Month: July 2015

Time Travel Into Your Future! Come to a Private Practice Visit!

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We regularly hear from our alums that Private Practice and Agency Visits are among the most inspiring events we host. Through these events, you have the opportunity to visit the successful practices of Pepperdine faculty and alumni and mental health agencies to learn about various career paths for a sneak preview of your career options.

What is it like to own and run a private practice? What is it like to see clients and patientsoutside of an agency? What does it take?! Your next opportunity to find out is coming up on August 21 at 10:00 a.m.! Learn from Pepperdine Alumna Kathleen Wenger, LMFT, LPCC and Clint Christie, MFT Intern, as Kathleen shares her private practice in Laguna Beach.

Kays Professional Photo

**Space is limited to 12 students, so be sure to RSVP**

For more information and to RSVP, contact: or 949-223-2560.

Can’t make it to Kathleen’s event next month? We are planning another Private Practice Visit with Sulabha ‘Su’ Abhyankar, MSW, LCSW at her office in the Sanctuary Wellness Center and Yoga Studio in Tustin. Date and time TBA — sometime in September! Su gave an inspiring presentation at the recent annual OC CAMFT luncheon.


We are also scheduling Private Practice and Agency Visits for the West LA and Encino areas. We hope to see you at one soon!


2016 CPA Convention Call for Proposals — Deadline August 30

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April 2016 may seem like a long time from now, but the deadline for presentation submissions for the California Psychological Association Convention that month is right around the corner! The convention will be in Irvine on April 14-17, and the presentation proposal deadline is August 30. The poster proposal deadline will be a later date to be announced.

To help guide your thoughts about how to translate the great idea in your mind into an amazing presentation, CPA has the following advice:

“(1)    Be sure that you consider implications for a multicultural patient population, including racial and ethnic or cultural diversity, disabilities, gender, sexual orientation, spirituality, developmental life-span and other special population elements, on individuals. We welcome proposals that illustrate the effective integration of research and practice.

(2)    Consider how you will present your information in an interactive format that will engage your audience in a meaningful way.  Our attendees do not appreciate a presentation heavily dependent on lecture and PowerPoint slides, so please keep that in mind. They do appreciate information based on your significant experience and expertise.

(3)    Consider how you will demonstrate the application of your information to work settings of psychologists; think in terms of what the attendees will walk away with that they can use with their patients, students, or in their particular work setting.

We welcome proposals on a wide range of topics related to clinical practice, training and education, public service, the role of psychology in social justice, technology as it relates to psychology, and applications of psychology beyond the clinical setting such as sports, organizations, conflict resolution, and other non-clinical environments.”

Recap of This Year So Far — See You At Our Fall Events!

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by Kathleen Wenger, M.A., LMFT, LPCC, Manager M.A. Psychology Professional Development and Clinical Training

Summer is relatively slow in the M.A. Psychology Department of Professional Development and Clinical Training as we plan for an exciting series of fall events. So I wanted to take this opportunity to fill you in about some of the enriching events for students in the MAP and MACLP tracks that we’ve had so far this year and encourage you to attend the events that we host this fall! In addition to these events, there are several resources that help guide you through the practicum experience. You can make an appointment for a Quick Meet to receive a personalized explanation of the events and services offered by the department and to have any questions about practicum answered. If you want more information about an agency, you can stop by the GA’s office to read through students’ practicum site reviews (strengths and challenges). We also encourage you to use the Mentor Program, which puts you in contact with a student who has experience at a site you are interested in.

Irvine Graduate Campus

As we do each semester, we welcomed new students to the Irvine Graduate Campus with Quick Meets, our series of one-on-one meetings with new students. These personalized explanations of our departments’ events and services, as well as an overview of practicum basics for MFT students and other subjects of concern for individuals new to the program help our new students to dive right into their program prepared for success.

