements and will soon sit for the exam to become a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. As many of you know, this is quite a journey! My personal path includes two master’s degrees, one in Psychology and one in Marriage Family Therapy; as well as a brief hiatus to focus on my personal needs and responsibilities in life. As an MFT Intern, I have experience providing in-home counseling to families experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault, child maltreatment, and substance abuse. I am also close to completing a certification program in the TRE (Trauma Release Exercises) program. My work with Pacific MFT Network involves seeing individual clients and I will be soon running weekly TRE groups. Bilingual in English and Portuguese, my services are available to a wide multi-cultural community.

Focusing on the person as a whole, I have always been interested in the connection between the body and mind, focusing on the present and in the strengths each person has. Questioning how one’s theoretical approach may assist one person when individuals have so many different layers of self, my journey as a therapist, has been focusing on different approaches such as psychoanalytic, psychodynamic, CBT, solution-focused, family systems, mindfulness based stress reduction, Reichian, Inner Alignment, and non-violent communication. All these theoretical approaches have their uniqueness and strengths that are part of building who I am as a professional.

With a special interest in the body and how its physiological system affects who we are, in the Fall of 2016, Los Angeles Chapter of the California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists (LA-CAMFT) offered an experiential workshop on TRE — Trauma Release Exercises which I attended. The workshop was conducted by Nkem Ndefo, a Registered Nurse/Certified Nurse Midwife, and founder of TRE Los Angeles, LLC and TRE Training Institute. Ms. Ndefo explained the holistic experience of trauma from a neuro-psycho-biological perspective with a focus on clinician-client and parent-child dynamic. Her clear and easy presentation of the evolution of the stress response is based on the Polyvagal Theory. This theory explains the different evolutionary stress responses in mammals and the emotional and social behaviors and implications of stress such as freeze, fight or flight and dissociation responses. (TRE) is an “evidence-informed integrated somatic mindfulness and movement practice.” I have embraced and will be implementing this practice in my work at Pacific MFT Network, with people who have experienced trauma or chronic stress.

During the experiential part of the TRE workshop participants experienced the effectiveness of TRE first hand, as a tool to reduce stress and heal trauma through the release of deep tension and trauma related patterns. TRE activates the body’s natural mechanism to down-regulate by self-inducing therapeutic tremor. Being a little skeptical at first with the fact that simple movements could be so powerful, I chose to follow the instructions provided by the instructor. To my surprise, at the end of the experiential period, I realized how much more relaxed my body was compared to when the workshop began. This experience was a “taste” of an amazingly, powerful, and kind “tool,” that can be used in a therapeutic manner and/or as self-care.

I am looking forward to my certification as a TRE provider in the near future and working with individual clients as well as groups, having weekly TRE groups in the West Los Angeles and Manhattan Beach areas. I am personally practicing the TRE movements, and finding benefits from it, on a daily basis. TRE has increased my self-awareness of my body, allowing me to release tension, and sleep more soundly. If you have not experienced TRE at least once, I highly encourage you to do so.

I wish to offer a sincere thanks to LA-CAMFT for facilitating this opportunity for TRE learning, as well as all of the other specializations and disciplines offered by the association. LA-CAMFT is a great starting point for enhancing one’s professional therapeutic skills. Special thanks to Pacific Marriage & Family Therapy Network and Tracy Bevington for extending the opportunity for me to enroll and receive certification in the Tension/Trauma Release Exercise program.

Cibele Sousa, MFT Intern, is bi-lingual and fully proficient in reading and writing in both English and Portuguese. Cibele is completing her licensing hours before taking the Board Exam. You may reach her by email at cibele@pacificmft.com or by phone at 310.612.2998.