“The New Shape of Romantic Love” Webinar Highlights

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On November 20th, I attended a Web-lecture, “The New Science of Romantic Love: What You Understand, You Can Shape” presented by Dr. Sue Johnson at Cal Southern University in Irvine, CA. The lecture was also available to watch live online through Cal Southern’s webpage.

I was excited to learn about one of the most powerful forces on Earth- love. Dr. Sue Johnson is an expert on Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) and utilizes it to help couples repair their relationships. Emotionally Focused Therapy is best used to expand partners’ emotional responses, create new types of interactions between the couple, and foster secure bonding between partners.The basics of EFT Empathic Reflection that Dr. Johnson covered are validations- creates alliance and safety, focus during sessions, and cohesion through organization.

In addition to explaining EFT and how it is used as a “dance” between partners, Dr. Johnson also discussed John Bowlby’s attachment styles and how they influence adult romantic relationships. The ideas that held my interest throughout the lecture include: secure attachment bonds lead to emotional responsiveness while insecure attachment leads to anxious emotional responsiveness. Furthermore, my biggest take-away point was learning how a cue of rejection or criticism from a person you’re connected with is processed the same way as physical pain in the brain.


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.

Five Psychology Professional Development Websites Worth Bookmarking

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Student Doctor Network. While much of this site is focused on Medical School, you can skip straight to the psychology forums. There you will find a wealth of information from other students and applicants about their experiences finding practicum sites, applying to doctoral programs, taking the GRE, the APPIC internship process, and much much more. Anything in this epic process that you’re interested in learning more about (or has you stressed out!) has probably been posted about by someone who is going through what you’re going through so take a look and see what others are saying! and

The Therapist Online Edition. Can’t find your copy of the issue of The Therapist from a couple of years ago with that great article you loved? Fear not — CAMFT’s excellent bimonthly magazine is available online,with archived issues going back to 2011!  In addition to in-depth feature articles, regular sections include BBS Board updates, legislative updates, book reviews and more.

APA Event Calendar. Check this page often for the latest APA trainings and conferences. You can also find detailed information and deadlines for a wide range of scholarships, grants, and awards, as well as deadlines for proposal, poster, and manuscript submissions.

Careers in Psychology. MFT? LPCC? Psychologist? Neuropsychologist? Forensic Psychologist? So many potential career paths — it can all get pretty confusing sometimes! This page gives a basic overview of a huge range of career choices and interviews with dozens of practicing clinicians in every field of psychology imaginable.

Out of State MFT License Requirements. Considering relocating out of California? Figuring out how to get licensed in another state can be a complicated and confusing process. This site is an easy starting point, with a map that you can click through to get the licensure requirements for all 50 states.

MFT Practicum Agencies Pack the 2015 Career and Practicum Fair

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by Katie Copeland
This year’s Spring Career Fair at the West LA campus had a great turnout in the MFT Trainee / Practicum room (210). Thirteen highly esteemed MFT Practicum Training Agencies eagerly came to meet Pepperdine students and discuss their volunteer and training opportunities. These training sites included:
  • Airport Marina
  • Center for Individual and Family Counseling
  • Counseling Partners of Los Angeles
  • Crenshaw Christian ~ Betty Price Counseling Center
  • Didi Hirsch
  • Los Angeles City College
  • Mychal’s Learning Place
  • OPICA Adult Day Care
  • Outreach Concern
  • PUC Schools
  • Richstone Family Center
  • San Fernando Valley Homebound Program
  • Southern California Counseling Center
There was also a great turnout on behalf of Pepperdine psychology students, many of whom even made sure to stop by during their break if they had class that night. Students seems to be especially interested in the opportunity to network and learn about training sites this year, resulting in a constant inflow of students and a filled room of students making connections with the representatives.
The MFT Clinical Training department was thrilled to hear the positive and enthusiastic feedback from many of these practicum sites during and after the fair, including “it was great, there were so many students so passionate about what they want to do,” among many other similar insights.
So, with a great showing of both Pepperdine students and MFT Practicum Training Agencies the Clinical Training Department is happy to call this year’s career fair a major success.

LACPA 2015 Convention Call for Presentations and Posters

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2015 Los Angeles County Psychological Association Annual Convention

Call for Presentations: Deadline May 6, 2015
The LACPA Convention Committee is accepting proposals on all topics. Members have expressed interest in programs on PTSD, parenting, anxiety, depression, sexuality, substance abuse disorders, treatment issues with adolescents and couples therapy to name a few. Multicultural perspectives on all topics are welcomed. Proposals will be reviewed by the LACPA Convention Committee.

Call for Posters: Deadline June 12, 2015
LACPA invites poster proposals from its student and early career members (within seven years of receipt of doctorate). Proposals on any research or theoretical topic related to the field of psychology will be considered.
The LACPA Foundation will generously award $200, $100, and $50 for the posters judged to be the three best at Convention.

Click here for rates, location, and other details.

Searching for an Internship at the 2015 Career and Practicum Fair

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by An Anonymous Attendee


I always look forward to Pepperdine University’s Career Fair at the West Los Angeles campus because it brings hope and provides possible rewards to all of the hard work that goes into the planning, set up and participation of the events. This year was also wonderful. I attended a couple of workshops that gave insight to finding ways to collaborate one’s hobbies, passions and skills into the field of psychology. At this stage in my education I have finished practicum and search for possible internships and jobs, therefore, I explored the Career Fair room in 203. There were a few sites looking to hire interns from the MFT and PsyD programs as well as plenty of volunteer opportunities at most of the sites. I had wonderful conversations with representatives from SFV CAMFT, The Help Center, Otis College, as well as many others and have been contacted by a few of the sites looking for employees, trainees and interns. There were not a lot of sites that advertised paid internships and only one private practice that offered low pay. This year’s Career Fair was also very small in comparison to the past couple of years.

CALPCC 2015 Conference Call for Proposals

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The theme of the 2015 CALPCC annual conference to be held at the University of San Diego on March 6 and 7 is “California LPCCs: Increasing Our Knowledge and Skills, Expanding Our Opportunities.” CALPCC is currently accepting proposals for 75 minute presentations at the conference.

In terms of subject matter for proposals, they advise: “We are particularly interested in presentations on topics that our members have requested through surveys at the previous conferences. Topics of high interest include working effectively with Client Presenting Concerns, such as Substance Abuse, Grief and Loss, PTSD, Mental DIsorders, Dementia, Couples Therapy, as well as Practice Issues related to effective skills for working with culturally diverse client populations by age, gender, SES, faith and family traditions. Proposals relating to learning about opportunities for expanded practice and expansion of the counseling profession in California are also welcome. All proposals should clearly support the theme of the conference with emphasis on helping attendees build their skills and then identify opportunities for utilizing these skills in practice settings.”

The deadline for presentation proposals is January 9, 2015. Go here for all the details!