Summer Update from Kathleen Wenger, LMFT — Manager, M.A. Psychology Professional Development and Clinical Training

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Kays Professional Photo


Greetings to the Pepperdine Psychology Community!

We are embarking upon the mid-point of the summer session and we all know how this feels.  We’re dragging a bit more these days, but none-the-less there is good hallway chatter and a desire to have that great summer break in August!   I have included a recap below of some of our popular events and workshops over the past few months, and hope to see you at the ones we are preparing for the Fall semester.

The 2014 Annual Conference, celebrating the 50th year anniversary for CAMFT in Indian Wells May 1-4 “The Gold Standard-Integrating Mental Health and Community”  was a great event! It was wonderful seeing so many Pepperdine students and alumni.  The Keynote speakers; Claudia Black, Joan Borysenko, Robert Weisse and more, were all excellent as were the many other workshops throughout the conference.  I have included some great photos taken during the conference of our Pepperdine Family.  Students really enjoyed volunteering at the conference, as they get to attend for free AND get to know the presenters that they are assigned to assist!


I hope you have a great summer!


We had two fantastic Clinical Connections events at the Irvine campus last semester. On March 7th, IGC Professor Steve Sultanoff, PhD presented “Deliberate Practice Training: Transforming Theory into Practice.” Attendees were able to work directly with Steve as he demonstrated an actual training session.

There was a packed house on March 28th for Linda Buck’s, presentation on “Spirituality, Religion and Psychotherapy.”  Her presentation was literally earth shaking as we experienced an earthquake at the end of her talk

Dr. Edward Shafranske met with our new MAP club located at IGC (but its open to all MAP students!)  and spoke about issues regarding to entrance into a PhD or Psy.D program. Psy.D candidates Andrew Walker and Al Ibarra followed up with a roundtable discussion of the nuts and bolts of applying to doctoral programs.

Kathleen Wenger, Alice Richardson and Sheila Sayani met with IGC students in May, to discuss the exciting opportunities as an LMFT or “Life After Pepperdine” (a funny title, as all three of us continue to work here!)  We told of our involvements professionally and of wonderful examples of our alumni and what they are doing.  Students LOVED this new panel discussion.

Our popular Private Practice Visit was a success at our alumna Erin Pollards practice in Irvine, CA in May.  Students get a first-hand opportunity to see how one sets up a private practice with all of the important business considerations.

The 22nd Year of the MFT Consortium of Orange County continues to be a GREAT opportunity for agencies and MFT programs to meet and discuss important clinical training issues, BBS updates, and more.  We meet at IGC in Jan, March, May, July and September on the third Wed from 9:30-11:00am.  I am the co-chair for this consortium. Please attend our next meeting! July 16th!


West LA

Three stellar Clinical Connections workshops during the spring 2014 semester. Pepperdine alumna Ilona Strasser, LMFT started us off with her even entitled, “Working with Teens: Techniques and Strategies for Individuals, Dyads and Groups.” Ilona presented a fun and interesting workshop that captured her passion for working with kids and teens. She shared about her path into this specialization and provided a variety of useful interventions for attendees to use with their own clients.

In March, Lara Garibian, LMFT, talked about “Navigating the World of Community Mental Health: Developing Clinical Skills, Practicing Self-Care and Getting Appropriate Training.” Lara presented a realistic view of working in community mental health, and gave a variety of extremely useful tips and suggestions to thrive in the setting. Lara’s approach was welcoming and attendees reported feeling like she gave them a positive and uplifting way to view the challenges in community mental health settings.

Following Lara in April, Peter Sardelich, an LMFT practicing in Pasadena, presented a unique workshop entitled, “Therapists and Clients: Why and how you should Care About Legitimate Suffering.” Petar put together a riveting workshop that elicited deep discussion and thought-provoking ideas. Attendees left rejuvenated and with new ideas to consider.

Aside from the Clinical Connections series, West LA’s other professional development event included a Private Practice visit at Pepperdine alumna Cindy Shadel, LMFT’s practice in El Segundo. A group of eight joined to hear about Cindy’s path to private practice, as well as her challenges. Attendees left feeling excited about private practice and hopeful that one day that will be their path.



