Month: November 2015

First Thoughts as a Student Volunteer

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by Akshay Mehta

If you are a woman reading this right now, I’d like you to think about a scenario for a moment. Imagine yourself as a young teen seeking therapy for an unplanned pregnancy. You sit down on a nice comfortable couch in a pleasantly calm room with décor and atmospheric conditions tailored to immediately tone down your anxiety. As you prepare your thoughts, the door opens and a male therapist walks in. Wait…what?

Your first thoughts might be, “How is he going to understand anything I’m going through?”, “Is he a substitute therapist?”, “How do I start talking and what am I comfortable sharing?” Well, in the near future, I may potentially be that male therapist facing an environment dominated by female patients and issues.

I recently began a volunteer position at Claris Health Clinic. Claris’ mission is to empower women and men to make informed and positive choices in regards to their sexual and relational health. Additionally, Claris isn’t controlled by a linear way of thought or a strict religious ideology. Its utmost aim is to just help people make the best productive choices for themselves.

At first, I was a bit skeptical as to how impactful I would really be at this place. But I thought about it and bounced some ideas back and forth with my supervisor at Pepperdine, Rebecca Reed. Through her knowledge about my personal history and experiences, she helped me to see how important I could be. I gained confidence and applied. I was offered an interview. Dr. Route, the Clinical Director at Claris and Stacy Williams, the Client Services Director, conducted my interview. Aside from making the interview as comfortable as possible, they also assured me that they saw the benefits of having a male around the clinic. In fact, they explained that there is a male right now running an outreach program within Claris. It’s called Reality Check. Reality Check aims to proactively help young teens in school settings. Instead of waiting for the teens to come to the clinic, the Reality Check team goes out and talks to students in their schools. They run various activities, presentations and group therapy sessions. I learned that currently they are in a stage of innovating the ways in which they connect with students. Dr. Route and Stacy thought this would be a perfect fit for me.

I have yet to attend a ‘real’ Reality Check workday, so to speak. I have been attending trainings so far. But I am excited to know I am part of a non-profit health organization, which caringly, openly and interactively helps women and men make informed positive choices in their lives. The level of energy at Claris is abundantly clear through the team members’ efforts and enthusiasm. I am thrilled to be a part of Claris’ mission and hope that I can add another piece to their aspirations of becoming an important resource for our society.


Anatomy of Intimacy: Couples Training Workshops 2015-2016

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The Anatomy of Intimacy is a series of in-depth workshops in couples therapy from some of the top experts in the field, brought to you by the Foundation for the Contemporary Family and the University of California Irvine Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior. CE Credits and scholarships are available! Visit for more information and to register.

The complete series of workshops:

October 17, 2015
Couples on the Brink: To Divorce or Not?
William Doherty

November 14, 2015
Lies, Self-absorption, and Unrelenting Hostility
Ellyn Bader and Peter Pearson

February 6, 2016
A Relational Psychoanalytic Approach to Couples Therapy
Philip Ringstrom

March 5, 2016
Reigniting Desire in Sex-starved Relationships
Tammy Nelson

April 2, 2016
A Can of Worms: Legal & Ethical Issues in Couples & Family Therapy
Steven Frankel

Don’t Miss the CAMFT 2015 Fall Symposium in Costa Mesa: November 14-15

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CAMFT’s fall symposium will be local to us — at the Hilton Orange County in Costa Mesa this November! The theme for this two day event is “Taking Charge of Change” and, for prelicensed people, is just $69 for one day or $120 for both days. Download the prelicensed offer here — otherwise go here to register and check out the speakers and schedule below!

Taking Charge of Change!

  • Explore the L&Es of Supervising
  • Discover What Works in Therapy
  • Establish Your Own Identity
  • Empower Yourself with Expressive Arts
  • Employ Social Media Marketing

Elaine Brady, PhD, LMFT, CAS, CSAT-S
Barry L. Duncan, PsyD
Michael Griffin, JD, LCSW
Ernesto Segismundo, Jr., MS, LMFT

Featuring two days/two concurrent workshops (6 CE credits each), includes breakfasts, afternoon breaks, and resources room sponsored by the Fall Symposium Co-sponsors.

Saturday, November 14, 2015 – 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (6 CE Credits each)

“Marketing for Mental Health Professionals” (Level of Learning: Intermediate)
Presented by Ernesto Segismundo Jr., MS, LMFT

“Legal and Ethical Issues in Supervision” (Level of Learning: Intermediate)
Presented by Michael Griffin, JD, LCSW, CAMFT Staff Attorney

Sunday, November 15, 2015 – 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (6 CE Credits each)

“Integration of Poetry Therapy in the Treatment of Trauma” (Level of Learning: Intermediate)
Presented by Elaine Brady, PhD, LMFT, CAS, CSAT-S

“On Becoming Better at What We Do” (Level of Learning: Intermediate)
Presented by Barry L Duncan, PsyD

My Experience as a Graduate Assistant

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by Akshay Mehta

Should I pursue an MFT, an MA or a Psy.D.? What are the requirements for licensure? When will I begin my internship and how long will it take to complete? What is the best way to network? These are ordinary curiosities for a graduate student. But for many, these questions seem to linger around without ever getting definite answers. It builds up in our minds to such an extent that we might find ourselves thinking of them as essay prompts. Therefore, this forces us to endlessly research about them online and/or attempt to understand them further by scheduling meetings with an expert. Sounds hectic right?

