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April 2015
 Newsletter Editors:  Heather Blessing &
 Karen Ulep & Margaret Greenough

Letter from the Board

April 1, 2015

Dear Member,

Spring came in with a new energy and did so many new members and volunteers. Our chapter continues to grow with a new spirit of volunteerism. Thank you to all of you who have offered and continue to offer your time. Our committees are working very hard to put together two fantastic all day trainings with Dave Jensen, our CAMFT attorney who specializes in legal and ethical issues, and Dr. John Preston who is well known in the Sacramento area and beyond for his very informative and well attended seminars. We appreciate all of the positive feedback we have been getting regarding our monthly speakers.  Our pre-licensure meetings have been extremely well attended and are being seen as a resource to many of the local trainees and interns. The feedback we are getting from them is that the topics and speakers are extremely educational and informative.

Our new administrative assistant, Karen Ulep has been working hard to update our data base to fill in any gaps or errors that were made while the PayPal system was down. This has been somewhat grueling and at times, I am sure frustrating for people, but, hopefully, we are close to having it all on track. We thank everyone for your patience. Thank you to Heather Blessing, too, for all her support in this.

I hope to see many of you at the next few meetings as we have wonderful people coming in to share their many years of experience with us.  We will hear from Margaux Helm, Executive Director of Weave, Marti McClellan-Morehouse, and Dr. John Preston on Psychopharmacology (in June and again in September).


Please feel free to email me at anytime with suggestions or concerns,


Ann Leber, LMFT



  This issue:
· Letter From the Board
· Legal Beagle
· Don't forget to renew your membership!

·  Presentation Summary
· Upcoming Meeting
· Upcoming Board Meetings

· Mental Health Community Events
· Interview with a Therapist
· Special Feature·
· Letters to the Editor

· Psyched about Books and Movies

· Advertising and Announcements

· Advertising Policy for the Newsletter


Ann Leber, LMFT

Patricia St. James, LMFT

Past President:
Jill  Lawler, LMFT

Becky Counter, LMFT

Beverly Baldwin, MFT Intern


Darlene Davis, LMFT
Joseph Borders, LMFT

Program Co-Chairs:
Carol Delzer, LMFT
Kari Deitrich, Trainee

Hospitality Co-Chairs:
Joshlynn Prakash, MFT Intern
Carol Mahr, LMFT
Nazia Khan, MFT Intern
Alexis Clemons, Trainee
Melinda Keeler, Trainee

Club 3000 Co-Chairs:
Sterling Evison, LMFT
Anna Garcia, Trainee
Charlotte Parks, LMFT

Volunteer Co-Chairs:
Maria Wheeler, LMFT
Amita Khare, Trainee
William Dickey, LMFT

Membership Co-Chairs:

Jenna Bell, MFT Intern
Michael Tablit, Trainee

Sponsorship Co-Chairs:
Rebecca Kneppel, MFT Intern
Sara Coffill, MFT Intern

Newsletter Editors:
Heather Blessing, MFT Intern
Margret Greenough, LMFT
Karen Ulep
, MFT Intern

Legislative Chair:

Bylaws Co-Chairs:
Jennifer Lombardi, LMFT
Elizabeth Roccucci, LMFT

Jen Huber, Intern

Communication Specialist
Karen Ulep, Intern


Legal Beagle

dectective.pngWelcome to the section of the SVC-CAMFT newsletter, Legal Beagle written by Darlene Davis, LMFT. The chapter thought it would be helpful to keep you updated on new laws, legislative pursuits or actions, as well as ongoing legal and ethical dilemmas we all face in our career as Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, Interns, and Trainees. Please feel free to ask questions that you have and I will do my best to investigate and post your answer in the newsletter. Please note that articles are based on information from CAMFT and/or the BBS and have been researched to the best of my ability. This is not meant to be legal advice.  Please contact CAMFT or Board of Behavioral Sciences for any legal matters you need assistance for. 


CEU Provider changes:

We all need CEU’s and you might be wondering if you are affected by the current changes to the CEU providers. The BBS is no longer approving CEU providers. Current CEU providers have a timeline to renew their status and new provider applicants will need to apply through the list of recognized approval agencies. You will want to make sure your CEU provider meets the below criteria. They include:


·      National Association of Social Workers (NASW)   

·      Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB)

·      National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC)

·      National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)

·      American Psychological Association (APA)

·      California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT)


LMFT’s can obtain their CEU requirement through the following Board-recognized providers:


·      American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT)

·      American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy-California Division (AAMFT-CA)

·      California Association for Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (CALPCC)

·      California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT)

·      National Association of Social Workers-California Chapter (NASW-CA)  

·      California Society for Clinical Social Work (CSCSW)

·      California Association of School Psychologists (CASP)

·      California Psychological Association (CPA)

·      California Counseling Association (CCA)

·      American Counseling Association (ACA)

·      Through an educational institution accredited by a regional accrediting agency or approved by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE)

·      A BBS approved CEU provider with a valid (non-expired) provider number. CEU providers will no longer be able to renew a provider number that expires after July 1, 2015.




