Building Your Mental Health Private Practice!

Last Friday, we had such a great event in collaboration with Converge Research Group! The event focused on everything from protecting your license, business incorporation, building your practice, paperwork, marketing, and the power of your story! Thank  you to everyone who was involved with this collaboration. 

Prelicensed Exam Prep Event

On Wednesday evening, we hosted our first virtual event with Therapist Development Center.  Robin and Asya presented to associates and trainees about the exam process from start to finish.  Prelicensed individuals were able to learn more about requirements for taking the exam and learned some tips on preparing your packet to the BBS.  


2018 State of CAMFT

On Monday, April 16th, we hosted our long awaited State of CAMFT event with our new Executive Director, Nail El-Ghoroury, PhD, CAE at The Rose.  Nabil discussed current legislations CAMFT is working on and how MFTs will be impacted by them.  Some areas of interest for 2018 are license portability, current low exam rates, paying for supervision, exempt entities, and telehealth outside of California.  Nabil also discussed the recent CAMFT Leadership Conference and the misconception regarding the scope of practice of MFTs providing only "marriage counseling."  CAMFT members can utilize the On Demand Library for CEs, Counseling California membership directory, and legal consultation regarding subpoenas, child abuse reporting, ethics, and licensure.   

Member Happy Hour

We had a great evening networking with fellow colleagues last week! There was a mix of licensed and prelicensed professionals who shared current interests, needs, job offerings, and resources. We enjoy getting to know our members and can't wait to see the rest of you soon at our upcoming events! 


San Diego CAMFT appreciates its members and all the support you give us every year by attending the various events and workshops we offer.  Each year we give back by treating you to an appreciation event.  This year, SD CAMFT appreciated its members by treating them to a night of socializing, networking, delicious food at BabyCakes in Hillcrest.  The night was filled with laughs, networking, raffle prizes, and each member went home with a self-care kit for all their hard work giving back to the community and helping others each day.  Thank you again to all of our SD CAMFT members for your ongoing support to our chapter, and our events. 

Video Game Addiction

Now, generations no nothing but growing up with technology. 90% of American Youth play video games. Some individuals check their phones 160times a day. In the UK, Facebook is responsible for 1 out of 3 divorces, in US, 1 out of 4. As a result we are seeing higher prevalence of personality disorders, impulse control disorders which meet addiction criteria, anxiety disorders and affective disorders. The symptomatology increases when the client is not allowed to be online which can result in an increased use of substance use or risk for violence. Health problems related to sedentary behaviors include diabetes, obesity, vision problems, carpel tunnel, and even pressure sores. FOMO (fear of missing out) is also seen which then starts to look and present like OCD and sometimes OCPD.

The obsession with video games and media is new generations who lack socialization skills, experience “Failure to Launch,” and massive brain development due to the use of cell phones during infancy. Media allows people to simply let go and dysregulate. Our media culture is justifying the use of drugs, video games, Youtube, Netflix, etc.. In SE Asia, video gaming is a sponsored sport with star gamers. 10 deaths have occurred with overplaying, sleep deprivation, dehydration, and exhaustion. A major blockbuster hollywood year is $13 Billion dollars, X-Box ‘One” brought in 40Billion in one year, and worldwide revenue is in the trillions. As a culture we are naive and blind to the effects that the last 20 years of technology has had. It’s time to wake up and be aware. 

Why is it addictive? The gamer finds themselves always going for the high score, there’s no ceiling, competition exists with other players, the game itself, and the search for finding the hidden clue. Role play and fantasy characters create an emotional attachment for players equaling a higher self-esteem, competency, and sense of discovery of this “new world.” 

As MFT’s we see the family system break down, parents who have gotten caught up in their own addictions to technology, and expectations that teenagers can raise themselves. The cell phone, game, or video has served as the parent.

What we need to be educating on:

  • Addiction
  • Risks to online interactions (sexual offenders preying on youth)
  • Healthy Lifestyle engagement: limiting screen time to 2 hours max/day
  • Offset the screen time with face to face social interaction with family/friends
  • Include parents of your children’s friends on screen time rules to increase reinforcement 
  • Parents must practice what they preach and follow through
  • Work ethic, working for rewards
  • Socialization
  • Ramp Down Routine in the evenings before bed
  • Cohabitation with families, teach family socialization
  • Behavioral contracting


Books: The Age of Spiritual Machines, Generation Me, and Narcissistic Epidemic

Psychology of Popular Media Culture Journal

Offender Locater Lite App

Neurocognitive and or psychometric testing (can help indicate further emotional problems) 

