CAMFT Job Opportunity Announcement

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

If you think you are qualified and interested in working with a terrific staff responsible for our professional association, check out this amazing opportunity for the right person.

POSITION TITLE: Outreach Coordinator 

CAMFT is looking for an Outreach Coordinator to cultivate and maintain relationships with Association Chapter Boards, schools, and other entities; provide high-level CAMFT updates to chapters and schools; staff various committees; plan and manage the annual CAMFT Leadership Conference; and serve on the CAMFT production team. Requirements: College degree required. MFTs encouraged to apply. Strong analytical and written/verbal communication skills required. Governance background strongly preferred. Marketing, budgeting, and planning experience. Excellent organizational skills. Good demeanor, confident, friendly and patient when communicating with any member or professional contact.

Frequent travel required (up to 20%). The typical work day is 8:30 am-4:30 pm, with some weekend and evening travel. Great benefits package. Salary commensurate with experience.

If you think you are CAMFT’s next staff member, please email your cover letter and resume to Jill Epstein at

CAMFT is an equal opportunity employer.

BASIC FUNCTION: Cultivate and maintain relationships with Chapter Boards, schools, and other entities; provide high-level CAMFT updates to Chapters and schools; staff the Chapter Advisory Committee, Crisis Response and Education Resources Committee, Honors Committee, and Scholarship Committee; and plan and manage the CAMFT Leadership Conference.


  1. Serve as liaison between CAMFT and CAMFT’s 28 Chapters by advising Chapter Boards on governance, membership, financial, promotional, and state association issues. Conduct in-person visits to meet with Chapter Boards to assess strengths, weaknesses. Advise on governance and operational issues.
  2. Manage Chapter Leader listserv with approximately 300 subscribers. Post content and respond to questions.
  3. Deliver high-level presentations to Chapters and schools on CAMFT issues in-person and via teleconference/video conference.
  4. Conduct in-person visits to MFT graduate programs to present, to recruit student members and to relay information about pertinent member benefits. Develop relationships with administrators and faculty. Assess how students’ needs can be better met by CAMFT.
  5. Develop program for promoting pursuit of MFT for undergraduate students.
  6. Serve as a point of contact for and answer calls from individual members seeking information or assistance about chapters and student benefits.
  7. Plan and manage the annual CAMFT Leadership Conference and Outstanding Chapter Leadership Awards.
  8. Write articles for The Therapist on member benefits and services, including the promotion of Chapters. Write additional articles as assigned.
  9. Assist in the promotion and staffing of the CAMFT Scholarship and Honors Committees and programs.
  1. Staff the Chapter Advisory Committee.
  2. Staff the Crisis Response and Educational Resource Committee.
  3. Create and maintain an annual budget for the Outreach Program.
  4. Post content on CAMFT social media.
  5. Assist the Managing Director, Marketing and Communications, to promote CAMFT and Counseling California at exhibiting events held by other associations, agencies, and schools.
  6. Perform other duties as assigned.

INTERNAL RELATIONSHIP: Report to the Managing Director of Marketing and Communications. Frequent contact with Legal Affairs department and Government Relations staff. Serve as a member of the CAMFT Production Team and the Annual Conference On-Site Team.

EXTERNAL RELATIONSHIP: Communicate with individual members, Chapter Boards, faculty at MFT programs, students, and Committee members.


  • MFTs are encouraged to apply
  • College degree required
  • Analytical skills, with ability to assess complex information and promptly communicate such information to the membership
  • Ability to communicate effectively in verbal and written form
  • Strong and experienced public speaker
  • Professional demeanor, confident, friendly and patient when communicating with any member or professional contact
  • Ability to exercise good judgment
  • Savvy with social media
  • Marketing, budgeting, and event planning experience
  • Governance background strongly preferred
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Strong proficiency of Microsoft Office applications
  • Frequent travel required (may be up to 20%)

$51,000-$56,000 (plus overtime), commensurate with experience.
This position is classified as non-exempt.

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.

When Intimate Betrayal Shatters a Relationship

Alexandra Katehakis,

When Intimate Betrayal Shatters a Relationship
by Alexandra Katehakis

With all of the sexual options and online menus for finding sexual experiences or partners, it’s no wonder that an increasing number of coupled people experience infidelity. Whether a single-incident affair or long-time sexual addiction, the couple is in a compromised situation filled with emotional pain and difficult decisions that require patience, hard work, and commitment to a change process.

A couple’s resilience and recovery together is dependent upon the individual efforts of each person. While it is assumed that the betrayer or the sex addict will follow a protocol for healing, it can often come as a surprise to the one who’s been betrayed that their own commitment to a healing process is of paramount importance – both to themselves and for the mending and health of the relationship.