Examination Restructure:

Effective January 1, 2016, the Board will implement its examination restructure. Under the new examination process, all applicants will be required to take and pass a California Law and Ethics Examination and a Clinical Written Examination. The timing of these examinations are as follows:


·      California Law and Ethics Examination must be taken by all new registrants within the first year of registration. Existing registrants are also required to take this examination.

o   Applicants applying for their intern registration after January 1 2016 will take the examination within the first year of their registration.

o   Existing registrants

§  If registration expires prior to June 30, 2016 they must take the examination before their next (2nd)renewal period (between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017)

§  If registration expires after June 30, 2016 they must take the examination by the end of their current registration period. (e.g. If registration expires August 1, 2016 the examination must be completed by July 31, 2016)


·      If a candidate fails the Law and Ethics Examination they would need to take a 12hr course in Law and Ethics. There may be a 90 day wait between retaking of the Law and Ethics Examination depending on the availability of a different set of questions.


·      Clinical Written Examination – Candidates for licensure will take this examination upon completion of all supervised experience hours.



Darlene Davis, LMFT Executive Director HOPE; Healthy Outcomes for Personal Enrichment MFT Stipend Coordinator for Greater Sacramento Instructor of University of Phoenix www.darlenedavismft.com www.hope-counselingcenter.org


Go to Our Website http://www.svc-camft.org/join
And RENEW now so you don't miss out!

  March Presentation Summary

Addiction Mindfulness "One Moment at a TIme"(2 CEUs)
by Steve Brugge, LAADC, NCAC II

Steve discussed the different models of relapse prevention.  He explained how mindfulness could play a huge part of relapse prevention.  From prayer (the serenity prayer, third step prayer, seventh step prayer, eleventh step prayer, the Lord's Prayer, different cultural prayers and even personal prayers) to meditation we are able to look within ourselves and outside of ourselves to help change and keep ourselves from relapsing. 

It is important to notice the triggers that put us in danger of relapsing.  Common challenges in mediation practice are aversion, cravings or desires, restlessness or agitation, sloth or sleepiness and doubt.  Through mindfulness we can explore ways to cope with intensity of feelings that come up in high risk situations, learn our "Sober Space", gain acceptance of present experience and management skills.

Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, n the present moment and nonjudgmentally.  Building a support system to share individual plans for incorporating mindfulness practice into daily life is importament as self care, self compassion and life balance.

Summary by:

Heather Blessing MFT Intern


April Meeting Information

Free Pre-licensed 3000 Club Meeting

Topic: BBS Hours
Speaker: Darlene Davis, LMFT
Date:  Friday, April 17, 2015
Time: 8:30 AM to 9:30 AM
Note: Registration and membership are not required for the Pre-Licensed 3000 Club meeting

More info:

Darlene Davis, LMFT, LPCC, will be discussing the parameters of Board of Behavioral Sciences’ (BBS) requirements for the 3000 hours of supervised work experience to become a licensed MFT.  A question and answer session will follow.

Presenter Bio:

Darlene Davis, LMFT, LPCC is the Executive Officer of the three locations of Hope Counseling Center and supervises MFT Trainees and Interns.  Darlene is also a current faculty member in the Counseling Psychology graduate program at the University of Phoenix and Alliant University.  She was the President of the Sacramento Valley Chapter of CAMFT in 2008 and 2010 and is currently serving on the CAMFT Ethics Committee and an MFT Stipend Coordinator.

Please join us to discover a smoother path to licensure!


Heritage Oaks Hospital
4250 Auburn Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95841

Topic:  Domestic Violence
 Margaux Helm
Friday, April 17, 2015
9:30 AM to 12:00PM
Heritage Oaks Hospital
4250 Auburn Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95841

Workshop Information:
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Domestic Violence But Were Afraid to Ask

Margaux Helm, LMFT has been Director of Programs at WEAVE, Sacramento County’s primary provider of Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services for 10+ years. Her approach integrates Family Systems theory and the Feminist Sociological model. Strength Based, Gender Inclusive and Hopeful.