In February we hosted a Clinical Connections event with George Nalbach, Ph.D. and Connie Saindon, author of The Murder Survivor’s Handbook. Dr. Nalbach introduced a couple whose son was tragically murdered several years ago to share their experience with the grief and loss process. Connie provided clinical strategies for working with clients who have experienced similar tragedies. Attendees felt honored to hear the couple’s story and to receive valuable tips for working with clients who have experienced the violent loss of loved ones. One individual summed up the evening’s event by stating that “While the content and discussion was heavy, saddening, and emotional, I felt most impacted and moved by the display of human resiliency and growth. It was inspiring to hear this couple’s journey through their grief and loss, what they have learned about the process, and what they have learned about themselves.”

In February we also hosted the annual GSEP Career and Practicum Fair: Career Connections. This event gave our current students and alumni an opportunity to meet with potential practicum and internship employers. We had an outstanding turnout in terms of attendees as well as agencies – approximately 50-60 students and alums met with fifteen of the top mental health agencies in Orange County! We followed this event with the annual Practicum Mentor Fair in March. At the Mentor Fair, students ready to begin practicum had an opportunity to hear about the experiences current practicum students have had at their agencies.

Our popular Private Practice and Agency Visit series continued with two events in Orange County in March. I hosted a visit at my practice in Laguna Beach and Chris Hoff, LMFT, hosted one at his agency in Costa Mesa, the California Family Institute. One attendee at my event commented that he felt “put right at ease to ask many questions about the nuts and bolts of starting, managing, and maintaining a private practice such as this. We were also able to discuss other business aspects such as marketing tools, networking, and even google analytics to ensure that we will have enough clients to keep our businesses afloat, yet not so many that we ourselves start to drown and lose our effectiveness.”

As we do every semester, we held a New Student Meeting, the Practicum Tips Meeting, and the Intern Registration Meeting to help MACLP students along their practicum journey. Students have responded to this semester’s series of meetings by telling us things like “it is so great that the program goes the extra mile for us like this” compared to other similar programs! It’s a great vote of confidence to know the impact that we’re having on our current students.

The MFT Consortium of Orange County continues to be held at the Irvine Graduate Campus on the third Wednesday of every other month. The next scheduled meetings are scheduled for September 16 and November 18. For the past 20 years, I have been the host and co-chair of the MFT Consortium. This is a collaborative setting that brings together mental health agencies and universities with MFT graduate programs in an effort to foster community partnerships. The meetings serve as a networking opportunity for agencies to be connected with key personnel to discuss MFT employment and practicum training opportunities, programming and clinical training concerns.

West Los Angeles Graduate Campus

West LA started its spring semester with a Clinical Connections topic that we all need to visit often. Alumna Juanita Frassini Goode, MA, presented, “Self-Love Your Way through Life: The Clinical Value of Practicing Self-Love for Yourself and Clients.” Juanita’s workshop was very fun and interactive. Attendees engaged in a variety of self-love activities with the multitude of art supplies that Juanita provided. Juanita shared her unique approach to practicing with clients, which included her approach from her license in spiritual psychology.  Participants left feeling excited to try out some of these new ideas and approaches with clients.

Following Juanita’s workshop on self-love, premarital counseling guru, Debbi Molnar, MA, LMFT, LPCC, spoke about, “Premarital Counseling versus Couples Therapy: Understanding the Difference and Making it Work in Your Practice.” With a beautiful manual that Debbi put together, she very clearly explained the differences between the two. Debbi shared with the audience how her sessions with couples therapy look, versus how her sessions with premarital counseling look.  She also spoke about the programs for couples that she has put together, which she often holds as weekend workshops. Debbi’s impressive experience and background was very apparent and attendees walked away with an organized and clear-cut way to practice premarital counseling versus couples therapy.

Jody Echegaray, Psy.D, presented the last of the Clinical Connections workshops. Jody’s workshop, entitled “Mass Media—Its Effects, Motivations for Use, and Media-based Clinical Interventions” proved to be a very important topic amongst clinicians. Jody gave a quick historical timeline on the development of media and how it has come to play a part in the practice of psychotherapy. Jody also provided great examples of interventions he has used with his own clients. The workshop addressed some very poignant issues that media can both harm and help in the practice of psychotherapy. Participants were very impressed by the amount of information and were very intrigued by the topic.