Law & Ethics

YOU ARE A CREATOR! This last weekend, Dave Jensen, JD CAMFT Staff Attorney shared his expertise in our role as therapists in building and maintaining our character and credibility. When it really counts will you be believed? Are you maintaining and managing an honest practice? Honesty and integrity is expected. Dishonesty and lack of integrity is punished by the BBS. Document the job. We want to show that each case and concern was assessed, evaluated, and managed. Make it clear, don’t leave anything open to interpretation…including boundaries. Sometimes we want to help so much we overstep this one. Ask yourself it they are just cookies or “love cookies.” That should help keep you in check if the waters get murky. Do the facts to the case, your observations, support the judgements you have made? Got a tough case? Consult with an expert and document. 

Keep in mind…

  1. Just because someone is mad at you, doesn’t mean you did anything wrong. 
  2. Tarasoff includes not only identifiable victims but also potential unknown victims. Report unidentified victims to law enforcement if you feel they are at risk.


This week, Prelicensed members and board members met with Robin Andersen, LMFT, and president of North County CAMFT for her education on Prelicensed! She engaged the group in providing her valuable on line tool to connect, get information,  and search for PAID MFT intern positions. We all know the struggle is real when it comes to finding a decent paid position as an intern. Robin has found the solution to this issue. The group had a chance to network, exchange resources, and problem solve. If you are prelicensed and need more support, please join us at our next Prelicensed event!! MFT INTERNSHIPS, GET HOURS, GET PAID PRESENTATION

Somatic Experiencing 

Last night members learned that trauma is not in the event but in the nervous system at Bernadette Talia’s Somatic Experiencing event. The top down approach of traditional therapy doesn’t always resolve the underlying issue clients are coping with. It may support their coping skills however the body and it’s physical response to stressful events we experience also needs to be expressed.

When the body goes through stress the energy gets stuck in the body and as Bernadette said, “You’re all dressed up with no where to go.” One foot is on the gas while the other is on the brake. How often do we see clients stuck like this? The goal is to negotiate stress and trauma in the body. When things occur that dis-regulate we then need to re-regulate back to homeostasis. Teaching clients the language of sensation through felt sense and orientation(environment) support this stabilization. Once this is achieved, clients can connect the cognitive layer. SE Powerpoint 


On Saturday, May 13th, Hannah's House, Jewish Family Services & SD-CAMFT presented SCREENAGERS to a group of professionals and parents! We had over 60 people sign up for the afternoon session and many questions about how to address screen addiction in our youth, families, schools, and communities. Clinicians reviewed the need to assess thoroughly for a screen use disorder and ruling out other diagnoses. Sometimes a screen addiction can look like depression, a learning disorder, ADHD, or Autism. There is a thickening of the brain that occurs with overuse of screens. Teens are highly susceptible to digital damage due to their brain being underdeveloped. They do not have the filters and impulse control that adults do which is why it's even more important to make sure that their time is structured after school and at home. If not, they will get sucked in. Parents, need education regarding how to support their teens, need to model appropriate use, and provide universal family rules around screens. The community and schools needs to step up and support one another with additional activities for our youth to engage in. 

Spring Social: Cupcakes and Conversation


On Tuesday, April 25th, SDCAMFT hosted its first social event of the year!  Delicious food and drinks were enjoyed by all at Babycakes while having interesting conversations about career goals, interests, and stories.  We hope this event provided a great opportunity for everyone to meet some new people and expand their network.  We will work to have more of these great events for everyone. 

Trauma and the Body

This week members engaged in learning about the physiological responses of the client and the therapist. Diana Guest, LMFT expert in trauma and bioenergetics reviewed the importance of our physical responses to stress and trauma which allows us to survive some of the most difficult circumstances. Our bodies have not only the freeze, fight, flee responses, we also have a social engagement response. Our face, eye contact, and engagement show how calm we are. If this response goes away it's likely that the client is going into a more protective or assertive state. Using our fight and flight responses are not always reactive or protective, they are also needed for times of play and assertion. A question to ask as the therapist is if the client dissociates, where do they go? If a client is showing stress within the session, co-regulate with them by slowing down your own tempo. If you hear digestion happening for a client, it probably means their system is slowing down. The most important aspect of doing work with clients who have experienced trauma is to create and maintain safety. To access Diana Guests powerpoint click on

Trauma and the Body

Using Positive Discipline for Parent Coaching

Last night at Center for Discovery members got a great introduction and amazing resources from Davida Price, LMFT for Positive Discipline. Originally, Positive Discipline was developed by Lynn Lott and Jane Nelson in 1990. The five criteria for Positive Discipline are: 1. Helps children feel a sense of connection 2. Is mutually respectful and encouraging 3. Is effective-long term 4. Teaches important social and life skills 5. Invites children to discover how capable they are. Often a child is trying to tell us notice me, let me help, don't give up on me when they are acting out. Using encouragement instead of praise can model, teach, and build self-esteem for children and teens. Giving our kids choices and letting them know what they can do is one of the most powerful tools you could use!

