Working with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Friday, November 3rd, 2023
10:00 am - 12:15 pm
ZOOM, 2.0 CEs
Peter Cellarius, LMFT
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.
Got a sticky problem?
Not consultation, just a great way to get some ideas about how to handle your sticky case. Friendly and open group. Learn more here.
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Being Thankful and the Gift of Gratitude
By Gina Culver, LMFT
With the recent bombings in Israel and Gaza and all going on in the world, please take a moment of silence in prayer, contemplation, or reflection, whatever calls to you. Thank you to all of the members on our listserv who shared their worries and events of support for the Jewish community in our area.
Happy Thanksgiving to our wonderful RECAMFT community!
I cannot believe how fast the year has flown by. As the year and my presidency wind down, I find myself reflecting on this year’s journey and all of the changes in my life. With these reflections comes being thankful and the gift of gratitude. I am grateful for the experience of being President of RECAMFT this year. I am thankful for the growth, the push out of my comfort zone, the friends and colleagues, and the support I have received. As 2023 has been so personally challenging for me, each of you have helped through the connections you made with me over the course of my presidency.
For those of you familiar with The Secret, and subsequent books, by Rhonda Byrne, she discusses the universe’s secret which [hopefully not a spoiler alert] is gratitude. I feel most of us are good at expressing our thanks in our day-to-day lives. However, how many of us sit with all we are grateful for, especially in times of turmoil?
One of Byrne’s recommendations in this practice is to start each day, before one gets out of bed, as well as at the end of each day when going to bed, to list all we are grateful for. I do this practice with my clients, especially when they struggle with deep depression/self-worth/self-esteem issues. At times, we break this down to the smallest thing to be grateful for: I am awake. I am breathing. I am alive. Of course, when in a better mood or mindset, there are bigger things to appreciate and give thanks for. Byrne emphasizes how having a gratitude mindset shifts how we think, our mood, and the energies which come into our lives. This gives me hope when times are hard.
This November, I am giving the gift of gratitude. I invite you to untie the ribbon, open the box, lift out all the tissue paper, and look inside for all the things, big and small, for which you can give thanks. Don’t forget to search the corners for what might be hiding there which may have been forgotten. I would love to hear from our community – please post on our social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn) or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Sharing your gratitude, like lighting another’s candle, spreads love and gratefulness. As this season can be hard for so many, I hope this helps each of us be connected and thankful this holiday season.
With love and gratitude,
Gina L. Culver, MS, LMFT
Welcome back, RECAMFT community! We are so excited to share some of the upcoming monthly CE events coming this fall:
CAMFT events to consider attending:
We are still reviewing applications for presentations to be scheduled for Spring 2024. Please submit an application if you have a presentation idea.
Are you interested in seeing what we have coming up? Consider microvolunteering with the Programs & Conferences Committee! Microvolunteering opportunities: screening speaker applications; providing support at in person CE events; monitoring Q&A for speakers during monthly Zoom presentations. We are especially looking for a Programs Committee Chairperson.
Meet RECAMFT's Prelicensed Chair and Director at Large, Jessica Heaney, AMFT. She is a 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 events on the first Friday monthly. 3-5 PM. Learn more here. Contact Jessica at email@example.com.
Call for Submissions for the Dec. 2023 Issue of The RECAMFT Therapist!
December is HIV/AIDS Awareness and Seasonal Affective Disorder Awareness Month. Dec. 1st is World AIDS Day, and the 3rd is International Day of Persons with Disabilities. We especially welcome submissions where these themes intersect with mental health. Please send your submission (500 word max) to firstname.lastname@example.org by the 15th. Questions? email@example.com.
Members! 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!
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.
Participate in the Justice Project : Antiracism by 12/31/23 and receive a lovely Certificate of Achievement for your wall! Click here to find out more.
Congrats to Laura Strom for finishing the latest Justice Project!
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Our listserv has over 400 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 https://groups.io/g/recamft.
If you are not currently enrolled in the listserv, please email email@example.com and ask to be added. You have the option of setting up your account to be
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
If you do not want to be on our listserv, you can delete your account or write to email@example.com 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!