West LA’s other professional development events included a Coffee Talk by Alice Richardson, MA, LMFT, LPCC and a Private Practice Visit to alum Curt Widhalm’s practice. For the Coffee Talk, Alice answered questions about pursuing the LPCC. While the development of the license in California is still new, many students and alums struggle with knowing much about it. Alice, who has pursued the license, shared her impressive knowledge about the license and its benefits. Students who attended felt grateful for the clarifications.  Later in March, students and alums visited Curt’s practice to learn about the development and running of a private practice. The room was full as Curt spoke about his process to private practice and laying it out straight for how it goes. Attendees felt very informed and lucky to have attended this private practice field trip.

Encino Graduate Campus

This spring, the Encino Graduate Campus was pleased to have Kent Toussaint, LMFT, LPCC, speak at a Clinical Connections about “The 1-2-3’s for Treating Resistant Teens.” Kent gave attendees a better understanding of how to build rapport, earn trust, and create alliances with teens.  He also spoke about the developmental needs of teens, and how unconditional positive regard helps with this age group.  At the end of Kent’s presentation, the attendees had a hands-on demonstration of the games and toys Kent uses for ice-breakers and rapport building.

In March, Dr. Dennis Lowe graciously gave a 3-hour presentation about “What’s New in the DSM-5” for Pepperdine Alumni who are studying for the licensing exam.  This presentation was held on a Saturday afternoon, and was well received by all attendees.  Many alumni attended and seemed engaged and interested in this presentation, and some alumni even sent emails and notes of appreciation.

March is National Gambling Awareness Month, and the Encino Graduate Campus was fortunate to have an Alumna who specializes in Gambling Addiction. Audrey Johnson, PsyD, LMFT, spoke about the differences between recreational gambling and gambling addictions.  Between 3% and 6% of the general population is impacted by some degree of problem gambling.  Audrey spoke about helpful tools, assessment inventories and treatment plans she uses with her problem gambling clients.

Also in March, Sheila Sayani and Alice Richardson organized a Practicum Mentor Fair “Mixer” where seasoned students who are near graduating spoke with students taking the Pre-Practicum class.  The students enjoyed this event immensely and we plan to continue doing these mixers in future semesters.

Alice Richardson, Clinical Training & Professional Development Coordinator, spoke about the LPCC License at “Coffee Talks” at both Encino and WLA Campuses.  Encino also presented New Student Meetings, Tips for Practicum Meetings and an Intern Registration Meeting, which all three campuses present every semester to keep students as informed as we can.

The Next Local Psychological Association Events

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Orange County Psychological Association

Psychology, The Arts, and Cinematherapy
With Patricia Moulton, Ph.D.
Saturday, August 22, 2015
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Argosy University
601 Lewis St., Orange

Los Angeles County Psychological Association

Existential-Integrative Therapy for the Polarized Mind: Theory and Practice (Morning Session)
The Polarized Mind: Why It’s Killing Us and What We Can Do About It (Afternoon Session)
with Kirk Schneider, Ph.D.
Saturday, September 12, 2015
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
LACPA Office
17277 Ventura Blvd., #202, Encino


2015 LACPA Convention — Network with Pepperdine Presenters and Award Recipients!

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The annual Los Angeles County Psychological Association convention is coming up on October 24 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Culver City. Congratulations to our former Irvine Testing Desk G.A. and Pepperdine Psy.D. student Ahoo Karimian, who will receive the “Distinguished Service to LACPA by a Graduate Student” award! Karimian_Photo_web

The convention will also feature Pepperdine Psy.D. student Lara Tucci, who will co-present “The Epidemic of Obesity: Psychological Sequela.”


Pepperdine faculty Dr. Carol Falender will co-present “Complexities of Culture: Opportunities and Ethical Challenges.”


This year’s keynote speaker will be Dr. David Barlow, an internationally known expert on anxiety disorders. Go here to check out all of the presentations and to register!