This training will help clinicians better understand how to assess, treat and/or refer individuals, couples and families with issues of intimate partner abuse. Focus is on trauma informed, gender inclusive approach to domestic violence assessment and intervention. Mutual vs Unilateral Abuse, the Continuum of Violence, Coercive Control, Traumatic Bonding, Correlating Risk Factors, Teen Dating Violence and Individual vs Couple treatment. Ends with group discussion, practical application and questions to make the complex issue of domestic violence more manageable.

Includes continental breakfast and 2 CEUs

Click Here Register and pay online, register online and pay at the door, or register via email and pay with cash/check at the door: info@sacramentovalleycamft.org

Early registration ends Tuesday, April 14th
Early registration rates*:
2015 Licensed Member of SVC-CAMFT, AAMFT-Sacramento, and all local chapters of CAMFT: $20
2015 Pre-Licensed Member of SVC-CAMFT, AAMFT-Sacramento, and all local chapters of CAMFT: $15
Non-Member: $30

*Add $5 for late or "at-door" registration
For information on joining SVC-CAMFT or renewing your membership for 2015 please email: info@sacramentovalleycamft.org

More Upcoming Meeting Information

 Month Topic
 Speaker Location         
 May 15
 "Hot Flash Women" raising Adolescents

 Marti McClellan
 Heritage Oaks
 June 19

 John Preston Hertiage Oaks
 July 18
 Law and Ethics Seminar

 September 18
 Cultural Diversity

 Tonia Elliott-Walker
 Heritage Oaks
 October 16
 LGBT Panel

 LGBT Panel
 Heritage Oaks


Mental Health Community Events

This section will be for announcing Mental Health Community Events
such as walks/runs, fundraising, health fairs and other non-profit events.

To have an event listed please email newslettereditor@svccamft.org


Sac State’s fourth Out of the Darkness Suicide Awareness Walk is April 16
Student Health and Counseling Services is partnering with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to put on the fourth annual Out of the Darkness Suicide Awareness Walk. The walk will begin at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 16, on the South Green in front of The WELL. Student testimonials will kick off the event. Prior to the walk, a Mental Health Fair will be held from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. in front of The WELL. Directly following the event will be a candlelight vigil and poetry reading. For questions, please contact event coordinator Katie Hodgson at hodgsonk@csus.edu or visit https://shcssacstate.org/wellness-promotion/Out-of-the-Darkness-Walk.

The “Mental Illness: It’s not always what you think” project
is organizing mental health art exhibits around Sacramento County to honor May is Mental Health Month.  We are looking for individuals that live with mental illness or who support others that may live with mental illness to submit artwork which would be featured at several locations in Sacramento.  All art displayed will help to dispel myths and stereotypes about mental illness and promote messages of wellness, hope and recovery. 
If you or someone close to you is living with mental illness, we hope that you’ll take this opportunity to express your experience visually through paintings, photography or drawings that could be put on display.
Art submission guidelines:
·         One piece per artist may be submitted
·         The piece must be wall mountable artwork that is ready to hang (attached cable   or hook)
·         The piece must not exceed 24” x 36”
·         The artist of the piece must be a Sacramento County resident
·         All art entries must be prepared and submitted by Friday, April 24, 2015 along with a completed form – found here, and delivered to:
Alena Brahce at Edelman – 921 11th Street, Suite 250 – Sacramento, CA 95814
·         If you have any questions, please send an email to info@stopstigmasacramento.org
Thank you for your support.  If you would like to learn about the many other ways to get involved, please visit www.StopStigmaSacramento.org.


May is quickly approaching, which means that Mental Health Matters Month
will soon be here! Each Mind Matters recognizes that this is an especially busy time of year for everyone working in behavioral health, so we've created an easy-to-use toolkit for raising awareness in your communities about the importance of mental health and wellness.

This toolkit contains a number of resources and materials that you can utilize to conduct May is Mental Health Matters Month activities locally, including:
·         Guides for planning events/activities and spreading the word through social media
·         “Millions Like Me” Social Media Challenge Activity
·         Ready-made, customizable flyers for use by your organization (no fancy software or special graphic skills required!)

Please share this link with your networks, in your newsletters, and on your websites!