Introducing our On-Demand Store! Now, even non-members can benefit from RECAMFT's extensive CE video library by purchasing select individual video programs in our On-Demand Store. If you have any questions or need assistance, feel free to reach out to our friendly support team at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here to help!
You can also visit our On-Demand Store to purchase CE presentations that were not offered free with membership, and it is not required to be a RECAMFT member for purchase: https://www.recamft.org/on-demand-training We have plans to release more programs to the On-Demand Store in the coming months.
Thoughts from the Racial & Social Justice Committee (RSJC)
International Day of Tolerance - Thursday, November 16th, 2023
By Ilene Frommer, LMFT
“Tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world's cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human.” (Unesco Declaration of Principles on Tolerance Proclaimed and signed by members of the State of Unesco on 16 Nov 1995)
When I said I would write about the International Day of Tolerance, I had no idea what turmoil I would be feeling at this time with the newest Israel-Hamas war. How can we be tolerant where emotions run high and differences are highlighted? Although we may be having different reactions, hopefully, we can attempt to hold the complexity together for this and other worldwide extremely difficult situations.
Limitations of Mere Tolerance and the Importance of Fostering a More Inclusive and Respectful Society
Yet, tolerance is not well regarded by everyone with some researchers arguing that it is necessary to go beyond “mere” tolerance which says you are different and we will put up with you. (Laegaard, 2013; Macedo, 2000; Schirmer, Weidenstedt, & Reich, 2012)
2SLGBTQ+s and other marginalized communities do not want to be tolerated; they want to be respected for who they are. (De Sutter & De Lille, 2015) Tolerance in this context is seen as insufficient and potentially hurtful. Tolerance may be offensive and hurtful when it implies disapproval of differences in a culture that continues to struggle with social inequality and power domination, as well as depoliticization of diversity. By not addressing structural disadvantages mere tolerance is not enough. (Brown, 2008) Underrepresented groups deserve genuine respect not condescension. We do not want to add to unintended psychological trauma.
Let’s move beyond tolerance to create a society where all individuals are valued and can express their authentic selves without fear of discrimination or harm. My good friend and former colleague, Ever Flores, passionately states “In embracing acceptance of differences we acknowledge the inherent value and worth of every individual, regardless of their race, religion, gender, sexuality, or any other characteristic. When we accept others for who they truly are, we create an environment where everyone feels safe and valued.”
This is not the same as tolerance. A second-generation immigrant in Germany states that “It’s not tolerance I am asking for, it’s respect.” (van Quaquebeke, Heinrich, & Eckloff, 2007) Fostering a sense of safety, values and respect contributes to the betterment of society as a whole.
Historical Day of Tolerance
The historical significance of November 16th, chosen to honor Mahatma Gandhi's 125th birthday, highlights the importance of mindfulness and the promotion of human rights, equality, and diversity worldwide. “Only tolerance can ensure the survival of mixed communities in every region of the globe.” (Unesco archived 2022) In 2023 here in Sonoma County establishing a more inclusive society let us change the wording to go beyond “mere” tolerance to embracing acceptance as much as we can. In times of anxiety, anger, or despair, Daniel Siegel’s concept of the "window of tolerance" (using the word tolerance) is a valuable concept emphasizing that individuals function best when they are within this optimal state of arousal. This concept not only applies to individual well-being, but also has relevance on a global scale. By promoting empathy and understanding, we can collectively work towards ensuring that more people can stay within this "window of tolerance.” We are reminded of this on the DAY of TOLERANCE, and we embrace acceptance 365 days a year.
Intolerance and its consequences drives groups apart, creating a sense of permanent separation. For example, though the laws of apartheid in South Africa were abolished twenty-nine years ago there is still a noticeable level of personal separation between black and white South Africans perpetuating racial problems of intergroup resentment and hostility. And as my good friend in South Africa, Dr. Khalid Tickley states “We must continue to work towards the demise of the obnoxious system of apartheid which enforces discrimination on racial lines. … although great strides have been made.”
Why Does Embracing Differences Matter?