Call for Presentations: Christian Association for Psychological Studies 2016 International Conference

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The 2016 CAPS International Conference will take place in Pasadena on March 10-12 and will feature the theme “CONNECT: The Healing Power of Relationship.” You are invited to submit a proposal for the general program by September 30. A student paper competition is also taking place, with a deadline of October 31. Interested? Go here to learn more about CAPS and read on below for details about how to submit a proposal!

All General Program Submissions
Due September 30, 2015

Student Paper Competition
Due October 31, 2015

You are invited to submit a proposal for a presentation at the CAPS 2016 International Conference.

Our purpose is to bring students, professors, clinicians, researchers and pastors together in order to promote the relationships amongst the behavioral sciences, counseling practices and Christian faith. Preference is given to proposals submitted by CAPS members.


Consider the presentation you wish to propose using the Presentation Format options listed below.
Enlist colleagues to present with you if the format requires more than one presenter.
TO SUBMIT YOUR INFORMATION/PAPER return to this page once online acceptance has begun.
At the end of the on-line submission document is a “Participation Agreement”. Be sure the primary presenter reads and discusses the terms of the “Participation Agreement” with all co-presenters; the primary presenter must check a box indicating ALL co-presenters agree to these terms.
Make a copy of this proposal for your own records.

**Incomplete proposals will not be considered for the program until ALL requested information is submitted. Your proposal will be acknowledged within one week after receipt. Proposal acceptance/rejection status will be noted on the website; this information will be posted by December 15, 2015.

Seminar: Thorough discussion of a topic by an individual or group of up to four persons having essentially the same perspective. Proposals must clearly define the subject to be discussed. Names, qualifications, addresses, and phone numbers of the presenter(s) must be listed. Length of time is one or two hours. NOTE: There are very few 2-hour slots on the program.

Symposium: Thorough discussion or multiple short papers of topic by a panel of two to four persons having different viewpoints, or representing different approaches to a common topic, plus a neutral moderator. Proposals must clearly define the subject to be discussed, and list the titles/ authors of each paper, as well as the overarching theme of the symposium. Names, qualifications, addresses, and phone numbers of the presenter(s) must be listed. Length of time is one to two hours. NOTE: There are very few 2-hour slots on the program.

Clinical Demonstration: Demonstration of a particular therapeutic style or technique providing an opportunity to observe its application through direct observation. Length of time is one to two hours. NOTE: There are very few 2-hour slots on the program.

Paper: Papers may be 30 minutes or 1-hour in length. If you prefer a 30 minute slot, you will share the hour with another presenter whose paper topic is similar to your own. Student papers will be considered; they are encouraged to present with their mentoring professors.

Poster Session: Walk-by display of a paper or research, showcased in a way that encourages interchange between authors and attendees. Summary copies or entire work should be available for distribution. Students may submit presentations in this format with or without faculty co-authors.


The annual CAPS Student Paper Competition recognizes graduate and undergraduate students for excellence in Christian psychological research and scholarship. Three prizes for student papers are presented at the annual conference. The prizes consist of: graduated cash awards for 1st ($250), 2nd ($150), and 3rd ($100) places. All 3 winners shall receive complimentary one-year student memberships to CAPS and a certificate suitable for framing.

Please note the following guidelines: Submitters shall be matriculated full-time students in either undergraduate or graduate programs at the time of writing the paper. Papers should clearly state on the title page only whether the student is submitting as an undergraduate or graduate student, and only one paper per student may be submitted to a competition.

The typical submission can be theoretical or empirical, and should be conceived and written by one student, or possibly with just one additional student co-author.
Faculty mentors or sponsors may provide guidance and editing input, but guidance should fall short of the threshold of being a co-author.
The full paper should be emailed as an attachment, received by midnight of the published deadline, and be in Microsoft Word format to assist with blind review by a panel of judges.
In cases where co-authors win a prize, the cash prize winnings shall be divided, presumably, between the authors, and, if applicable, non-cash prizes will be awarded to the first author. Certificates, however, are provided to all authors.