NAMI WALK - Every journey begins with that first step!
As NAMIWalks celebrates our 13th Anniversary in 2015, we are proud to be the largest and most successful mental health awareness and fundraising event in America! Through NAMIWalks' public, active display of support for people affected by mental illness, we are changing how Americans view persons with a mental illness. This is leading to ensuring that help and hope are available for those in need. Please join us as we improve lives and our communities one step at a time - Click Here for More Information
Location: William Land Park
1702 Sutterville Road
Sacramento, CA
Date: Sat May 02 2015
Distance: 5K
Check-in: 9:30 am
Start Time: 10:30 am


Interview with a Therapist
Q:  Please state your name
A:  Joe Borders

Q:  What type of license/s do you hold?
A:  Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Q:  How long have you been licensed?
A:  I became licensed on December 23, 2014

Q:  Where do you work? 
A:  I have a private practice in Roseville and Sacramento.
      I also work at Heritage Oaks Hospital as a per-diem social worker

Q:  What client population/s do you work with?
A:  In my private practice I work with a wide range of clients, but I particularly enjoy
      working with couples, LGBTQ clients, and adolescents.
      At Heritage Oaks I work with adolescents, adults, and geriatric patients struggling
      with severe mental illness and suicidality.

Q:  What type/s of therapy do you utilize in your mental health work?
A:  I primarily practice from an attachment perspective and pull on the theories and
       techniques of Imago Therapy, Object Relations Therapy, and Emotionally Focused

Q:  Which, if any, certification/s or specialization/s do you have?
A:  Being newly licensed, I have not received any certifications or dedicated training in
      any specific area, but I am thinking about becoming certified in Emotionally Focused
      Therapy. If I were to identify specializations as areas I particularly enjoy or have
      experience in, I would have to say codependency and substance abuse.

Q:  Is there any further information about yourself that you’d like to provide?
A:  I offer discounted fees for MFT interns and trainees.
      I post inspiring quotes and updates to my weekly blog on my business facebook
      page:  www.facebook.com/joebordersmft
      You can learn more about me and my practice at www.joeborders.com

Q:  What made you decide upon a career in the mental health profession?
A:  The quick answer is that I was raised by a psychologist and LCSW in private
       practice.  I knew the word “Narcissism” at age 10 and my sister and I gaged time in
       clients, ie “this movie is 2 clients long!”
       The long answer is this: “Reality” is a subjective construction. There is no such thing
       as an objective reality. We each define and construct our own realities throug
       schemas, self-concepts, and internalized objects. Therapy helps people to
       re-examine, deconstruct, and rebuild these elements in a way that opens them up
       to perceiving and constructing a more positive, healthy reality. I help people create
       positive realities. I am honored and rewarded by this experience every day, and I
       can’t think of anything else I would rather do.

Q:  Which client populations or particular types of mental health issues have been the
        most challenging for you to work with?
A:  I have worked with schizophrenic people actively hallucinating, suicidal teens, and
       severe opiate addicts in the midst of withdrawal and have felt fairly centered and
       calm, but sometimes when I am with a couple that starts yelling at each other, it can
       be hard to remain grounded. Couples work is one of my favorite things, but it can be
       hard to deal with the natural sympathetic arousal that comes from being exposed to
       hostile yelling.

Q:  How have you dealt with clients with poor boundaries?
A:  Poor boundaries are commonly a symptom of wounded attachment. Because of this,
       I really take poor boundaries as an opportunity to have meaningful processing of
       the relationship between the client and I. I gently bring the issue to the client’s
       attention and then we process what it was like for him/her to hear what I had to say.
       Together we talk about the experience and I maintain a non-collapsing presence so
       that the client can really feel that I am there for him/her, I’m not going to shame, and
       I am not going to retreat.

Q:  What advice would you give for a pre-licensed mental health professional
       contemplating private practice versus other workplace options? 
A:  Starting a private practice is hard. It really takes drive and motivation. I think it can
       be really helpful for people considering private practice to ask themselves not so
       much “do I have what it takes to build a private practice?” but “Do I have what it
       takes to build a business)”. If you are licensed and considering private practice, you
       most likely have what it takes to be an effective therapist, but getting people to
come is the hard part. Securing a full time job somewhere as an MFT will provide
       you with much more stability, but it will also limit you in ways that a private practice
       would not. I think it is most important to find which feeds your passion and pursue it.
       If you are considering a private practice, make a website as soon as you are able.
      Google tends to put newer sites on the back burner.

Q:  Which personal attributes do you believe are most important for a therapist to
A:  Empathy, compassion, and curiosity. The ability to attend to one’s own self-care. 