At a post-9/11 conference on multiculturalism in the United States, participants asked, "How can we be tolerant of those who are intolerant of us?" For many, tolerating intolerance is neither acceptable nor possible. Though Embracing Differences may seem an impossible exercise in certain situations --- embracing differences, nonetheless, remains key to easing hostile tensions between groups and to helping communities move past intractable conflict. That is because embracing differences is integral to different groups relating to one another in a respectful and understanding way. In cases where communities have been deeply entrenched in violent conflict, being accepting helps the affected groups endure the pain of the past and resolve their differences. In Rwanda, the Hutus and the Tutsis have worked on a reconciliation process which helps them to work through their anger and resentment.
How to Respond to Intolerance
Responding to intolerance is a delicate matter. If we consider the beliefs or behavior of another that doesn't affect anyone else--a personal decision to live in a particular way (such as following a particular religion, for example), we would agree that going beyond mere tolerance is almost always beneficial, as it is more likely to lead to interpersonal trust and further understanding. However, if we consider beliefs or actions of another that does affect other people--particularly actions that affect large numbers of people, then that is a different situation. We do not tolerate policies that allow the widespread dissemination of fake news and allow foreign governments to manipulate our minds such that they can manipulate our elections. That, in our minds is intolerable. So too are actions that destroy the rule of law in this country; actions that threaten our democratic system.
But that doesn't mean that we should respond to intolerance in kind. Rather, we would argue, one should respond to intolerance with respectful dissent--explaining why the intolerance is unfairly stereotyping an entire group of people; explaining why such stereotyping is both untrue and harmful; why a particular action is unacceptable because it threatens the integrity of our democratic system, explaining alternative ways of getting one's needs met. This can be done without attacking the people who are guilty of intolerance with direct personal attacks--calling them "haters," or shaming them for having voted a particular way. That just hardens the other sides' intolerance.
Modeling Respectful Behavior
Still, reason-based arguments probably won't be accepted right away. Much neuroscience research explains that emotions are stronger than facts and that people won't change their minds when presented with alternative facts--they will just reject those facts. But if people are presented with facts in the form of respectful discussion instead of personal attacks, that is both a factual and an emotional approach that can help de-escalate tensions and eventually allow for the development of tolerance. Personal attacks on the intolerant will not do that. So when anyone asks whether one should tolerate intolerance, I would say "no, one should not." But that doesn't mean that we have to treat the intolerant person disrespectfully or "intolerantly." Rather, model good, respectful behavior. Model the behavior we would like them to adopt. And use that to try to fight the intolerance, rather than simply "tolerating it." While respectful dissent and modeling may not be easy, they are a path that promotes understanding and dialogue over further polarization and animosity.
Ilene Frommer, LMFT is a member of our Racial and Social Justice Committee (RSJC). She has a private practice in Healdsburg. She was featured in an article for the NYTimes which can be seen here. https://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/05/jobs/05pre.htmlReturn to top
Members - you can access recordings of our zoom events from 2023, 2022, and 2021 in our Free CE Library. Watch the video, pass the test, fill out the evaluation, and download your certificate. It's that easy! You can earn CEs for any recorded event if you didn't already earn CEs from the live event. You must be logged in to see the library here: https://www.recamft.org/CE-Video-LibraryHere are just a few of the engaging titles currently available:
Scenes from RECAMFT's Law & Ethics training with Luke Martin, JD on October 27, 2023
A bonus was CAMFT Executive Director, Joy Alafia, attended the training, and made herself available to members for questions and comments. She also forewarned us that starting Jan. 1, 2024 if you see a person who has Medicare, even if you don't take insurance, and are seeing them as a private pay client, you MUST complete the OPT OUT form with Medicare. More here.
Luke getting started.
Thank you to our pal, Bob Dalzell, for coordinating Al-Anon as our sponsor!
Lots of folks attended.
A big thank you goes out to our sponsor: Al-Anon and Alateen!
We had a raffle at our Law & Ethics to benefit Scholarships for Prelicensed and newly licensed members!
A big thanks to Pat Hromalik who coordinated and ran the raffle, and the Scholarships, Honors and Awards Committee who helped.
The raffle included a chance to win one of seven different prize baskets.
More prize baskets!
Do you have a colleague who has done something amazing in our community? Nominate them for a Spirit of RECAMFT Award!
The 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.
