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May-June 2017

From the Editor by Shawn LaRé Brinkley, M.S., MFTI

If anyone is aware of the unpredictable nature of life, it's a therapist. The interesting thing about this truth, though, is we are privy not only to our own topsy-turvy existence but to that of our clients as well. A gift that is like a bonus for clocking countless hours listening to "other people's problems," is we often come away realizing our own lives are not so bad after all. I don't mean to be glib or crass but isn't it true that we spend…waste a great deal of time wishing we had this or that; complaining that we have this and not that; lamenting over the thing that just happed instead of the other thing that "should" have happened. Let's face it…at some time or another we have all fallen prey to our own "stinkin' thinkin'."

The difference is, as mental health professional we are supposed to be equipped with the crane that can pull us out of the quicksand when we find ourselves going under. Without the equipment, one can drown in the "sea of me"…poor me; why me; it's all about me.

As May marks the end of spring, it is a great time for reflection. President Barbara provides us with some insight on how to stay fresh and alive in a profession in which, one can find themselves stuck, stagnant, and going through the motions. Barbara will share her repellant for stagnation, stunted growth, compassion fatigue and burnout. Check in and receive some practicals for staying fit in the profession.

Our Past President, Ariel Cohen, is still lending his positive energy to the chapter in so many ways and this month he put on his writer's hat and penned the synopsis of the March meeting. He captures the high points of speaker, James Guay's poignant presentation on "Affirmative Therapy with Transgender Clients," in a manner that will make you relive it if you were in attendance or feel like you were there, if you missed it.

The delightful Mim Collins will pick up where she left off in sharing her journey to South Africa with Mind Body Passport; this time reflecting on her experience during her sight-seeing tour through Johannesburg. Be sure to join the group on their exciting and thought provoking adventures from across the continent.

Our resident correspondent, Shelley Horner, had the pleasure of meeting with two accomplished members of our profession and interviewing them for our Member Highlight section of the newsletter. For February, Shelley met with Dianne Stearn Gorsey, LMFT; and in March she got together with Martha Uhl, MFTI. You will learn how they got started in the profession and what they love most about what they do. Please check in and learn some tasty morsels about our members. Remember to bring your business cards to the meetings and more importantly; put them in the drawing bag and perhaps you will be the next member we highlight and you will have the bonus of spending time with the effervescent Shelley in the process.

Dr. Charlyne Gelt takes us on a Fairy Tale odyssey into the psychological core of a Disney fantasy classic, Beauty and The Beast. In this charming tale, we learn that there is more to the story of the beautiful Belle and her unattractive love interest. Dr. Gelt is a master at exploring the twists and turns of our favorite big screen cinematic escapes. Be sure to take some time to delve into the mind of Disney and note the "things that make you go hmmm" as the good doctor uncovers the truth about what lies beneath the goings on in the castle.

Frequent contributor, Raceal McWhorter, is back in this issue, representing the Expressive Arts, Special Interest Group. Raceal, marriage family intern and registered art therapist, allows us to peek into her work using coloring and drawing to get to know her clients and delve into the family dynamics in a fun and therapeutic manner. Learn how she creates magic with color while helping her families look at themselves from a different perspective, assisting them with the process of healing and developing healthy family habits.

Our mediation expert and often, generous sponsor, Steven D. Unruh, offers us a lesson in the art of negation as he tells us a story about how "losing can help us to win." Steven shares a personal event in his life that helped him understand the value of negotiation in the midst of conflict. In this article the divorce mediator offers us a look at losing from different angle, proposing this new view can be a "win, win" in some instances. Do not turn the page on this opportunity for learning something that may be a gift for your personal as well as professional life.

In the wake of the Social Media boom, we as therapist must be savvy in the way we manage cyber space. The little things we do may land us in a big media traffic jam if we are not careful how we navigate through the internet highways. Natalie Jambazian provides us some sound advice on how to maintain our professional integrity and protect our client's privacy as we remain current and relevant in the dance of social media.

Interns be sure to take advantage of the job listings provided by "Prelicensed," a company dedicated to keeping interns abreast of the career opportunities available in the San Fernando Valley and adjacent areas. Robin Anderson offers these listings in each issue of Connections, so be sure to stay connected to the job market and check this section.

Let's take the advice of our President and seek opportunities to stay invigorated and refreshed as we move into "summer madness," where we can easily be distracted and drained by the sun and the heat. Don't forget, if we are not growing, we are dying so let's fight to stay alive and perhaps find a getaway conference to renew us in what we do. A plain ole' vacation is allowed as well….just take care of yourselves. One more quick thing…take a look at the new contact listings from the monthly meetings and call a colleague and invite them for coffee or lunch. Be sure to search for the beauty my friends.

See you on the pages!

Shawn LaRé Brinkley, MS, MFTI, recently began working as the Outpatient Services Program Manager for a non-profit Treatment center working with teenagers with mental health, substance abuse and trauma issues. She will be developing the organization's outpatient programing; overseeing outpatient substance abuse, mental health, and field capable clinical service programs. Shawn LaRé specializes in trauma, complicated grief and loss, and is continues to explore mindfulness as she prepares for licensure. She can be reached at 818.359.6921 or mftgurl@gmail.com.

San Fernando Valley Chapter – California Marriage and Family Therapists