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The Redwood Empire Therapist

RECAMFT's Online Newsletter

December 2022

Red show ticket: Admit One

  • Affirmative Therapy with Trans/Gender Expansive Clients
  • Melle Browning, LMFT
  • Friday, Dec. 2nd, 2022
  • 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
  • Zoom, 2 CEs
  • Register here



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Featured member

RECAMFT's Mission Statement

The purpose of RECAMFT is to promote and maintain professional competence and integrity with knowledge, innovation, compassion, humor and respect for human dignity and diversity.

We do this by providing opportunities for networking, education and community outreach.

Have you written a book? 

Be sure to let us know so we can include it on our Library page. Email

President's Message: Can a condition which can be cured by surgery be a mental disorder? 

By Laura Strom, LMFT

Can a condition which can be cured by surgery be a mental disorder?  Trans flag in chalk on pavement

My friend asked me to seriously think about this question. If surgery cures something, is it a mental disorder? When the person has surgery, and their entire outlook changes for the better, was it a mental disorder? Or did they just need corrective surgery?

Doesn't it seem strange that we, as LMFTs, be the gatekeeper on whether or not a person could have a medical / surgical procedure? What do we know about our clients' bodies that makes us the authority on whether or not they can receive a medical intervention, such as hormone therapy or surgery? And yet, that is exactly the dilemma trans clients face when needing a letter from us verifying the diagnosis of Gender Dysphoria Disorder so they can start hormone therapy, or have a surgery to make their body congruent with whom they know themselves to be. 

RECAMFT has decided to take on a year-long project for our members to help all of us learn how to be better LGBTQ+ affirmative care clinicians. The Justice Project - LGBTQ+ Affirming Care officially launches on January 1st, 2023, but you can start now, by attending this December speaker event with trans therapist Melle Browning, LMFT, as he teaches us about providing affirmative care. Register here

RECAMFT Rainbow Rings logoTo celebrate this year long Justice Project - LGBTQ+ Affirming Care, RECAMFT decided to have a special new logo designed - the one you see here with rings in the colors of the Pride flag. We are very excited about this year's social justice focus on LGBTQ+ affirming care. I was so excited that I read all the books, and watched the videos, too! Wow, was there some great stuff. Check it out here.  

Please look for your election ballot coming soon by email, around the beginning of December, and vote. We have a number of survey questions for you in addition to electing your next year's Board of Directors. We need your answers to help guide the new Board along the way, under Gina Culver's careful eyes as the 2023 President. Thanks, Gina, for your leadership! 

It has been an honor to have served as your President for three years (2014, 2021, 2022), and your state CAMFT President (2015-2016). This is my very last President's message. I want to thank you for providing me with one of the most transformative decades of my life. 

With deep gratitude, 

Laura Strom

President, RECAMFT

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Board Highlights - 2023 ELECTIONS! 

Vote buttonElections for the 2023 RECAMFT Board of Directors (BOD) will take place in December. The results will be announced in January. The Election Ballot will contain survey questions to help guide the Board next year, so please VOTE! One of the most important items on the ballot is the current Board voted to increase our board Director at Large seats from 4 to 7, subject to ratification by our members. We feel a larger Board will make it easier to handle the many tasks we have in front of us. 

The Nominating Committee has created a slate of candidates and will provide an Election page on our website so you can read about each one.  These are the candidates, and the position for which each is running. 

  • Executive Board positions: 
  • 2023 President Elect - Dr. Bob Casanova, PsyD, LMFT
  • 2023 Secretary - Emily Larkin, LMFT

There are two Director at Large seats currently available. Once the members vote on the increased number of seats, the 2023 Board will have the opportunity to appoint some Directors at Large in the coming year. 

  • Director at Large (DAL) positions. Two positions are currently available in 2023.  Five people are running. 
  • 2023 DAL - Linda Block, LMFT
  • 2023 DAL - Dr. Jean Hayes, PhD, LMFT
  • 2023 DAL - Patricia Hromalik, LMFT
  • 2023 DAL - Katharina Koenboeck, LMFT
  • 2023 DAL - Reyna Seminara, LMFT

Read up on all the candidates, their statements, and the election here

The Board sincerely thanks Gail Van Buuren who is retiring after serving the Board since 2007 when she was asked to be the president at her first meeting, and she took over the newsletter. We also thank Vicky Rohrer who is retiring as Secretary, and is currently serving on the state CAMFT Board. Annette Seibel is retiring off the board, but promises to drop into board meetings when she can; Annette served as our Conferences Co-Chair for a number of years, in addition to being a DAL.If Tara D'Orazio thought she would retire after her year as Past President, we were ready for her with our lassos! More on Tara to come... 