About the Joe and Pamela Ward Memorial Scholarship
This scholarship program was established in 2021 to honor the legacy of our late Administrative Consultants, who were known for their exceptional generosity, kindness, and special affinity for supporting early career clinicians. RECAMFT awards three scholarships of $1000 each and a free year-long membership. All Pre-Licensed and Newly-Licensed chapter members are eligible to apply.
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! Please visit www.recamft.org/scholarship to give a tax-free donation today!
Al-Anon is a mutual support group of peers who share their experience in applying the Al-Anon principles to problems related to the effects of a problem drinker in their lives. It is not group therapy and is not led by a counselor or therapist. This support network complements and supports professional treatment.
Alateen is a peer support group for teens who are struggling with the effects of someone else’s problem drinking. Many Alateen groups meet at the same time and location as an Al-Anon group. Alateen meetings are open only to teenagers. Alateen is not a program for young people seeking sobriety.
No advance notification or written referral is necessary to attend an Al-Anon or Alateen meeting. Anyone affected by someone else’s drinking is welcome to attend.
There are no dues or fees. Groups are self-supporting, and usually pass a basket around for a voluntary contribution to pay for rent or Al-Anon literature.
Encourage your clients to try Al-Anon, even if they minimize the problem with alcohol. Find out more....
"Seeing Clients When the Therapist Carries Their Own Distress"
By Judith Goleman, LMFT
2003 RECAMFT President
Laura Strom contacted me to write this short piece. She was aware that I am Jewish, and that I was very likely in distress because of the tragic experiences being had by residents of Israel and Gaza right now. She was right.
She wanted me to explore an issue each of us may have to handle at some time: How will we be there for our clients when we ourselves are dealing with a tragedy in our own lives.
Okay, it’s my turn right now – how am I handling it?
Let me explain why agonizing events in a country far away from me affect me so personally.
The land of Israel has been important and holy to Jewish people through the centuries. It’s where we started out, where the events in our Holy Books took place. It’s a place we have yearned to return to over many, many centuries. Our Passover service has always ended with the phrase: “Next year in Jerusalem”.
Now that we actually live there again we have the challenge, which our political systems have met or not met to varying degrees, to live there in a holy way. Giving dignity and safety to the Palestinian residents. Allowing all the varying degrees of observance of Judaism to be equally honored. Well, maybe we’ll have that accomplished well by next year in Jerusalem!
The Western Wall, Jerusalem
So, back to the question of how – as I feel my distress at the tragic harms being done to human beings, parents and children, Arab and Jewish residents of Israel and Gaza – how do I offer a calm, receptive presence to my clients. How do I become present to receive deeply the issues they are wrestling with in their own lives.
I think all of us - therapists - have had to develop some skill in not letting our personal issues color our time with our clients. For example, I know I’m going to be REALLY TIRED when I see my last Thursday evening client. I’m prepared to just keep going and handle it.
Regarding the news from Israel. It’s true that I am heartbroken and worried about Israel. Anyone who is injured, kidnapped or dies there feels like a relative to me – and possibly might be because Jewish people have been marrying each other for centuries.
I’m also concerned about the non-Jewish families who are in danger as a war breaks out around them. Non Jewish parents and children and human beings, who may be harmed or killed.
I am heartbroken, worried, personally involved, concerned. Hamas seems to have made its current plans with a lot of intelligence. I am worried.
I find, though, that when I’m actually seeing a client, the urgency of the client’s needs and the intensity of their presence makes it possible for me to put my own worries aside and be in the moment with them. I generally feel it’s a privilege to share so many profound and intimate moments of people’s lives. Somehow that has been enough that my own grief and worry drop out of my consciousness and I’m able to be a responsive, calm presence for my clients. At least so far.
Hope this is helpful. May we live in peace.
Retired to the Monterey/Carmel area, Rhaea Maurel is no longer a practicing MFT. Instead she spends her time teaching private art students, and offering art classes and creative gathering. She works in clay, and does drawing and painting. Catch up on Rhaea here: https://rhaeamaurel.com/about/ .
Thank you, Rhaea, for the creativity you brought to your service to RECAMFT!
Thank you for reading this month's newsletter! RECAMFT is great because of involved members like you!!