Cake Celebrating 1 year anniversary of our collaboration. Served at the April Networking Meeting.    Photo: Lynne Azpeitia

Cake Celebrating 1 year anniversary of our collaboration. Served at the April Networking Meeting.    Photo: Lynne Azpeitia

Lynne Azpeitia, LMFT, Founder and Karen Wulfson, LMFT, Co-Founder, created and led the SM-WLA AAMFT Networking District as the Co-Chairs from 2007-2014.

From 2009-2013, the highly successful LA-CAMFT SM-WLA AAMFT collaboration presented monthly networking meetings that were well attended, interesting and invigorating, joint gatherings for the members of both organizations, and the local therapist community.

Just a little history: In October of 2007, Lynne Azpeitia and Karen Wulfson sent out an invitation for members of AAMFT to join us for our first leadership planning meeting for the new SM-WLA AAMFT Networking District.  We received an enthusiastic response and, from that first meeting, established a large SM-WLA Core Leadership Team (CLT). That CLT then went on to organize a series of highly popular networking meetings for the local therapist community, held at The Daily Grill Restaurant, in Santa Monica.

The Santa Monica-West L.A. AAMFT Networking District, was a professional community that aimed to increase the business, professional and clinical expertise, success and visibility of MFTs, students, and interns, who served the local communities on the Westside and worked with individuals, couples, and families in private practice, community and governmental agencies, schools, clinics, businesses, counseling centers, and hospitals.

Family-friendly mental health professionals who attended SM-WLA District networking meetings expected to take home high quality business, professional and community information, and resources to use personally, and in their particular practice setting with clients, employees, colleagues, and organizations.

While SM-WLA was growing and thriving, in 2009 the Los Angeles Chapter of CAMFT, now led by Jonathan Flier, was in the process of redefining itself, as it reached out to develop a new Board of Directors and to increase membership and participation in meetings.

In March 2009, because of the great success Lynne Azpeitia, MFT, and Karen Wulfson, MFT, had with starting, developing, and maintaining the Santa Monica-West LA Networking District Meetings, their core leadership team member, and new LA-CAMFT President, Jonathan Flier, MFT, asked Lynne and Karen if they would partner with him to help him revitalize and start up LA-CAMFT again and let LA-CAMFT use the successful meeting format, forms, policies, procedures, marketing, and committee structure that they had originated.

Lynne and Karen generously agreed to help Jonathan rebuild LA-CAMFT and to let LA-CAMFT use the intellectual property, meeting registration process, meeting program format, structured networking process, table host hospitality system, meeting documents, and CEU distribution system they had created.

The two groups (SM-WLA and LA-CAMFT), with Board members in common, quickly decided that, since we all have similar goals for networking, making connections, and providing educational opportunities for our members, we would much prefer to work together to establish a local therapeutic community. So, in April of 2009, we held our first collaborative event at the Beverly Hills Country Club. Our collaboration was an instant hit, and we continued to grow and enjoy our inter-organization connections.

Since that initial request in 2009, the Santa Monica-West LA Networking District of AAMFT (SM-WLA) and the Los Angeles Chapter of CAMFT (LA-CAMFT) partnered together for 5 years to bring the local MFT Community together for a Brunch and Networking Meeting most months from April 2009 through September 2014.

During that time, Lynne Azpeitia, MFT and Karen Wulfson, MFT, SM-WLA District Co-Chairs and Jonathan Flier, MFT, LA-CAMFT President, worked together along with the boards and committees of both organizations to transform monthly meetings into an interesting and invigorating joint gathering for the members of both organizations and the local therapist community.

As a result of this collaboration and change of venue from Santa Monica Daily Grill to the Beverly Hills Country Club, attendance at the combined SM-WLA LA-CAMFT meetings increased from 65-70 people per meeting to 100-125 per meeting, increasing opportunities for connection, jobs, internships, and other opportunities.

During the five year partnership both organizations were proud to offer quality professional development presentations, CEUs, and opportunities to network with other local professionals at our meetings for an affordable price.

These warm, welcoming and friendly networking meetings featured brunch, networking, speakers, announcements, opportunity drawings, our famous participant contact list, office space list, a huge literature table and CEUs.

The shared collaboration between SM-WLA AAMFT and LA-CAMFT ended in October 2014.  SM-WLA AAMFT was dissolved in 2014 by AAMFT-CA and their $10,000 plus treasury was absorbed by AAMFT-CA.

This article was previously published in 2014 on the SM-WLA webpage of the AAMFT California website.

 

Posted
AuthorLynne Azpeitia

Keeping emotional love, passion and affection alive in your relationship isn’t easy these days.

When our spouse doesn't respond positively to our expressions of love, we get frustrated.

Most people forget--and don't notice--that the wonderful first stage of a passionate and euphoric new love doesn’t require a lot of effort.  

We don't notice that it doesn't take much effort because we’re swept along by a river of positive emotions.  In that phase of love we’re willing to do almost anything to make our partner happy and feel loved and appreciated--and vise versa.

We forget that we are devoted to making a very big effort and taking action on a very frequent basis--to keep our loved one happy.  And...we happily do it. It makes us happy to, and, too. 