Q:  What are the most prominent skills that you think are essential for a pre-licensed
      therapist to focus on developing?
A:  If you are planning on working for an organization or taking insurance in your
       private practice you should really get familiar with doing paperwork. Treatment
       planning, assessment, note taking, and billing. The two jobs I’ve had in the field that
       were not a private practice model required at least a quarter of my time to be spent
       on paperwork.
       I also think it’s important to get some experience in marketing. In my most recent
      internship I represented our agency at events and returned incoming calls to the
       agency. In this field, selling your services can feel odd, and it really helps to have
      some experience in it before you have to do it on your own.

Q:  Which mental health-related books have been your personal favorites or been most
       influential for you?
A:  Favorites: anything by Oliver Sacks and The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the
     Torment of Madness by Lori Schiller
      Most influential: Pia Mellody: Facing Codependency and Sue Johnson: Hold Me

Q:  Are there any tools (e.g., specific assessments, games, etc.) that you find
      particularly effective for use in therapy?
A:  Table Topics. These are conversation starter cards that can I have found to be really
       useful in groups and in couples sessions.
       The Ouch Kit. Created by an MFT named Betsy Sansby. These can be helpful when
       working with couples who have difficulty communicating and might benefit from
       some structure.
       I also have an Imago assessment I use fairly often. It asses for unmet childhood
      needs and then uses that information to describe what one is likely looking for in

Q:  What has been the most challenging aspect of your career?
A:  The process of getting licensed. 5 years in undergrad, 4 years in grad school, 2
      year for my thesis, 3,500 hours before jumping through rings of fire called CVE and

Q:  What have you found to be the most fulfilling and meaningful aspects of your
A:  Seeing real positive change in people’s lives. Knowing I’m doing something that has
       real meaning and really helps people. When I see couples break their negative
       cycles and get onto  paths to happier relationships.

Q:   Did you have a mentor or a particular person that influenced your growth as a
A:  I had the best internship experience I could possibly imagine at Hearts and Hands
       Counseling in Roseville. My supervisors Katie Thomas and Mishelle Segur were very
       knowledgeable, warm, supportive, and allowed me to develop in my own style and

Q:  If so, what did you learn from that person and how did he or she contribute to your
       development as a mental health professional?
A:  In grad school they teach you how to do everything by the book. But doing actual
        therapy requires finesse, being an actual person, and the ability to deal with the
        unexpected. Katie and Mishelle supported me and helped me feel comfortable with
        growing that part of myself. Grad school taught me the science, theories, and
        techniques of therapy. Katie and Mishelle taught me the art of therapy.

Q:  What were the factors involved in the process of creating your own therapeutic style?
A:  The most important thing for me was just to be calm and allow myself to be genuine
       and present in the room with my clients. This freed me up to simply do therapy,
       rather than performing it. I feel like being able to do this cleared a road block that
       then allowed me to develop my own style.

Q:  How have you maintained the balance between your career and personal life and
      how have you managed to foster your own self-care?
A:  I pay attention to my body and signs that indicate that I’m neglecting my own needs.
       When I find myself feeling off for some reason I take some time for mindfulness and
       do my best to allow myself the time I need for self-care.

Q:  What do you know now that wish you knew before you became a licensed therapist?
A:  SEO Search Engine Optimization. One of the most common ways people find
       therapists nowadays is through search engines like google. There are many, many
       intricate things you can do to make your website more appealing/relevant to google
       so that you are more likely to show up when potential clients search for services.
      main things: 1) make a website soon. Google doesn’t like new sites.
       2) Blog. Updating your website often tells google you are an active entity. 3) Post
       your information with links to your website anywhere you can (therapy related sites
       are better), google considers links back to you site to be kind of like a vote for your
       site’s relevance and credibility.

Q:  What additional advice would you give to a pre-licensed therapist?
A:  -Build a network of therapist friends/colleagues who can be social support and
           consultation resources.
       -Don’t be afraid of your student loans. Repayment options are very manageable.
       -Find an internship where you feel comfortable and supported.
       -Be kind and forgiving with yourself.

Interview by Sterling Evison, LMFT

Special Feature

Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Domestic Violence but were Afraid to Ask

Margaux Helm, LMFT

Director of Programs at WEAVE

Have you ever wondered if it is appropriate to see a couple for therapy who are regularly arguing, you suspect there is abuse, but no one has disclosed it?  Have you had the experience of treating a couple who both yell and throw things so you are not sure how to assess who is the dominant aggressor?  Are you not sure if individual or couple treatment is the most clinically sound recommendation for your clients?  Is it sometimes hard to know if you should refer to a domestic violence specialist or treat yourself?

