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.
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.
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
CAMFT: Pre-licensed membership is $70 annually http://www.camft.org/COS/Membership/Membership_Application/COS/Join_CAMFT/Join_Now.aspx?hkey=aca0776b-1203-479b-9370-235dae353553
OC CAMFT: Must be a CAMFT member in good standing. Annual fees for Pre-Licensed members are $30.00 ($40.00 after January 31st).