You may request a copy of the assessment rubric and submit completed papers by October 31, 2015 at the following address: Dr. Joshua Hook,

I Was Inspired By Another Great OC CAMFT Event!

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by Nicola Lippetti

As an MFT student, I had heard about the different professional associations I should join- from AAMFT to CAMFT to OC CAMFT. I thought it was great to have the opportunity to join a network of people who share the same interests and are working toward the same goals. I wondered though, what are these associations really about?

I was enthused when I found out that I had the opportunity to attend the OC CAMFT “Celebrate Everything MFT” Luncheon Gala with my supervisor Kathleen Wenger, MA LMFT, LPCC, Manager of Professional Development and Clinical Training and fellow Pepperdine Students. Kathleen raffled off 6 free spots at the Pepperdine table to students; and there was such great interest in the raffle that Kathleen purchased a second table for Pepperdine so more students could attend at a discounted rate.

camft lunch 4

Many Orange County MFT schools and mental health agencies attended the Luncheon Gala at the beautiful Costa Mesa Country Club. Some of the agencies had tables set up, including Anaheim Lighthouse, Clearview Treatment Programs, and The Discovery House, which was a great resource for students who were still in need of a practicum site. It was helpful to see which agencies attended the Luncheon to gauge how active and involved they are with different events. It was also great to see the different schools that attended, from California State University, Fullerton to Argosy University, the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, and Azusa Pacific University. The support from the students from different schools was great because we are all on the same team. The encouragement and support from the pre-licensed and licensed MFTs and the different agencies was palpable and I was so inspired to be pursuing a career with the caliber of professionals in attendance.

camft lunch 5

The most rewarding part of the Luncheon was speaker Su Abhyankar. She spoke with such passion, and I was truly moved by her message. Su emphasized the gift of empathy and the role of burnout for therapists. I gained more self-awareness through a mindful breathing exercise that she led; afterwords I felt that I had a greater sense of myself. I learned that self-awareness is a valuable skill to have as a therapist. Therapists should be aware of their own needs and have a connection with themselves so that they do not get lost in their clients, which can lead to burn out or compassion fatigue. I think that this was an important lesson to learn, even as a student because if you do not take care of yourself, you cannot take care of others. Su’s talk inspired me to do more acts of kindness for others as well as myself. Part of taking care of myself will be to seek personal psychotherapy because I know now that you cannot give what you do not receive.


Missed this event? Don’t worry — we’re planning a Private Practice Visit to Su’s practice in Tustin for September!

What other Pepperdine attendees are saying:

“I had a great time at the OC CAMFT Luncheon. I enjoyed networking with the other MFT students, interns, professionals, and agency representatives from all over Southern California. I learned about new trainee, volunteer, and intern opportunities in Orange County. The keynote speaker gave a memorable talk about how to avoid burnout, guided the audience through a mindfulness exercise and discussed the importance of self-compassion. Overall the event was a fun and engaging way to meet new colleagues and represent Pepperdine’s MFT students.” -Patrick Murray

“I really enjoyed the OC CAMFT Luncheon Gala. I felt fortunate to be a part of such an excellent event. The Luncheon Gala was a great opportunity to meet professionals in the field and also students from Pepperdine as well as from other schools. Everybody involved with the event was incredibly warm and inviting and I felt at ease for the whole Luncheon. All of the speakers were great. The final speaker, Su Abhyankar was excellent. I really enjoyed her talk about Compassion Fatigue, Vicarious Traumatization and Role of burnout. The whole afternoon was filled with information regarding not only CAMFT, but also future workshops and even potential training and job opportunities. The food was pretty good too! This was definitely a top notch event and I look forward to attending another.” -Johnathan Morales

Membership Info

CAMFT: Pre-licensed membership is $70 annually

OC CAMFT: Must be a CAMFT member in good standing. Annual fees for Pre-Licensed members are $30.00 ($40.00 after January 31st).