Whether to stay in the relationship, or whether to leave the relationship is up to each individual. As therapists working with infidelity or with sex addiction, it is our task to help those who have suffered the intimate betrayal to learn to live in the present moment, as well as to access their inner wisdom for answers to what the best choices are for them. Our directives should guide our clients toward the key tasks of learning to focus on themselves (and on keeping their children stable) and what they need to feel safe and secure in the relationship. Assisting them with regulating their autonomic arousal states in session and recommending mindfulness practices in between sessions helps to modulate their obsession with the betrayer’s behaviors. These obsessions, when unchecked, only serve to keep the partner out of their painful feelings and their current reality. Finally, encouraging and mapping out self-care regimens to assist with proper rest, nutrition and moral support from trusted others help to keep clients out of isolation, a natural tendency for those (in particular for women) who have been betrayed.

Trusting again after being caught in the web of lies borne of betrayal or of sex addiction can seem impossible. However, with time and consistency, it is possible to create a healthy relationship. Remember that this process takes time, hard work, accountability and ultimately, forgiveness. The couple must risk being vulnerable and grieve together, as well as nurture one another and respect boundaries so they can build the foundation for a new, often stronger, relationship.

Alexandra Katehakis, Ph.D., LMFT is the Clinical Director of Center for Healthy Sex, a certified sex therapist and certified sex addiction therapist who speaks and teaches internationally. Alex is the author of Erotic IntelligenceSex Addiction as Affect Dysregulation and co-author of Mirror of Intimacy and contributor to numerous book chapters on human sexuality. She can be reached at


It’s the Law of Attraction, Not the Law of Abracadabra

Chellie Campbell

It’s the Law of Attraction,
Not the Law of Abracadabra

by Chellie Campbell

I love affirmations, and believe in the Law of Attraction. When you focus on the positive every day, it seeps into your being. You look happier, you stand taller, you smile more often.

But it’s not going to work unless you combine it with the Law of Action and take some positive steps to accomplish your goals. After all, how many affirmations would you have to say in front of a piano before you could play it? You see the problem.

But some people don’t think positive thinking works at all. A woman posted this comment about affirmations on my blog after I mentioned saying “People love to give me money!”:

“Oh, Chellie. Right off the bat you’ve hit my “this will never work” button. When saying this affirmation, all I can think about is the lack I’ve had in my life since childhood. Now, that doesn’t mean I’m not gonna say it, but this will truly be a “fake it, ’til you make it” affirmation for me!”

Ah, yes, “Fake it ‘til you make it”, that great old show biz adage. Well, I’m here to tell you it works. And here’s why:

You’re wearing your thinking.

You wear your thoughts like you wear clothes. Your thinking shows up on your face and in your body language and in your energy. You are projecting joy, success, and prosperity or you are projecting misery, failure, and poverty. And all points in between. People can see it and they can feel it. They respond, consciously and unconsciously, to the thoughts you project.

I explained this once on a radio show in Billings, Montanta, when my book, The Wealthy Spirit, was first released. The interviewer was Tommy B, and the call letters of the radio station were KBUL. I pictured him as a skeptical guy in a cowboy hat and boots, and didn’t think he was going to be wildly enthusiastic about practicing positive thinking.

I was right. The first thing Tommy said after he introduced me was “I have to tell you I am a skeptic. You aren’t going to tell me that saying some silly positive phrases is going to make me more money, are you?”

“Well, yes, Tommy, I am,” I said.

“Okay,” he said, sounding perfectly delighted to have some controversy, “You are going to have to explain how that works.”

“It’s really quite logical,” I explained. “For example, let’s say a friend of yours walks into your house and he’s really angry about something. Can you tell he’s angry before he says so?”

“Yes,” replied Tommy.

“Well, he looks happy.”

“Yes—because you’re wearing your thinking. Your emotional state is reflected in your body language and on your face.”

“I guess that’s true,” said Tommy. “But how is that going to make me more money?”

“Wait and I’ll explain,” I said. “Do you network in the community to promote your radio show? Do you go to Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, and other business or trade associations meetings?”

“Oh, sure,” he replied. “I go to things like that all the time.”

“When you’re there, do you notice that some people look happy and successful, and other people look angry and complaining?”

“Yes,” chuckled Tommy.

“And, in addition to promoting yourself, do you sometimes hire the people you meet to provide products or services for you? To design or print your business cards, or sell you stationery supplies, or provide your insurance?”


“So do you hire the people who look happy and successful, or do you hire the people who look angry and complaining?

“I hire the people who look happy and successful,” he replied.


“Because if they look happy and successful, I expect they will do a good job. It will be a pleasure working with them and there won’t be any problems.”

“Exactly,” I said. “That is why positive thinking works. You repeat positive statements to yourself in order to talk yourself into a happy, successful feeling. That feeling is going to show on your face and in your body language. People will look at your smiling face, hear the smile in your voice, and see you as successful. Whether you are or not! In show business they say to “Fake it ‘til you make it.” Positive thinkers are using that principle in daily life. Act joyful and successful every day, and more people will hire you and be willing to pay you top dollar. Soon you’ll find you aren’t acting anymore. You’ll actually be successful. And happy. And rich.” “Oh,” exclaimed Tommy. “I never thought about it like that.”