The Encino Graduate Campus started their spring Clinical Connections workshops by having Dr. Carla Elia present “Psychosocial Implications of Living with HIV/AIDS.”  The students who attended this event spoke highly of Dr. Elia’s knowledge and they loved how she shared her own experiences working with this population.   Dr. Elia briefly explained the medical aspects of HIV/Aids, as well as the history and statistics of this syndrome. Patients experience a multitude of emotional changes and it was helpful for our future therapists to become aware of treatment considerations and possible countertransference.  Our next Clinical Connections, “The Magic of Metaphor” was presented by Patrick Madden, MA, LEP.  There were 24 students and alumni attending this workshop.  Mr. Madden showed us that metaphors and story-telling are well accepted as excellent tools for “reframing” how clients view themselves and the challenging situations with which they are striving to cope. The “magic” of these tools lies in the fact that they are indirect approaches which means they have the power to: reduce resistance, circumvent ego defenses and, enable the client to save face while remaining open to new insights and more adaptive options. The students in attendance raved about this presentation and shared a lot of very positive comments on the evaluations.

Alice Richardson presented a May Coffee Talk PowerPoint presentation on the LPCC License, along with our three regular student information meetings.


This summer, I am continuing our casual Coffee Talk series this semester in May and July giving students an opportunity to learn from each other’s questions and lessen their anxiety as they interview for practicum positions.

I met up with students and alumni that attended the annual CAMFT Conference in Indian Wells, CA May 1-4.  It was CAMFTS 50th year celebration…and we really had a wonderful time meeting up with

As usual, on the Clinical Training side, we are providing four information meetings at each of the three campuses, each term, for our MACLP track students: the New MACLP Student Meeting, Practicum Information Meeting, Agency Information Meeting and the Intern Registration Meeting.

Here are two links to our department activities/schedule/events



Advance Your Professional Opportunities

Enrich your knowledge of psychology while you advance your professional opportunities through the Department of Professional Development in the Master of Arts in Psychology program.

The following free programs are available to students and alumni at all three evening format graduate campuses:

  • Clinical Connections
    There are many clinical issues trainees and interns become aware of only after entering the field and interacting with clients. Clinical Connections gives you the opportunity to network with licensed and pre-licensed MFTs and Psy.D.s from other universities in order to discuss clinical issues, learn from other’s experiences, and gain support and insight for your career in psychology. For more information on past and upcoming events, click on the campuses to the left.
  • Private Practice and Agency Visits
    Visit the successful practices of Pepperdine faculty and alumni to learn about the business aspect of running a private practice in the therapy profession and for a sneak preview of your possible future. In addition to practice visits, we also feature visits to mental health agencies that employ MAP and MACLP track students.
  • Coffee Talk
    Discuss MFT issues and professional opportunities with Kathleen Wenger (IGC), Rebecca Reed (WLA) and Alice Richardson (EGC) of the M.A. in Psychology Professional Development and Clinical Training Departments. Coffee Talk also features occasional guest speakers.

  • MFT Consortium of Orange County
    The Consortium represents mental health clinical training agencies throughout Orange County. The Consortium meets on the third Wednesday of every other month to discuss programming and training issues.
  • Focus on Psychology Blog
    Our new department blog features information on psychology associations, chapter and campus meetings, events, workshops, opportunities for licensure hours, and professional opportunities in your area. It also includes feature articles such as faculty profiles, information on locating a practicum site and licensing requirements as well as student success stories. You can sign up for a monthly email summarizing the month’s new posts.
  • Annual Career and Practicum Fairs
    Get a jump start on your search for a practicum site or job at the annual Career and Practicum Fairs. Here’s a list of attendees confirmed for the upcoming Irvine fair on March 26.
  • Practicum Mentor Program
    Connect with “seasoned” practicum students to answer your questions and increase your confidence concerning the practicum experience. Our mentors are students who have a semester or two of practicum already under their belt and who would be happy to offer some friendly advice as you get started at your site!
  • Clinical Training Meetings
    For more information on the MACLP New Student Meeting, Preparing for Practicum Meeting and Intern Registration Meeting, visit Pepperdine’s Practicum website.

As always, on behalf of Rebecca Reed, Alice Richardson and Sheila Sayani, and our wonderful graduate assistants, we thank you for your support of everything we do for our students in the M.A. Psychology Department of Professional Development and Clinical Training!

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