You are not alone in asking these questions.  Whether you work in an agency or private practice, it is often complicated to determine the best course of action to take when there is abuse present in an intimate partner relationship.  It is often not apparent on the surface what is happening behind closed doors.  This is due to the shame associated with abuse, denial of the abuse by the perpetrator and the tendency for victims to normalize what is happening.  Domestic violence is rarely black or white, leaving lots of room for speculation which can be dangerous (literally) when assessing a family, couple or individual.

WEAVE is the primary provider of domestic violence services in Sacramento County and is the sole Rape Crisis Center.  Last year, WEAVE answered 10,263 Support & Information Line calls, provided 1,334 victims counseling services and offered 11,267 bed-nights of safe shelter.  Having been the Director of Programs at WEAVE for over 10 years and learning to treat these cases through work in the trenches, I have some clinical recommendations to share.  The following are not a one size fits all prescription but can be used as guidelines when considering the best course of action when assessing and treating domestic violence cases.

Do not assume you know what is happening in the relationship

Make sure that you do a thorough psycho-social assessment with each client prior to starting treatment.  Do not think that if no one is talking about abuse, it is not happening.  Building trust to talk about abuse takes time.  Ask about abusive behavior in the initial phone screening and if there are any indicators that there are patterns of coercive control, physical incidents, financial manipulation, sexual abuse, violence in previous relationships, drug abuse or other red flags.  Be aware that couple therapy may not be the best approach.  Start with individual assessment sessions prior to treating clients as a couple.  If one or both of the clients are reluctant to do individual sessions, find out their reasons and let them know it helps you to create the best recommendation for treatment.  I request that clients come to their individual sessions separately and schedule them on different days.  If there is an abusive partner waiting outside, that can be intimidating for a victim.  Giving them each an hour of individual time puts them on more equal footing and gives you the time needed to make the best assessment.  It allows each partner to disclose information confidentially so that you can decide if it is safe and advisable to start couple therapy or to recommend individual counseling.

Disclose and elaborate on your mandated reporting obligations

Clients may not consider your responsibility to report child abuse if there are children in the home and they are disclosing domestic violence.  They may think that if the children are not being directly or physically abused, it will not be reported.  During the intake process is the perfect opportunity to educate clients about the effects of domestic violence on children.  Clarify that direct exposure to domestic violence is considered child abuse and when you would be mandated to report it.  You can also use this time discuss your mandated reporting responsibility regarding harm to self or others.  Individually assessing for suicidal and homicidal ideation is also important because they are often concurrent with domestic violence.

Do not use the term domestic violence

Very often clients do not relate to the term domestic violence.  They may not be married or living together and assume it does not relate to them.  The abuse may be emotional and financial but not physical so they will not think it “rates” as domestic violence.  Sometimes clients are not aware that calling someone names, humiliating them and/or controlling their actions is abuse.  You are in a powerful position to name these behaviors as abuse and acknowledge the severity of the impact on the victim.  If the client has normalized these types of behaviors because of childhood trauma, chronicity of occurrence or other reasons, you may need to educate them about healthy relationships.  Sometimes talking about what love is and isn’t can helpful.

Address safety concerns

If you suspect the client is minimizing the abuse, you can utilize an online danger assessment that can be helpful in validating if the relationship is potentially lethal www.dangerassessment.org/.  If there have been threats to the client’s life, take it seriously.  Creating a safety plan with your client will be empowering and may be lifesaving.  If a client discloses domestic violence, assess if it is safe to return to the abuser and, if not, find out if they have alternatives where they can stay such as with a trusted friend unbeknownst to the abuser or at a hotel out of the area.  If these are not options, you can offer resources for a confidential domestic violence safehouse.  You are welcome to call the WEAVE support line to help you guide your client through the safety planning process or give the number to the client if they are willing and able to call.  You can also refer to our website at www.weaveinc.org to access information on safety planning and the safehouse. 

Be aware there are many types of abuse

The vast majority of clients at WEAVE have more than one type of abuse occurring and many do not have any physical abuse.  We recognize that emotional/mental, financial, sexual and spiritual abuse are all types of domestic violence and may or may not occur with physical abuse.  Clients tend to minimize the other types of abuse, thinking that they somehow do not count.  When their experience and reactions are validated, it often creates the safety for them to disclose a broader range of behaviors that are abusive.  Sexual abuse is often the most hidden form of abuse and asking an open ended question such as if their partner does anything that makes them uncomfortable sexually, can be a way to open up communication.  Abuse is often hidden.  The perpetrator can use coercive control in many areas including drugs, alcohol, mental health and reproduction.  I will talk more about these during my presentation at the SVC-CAMFT meeting on April 17th.