We’re all wearing our thinking, and other people can tell what it is. So do you want to be wearing prosperity or poverty?

Chellie Campbell is the creator of the Financial Stress Reduction® Workshops, and author of The Wealthy Spirit, Zero to Zillionaire, and From Worry to Wealthy. Voted “Most Inspirational Speaker” by Women in Management, “Speaker of the Year” by the Association of Women Entrepreneurs and “Rotarian of the Year” by the Pacific Palisades Rotary Club, she is a past president of the Los Angeles Chapter of NAWBO. She has been prominently quoted as a financial expert in the Los Angeles Times, Family Circle, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, Lifetime, Essence, Woman’s World and more than 50 popular books. For more information, visit or email her at

Member Spotlight: Douglas Green, LMFT

Elizabeth Lira M.A., MFTi

Douglas Green, LMFT, LPCC, RDT, is a psychotherapist working in private practice in West Los Angeles and Woodland Hills, specializing in helping kids and teens build lives they can be proud of.

Doug grew up in Kansas City, and has lived in Connecticut and Australia, as well as the Los Angeles area. For over twenty years, he worked in the entertainment world, as a writer, director, producer, editor, actor, assistant director, even truck driver. Plays he directed have won multiple awards, and he has numerous shorts, ads, music videos, and even a feature film to his name.

Doug brought the skills from his storytelling and entertainment experience to the therapy office, becoming both a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Registered Drama Therapist.

Doug is an Adjunct Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychology at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology and Phillips Graduate University. He has also taught at UCLA in their Pathways program (teaching Improvisation for Social Skills). He has been a presenter at multiple schools, psychotherapist organizations, and clinics.

Attendees of LA-CAMFT meetings all know a different side of Doug, what with his table-hosting, chiming, announcing of giveaways, and often unique announcements.

As a writer, Doug has been published in the journals Progress and Connections. He created, writes, and manages the website, which offers advice to kids, teens, parents, and others around the world from the point of view of a friendly dog. The concepts in the website stem from his recent book, The Teachings of Shirelle – Life Lessons from a Divine Knucklehead, which has won five national awards. For further information, check out

On September 10, 2017 Doug will be giving a presentation at the San Fernando Valley Chapter of CAMFT entitled BEING ALL THAT: Building Healthy Self-Esteem in our Trumped-Up Age. He will discuss the recent controversy over Self-Esteem in this strange period when teachers are accused of coddling and reducing incentive by emphasizing it, while narcissistic behavior is glorified by all forms of the media.

Doug will also provide a general understanding of the issues behind building Self-Esteem in our clients (of all ages) today, as well as offer fun and exciting interventions to help build real Self-Esteem, and give our clients tools to battle negative voices (both external and internal) in their diverse and over-entertained, constantly-wired lives.

Registration is open to all LA-CAMFT members via

Douglas Green, MA, LMFT has office locations in West Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. Douglas is dedicated to helping kids and teens build lives they can be proud of. Douglas may be contacted at or 818.624.3637.

Private Practice Success

Maria Gray,

Developing a Between Client Routine

Many professional athletes swear by their pre-game routines. Serena Williams ties her shoes in the same way before each match. Also, on her first serve, she makes sure to bounce the ball exactly five times and only twice on her second serve. I have my own morning “pre-client” routine which consists of going running or practicing yoga, followed by a period of meditation. After work, I treat myself to some comic relief by watching old episodes of Seinfeld or taking a hot bath with a good book (no psychology books allowed!).

I love our profession but sometimes it can take a toll on me. Lately I have been experimenting with new ways to decompress between sessions. My friend Nora McIntire created a short Qi Gong video that I practice if I feel tired in the afternoon. Some days I relax by stretching my very tight hamstrings with a yoga strap. Other days I’ll step outside for some deep breaths and the opportunity to feel the sun on my skin. I share an office with one of my friends and when we have the time we enjoy a quick chat between sessions.

I’d like to hear about your between client routine. Feel free to reach out to me via email-, Facebook or Twitter @mindfulshrink.

Maria Gray, LMFT, NMP, CGP, is a psychotherapist in private practice with offices in West Los Angeles and Larchmont. Maria specializes in trauma and addiction. To learn more about Maria’s practice see Maria’s workshop, “Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Building A Profitable Private Practice But Were Afraid To Ask,” is scheduled for Saturday, October 28th from 2-5PM in West Los Angeles. The workshop is suitable for licensed professionals, interns and students. To register, go to

How to Find Time to Write

David Silverman, M.A., LMFT

Writing a book? A novel? A screenplay? How long have you been working on it? How do you find the blocks of time you need to write?  You’re going to have to get organized. Create a schedule and stick with it. You may have to tell your family and friends you can’t be reached from eight AM to two PM. They will try to reach you anyway, so you’ve got to be diplomatic. You have to protect your writing time.