These ‘experts’ are Pepperdine’s faculty, staff and alumni. And luckily for me, I am an assistant to one of these experts. Her name is Rebecca Reed. She is the MFT Clinical Training Coordinator at the West LA Campus. She is a ‘one stop shop’ for anything related to MFT. Her genuine devotion to making sure Pepperdine students succeed easily makes her a critical and valuable resource for someone pursuing an MFT. Although she invests time and effort in everyone equally, I must brag a little about my accessibility to her as her Graduate Assistant. Not only am I able to help her in assisting other students with various needs, but by working next to her I am able to take advantage of her wisdom (stemming from over 25 years of experience at Pepperdine). I consider my assistantship to Rebecca an invaluable opportunity for which I am extremely grateful.

But the flip side of my position brings satisfaction through interaction with the students. Every new semester, Rebecca and I schedule ‘Quick Meets’ with new MA or MFT students. These are short but extremely beneficial presentations, which provide a large number of resources to ultimately help students in getting to know their program better and the various ways they can effectively excel in it. Equipped with information on private practice field trips, Pepperdine MFT workshops, career fairs and career-marketing tools, I am able to really connect with new students and witness the anxiety settle in them.

My work as a Graduate Assistant to Rebecca Reed has provided me with just as much satisfaction, knowledge and confidence as the education I have retained from my classes. With the level of support and accessibility to resources I have in my LMFT/LPCC path, it is now up to me to humbly recognize it and continue making the best of it. Because one day soon, my current experience will be seen as the foundation of my professional life.

Please also note that Quick Meets and Clinical Training Staff are present at every Pepperdine Campus. Please contact Kathleen Wenger, Manager of Clinical Training and Professional Development at the Irvine Campus, Alice Richardson, Clinical Training and Professional Development Coordinator at the Encino Campus, Andrea Lipnicki, at the Malibu Campus or Rebecca Reed, Clinical Training and Professional Development Coordinator at the WLA Campus depending on your specific campus or practicum site preferable locations.

Encino Graduate Campus November and December Events

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Here’s what we have coming up in the M.A. Psychology Professional Development and Clinical Training Department at the Encino Graduate Campus for the rest of the fall semester!

Clinical Connections: How I Became a Specialist in Eating Disorders: Saturday, November 7, 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Don’t miss out on this amazing presenter as she shares her training, education and experience. Presented by Alli Spots-De lazzer

Coffee Talk w/Alice Richardson: Thursday, December 3, 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
A casual discussion format. You bring the questions, we’ll provide the answers, and you’ll leave with some coffee and treats!

Intern Registration Meeting: Wednesday, December 16, 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., Psy. 642 class.
As you wind down your time in the MACLP program we will show you, step-by step how to transition from being a Student Trainee to becoming a registered intern with the BBS.

Irvine Graduate Campus November and December Events

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Here’s what we have coming up in the M.A. Psychology Professional Development and Clinical Training Department at the Irvine Graduate Campus for the rest of the fall semester!

Clinical Connections Panel: A Vignette from Three Different Theoretical Orientations: Thursday, November 12
Come understand how three differing theoretical orientations treat the same clinical vignettes.

MFT Consortium of Orange County: Wednesday, November 18, 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.

Intern Registration Meeting: Thursday, November 19, 7:15 p.m.
As you wind down your time in the MFT/LCC program, your Clinical Training Coordinator will lead a special edition of your PSY 642 class to help you transition from being a student to a registered intern with the BBS.

Coffee Talk w/Kathleen Wenger, LMFT: November (Date TBA)
Come with your questions to this casual discussion and leave with answers, coffee, and treats!

Doctoral Roundtable: Monday, December 7 (Time TBA)
Are you interested in applying for a Ph.D. or Psy.D. Program? Not sure what you need to do, how to prepare for the application process, costs, financial aid, research requirements, what programs are best for you? Find out what programs best fit your needs…and more!


West LA Graduate Campus November and December Events

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Here’s what we have coming up in the M.A. Psychology Professional Development and Clinical Training Department at the West LA Graduate Campus for the rest of the fall semester!

Tips for a Successful Practicum: Thursday, November 5, 7:15 p.m., Psy. 661 class.

Clinical Connections w/Oliver Viboolkij, M.A.: Behind Bars: Working with the Forensic Population: Friday, November 6, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Intern Registration Meeting: Monday, November 16, 7:15 p.m., Psy. 642 class.

Private Practice Visit w/Cindy Shadel, M.A., LMFT: Friday, November 20, 11:00 a.m. at her practice in El Segundo.

Clinical Connections Panel w/Jacqueline Pinn, M.A.: Your Encounter with the Black Woman’s Psyche: Friday, December 4, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Coffee Talk w/Sheila Sayani, M.A., LMFT: Q&A Basics About Couple’s Therapy: Tuesday, December 8, 11:15 a.m