Second Annual Critical Issues in Child and Adolescent Mental Health

If you missed the conference this year, never fear, there is another one planned for next year!! This year we had a record 400 attendees! The conference featured guest speakers on topics that included Teen Suicide, Sexting and Restorative Practices. And also included a teen panel to discuss current issues they face!



Therapist Attorney Luncheon: Gender and Race Bias

In 2010/2011 we saw a large increase in opioid use. Stats from 2014 state that 91 Americans die everyday from an opioid overdose (includes prescription opioids and heroin). This surpasses the accidental deaths caused by car accidents. Now it’s 2017, paramedics and police officers are now carrying Naloxone/Narcan to save lives. As an MFT, you need to be aware of what should be in your first aid kit, especially if you work in treatment centers for addiction.

2107 State of CAMFT

Last night we had an outstanding, FREE event with Jill Epstein, Executive Director, JD of CAMFT. Did you know that you can advocate for your own rate with insurance companies? Stay tuned to CAMFT's webinar on this. The veteran's choice program may be going away and CAMFT is advocating that it stays. This allows veterans to choose their own provider if their normal provider is unavailable to see them, reducing emergency room and urgent care demands. Did you more here. that you can update your profile through CAMFT's provider page on Counseling California to boost your search optimization? Make a profile now, it's free. Interns will be called associates starting in 2018 thanks to CAMFT's advocacy for members. There are several resources on the CAMFT website including ways to get your CEU's filled through their learning library. Brush up on research while completing your needed credits.  Over the weekend SD-CAMFT supported San Diego Save a Life Walk promoting Suicide Prevention! Several professionals, businesses, organizations, and individuals joined together to increase education & awareness

Therapist Attorney Luncheon: Gender and Race Bias

Commissioner Darlene White & Dr. Lori A. Love presented on Gender/Race Bias in the Court System: Everybody has a bias and it's ok. We have preferences to things that are familiar to us and we sometimes try to simplify our complex world. As therapists we have to acknowledging that we have it. Watch your emotional state, ambiguities, salient social categories, and when you are moving too fast or multitasking. Tools to use are reminding yourself that perceptions and assumptions might not be right, learning how bias is expressed, learning common stereotypes, and becoming familiar with the other people’s cultures. Watch out for jokes, sometimes they can be offensive and play on gender or race. Quick tip for case consultation…flip the genders in the case and present it to colleagues. Do you respond the same? 

Somatic Experiencing in Private Practice

Bernadette Talia, LCSW, SE Practitioner presented on the well researched Somatic Experiencing approach and it's use with clients in private practice. As we watch an animal in the wild shake off a trauma, we as humans also need to learn how to embrace the bodies response to trauma. She reviewed targeting the underlying dysregulation in nervous system that maintains trauma symptoms by using techniques such as orientation, felt sense, tracking, resourcing, external and internal resources for clients. Regulation of the nervous system is key. Somatic Experiencing focuses on how the body influences thoughts, emotions, and behaviors using a bottom up approach versus cognitive therapy that uses a top down approach. Asking clients to identify discomfort in their body through felt senses while also identifying a comforting place in the body assists the nervous system to regulate and relax. A favorite phrase from Bernadette, "Make your body smile."


Law and Ethics Standard of Care

David Jensen, CAMFT staff attorney presented on the basic Standards of Care for MFTs and Social Workers who are renewing their licenses or taking the Laws & Ethics exam for licensure. David discussed the fundamentals of reporting elder abuse and child abuse, negligence and standards of care for clients, importance of documentation, assessment strategies, while giving plenty of case examples and court cases for each of the topics to allow members to relate it to their own clients. Members were able to ask questions regarding their own cases, as well as anything additional that they wanted David to cover within the scope of competence. David was able to make Laws and Ethics more enjoyable for our members during this workshop. Thanks to our sponsors: Morningside Recovery, C.A.R.I, and Antonyan Miranda for your support. 