You’ll have to learn how to say “no” without pissing people off. Your family members will ask you to do errands for them since “you’re going to be home all day.” Your friends will ask you to go to lunch, or coffee, or to a movie. You’re going to have to make sure they understand your schedule is etched in stone.

You’re also going to have to create strict boundaries around time-wasting activities. There are many temptations, and many of them are addictive. Some of them are very addictive, like Facebook, watching TV, surfing the net, texting and phone calls. Try to designate a time for those activities, either one hour in the morning, or an hour after the writing is done. During writing hours, let your calls go to voicemail. Turn your email notifications off.

You may have to check your email more often for business reasons. In that case, try to limit phone/internet time to morning, mid-day and evening. If you don’t draw strict boundaries for calls and social media, you can easily waste half your day. Face it; this is your life’s dream job you’re working towards. You’re going to have to make some sacrifices. You’ll have to be creative about finding time to write. You might have to pass up some dinners, parties, football games, or some nights out with the boys, or the girls.

Along those lines, you may discover you have blocks of time you never realized you had. For example, when you take your daughter to soccer practice, you might have a couple of free hours. Be prepared. Whatever you use for notes, keep it with you. Bring a recorder.

You might need to multi-task. For example, if you take the bus or carpool to work every day, bring your script with you and make notes. If you can’t concentrate on writing in a moving car or bus, then designate that time to checking emails, and phone calls. There’s a Facebook group called “Ten Minute Novelists,” which you can join. The group is full of busy people finding the time to write. A lot of these writers are published. They can offer support, and may even offer to “beta-test” your next script.

You’re going to have to make some sacrifices here, and one area is in attending social events. Admit it, there are many dinners, or parties you don’t even want to attend, but you do, because you want to be sociable. Your beloved spouse may be able to help you out here if you’re very, very lucky. If you’re invited out as a couple to dinner or a party, maybe, your partner could go alone, and “represent the family. The same holds for family events. Some of the time, he could take the kids and you can stay home and write.

You don’t want to ruin your marriage over this, but some couples can make this work. Be sure to be overly thankful to your spouse for their support. Then someday, if it works out, and you reach your dream goal as a writer, you’re going to owe your spouse big time, so prepare for that.

Speaking of sacrifice, let’s look at a typical day in your work life. Let’s say you work a forty hour a week day job. Once you leave the house for work, you won’t be able to write. One solution, which doesn’t sound like much fun, but may be necessary, is to wake up an hour and a half earlier every day. Get up, make coffee and write three pages before you go to work. If you get a two week vacation, spend a week with your family, then a week with your screenplay. Someday, when you’re doing what you love full-time, you’ll be happy you found these odd times to write.

With all these sacrifices, you’ve got to remember to take care of yourself. Get plenty of sleep, exercise, watch movies, read books, spend time with your family, go to church, get massages, go out with your friends and play pool, have sex, and do whatever else you do to recharge.

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 or 310.850.4707.

Image credit: Creative Commons, Time, 2015 by Alex Lehner, is licensed under CC By 2.



Alex Lenher




Ask Billie

“Billie” Klayman,

How Do You See Yourself on Your Journey to Licensure?

Valerie “Billie” Klayman, M.A., LMFT
Co-Written with Diana Pash, M.A., LMFT

I want to give a shout out to my friend and colleague, Diana Pash. As I was writing this piece I felt I needed another set of eyes from a licensed therapist. Diana and I have always followed the BBS’ tenants. First, if you need help, consult, consult, consult. Second, always document in your progress notes all consultations and interventions that you provided to your client(s).

In my experience people often become discouraged about the licensing journey specific to the exams. Having to take the exam multiple times or hearing about another pre-licensed therapist and how they didn’t pass either the Law and Ethics exam or the final exam for licensure can make staying the course difficult. Feelings can also come up around hearing that your friends and colleagues have passed the test(s).

My experience in my own journey was to remember, that this is their journey not mine. Preparation is critical to passing these exams. Get familiar with your style of taking tests, and figure out what works best for you. Perhaps you will rely on books, classes, online prep materials, or a combination of a few of these options. If you feel you have struggled with test taking, then it’s time to create a different meaning to that experience. Maybe a study group, Facebook support group, or studying with another therapist may be a way to reduce your anxiety.

The most important piece of wisdom I can share is, do not rush and be patient with the process. The sense of urgency you feel related to the topic of exams is look at the consciousness you might be creating. The answers are there for you to choose on the exam. You do not have to re-invent the wheel. The most important point to remember is what is the BBS’ consciousness?