Trauma will impact assessment and treatment

When abuse is occurring in a relationship, it is often challenging for the victim to disclose important information because it is not remembered and/or it is too dangerous to reveal family secrets.  Be patient and remember there may be valid reasons that a client is not forthcoming with information.  Complex trauma and a history of adverse childhood experiences can compound the issues present in the current abusive relationship.  Creating a safe container for disclosure by remaining nonjudgmental and pacing with the client will allow secrets to be shared when the client feels safe.  Keep in mind that perpetrators often have histories of trauma and are likely to normalize their behaviors.  Be firm with your clinical boundaries while remaining compassionate about their situation.

Recommend individual before couple therapy if there is active or recent abuse

Many of us were taught in graduate school to recommend individual services if there is domestic violence in the relationship.  That sounds so easy.  Not so.  Does this mean one or more incidents and in what time frame?  How much is too much abusive behavior?  When people are in conflict, they often say and do things that are hurtful.  Determining what is abuse and what is part of normal conflict is dependent on the experience of the individuals and the judgment of the clinician.  If one person is fearful in the relationship, if there is coercive control, if one or both partners are not able to manage their anger without being abusive, individual work before couple counseling is recommended.  If couple therapy is started without their individual issues being addressed, it will be less effective and potentially dangerous.

Remember it happens to men too

Sometimes clinicians will ask questions to a female to determine if there has been victimization in the relationship but the same questions are not asked to a male.  It is important to ask the same questions to both partners in both gay and straight relationships.  Men also minimize their victimization and have barriers to disclosing the truth about abuse.  If the whole family is seeking therapy, talk to the children about their perspective.  Ask if there are things happening at home that make them feel scared or worried.  There are instruments to assess abuse in couples including conflict tactics, lethality and anger styles in the book Gender Inclusive Treatment of Intimate Partner Abuse by John Hamel.  It is a useful resource for these assessment tools as well as how to approach the issue from a family systems, gender inclusive model.

Consult and refer if necessary

If you are out of your comfort zone because the presenting issues are too complex or the danger level makes you anxious, you can call WEAVE for extra support in knowing what to do next.  Our multi-lingual support and information line at 916-920-2952 is available 24 hours 7 days a week to talk to someone who is a Certified Domestic Violence Counselor.  The counselors on the phones have specialized training in domestic violence to help assess risk factors, provide guidance regarding safety and provide relevant referrals.  WEAVE also offers free drop in individual triage counseling and group orientation sessions that educate about domestic and sexual violence as well as other services WEAVE provides.  All in person services are available in English and Spanish.  Information about WEAVE services can be found on the website at www.weaveinc.org.

The presentation to SVC-CAMFT on April 17th will focus on a gender inclusive approach to domestic violence assessment and intervention.  We will discuss mutual vs unilateral abuse, traumatic bonding, and correlating factors to domestic violence, how to determine risk factors and recommendations for individual vs couple treatment.  There will be plenty of time for group discussion about practical application and to answer questions making the complex issue of domestic violence more manageable.  


The views expressed in the Special Feature Articles do not necessarily reflect the Sacramento Valley Chapter of CAMFT or CAMFT. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author. No information in this articles will be understood as official.  Other views and commentary are welcome and will be published as long as they are respectful and stick to the topic.


Letters to the Editor
Welcome to the Letters to the editor Section.  We want to hear what you want to say about SVC-CAMFT, CAMFT, current events and issues.  Please see below guidelines on submitting a letter.

 We Have No Letters to the Editor!  Let your voice be heard!  Write a letter to the editor!

 Letters to the Editor Guidelines
  • You must be a current SVC-CAMFT member.
  • You cannot be a SVC-CAMFT board member or employee.
  • It must be no more than 250 words.
  • You must send in your full name so I can verify that you are a member.
  • If you wish your name not to be published please indicate.
  • Any letter published without a name will be listed as Anonymous MFT or Anonymous pre-license or Anonymous Associate
  • All letters must be respectful and without inappropriate words or phrases including name calling.
  • Please send your letters to newslettereditor@sacramentovalleycamft.org
  • If you do not get a response back within 2 days that it has been received please email back.
  • If there is a problem with the letter (language, misspellings, length or appropriateness) you will receive an email back with the reason for the rejection and a chance to fix the problem and send it back in. 


