Member Highlight: Jenni Wilson

Jenni Wilson

December 20th, 2008. Make-up-less, wearing a large plaid flannel, yoga pants, and a knitted toque – I hoped our video Holiday card would reflect our simple world, with limited Pretense and maximum Joy. We planned to record ourselves decorating the tree, speed up the footage to cool music, and slap title cards on it… simple enough. Then, as we were finishing, it happened. He was on one knee and speaking… my analytical mind went haywire, this was not part of the plan. Unprepared, I thought, “no no no,” pulling away and swearing, “what the f**k are you doing…?” Shaking off the shock, I realized the Love of My Life was proposing. Who cared that I looked like a Grunge-band’s roadie, every piece of me screamed, “Say yes!!” And I did.

Having just crossed that 3000-hour threshold, it feels premature to write a profile for LA-CAMFT. Typing this, waves of Imposter Syndrome wash over me. But when Kane unexpectedly asked me to contribute, I didn’t swear or run away, I simply knew to “Say Yes”.

Originally from Michigan, I received my BA in Theater from Occidental College in Los Angeles. Post-grad, I spent over 20 years working in Theatre, Film, and Television, before leaving it behind to pursue my dream of being a talk therapist. Along the way, saying “yes” became an absolutely necessary internal mantra challenging me out of my comfort zones whenever starting anything new, including this whole new career. I earned my MA from Antioch University Los Angeles in 2012 and completed my first certification in Narrative Therapy from Caspersen Therapy Training Center in 2016. Using Narrative and Existential techniques, I consider myself a Collaborative Conversationalist preferring a peer-facing stance.

While interning at Vista Del Mar, I met my supervisor Dr. Wendy O’Connor and said ‘yes’ when I was invited to join her in private practice. I said ‘yes’ to facilitating Teen, Women’s, and Addiction Groups, powering past my insecurities as more doors kept opening. One day I mentioned to Wendy wanting to produce a therapy-oriented podcast, she said, “Do it,” I said, “Yes, ok,” – and The Relationship Show was born. Saying “yes” even led this forever cat-lady to adopt possibly the sweetest dog ever.

I nervously attended LA-CAMFT meetings when I didn’t know a SOUL there. At one meeting, Darlene Basch announced needing administrative support; I eschewed hesitation and offered to help. By saying, “yes, I can help,” I expanded my world. In the past year, I’ve socialized and consulted with amazing LA-CAMFT members, learned oodles in the Leadership-Skills-building workshops, and was invited to follow the esteemed Roger Schwartz as Speaker Chair in 2017.

Actively “Saying Yes” when a growth-oriented opportunity appears continues to invite new people and new stories into my life – so if you’re slugging through your hours, hungry for community, seeking CEUs and knowledge, or feeling anything like I’ve felt on this journey thus far, next time an LA-CAMFT Networking Event announcement hits your email inbox, just “Say Yes!” Then come find me and introduce yourself – I can’t wait to meet you and hear some of your stories.