Mindfulness and Aging

Livia Walsh, RN, LMFT and Luis Morones, LMFT presented on how mindfulness and self-compassion practices may enhance life in our elder years." The truth of impermanence cannot be avoided. Aging is a "natural and organic process"...(Livia). When working with clients begin the conversation around aging looking at fears, concerns, and hopes. What does the client's culture imply about the aging process? Before beginning sessions try this simple meditation recommended from Livia...."One for me, one for you..." taking in deep cleansing breaths. Engaging in mindfulness is a learned skill that needs to be practiced by the therapist first before using it with clients. The therapist needs to feel they understand, embrace, and model mindfulness. If you are working with clients with chronic pain for example you may want to begin by asking: What is your relationship with pain? Then encourage the client to walk through the following: Acceptance, labeling and understanding the sensation of pain, finding how angst is or is not useful. Use the STOP acronym: stop(pause), three breaths, observe, proceed. 

"Allow your breath to be your companion. It's been with you all your life..."  (Luis). 

Annual Mental Health Collaboration Mixer August 28th 2016

Did you know that the San Diego Chapter of CAMFT collaborates each year with San Diego Psychological Association, San Diego Psychiatric Society, San Diego Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and UCSD School of Medicine on SEVERAL events!

One of the more fun events is the annual social where members of the four organizations, representing three mental health disciplines, get together for a little mixing, chatting and education! Members were treated to lovely food prepared by the Prado at Balboa Park, as well as two free beverages. This year, we had students from the major universities display and talk about their current research!


This event was made possible and FREE to members, thanks to our generous sponsors!



Self Care Member Appreciation Event: Chaos to Calm

SDCAMFT and Soleil Hepner of Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy held an intimate membership appreciation event promoting self care for those who give for a living in La Jolla.  The event focused on mindfulness, compassion fatigue, and awareness of self.   

Prelicense Meeting: The journey to Licensure

SDCAMFT had the first meeting for 2016 with its prelicense membership.  Members enjoyed delicious cupcakes and had discussion about hours and the new exams.  Continue to check the events for more meetings.  The Prelicense Committee is looking to have at least one prelicense meeting or event each month to help provide support.   

Trauma Informed Mindfulness  

SD CAMFT and The Center for Mindfulness had a huge turn out for the trauma-informed mindfulness event! Participants learned a framework of delivering mindfulness meditations, mindfulness practices and mindfulness-based interventions. The techniques learned gave a healing and supportive approach rather than re-traumatizing, triggering, or otherwise injuring persons with trauma histories or PTSD. Participants also engaged with FOURamazing sponsors!  

Using Smartphone Apps to Improve Mental Health and Addiction Treatment 

22 million suffer from Substance Use Disorder 50% have co-occurring disorders, and it costs 30+ billion...annually. These are some of the staggering statistics Dr. Rigo Brueck referenced when discussing the potential for mobil health use. Consumers are looking for healthy options on the go and mobil health seems to be the answer. Several apps are out there however not all are backed by evidence based therapies or research. Due to the amount of choices out there for consumers there is a strong need for further research, direction, and application of the use of mobil health in the mental health field.  Apps that Dr. Brueck recommends are: Suicide Safe, SuperBetter, Step Away, Headspace, Life by Hazelden, Happily, My Brain Solutions, DBT coach, PTSD coach, and A-chess. Attendees at this event were able to ask tailored questions regarding the use and application of technology as well as network with other health providers and our featured sponsor: Center for Discovery.

LGBQTI Awareness

It was a great turn out for the LGBQTI Awareness workshop and happy hour at Baja Betty's! Presenters, Liat Wexler and Dana McNeil shared their knowledge about gender identity, gender expression, healthy and unhealthy boundaries, Gottman's The Sound Relationship House to help couples with specific interventions to create bids of connection towards one another. Members were able to network and socialize with others as well as with our sponsors from, Hanbleceya Recovery Network, Morningside Recovery, and Foundations Recovery Network. 


Therapist/Attorney Networking Luncheon: "Parental Alienation" 

 Susan Griffin, Dr. Slover and Judge Goldsmith discussed parental alienation and stressed that it is not always done intentionally. When one parent states, "how was it," referring to the visit with the opposing parent for example, the child is put in a place of mediator. This can create a loss of structure for the family system and pressure for the child to join a parent's side. New language of "Estranged Families" is preferred versus parental alienation. They stressed this is a systems issue and in family therapy, structural theories work well. A few recommendations are watching the language we use, obtain a trained minors consult with a professional supervisor, and stress the system as the problem versus one person in the family unit. Helpful books: Richard Warshak, "Divorce Poison" Craig Childress, "Foundations" and Jack Kent's "There's No Such Thing as a Dragon."