The BBS is most concerned with the health and well being of the patient. What safety nets are in place for the therapist to access in order to serve their patient in the most reasonable way available? Understanding the rationale for the correct answer to each question is the most important part of how to take these tests. What are you learning when taking the practice exams? Do you find yourself feeling resistant, resentful, bitter, or angry about the process? Please take time to examine your process. The BBS and legislation by California’s government has determined what legal and ethical standards will help you maintain the highest standards.

Now, in the event you don’t pass the test, try not to let that experience contaminate your next attempt to pass. Maybe you weren’t ready and that’s okay. Also not passing, though painful, can be a good thing. It reinforces all your education, training, and clinical skills and this is immediately useful to your work. Not passing the test does not have to be a defining moment, it is a moment in time. You are not alone as these exams towards licensure are difficult.

Please let me know if there are other topics you would like to have addressed. You can email me at;


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 

Diana M. Pash, MA, LMFT is a Solution-Focused therapist in private practice in Culver City, CA, specializing in LGBTQ affirmative therapy, couples counseling, anxiety treatment, and addiction/recovery counseling. She earned her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, Los Angeles. She can be reached at

Editor’s Message

Sylvia Sandler, M.A., MFTi

Dear LA-CAMFT colleagues:

Lately I have been thinking about how the topic of existentialism impacts therapists. I believe that part of being a good therapist includes conducting an existential inventory, one in which we trace our journey, think about why we considered being a therapist in the first place, what we hoped to get out of this work, and reflect upon whether or not the meaning and purpose in the work we do has changed. Sometimes we can lose track of what makes the work we do meaningful. While answering these questions are not always easy, it is essential that we re-examine ourselves to honor what we do, challenge ourselves to do better, be courageous enough to be vulnerable with our colleagues to help ensure that we are personally and professionally fulfilled and be of service to our clients. For me, it has been a long journey. It has not been a smooth path to licensing, as I took a 15 year hiatus from the field to raise a family. Many of you as well have had your own journeys and challenges. Some of you may have been in the field long term, and I suspect that the meaning of the work has transformed or deepened over time.

The very first time I realized I wanted to pursue a career in counseling was after developing a meaningful professional connection with a highly seasoned and empathic counselor working at the UCLA Career Placement Center. Our first appointment was an intake. The intake involved collecting personal history, identifying areas of strength, exploring occupational themes, and taking the Strong Interest Inventory®. After scoring the test, we scheduled a follow up meeting to go over my results. What struck me most about this gentleman was his bedside manner. Way before I knew of Carl Rogers’ Humanistic approach, this gentleman made me feel understood by masterfully validating my life experiences up to that point through summarization and active reflective listening. His ability to provide in Rogerian terms unconditional positive regard was so impactful that even before reviewing possible occupations for me to consider, I affirmed, “I want to do what you do.” As it turns out, the occupations I scored highest in were in the counseling field! Although my journey to become a counselor was delayed, I was nonetheless on track to become a therapist.

A few months after graduating UCLA, I started a job at FORTUNE Magazine Ad Sales. With a keen sense of observation, my boss suggested that I sign up for a Dale Carnegie Human Relations Course to sharpen my enterprising skills. At the end of the course, I was approached to become a co-facilitator for a new Dale Carnegie Human Relations Course that was forming in the coming weeks. Through these experiences, I learned that what I liked best was to listen to others. I loved giving people the chance to tell their story and to ask follow up questions so that they could gain greater self-awareness. Soon after, I enrolled at Phillips Graduate Institute as an evening student and began my master’s training in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Fast forward to present day, I am grateful for my current opportunity to work in a community mental health setting whereby collaboration with colleagues no matter where they are in the licensing process is highly valued. My prior position at an Intensive Outpatient Program for drug and alcohol addiction taught me the importance of gratitude and reinforced my faith and trust in the power of change. What I have come to appreciate in my own journey as a therapist is that I, too, am modeling the same bedside manner once demonstrated by my counselor from UCLA which inspired me to want to become a therapist in the first place. Going through this has helped me to not lose sight of what is so rewarding about being a therapist and what I value most about the therapeutic process. As a result of my own inquiry I believe I will be able to prevent burnout and dissatisfaction with career choice. By finding meaning in the work that we do we realize we all have a story to tell, and we are all deserving of compassion, understanding and validation as we courageously wrestle with our struggles. I invite you to explore your own existential journey as a therapist and examine the meaningfulness and purposefulness in the work that you do. It is my hope that such inquiry will lead to greater understanding of oneself and that you will find this task both satisfying and essential.