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Last Chance!! Don't miss these Law & Ethics recordings! They will no longer be available after 12/31/22. 

Barbara Griswold, LMFT

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Thoughts from the Racial & Social Justice Committee (RSJC)

"Justice Project 2.0 coming in 2023"

Being An Informed Ally: What You Should Know About the Respect for Marriage Act

By Emily Larkin, LMFT

Love is love bannerOn November 16, the U.S. Senate passed the Respect for Marriage Act, which, if signed into law, would cement federal protections for both same-sex and interracial marriages. Following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade earlier this year, Justice Clarence Thomas stated that Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 decision that established same sex marriage as a constitutional right, rested on similar rationale to Roe. This assertion ignited fears from members, allies, and advocates of the LGBTQ+ community that same-sex marriage rights could be in danger of reversal, and ultimately led to bipartisan legislation.

The Respect for Marriage Act would federally require states to recognize all legal marriages, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, or national origin. While this is a move in the right direction for marriage equality, this legislation has limitations. Most notably, the Respect for Marriage Act does not codify the right of same-sex marriage into law. Furthermore, while the bill offers some protections, it does not prohibit non-profit religious institutions from refusing services or goods to couples intending to marry on the basis of religious freedom.

Despite its constraints, the Respect for Marriage Act is crucial for solidifying marriage protections. If Obergefell v. Hodges were to be overturned by the Supreme Court without this measure in place, states could not only ban same-sex marriage, but deny legally married LGBTQ+ couples rights. Our LGBTQ+ clients, the LGBTQ+ community, and its members continue to experience prejudice, discrimination, and violence. Measures that restrict the access of non-binary and transgender folks to healthcare, and bills that inhibit LGBTQ+ representation and participation continue to be introduced by legislators and policymakers, impacting the health and safety of this community.

As mental health providers it is important that we understand the implications and limitations of this historic legislation. The Respect for Marriage Act remains a marked step forward, but our LGBTQ+ community members deserve unrelenting allyship. Our duty as clinicians spans beyond the therapy office and calls for us to advocate for the health of our clients. We do this by staying informed about relevant issues within the larger context of our society and supporting actions that advance the wellbeing of those we serve to improve our community and the lives of its members.


Emily Larkin, LMFT is a RECAMFT Director at Large. She is running to be elected 2023 Secretary.  She has a private practice in Sebastopol. 


Electronics and a brain model.

Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD) and Psychosis: A Biopsychosocial Perspective

Presented by: 

Anish Shah, MD, Psychiatrist

Friday, Jan. 6, 2023

9:00 am - 12:15 pm

Zoom, 3.0 CEs

Register here

RECAMFT's Racial and Social Justice Pledge

RECAMFT is committed to equity including addressing structural racism and systemic injustice. We endeavor to be inclusive and value individuals from all ethnicities, ages, races, sexual orientations, genders, languages, abilities, religions, citizenship statuses, and socioeconomic backgrounds into our chapter and into treatment.

We strive to advocate, educate, collaborate, and strategize for positive racial and social justice change within our membership and our community.

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Prelicensed Support - check out our events just for you!

Meet RECAMFT's Prelicensed Chair and Director at Large, Jessica Heaney, AMFT. She is a recent graduate of Touro University Worldwide, and is now working for Seneca's Wraparound Program. Jessica is hosting our newly named 3000 Hour Club for Prelicensed Members monthly "Walk and Talk" events on the first Friday monthly. 3-5 PM. Learn more here. Contact Jessica at    

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RECAMFT LogoParticipate in the Justice Project :  Antiracism by 12/31/22 and receive a lovely Certificate of Achievement for your wall! Click here to find out more. 

Got a sticky problem?

Come discuss it confidentially with your colleagues at our next Ethics Roundtable

Not consultation, just a great way to get some ideas about how to handle your sticky case. Friendly and open group.  Learn more here.

  • Fri., Mar. 24th, 2023
  • 12 to 1:30 pm
  • Zoom
  • Register here.
  • Next two events: June 23rd, Oct. 27th, 2023
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    Programs Committee Chair seat is available. Is it you? 

    The Programs Committee needs a chair. This is a fun one, choosing the speakers for the coming year. Is it you? 