2016 NAMI Walk 

It was a rainy and cold morning at the NAMI walk this year, however it was still a great turnout for the event.   There were many organizations who were at the Resource Fair and walked as a group to support the awareness of mental health.  It was great to see many people out despite the gloomy weather with their dogs walking with big smiles on their faces.  Thank you NAMI for giving us the opportunity to be a part of this great event. 

Working with Middle Eastern Refugee and Immigrant Families 

An empowering, motivating, and inspiring night of discussion, stories, and professional growth! Expert panelists from Survivors of Torture, Chaldean-Middle Eastern Social Services, and San Diego Youth Services discussed their personal migration as well as the stories of their inspiring clients who need the support and education to adapt and acculturate into the United States' culture more effectively. Clinicians became aware of the struggle, as well as the strengths Middle Eastern refugee families endure in the migration process, and ways that clinicians can help them in many ways, alongside referrals to many resources in the city. Thank you to the speakers, as well as our sponsor, Hanbleceya Recovery Network, for such a great night! To learn more about how to help this population through Refugee Forums, Advocacy committees, and Volunteering, visit:, and/or 

Community Reinforcement & Family Training (C.R.A.F.T)
with Dr. Rigo Brueck, Psy 25588, LMFT 48997

Addiction expert Dr. Brueck introduced C.R.A.F.T. to a group of MFT's last night discussing the importance of using a systemic approach with addictions. The quality of life for the concerned significant other (CSO) is the main focus of this protocol. Dr. Brueck discussed using techniques with the CSO such as non-judgmental interaction styles, building positive expectations, allowing for negative consequences, and placing responsibility where it belongs. To learn more about the C.R.A.F.T. approach visit Participants also learned about our sponsor Morningside Recovery's where clients can feel at home by bringing their pet along the journey with them. 

Pre-Licensed Exam Prep Workshop, February 27, 2016

SDCAMFT hosted its first pre-licensed workshop this year to help students learn more information about the new restructured MFT exam and learn study tips and ways to prepare more efficiently before exam day. 

Gerry from Gerry Grossman Seminars, and Amanda Rowan from Therapist Development Center provided students information about the new exam, and ways that will help students study and prepare. Students were able to ask questions about the exam, as well as the study materials provided by Gerry Grossman, and Therapist Development Center. 

The students were also able to win raffled prizes from each speaker, and were provided discounts on study materials provided by the speakers, for attending the workshop. It was a great outcome and students are more prepared for their exams. The Board of Directors is looking forward to seeing more pre-licensed members at our upcoming events. 

Cupcakes and Conversations: Mental Health Mixer, February 10, 2016

SDCAMFT hosted its first social mixer this year at Babycakes in Hillcrest.  The weather was perfect for this intimate event on the back patio outside.  Guests enjoyed light appetizers and samples of the delicious cupcakes.  We thank Babycakes for letting us host our event at their location.  

Many individuals in the mental health field gathered together to network and have conversations over cupcakes.  It was a nice turnout with members and potential new members interested in learning more about what SDCAMFT has to offer. We thank everyone who made the time to come out to our event and look forward to more social events in the future. The Board of Directors is looking forward to seeing everyone at our upcoming events for 2016! 

Annual Member meeting and State of CAMFT, January 19, 2016

A new year brings new changes! Changes with local Chapter of CAMFT and with State of CAMFT!

Local CAMFT members were treated last night to an evening of fine foods, socializing, and some updates on the Board of Directors as well as legislation that CAMFT is working on!

Our chapter bid farewell to three of its former members, one of whom served the Board since 2010! Nasim Bavar (Past President) Kathleen Muir (former Treasurer) and Katy Hoslar (former Membership) all finished their Board terms in 2015 and last night was an opportunity to recognize them and thank them for their amazing contributions.

We also were able to welcome our new Board members, Tania Hormozi (Education Co-Chair), Courtney Sanwo (Treasurer) and Angie Colter (Education Co-Chair).

Jill Epstein, CEO of CAMFT, spoke about the various campaigns and legislation that CAMFT is working on in order to promote and protect our profession! CAMFT represents the interests of Marriage and Family Therapists locally, at the State level and at the Federal level.

CAMFT CEO Jill Epstein shared Local, State, and Federal developments!

57 Degrees is an EXCELLENT venue. Our snacks included five types of cheese, three types of flatbreads, amazing olives, roasted red pepper hummus, marinated meatballs, and more!!

Your Board of Directors (6 out of 8) with Jill Epstein.