Sylvia J. Sandler, M.A., is the current editor of Voices for LA-CAMFT, and holds a subsequent registration as a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern, IMF#90381. Sylvia is bi-lingual and fully proficient in reading and writing in the Spanish language. Sylvia is gaining hours for licensing at The Ness Counseling Center and previously worked at Chabad Treatment Center Outpatient. You may reach her by email at

Kane’s Korner

Kane Phelps
Membership Chair, LA-CAMFT

Kane’s Korner:

Another great LA-CAMFT summer! New president Shelley Pearce has taken a firm hold of the reigns. Our blend of great Networking meetings with super friendly social events such as the summer picnic continue. Ginormous welcomes to new and renewing members: Chauncy Peck, Karen Fried, Ellen Michel, Jana Rae Corpus, Robert Garcia, Brian Goldstein, Benjamin Hall, Kathryn Kellogg, Rebecca, Lancaster, Brandi Zamora, AND new LIFETIME members, Tamara Kline & Alina Turpin!!!

A big shout out to long time member and regular Networking meeting volunteer Tony Parker who just received special certification for couples counseling from The American Association of Couples and Sex Therapists. You go Tony! Heartfelt congratulations to member Jordan Marks, who, along with his wife, Dr. Ashley Solomon, recently celebrated the birth of their first child, Aliyah Giselle Marks! Jordan and family will be moving into their new condominium in Santa Monica at the end of August. Also, congratulations to member Amy McManus who is publishing an article on the media in this Voices edition!

For our Voices Member Spotlight feature this month, it gives me great pleasure to introduce Doug Green. Doug has been a long time vital (and very fun) contributor to our Networking meetings, both as table host, raffle chair, and announcements. He always livens things up with his announcements! September is a propitious month to feature Doug, as he will be speaking at the monthly San Fernando Valley CAMFT meeting later in the month. Please check out his fascinating bio.

President’s Message

Shelley Pearce
Shelley Pearce
President, LA-CAMFT

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Over the past few months people have asked me “What exactly does compassionate community mean?” Internationally, and here in California, there is a growing movement toward organizations and cities collaborating toward compassionate action in many forms. As therapists, we commit ourselves to being caring, healing professionals. We are confidants for people’s most profound and existential issues. Our work requires us to directly help others — by listening carefully, empathizing, encouraging clients to ask questions that are important for them to live a fulfilling life without creating harm.

These are aspects of compassionate action, which also include an extraordinary opportunity to explore the depths of being human; the suffering and joys, play, work, relationships, death, and all the complexities of life. When we are engaged in our own personal work of self-reflection and self care, everyone benefits. When our curiosity about others is integrated with a conscious awareness of our own hearts, a process of healing is supported.

While inherently therapists have a desire to be of help to others, they sometimes neglect their own self-care and inner work. In order to be compassionate in our work as counselors, we must begin by learning to be more compassionate with ourselves.


Centering, by the very nature of what it is, brings us to an authentic experience of ourselves. Especially now, in these times of turbulence, centering is an avenue that takes us to a more sound, stable ground, a base by which we can be in touch with our own feelings and at the same time assess and discern the best path forward. We do this by attending to what we are going through in our personal lives, and thus create a more solid container for and catalyst within which we are supported, and able to support others in their journeys.

Appreciating Silence

When we deepen into silence we can relax with whatever else is going on. This allows us to be informed differently and respond from a place that is closer to our hearts.

Relational Grounding

Being more centered contributes to healthy independence and relating. In relationship, this means that you feel the freedom to be yourself, can choose to be with others without being dependent upon them and so have less tendency toward controlling or dominating behavior. You also know fundamentally that you are not completely autonomous, but deeply interdependent. When this is intuitively understood, the caring, listening, joining, allowing, and creating can be the vessel for an engaged relational space that leads to fulfilling connection and fruitful interaction in our lives, our work, and in the world.

Knowing Weaknesses

Perceived threats can take us out of our center, through reactions of fight, flight, or freeze. These survival reactions are biologically based triggers from past experience. But we also lose our center and grounding with completely non-threatening things, like being complacent, or losing interest in the experience at hand. Focusing on the present puts you more directly in touch with how things are affecting you and why. This introspection helps you identify the cause and effect of experiences, people, and circumstances that impact you, and expand awareness of the triggered parts within yourself. Becoming accustomed to a practice of breathing to sensitize yourself to how you feel, and inquiring into what’s happening gives us tremendous power to have more informed choice in any moment.

Containing Intensity

When the stresses of internal or external experiences in life are too much, the overwhelm can be un-grounding. As we learn to focus more deeply on being aware in the present, we increase our conscious capacity to be with uncertainty and tension, regardless of its origin. This presence gives us a more solid container for both awareness and stable holding of our challenging experiences. It helps us to not have to act them out and instead, to find a way to benefit ourselves and others.

Knowing True Power

When we are able to have more choice how to respond in the moment, rather than being at the mercy of external and internal forces, we are able to act from a strength that comes from a place of greater caring and contemplation. This base allows more self-trust, intuition, and clarity of the gestalt to take the best action forward. This kind of inner resilience and capacity to stay grounded in the face of conflict takes time, dedication, and most of all awareness. When we know and can see our triggers, we can learn to relax into the contraction and breathe. Of course, none of us has it “all together,” so it’s helpful to accept ourselves with compassion no matter where we are in our process.