    We also need a couple of people to help us review presentation applications. Can you help? Send your interest to

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    We Need You! Jobs for Awesome Volunteers

    We STILL need help with

    • Tech 2 - Social Media Manager
    • Newsletter Editor

    Please send an email to if you can help.       

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    More RECAMFT Events! 

    Prelicensed, Crafts, Ethics, Board

    Check out all the following events!

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    Are you creative? Join us for our Crafting Group

    Bring any craft you like, get on Zoom with us and visit with your colleagues while

    we knit, sew, paint, draw, cook, create, etc. 


    Contact to advertise a job. 

    North Marin Community Services is hiring a full-

    time Clinical Director job for school and community

    based mental health programs. To apply visit

    or email

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    RECAMFT's Listserv For All! Check it out! 

    Dog with laptop

    Our listserv has over 440 members on it, and is active daily with great conversations, resources, offerings, in search of, books, movies, office rentals, jobs, internships, etc. You can view the home page of our listserv at 

    If you are not currently enrolled in the listserv, please email and ask to be added. You have the option of setting up your account to be 

        • Read individual emails
        • Read a digest of 12 emails
        • Or read online only

    After you have been added to the listserv, you can change the way you receive the emails to any of the above choices. 

    In Gmail the emails will appear under your Forums tab. To send an email to the listserv, simply address your email to 

    If you do not want to be on our listserv, you can delete your account or write to and ask to not be a part of the listserv. But we urge you to give it a try. You are missing out on a ton of meaningful collaboration with your colleagues. We hope you will enjoy being part of our online community! 

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    What You Missed.... 

    An eye-opening experience with Dr. Shipra Maurya!

    Dr. Shipra Maurya, PsyD

    In November, RECAMFT had the honor of hosting Dr. Shipra Maurya, PsyD. Dr. Maurya presented her research on therapy with South Asian American (SAA) women. She spoke with compassion, sharing stories of the women she interviewed in their own words. Learning of the challenges they faced because of their gender, and the color of their skin, not only within their communities, but also within their own families was eye-opening.

    Dr. Maurya taught us there is generational oppression SAA women often experience, because women are seen as inferior to men. The SAA women experienced racism, both blatant and unintentional, even from well-meaning therapists. Therapy can be an obstacle when they see clinicians who do not understand their culture, and how women are considered “less than” in their homes.

    I assisted by reading some of the quotations, a surreal experience. Their pain, sadness, and frustration were palpable. What courage these SAA women showed in giving voice to their experiences with Dr. Maurya! Those attending had many comments about this touching research. One of the most important takeaways was to approach clients from a lens of cultural humility, to do our own research – rather than expect our clients to educate us, and to understand the particular bind SAA women are in due to their gender not being valued. What an enriching presentation!

    Wishing all our members a “Happy Holidays!” from the RECAMFT Programs Committee.

    Gina Culver, LMFT

    Gina Culver, LMFT is a Program Director at LifeWorks and has a private practice in Santa Rosa. She is the 2023 President of RECAMFT. beginning January 1, 2023.

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    Get the latest Therapy Groups Listings here!


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    RECAMFT's Scholarships, Honors and Awards! 

    Giving Tuesday is coming on November 29th! It is the biggest day of global generosity towards organizations that are doing the work that matters to you. This Giving Tuesday we are hoping for your help to continue a program of financial support for our emerging clinicians who face high expenses and low pay.

    Joe and Pamela WardLast year, RECAMFT launched the Joe and Pamela Ward Scholarship Program, which awards three scholarships of $1000 each and a free year-long membership to Pre-Licensed and Newly-Licensed chapter members. Our first awards were granted in 2022 to Bree Watson, AMFT and Claudia Hernandez, AMFT. Congrats to both Bree and Claudia!! 

    The funds that make these awards possible have been generously donated by members of our chapter and are doubled by matching funds authorized by our Board of Directors. Your donations will go twice as far! We have raised $2070 towards our goal of $5250 which funds the scholarship program for 2022, 2023, and 2024. We are $3180 away from our goal!

    Please visit to give a tax-free donation today!

    Announcing the all-new Spirit of RECAMFT Award!

    The all-new Spirit of RECAMFT Award is intended to highlight or showcase our members who are working in the community to support the mental health profession and the well-being of our community at large. It is for those members who may not necessarily be seen but have contributed to unmet needs and or advancements in the mental health profession.

    At the heart of this award is acknowledging someone who embodies all of the aspects of RECAMFT’s mission, values, vision, and commitment to the profession and mental well-being within the community.