Psyched about Books and Movies

Welcome to "Psyched about Books and Movies!"  Each month we include a book or movie review by one of our readers.  Please see below guidelines on submitting a review.  Happy reading!

Title:  The Gauguin Connection
Publisher: Estelle Ryan (self published)
Copyright: 2012
Author: Estelle Ryan
Reviewer:  Heather Blessing, MFT Intern
Review:  Time for a little fun.  My brother and mother turned me onto this series.  The main character is a high functioning Autistic woman who studied psychology and whose expertise is reading non-verbal body language and being able to tell if someone is telling the truth.  She describes the struggles of her rigid thinking and going into her mind and interacting with others.  She also describes the psychology and the nuances about reading body language.  If you want something interesting and fun (fast paced too) that is a mystery type series - this book and series is for you.


Book/Movie Review Submission Policy

All reviews are not to exceed 1000 key strokes.
Your review should include the title, a short synopsis about why you like or dislike it, and the author’s name & publication date. You can also include a picture of the book and/or movie. After review, we will publish your review in our next newsletter. Reviews submitted that are longer than 1000 characters will be returned for editing. It is best to type your review in a Microsoft Word document to note how many key strokes (characters with spaces), how big your review is, and for your own record keeping. You can then copy and paste it into the online submission form located here (
http://www.sacramentovalleycamft.org/Newsletter.html) To learn more about checking your review for key strokes, spelling grammer and size click below: (http://www.sacramentovalleycamft.org/How_to_check_review_in_microsoft_word.doc).

It is your responsibility to check for spelling and grammar errors.  Reviews must be received by the 20th of the month in order to appear in the next newsletter.

You can submit your review by: Visiting our webpage: www.sacramentovalleycamft.org

Mailing it in: P.O. Box 163385, Sacramento, CA 95816


Advertising and Announcements


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Free consultation.
Website: www.psyclaw.com
Telephone: 916.641.7300


One private office space available immediately for full time use in Roseville; perfect for private practice. Referrals and sublets possible. Please visit www.rosevilleofficespace.weebly.com for photos and details or call 916-783-0563.



INSPIRED LEARNING IN THE REDWOODS, June 16-19, 2015. LMFT's can earn up to 19 CEU's. Our Key Note Speaker will be the renowned author and educator, FRED LUSKIN, PhD, Director of Stanford University's Forgiveness Project and author of the bestseller, Forgive for Good. This Conference, focusing on FORGIVENESS, ADDICTION  and WELL-BEING, takes place in the serene, natural redwood setting of Ratna Ling Retreat Center, located 2.5 hours north of San Francisco. Stay on-site in deluxe cottage accommodations. Enjoy delicious organic vegetarian cuisine while learning and rejuvenating body and mind. Visit http://ratnaling.org/ceu-psychology-retreats/ for more information.



Couples Communication Workshop
Sunday April, 19th, 2015 from 9am to 5pm.  Space is Limited.
Cost is $350 per couple.  Sliding fee is available for those who qualify.

Location: The Place Within Counseling Folsom
530 Plaza Drive, Suite 120
Folsom, CA 95630
Contact: Paige McAtee, MFT Intern     (916) 271-523
Supervised by Suzy Lee, MFC 52675
Workshop is based on Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) and the book, Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Sue Johnson.  The workshop is meant to be an adjunct to couples therapy and clients will continue with their couples therapist after workshop.  Couples will be taught the seven conversations to improve communication and will have an opportunity to practice these discussions and skills in private.


Advertising Policy for the Newsletter

All ads and reviews are not to exceed 1000 key strokes. Chapter members advertise at no cost. Non-members can advertise about employment opportunities at no cost. Non-members, non employment-related ads follow these rates:


$10 for 200 key strokes

$20 for 201-600 key strokes

$30 for 601-1000 key strokes

Full page and ½ page ads are not accepted.


All ads contain text only; no graphics will be included.

Ads submitted that are longer than 1000 characters will be returned for editing. It is best to type your ad in a Microsoft Word document to note how many characters, how big your ad is, and for your own record keeping. Please visit our site to find more information on how to use Microsoft word for editing. You can then copy and paste it on our online submission form located here (http://www.sacramentovalleycamft.org/Newsletter.html)

It is your responsibility to check for spelling and grammar errors.


Ads must be received by the 25th of the month in order to appear in the next newsletter. Ads are placed in the order that they are received.


You can submit and pay for your ad by:


Visiting our webpage: www.sacramentovalleycamft.org

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