Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Whether you are an active LA CAMFT member, or one of the more than 5600 LMFTs in the Los Angeles area who receive our newsletter – yes, there are that many! – welcome to our world. In light of the veritable deluge of information available to us at every moment, we’re glad you take the time to read our newsletter, and we’re especially thankful to the many members who give of their time to keep you connected with our community.
Since becoming involved with LA CAMFT, I’ve observed how the association helps us gather for camaraderie and networking. But even more, those who commit to serving find a place here where therapists can hone their communication and conflict-resolution skills, working together toward shared goals of service. I’ve experienced first-hand the ways in which volunteers are enthusiastic about serving and being engaged in the community. That’s not to say struggles don’t happen occasionally. Of course they do. But I’ve been inspired by witnessing the human interaction between volunteers, committee chairs, and board members, working together past differences and challenges to accomplish some truly wonderful advances for our therapy community.
As of this year, two new “standing” committees are now permanent in our bylaws. The first focuses on increasing racial and ethnic diversity within our chapter. We had for many years been aware of this need for diversity, but we lacked the leadership to champion the mission. Shout out to Janaki Neptune, Christina Castorena, and Christina Cacho Sakai, under whose leadership there has been a surge in people who now meet monthly to build outreach with students, interns, and licensed clinicians of color throughout Los Angeles. There is also now a Social Media committee, a team of four under the leadership of Matthew Evans and DeMonta Whiting. This group is expanding our platform, not only to feature special announcements, but also to meet our broader audience in ways that allow for giving and making referrals, finding educational opportunities, and most importantly, helping us all make new “friends.”
As the year came to a close, we bid farewell to three awesome board members whose terms ended, and who are now shifting their time and talents to other endeavors: Lynne Azpeitia has graciously offered to continue to chair our Marketing and Communications Committee, while retiring her board seat. Lynne was one of the founding members of the association, and we honor her 10 years of dedicated service to LA CAMFT. Kane Phelps had chaired our Membership Committee since 2012. Always a warm and enthusiastic presence, Kane also helped inspire dance and ritual as part of our chapter celebrations, a legacy that will continue well into the future. In addition to her many years serving as mentor to countless trainees and interns as Pre-Licensed Representative, Debra House joined psychologist and esteemed legislative advocate Dr. Ben Caldwell and a passionate group of pre-licensed members for a filmed interview about The Journey to Becoming a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Dr. Caldwell’s work was instrumental in the current change in title from “intern” to Associate Marriage Family Therapist, which actually takes effect today! While the work that these individuals have done is too extensive to list in this message, we honor their time, energy, and commitment with deepest gratitude.
In the last months of 2017 I appointed three new board members: Christina Castorena will serve as President Elect for the next year; executive board officer Rezal Martinez-Gillis will serve as Board Secretary; and Matthew Evans now holds a seat as Director-at-Large member, as well as serving as co-chair of the Social Media committee.
With the growth in our chapter, and with dynamic new committees to be guided and board retirements and co-chair vacancies to be filled, I invite you to become more directly involved. This is a constantly regenerating, synergetic process, engaging in which ultimately benefits each and every one of us. You can help create the association of the future by exploring any of the many exciting new opportunities for becoming involved. At a time in our history where true community seems more elusive than ever before, we warmly welcome you. As we encourage our clients to seek and develop community as part of their journey, we may want to consider exactly the same thing in our own lives. This community of compassionate professionals awaits you!
My warmest wishes to you for the new year. May we all be graced with heightened receptivity to something special that has not yet been realized.
Shelley Pearce, LMFT is currently serving as President of LA-CAMFT. 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 Foundation and helped create Humanistic Spirituality, 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.