Returning Home

“Being centered” sounds like it is a fixed point, but in fact it is a cohesive and dynamic part of a living human being that is in constant flux and flow. To be more compassionate is accepting that there are imbalances, and learning how to develop more resilience. Tuning into the reality of how impermanent things are can be humbling and create uncertainty. But the one thing we always know is that we are alive and conscious in this moment. Every breath we take, with intention, we are acknowledging this truth of existence. May we breathe softly and walk gently as we live, love, and counsel.

I give thanks to all of you for being part of the vibrant and diverse community at LA-CAMFT and I look forward to continuing this conversation with you about how we can build our capacity to be ever more compassionate!


Shelley Pearce,

Shelley Pearce, LMFT is currently serving as President of the CAMFT Los Angeles Chapter Board of Directors. She has a private counseling office in Santa Monica, and regularly consults by video conference with colleagues and clients. She serves on the board of The Global Bridge humanitarian foundation and helped create, an extensive, free online resource for counselors. She synthesizes a breadth of career diversity, education, experience, and a sincere desire to help in her service and practice with individuals and couples.

President’s Message

Shelley Pearce
Shelley Pearce
President, LA-CAMFT

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Assuming the president’s role at the leadership retreat in June made for an accelerated entry into my process of envisioning our association’s future. I was truly moved by the connections made, rich diversity, and great ideas that resulted from the daylong collaboration between board directors and emerging leaders willing to give so much of their time to advance our association and our profession. Since then, I’ve talked with many of you at events and meetings, and am heartened by what’s being expressed; I am hearing a deep resonance with my own desire, to be part of a community that seeks to deepen compassion with each other and the world.

Every day, we’re given the opportunity to imbue healing qualities in how we treat our clients.  When we’re at our best, we strive for that at home too, with our friends, and in the world.  I feel inspired by that pursuit, especially working with the many individuals in this field who are similarly motivated.

LA-CAMFT leaders work to support this kind of integrity and caring as we bring the best parts of ourselves to our profession, in all its diversity and potential. In that mission, we host a variety of excellent educators each month to continually enhance knowledge and clinical skills (and CEUs required for maintaining our licenses).  The board has also created an entire leadership workshop series for any member interested in developing those skills for themselves.  We offer community-building in ever evolving forms, from hikes, mentorships, and coffee meetups, to picnics, networking and appreciation events, and all sorts of special interest groups.

If you haven’t been involved until now, check us out.  We embrace inclusivity and diversity in our dialogue and work and are open to collaboration with a variety of healing arts. In fact, many folks may not be aware that all sorts of professionals are already a part of our community beyond licensed psychotherapists.  Our networking meetings draw MFTIs, LCSWs LPCCs, holistic practitioners and psychologists, mediators, attorneys, and accountants to name a few.  It’s a great opportunity to grow your network of caring professionals, expand referral sources, meet trustworthy colleagues, and in some cases, make lasting friends.  I for one have personally experienced tremendous personal and professional benefits   since becoming involved with LA-CAMFT, and feel much gratitude for the connections.  I invite all of you to explore what we have to offer and stay tuned to what the future holds and how we all can be part of and benefit from our Community of Compassionate Professionals.

Shelley Pearce,

Shelley Pearce, LMFT is currently serving as President of the CAMFT Los Angeles Chapter Board of Directors. She has a private counseling office in Santa Monica, and regularly consults by video conference with colleagues and clients. She serves on the board of The Global Bridge humanitarian foundation and helped create, an extensive, free online resource for counselors. She synthesizes a breadth of career diversity, education, experience, and a sincere desire to help in her service and practice with individuals and couples.

Networking Event News

Darlene Basch, LCSW

Let’s Picnic in the Park Together!

It’s summer and now is the time to slow down and unwind. Join us on SUNDAY, AUGUST 13, 2017 at 1:00PM for LA-CAMFT’s Annual Picnic in Cheviot Hills Park, sponsored by Clearview Treatment Programs.

Take a break from the rush of our monthly networking meetings to have fun together. It’s a great opportunity to get to know other members of our compassionate community. There’ll be music, games, a sing along, drums and percussion, and even massage therapists to help you relax. Bring your favorite instruments and games.

Invite your family, friends and colleagues for a delicious lunch – main course and drinks provided by LA-CAMFT. You bring salads, sides or dessert.

Please register to let us know that you’re coming, your guests and what you’re going to bring. REGISTER go to: (RSVP)

For more information go to: (10th Annual Summer Bash Picnic)

Looking forward to seeing you on August 13th!

Jonathan Flier, Special Events Chair
Darlene Basch, Networking Events Chair


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 She can be reached at

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.