Pictured: Courtney Sanwo (Treasurer), Jennie Abito (Sponsorship), Jill Epstein (CAMFT CEO), Kiefer Rich (President), Kate Pavlak (Membership), Angie Colter (Education), Tania Hormozi (Education).

Not Pictured: Lesley Johnson (Secretary) and Davida Price (Past President)

Annual Member meeting and State of CAMFT, January 19, 2016

A new year brings new changes! Changes with local Chapter of CAMFT and with State of CAMFT!

Local CAMFT members were treated last night to an evening of fine foods, socializing, and some updates on the Board of Directors as well as legislation that CAMFT is working on!

Our chapter bid farewell to three of its former members, one of whom served the Board since 2010! Nasim Bavar (Past President) Kathleen Muir (former Treasurer) and Katy Hoslar (former Membership) all finished their Board terms in 2015 and last night was an opportunity to recognize them and thank them for their amazing contributions.

We also were able to welcome our new Board members, Tania Hormozi (Education Co-Cha

Therapist/Attorney Luncheon, January 15, 2016

It was SRO at CAMFT’s Therapist/Attorney Luncheon on Friday, January 15, at Joe’s Crab Shack on Harbor Drive.  CAMFT welcomed three outstanding guest speakers to their first luncheon of 2016 to discuss divorce mediation in domestic violence cases and the effects of domestic violence on children.

The Honorable Susan P. Finlay, now a family law mediator with Divorce Mediation Group, Mark Schlissel, MSW, LCSW, and Cindy Grossman, Executive Director of Kids’ Turn San Diego wove together an insightful look at strategies developed to help couples and children through divorce and the mediation process in the face of a history of domestic violence.

Judge Finlay arrived at the luncheon, PowerPoint presentation in hand, addressing issues such as screening for DV cases, setting boundaries and safeguards for mediation sessions and focusing on the needs of children.  Due to onsite technical difficulties, however, the electronic version of her “Mediation in Domestic Violence Cases” was unavailable.  Like a seasoned pro, she glanced at her written notes and “worked the room” as she delivered her speech, weaving her way between the tables, making eye contact with all.  PowerPoint?  What’d you say about a PowerPoint? 

Next, Mark Schlissel offered tips for completing the Family Court Services intake sheet, directing everyone’s attention to the option on the sheet to meet separately with the FCS counselor for those parties who feel intimidated or fearful to meet with the other party.  As Mark pointed out, not everyone, even attorneys, is aware of that option.

Cindy Grossman closed with a close-up look at the family workshops offered by Kids’ Turn, suggestions for parents to lessen the impact of their divorce on their children, and the reading of testimonials from past participants. Cindy also reminded everyone of the counseling services available to children and families, based upon a sliding fee scale.  What a valuable service they provide to families.

Attendees enjoyed the Crab Shack menu offerings, reconnecting with colleagues and friends, and added valuable information to their tool belts presented by respected professionals. All in all, it was a great way to spend a lunch hour.

 Kudos to those who made it possible:  Georgia Williams, Esq.; Carolyn Gerard, LMFT, of CAMFT; and Ann Murray of the SDFLBA.  Thank you for your hard work.

 By Kim Werner, Program Manager, Divorce Mediation Group

A Gift of Hope, December 4, 2015

The Holidays are a time of joy and celebration for most people. But for those who struggle with addiction and for their friends and family, they can be challenging. December 4th marked the first in a series of programs designed to address the needs of those affected by addiction.

Give the Gift of Recovery: Understanding Addiction and Recovery Through a Child’s and Families’ Eyes

A long-held fact in the treatment and recovery worlds is that alcoholism and drug addiction are a family disease. Everyone in the family, including children, gets hurt by this cunning, powerful, and baffling disease. All too often it becomes a family legacy that gets passed from generation to generation. This holiday season give the gift of recovery. Help family members find a path to help, hope, and healing.

An exciting morning was spent with guest speaker Jerry Moe of Hazelden Betty Ford and a very special guest speaker, a former client of New Directions for Women, spoke from their hearts with passion and fire!


Our AMAZING sponsors for the event provided the speakers, venue and fantastic food and beverages! Attendees were also able to earn CEU's!


Annual San Diego Mental Health Collaboration Winter Mixer,
November 8 2015

The San Diego Mental Health Collaboration (SDMHC) is a grassroots meeting of leaders of local mental health professional organizations. Members from CAMFT-San Diego, the San Diego Psychiatric Society, San Diego Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, San Diego Psychological Association and UCSD Community Pschiatry Fellowship work together in a collaborative environment in order to support San Diego mental health providers.