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    Thank you to for your support and partnership with RECAMFT! has been one of RECAMFT's longest time supporters and partners. ad

    Find out more about advertising with RECAMFT here

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    Thank you to CPH for sponsoring our annual Law & Ethics once again. CPH is a good friend to RECAMFT!

    Learn more about how to sponsor a RECAMFT event and reach over 1800 mental health professionals here

    Thank you to M.E.N. for your support! 

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    Warning signMembers! Your SHORT DESCRIPTION is the most important thing on your profile. Why? Because that shows in our online directory. It matters! Please log in and complete yours today! 

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    Members Messages 

    Members can submit an article of up to 500 words for publication. Please submit before the 15th monthly to  

    Taking Care of Myself/Ourselves

    By JoAnn Consiglieri, LMFT

    Candles with pineIn mid-November at a RECAMFT Virtual Committee Meeting two of our members were physically not well and smartly did not attend the meeting so that they could care for themselves and more quickly return to health. During late Fall and the Winter Season we sometimes find our clients needing more attention at the very moment that we ourselves are feeling the hustle and bustle in our own personal lives with family and friends making demands on our time and continued social responsibilities to do what we can for the homeless and other marginalized people.

    The repercussions from the fires in Sonoma County and COVID-19 continue to have their own impact. I, too, the week of that November meeting was finding myself exhausted, out of steam and maybe even a little emotionally down, but not “sick” in the conventional way. As I “take care” of the many responsibilities in my life, I easily forget myself in the mix of my busy 80 year old, semi-retired life. My colleagues, having taken leave of our meeting was just what I needed to hear. It was a wake-up call for me! That very afternoon in November, I attended the monthly Taize Service (chant) and attended to myself as Taize always does for me.

    As I pen this, I am bringing to mind some of those other things in my life that revive me and are the self-care of me. Here are just a few:

    • Adjusting my sleep schedule, giving myself more hours of delicious sleep.
    • Collaging at home, not just at class
    • Making time for a Massage
    • Making stretches a daily occurrence
    • Having a daily walk, even a short one
    • Morning inner prayer time
    • Listening to chant beyond attending monthly Taize (silence and chant) Service
    • Mindful eating

    In her beloved book Inviting Silence, Gunilla Norris writes, "Remember to breathe, remember to feel, remember to care. Let us do this for our children and ourselves and our children’s children. Let us practice for life’s sake."

    When we flew to Colorado to be with family having spent time in selfcare, I was more grounded and prepared to really be with family. The travel there, the visiting and cooking was not a drain on myself as it could have been had I arrived a depleted self. Thanksgiving, I think is my favorite holiday because it is more unobtrusive and less ostentatious, as well as it provides for me a quieter and calmer feeling and calls me to gratitude, a reality that I try to continually make more present in my life.

    The Celebrations of Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas can come with their own anxieties. I will celebrate Winter Solstice and Christmas more mindfully with my November 18th “wake up call”. I have been doing more selfcare in the weeks leading up to those celebrations. Spending time with the hidden messages that those holidays (holydays) hold for me can make a difference in how I encounter the season as it unfolds. I hope for myself and you that more self-care becomes a very familiar friend.

    Other Resources for Self-Care

    JoAnn Consiglieri, LMFTJoAnn Consiglieri has the distinction of being RECAMFT's longest-running member (since 1980). She has a private practice in Sonoma. 

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    Call for Submissions for the January 2023 Issue of The RECAMFT Therapist! 

    January is National Mental Wellness Month. We also celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. and civil rights awareness. We especially welcome submissions where these themes intersect with mental health. Please send your submission (500 word max) to by the 15th. Questions?

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    Gail Van Buuren, LMFTPast President Honor Roll - Meet RECAMFT's 2007 President - Gail Van Buuren, LMFT

    Gail Van Buuren moved to Sonoma county after being involved with Monterrey CAMFT, and decided to visit RECAMFT. She was greeted enthusiastically and asked to take over as President! It seemed our previous president, Diana Poulson, had been serving for three years, and was ready for a new enthusiastic person to grab the reigns. Gail took over as the Newsletter Editor, too, which she faithfully carried out until this spring when we switched to online newsletters. We owe Gail a huge debt of gratitude for taking that first step to be our 2007 President, and currently being the longest serving member of our Board. We will miss her terribly when she retires from the Board on Dec. 31, 2022. Gail, we love you and you will forever be in the heart of RECAMFT. RECAMFT Wordle heart  

    Want to see all our Past Presidents? Click here.    Return to top

    Thank you for reading this month's newsletter! RECAMFT is great because of involved members like you!!

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