Editor’s Message

Sylvia Sandler, M.A., MFTi

Dear LA-CAMFT colleagues:

This month I want to talk about Self-Care. I think Self-Care is misunderstood and undervalued. As therapists we are trained to encourage our clients to identify it and support them in doing more of it. On an intellectual level, Self-Care just makes sense. Self-Care may include setting healthy boundaries, not putting too much on our plates, prioritizing, and being careful not to neglect parts of our lives that are important. Yet, I believe that there is a great divide between our awareness and the actual implementation of self-care as daily practice.

Self-Care is a vital component to our well-being. Self-Care promotes our ability to function better in our personal and professional lives. When explaining the concept to clients, I often use the airline metaphor of the oxygen mask dropping from the overhead compartment in the event cabin pressure falls while in-flight. Flight attendants caution and instruct adults to use the mask prior to administering it to their minor travel companions. This is of prime importance. If our needs are not being met, then how can we be expected to be present so as to identify, approach and problem-solve the needs of others?

Many of the parents that come into treatment put themselves and their significant relationships on the back burner once they enter parenthood. Their intrapersonal and interpersonal needs become secondary to the needs of the children. An important task in treatment is to persuade parents to talk about their definition of parenting: to unpack the messages received and investigate the meaning of their own way of being parented. We also talk about how parenthood does not require us to shed our personal identity nor our previous connections. We discuss how parenting allows us to grow more into ourselves. We explore how Self-Care promotes healthy parenting because our bandwidth to deal with the challenges of child rearing will be expanded as our own needs are met. The beauty of Self-Care is that it lends itself to carrying over into other areas of our lives, and helping to cultivate stronger, healthier relationships. As clients replace their self-sacrificing approach to life with Self-Care, they are modeling for their loved ones confidence and the value of self. Self-Care as an act of emotional renewal leads us back to attuning and attending to the needs of others. By looking at Self-Care as a process of re-charging vs. an act of selfishness, we free ourselves. Self-Care paradoxically provides the conduit that connects us to others while at the same time inviting us to honor our own unique existence.

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


Kane’s Korner

Kane Phelps
Membership Chair, LA-CAMFT

August is our big “family” picnic, a time when we come together informally and share conversation, fun & music at the park. It’s always a yearly highlight event of LA-CAMFT. Make sure to mark your calendars. Further details to follow.

Membership continues to grow, clearly outpacing the past several years. I am thrilled to welcome new and renewing members:  Melody Anderson, Matianna Baldassari, Marilyn Bise, Meagan Cronin,Tiffany Falk, Lila Galustian, Jamie Gilbert, Leslie Gilliam, Tessa Gordon, Kathryn Grogan Kimberly Low, Jeremy Maler, Michelle Neman, Any Padnick, Antonieta Poncedeleon, Cathy Sales Lindsey, & Heidi Tuffias.

This month’s Member Spotlight features dynamic member Elizabeth Lira. Elizabeth has been an active member since 2014. Her journey has seen her progress from completing her Master’s program to finishing the required 3000 hours for licensure, as well as passing the Law & Ethics exam. She has been working full time in the field of geriatrics. She is also a key member of the Networking meeting team where she serves as raffle drawing chairperson. I’m sure you will enjoy her story.

Member Spotlight: Elizabeth Lira M.A., MFTi

Elizabeth Lira M.A., MFTi

Elizabeth Lira M.A., MFTi joined LA-CAMFT while in school and has been a member since 2014. After joining Elizabeth immediately signed up for CAMFT’s Expressive Arts group. At the time the group included among others Jonathan Flier and Ruth Subrin; as a newcomer to Los Angeles Elizabeth was so happy to find such a welcoming group. In addition to the arts group, Elizabeth knew she had found her tribe after attending her first CAMFT picnic. Jumping forward to a year and a half Elizabeth was asked to sit in for CAMFT‘s business card drawing, and has been in charge of it ever since!

Elizabeth has overcome personal adversity, and six years ago as a single mom to two sons, decided to begin the arduous journey towards becoming a marriage and family therapist by taking 2 classes in community college. Fast forward to today she has her master’s degree, has completed the required 3000 hours, passed the first exam, and is currently preparing to sit for the clinical exam.

Professionally Elizabeth discovered her affinity and acumen for working with the geriatric population while working as a volunteer at OPICA Adult Day Program and Counseling Center in January of 2012. In September of 2012 she started as a MFT trainee and following graduation was hired on in a full-time staff position. Her passion for working with the senior population is expressed through her clinical work where she provides both individual and couple counseling specializing in caregiver stress, grief and loss, age related issues such as increased isolation, physical challenges of aging, and adaptation to changing roles. In addition to her work as a therapist Elizabeth and her colleague Anne Galbraith co-facilitate a monthly mindfulness based art workshop. The workshops are provided to educate, support and provide a creative outlet through mindfulness to individuals and families coping with chronic stress and health conditions.