Each year, we invite members from all of the organizations to get together for an evening of fun and socializing in an effort to build bridges and create new relationships.

This year, once again, the event was held at the Stone Brewery and participants were treated to a lovely food and beverage service at no cost, thanks to our sponsors!

Psychologists, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Psychiatrists spent the evening mingling and getting to know each other in a relaxed and comfortable environment, while gathering useful resources from the eight sponsors.

 The event would not have been possible without the support of our AMAZING sponsors who not only supported the night, but are responsible for amazing change in the community. Their organizations help to support individuals, families and professionals.

Annual Save A Life Walk, November 8 2015

Suicide is the second leading cause of non-natural deaths for all ages in San Diego County.

Every year, the Board of Directors, your Chapter, supports the Save a Life walk by sponsoring a table to help support suicide outreach and prevention programs and survivor support services for all San Diegans.

The Walk helps to increase awareness in order to prevent suicide and SAVE LIVES.

Board members Lesley Johnson, Jennie Abito, Kate Pavlak, and Nasim Bavar were up and out early morning to support this amazing cause.

Thanks to your membership and support, the Walk continues to raise awareness and make a difference in the lives of San Diegans.

Summer 2015 Board of Directors' Strategic Planning Retreat

Each year, the Board of Directors' go on two, full day planning retreats. Typically, these "retreats" are really just full-day planning meetings that occur in someone's kitchen or dining room. But this summer, our Past President Nasim Bavar and her husband were kind enough to host us on their 40' sailboat!

This retreat, the Board focused on topics that included: events planning through to the end of the year, the Bylaws revisions, Board elections later in the year, and chapter excellence.

Interested in joining the Board of Directors? Contact the President, Davida.

Serving Those Who Serve

Improving Mental Health Care for Service Members and Their Families

Friday July 10th, the University of San Diego, Department of School, Family and Mental Health Professions organized  the first annual one day seminar and training aimed at improving the delivery of services to those who serve. Dr. Ann Garland, Department Chair and Professor at the University of San Diego, conceptualized and executed what will become a mainstay in the education of helping professionals. Her vision and drive lead to an amazing collaboration with partners spanning the mental health community, including the San Diego Chapter of CAMFT.

Break out sessions included the following:

Moral Injury

Transitioning Out of the Military

Training in Evidence-Based Practices

Working with Children in Military Families

Understanding and Treating PTSD

Mental Health Stigma in the Military

Mind Body Medicine


This is one of many collaborative events that our chapter offers to members in an effort to promote education and personal and professional growth.

The event was attended by CAMFT San Diego Board Members Past President Nasim Bavar and Treasurer Kathleen Muir. President Elect Kiefer Rich was accompanied by CAMFT Outreach Coordinator Mariam Babayan and hosted an information table at the event.

CAMFT Outreach Coordinator Mariam Babayan, SD CAMFT President Elect Kiefer Rich & SD CAMFT Past President Nasim Bavar

Three Panel Members and Event Organizer, USD Professor and Department Chair Dr. Ann Garland (far right)

Pre-License Mixer at 57 Degrees, Saturday June 13, 2015

Being a pre-license MFT can be a tough road...whether it's long hours studying, working and balancing a life as a student or looking for an internship that fits your theoretical orientation and paycheck requirements, it's always good to have support!

Pre-License Board Member Namarata Rindani McMahill knows these struggles all too well! So, in addition to educational opportunities, she has organized a series of social/support events to help pre-license members let off some steam, relax, and get advice and support from other members.

Chapter President Davida Price (far left, next to Nam) and President Elect Kiefer Rich (not shown - he was snapping the picture!) came along to provide support and insight into the path to licensing! It was a great afternoon at 57 Degrees ( with the windows wide open and the sights and sounds of planes and trains in the background. As usual, great snacks were provided by the Chapter and there was some amazing information shared by everyone - ideas on private practice, exam study tips, information on agency work, etc. 

Thank you to Nam and the pre-license members for making this a really nice Saturday afternoon!



City College Collaboration

On Friday June  12, City College held its annual Professional Conference for students who are completing the Mental Health Work Certificate at City College which is a 19-unit certificate to educate and train them to work in entry-level mental health positions.

This year, participants overwhelmingly asked to hear from a panel of Marriage and Family Therapists.

