Valerie “Billie” Klayman, MA, LMFT
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 an MFT Intern. But, what about as a LMFT, can I continue to feel the joy and gratitude of the consciousness of altruism?
I was given an incredible opportunity six 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 six years ago continues to flourish and grow. I have led a process group for over six years pro-bono and our AUCC trainees and interns provide pro-bono therapy to the members of the CCSC, whether individual, couples or family therapy at the CCSC facility. I am now stepping way from the process group and have found a wonderful trainee at AUCC, Catherine Smith, who is also one of my supervisees in my group supervision at AUCC. My volunteer position as CFO for the LA Chapter of CAMFT and Executive Board Member requires my time and attention, but I will continue to facilitate and create programs for our Seniors Division at AUCC. We are exploring offering workshops for seniors.
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 individual supervision pro-bono to interns that need to complete 52 weeks of supervision in order to become licensed. AUCC is one the few if not only training sites that does not charge interns for supervision. In exchange, all of us who are involved at AUCC participate in our annual fundraiser. From the Director to staff that 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com 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 5, 2016. Again contact me for the specifics.
Thanks to all of you who support our community of marriage family therapists.