Our President Elect, Kiefer Rich (far left) was joined by Charles Westfall, LMFT, Edgar Sierra, LMFT, and Rose Schafer, MFT-I, for a two our presentation and question and answer session. Helping future mental health providers decide on their educational and career paths is part of the mission of the Board of Directors. Outreach to universities at all stages of education helps to inform the general population on our field and the differences between MFTs and other similar professionals. 

The participants asked amazing questions that covered a range of topics from how the panel first became interested in the MFT field, to more specific questions about what it's like to work in the industry.

Thank you to City College and the amazing team lead by Dr. Kristen Cole for inviting San Diego CAMFT to share our knowledge and passion with future colleagues!


L to R: Kiefer Rich, Charles Westfall, Edgar Sierra, and Rose Schafer.


One of the main roles of the San Diego Chapter of CAMFT is to assist it's members in keeping up to date with the changes and developments in the field of mental health. Professional support, including  educational opportunities, is at the forefront of the Chapters' benefits to its members.

On May 9th 2015, we were so excited to bring an in-depth six hour training on the new DSM V. 

Dr. Koh from UCSD, Janelle Kistler JD, previous Executive Director of SDSP and Dr Jon Kistler MD worked closely with Chapter Board Members to bring this training to our community.


San Diego Chapter Board Members continue to support our community! On May 2nd of this year, three Board members woke up early to help support the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) - San Diego's voice on mental illness. NAMI is part of the grass-roots, non-profit,national NAMI organization founded in 1979 by family members of people with mental illness.

Nasim Bavar (Past President), Katy  Dwyer (CEU Workshop Chair) and Lesley Johnson (Secretary) were on hand to provide information on our chapter as well as mental health in general.

WAY to give back to the community!


Pre-license folks were given an amazing opportunity to speak with representatives from two of the top Exam preparation companies in the nation and gain some insight into the two MFT Exams. Gerry Grossman Seminars and Therapist Development Center had representatives on-hand at Eclipse Chocolate for a two hour discussion and question and answer on various topics around the exams.

The event was sponsored by AATBS, Gerry Grossman Seminars and Therapist Development Center. Each of the sponsors also provided AMAZING raffles prizes! Prizes included:

- 3 DSM IV - DSM V comparison study guides, 2 from AATBS and one from Gerry Grossman Seminars

- Flash cards from AATBS

- Complete study guide  from AATBS

- 2 ETHICS study guides, One from Gerry Grossman Seminars and one from AATBS

- 4 $100 discounts for study packages from Therapist Development Center

- 2 General Theories of MFT summary tables from AATBS

The 32 attendees were treated to coffee, tea, cheese and crackers, parmesan-garlic-white chocolate scones, and three types of panini.

The event was FREE to San Diego chapter members of CAMFT and 10 people joined the chapter as a result of the event!





On Saturday July 26 Pre-License members of the San Diego Chapter of CAMFT met for summer tea!

Part networking, part kick-off to the Summer, and all FUN, this first event of the busy pre-license calendar gave an opportunity for members to meet in a casual and relaxed atmosphere. The day was warm with a slight breeze and the afternoon tea (including all of the appropriate finger foods!) provided a nice respite from the day-to-day routine.

The group was a mix of license status: interns and almost-post-Maters (I believe two members were just one week away from completing their coursework!) and one licensed Board member. Apart from getting to know each other, there was a lot of great advice shared on job hunting, resume writing, interviewing, resources, etc. 

Couldn't make this event? Don't worry, all of the valuable information will be made available online and in an email! Look at the calendar to see the next event!




The San Diego Chapter of CAMFT has been hosting quarterly Therapist/Attorney Networking Luncheons in collaboration with the San Diego Family Law Bar Association. These events have been a longstanding tradition of the San Diego Chapter offering trainings for both professions. As we partner with related professional organizations, we strive to increase awareness with our colleagues of the expertise that Marriage & Family Therapists provide in the community and our relevance in the mental health arena.

At the June Luncheon, Honorable Judge Gerald C. Jessop and Dr. Sylvia Vella addressed the topic of domestic violence and presented the legal and therapeutic implications of victims of severe domestic violence who recant their statements. During this one and a half hour gathering at the scenic Harbor House Restaurant in Seaport Village, therapists and attorneys networked, enjoyed lunch with a view overlooking the harbor, and received 1 CEU / MCLE.
For information about the next Therapist / Attorney Luncheon please stay tuned - details will be available on our website by the end of July.

Copyright © 2019, CAMFT San Diego Chapter. All rights reserved.
Professional Organization existing to serve local Marriage and Family Therapists
and other mental health professionals in the San Diego County Area.
P.O.Box 880843 | San Diego, CA 92168-0843

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