In Stage 2 that changes.

As couples come down from the emotional high of new love, they need to make the transition to the second stage of love.  Stage 2 is more intentional.  Stage 2 Love requires a conscious, consistent and fairly constant effort--from each person--to learn about, understand and meet the emotional needs of the other. John Gottman refers to this practice as creating "Love Maps".

To keep a passionate and loving marriage alive and well, each person in the couple needs to keep updating their partner's love map.

Many couples fail to make the transition from the wonderful emotional high of new love (Stage 1) to Stage 2: intentional, conscious, enacted love.

When couples fail to make the transition from new love to intentional conscious love, what usually happens is that they get “feelings” for someone else, then divorce and remarry—and repeat the same exact cycle with another mate. Stage 1 love but not Stage 2.

It’s important to learn how to make the transition from the high of new love to the intentional stage of love.  Marriage counseling helps couples keep their love alive and make this transition so their relationship is reborn.

Through marriage counseling that is skill based and communication oriented, couples can learn how to express their love in a language their partner or spouse understands. 

Good intentions are not enough.

To sustain a passionate marriage or relationship we must also learn how to meet our beloved’s emotional need for love--and do that on a consistent basis, because we want to, love to, and it feels good to us and to our partner to do that.  That's Stage 2 Love. 

Posted
AuthorLynne Azpeitia

Virginia Satir was my teacher, mentor, colleague and friend.  I met Virginia  during my last year in college. Our association continued for 15 years until her death. She was one of the most extraordinary people I have ever known.

Meeting Virginia Satir opened my life up to new possibilities and ignited my passion for living life to the fullest.  Learning, using and teaching The Satir Model has kept that flame going and growing. 

 

People are always asking me which books have the best information about gifted, talented & creative adults.

Books and animals are often a gifted adult's best friends.

Here they are:

Living with Intensity: Understanding the Sensitivity, Excitability, and the Emotional Development of Gifted Children, Adolescents, and Adults

Susan Daniels and Michael Piechowski are the editors.

If you ever wondered why gifted, talented, and creative adults are the way they are, this book will answer many of your questions.  It’s an easily readable book with great information.  I’ve given this book to clients, students, friends, and colleagues–all with positive reviews.

Misdiagnosis And Dual Diagnoses Of Gifted Children And Adults: ADHD, Bipolar, OCD, Asperger’s, Depression, And Other Disorders

by James T. Webb , et al.

Are you wondering if you, or someone you know or love, has been misdiagnosed–or properly diagnosed? Get this book and read it.  It’s a great reference that is easy to read.  It has all the information you need to see whether you are gifted and misdiagnosed or are gifted and diagnosed properly since misdiagnosis of the gifted is quite common.

I recommend this book to any gifted adult who is questioning a present or previous diagnosis.

One of the strengths of this book is that it defines the diagnosis and the differences between giftedness and the diagnosis.  Then it also describes, and gives examples, of gifted adults who have the the diagnosis, too.

After you read this book you will know if there has been a misdiagnosis or not.

Mellow Out, They Say. If I Only Could: Intensities and Sensitivities of the Young and Bright

by Michael Piechowski

A lovely book that very clearly articulates the experience of gifted people regarding intensity and sensitivity.  Don’t be fooled by a title, this is a book that adults benefit from. Highly recommended.

Beyond the three books listed above the rest of the books I recommend for gifted adults are here.

 

Posted
AuthorLynne Azpeitia

Have you had your minimum daily requirement of creative stimulation, relaxation, imagination, daydreaming, and activity today?

USS Enterprise at Warp Speed
Photo: Lynne Azpeitia

Today I was having a short foot massage and reading  The Element by Sir Ken Robinson.  After about 15 minutes I finished my massage, put the book down, and prepared to move on to something else.

As I walked to the kitchen to get myself a glass of water, my mind roamed around, I realized a couple of things…..

First, I noticed that I was just beginning to enter the creative zone–I wasn’t quite yet in it–and if I went on to my next project I wouldn’t be propelled by, or have access to, my continuous creative energy.

As I walked back to my study, I decided to do another 15 minutes of reading and foot massage before I did anything else.  I was pretty sure another 15 minutes would do it.

Second, that got me thinking about how much creative stimulation–here, reading and thinking about what I was reading–and how much being in a creatively relaxed, open and imaginative head and inner space is needed before a person can enter the creative zone and be energized by, and operate from, their creative source.

How much creative simulation, imagination, daydreaming, and activity does it take for a person to enter the creative zone and to operate from, and remain fueled by, their creative source?

I knew that today it would take at least 30 minutes for me to reach the critical mass that would propel me into the creative zone and keep me operating from it.

That got me thinking about–looking at–what I’ve been thinking about,  spending my time on, using my mind for, and putting my efforts toward.

Then I discovered something interesting.  Lately, while I’ve still been creatively producing, I’ve been very task focused  and productive but apparently without enough creative input/stimulation and enough time to leisurely think/imagine/daydream about these things.

My ratio has definitely been off track; working/thinking too hard, not enough high strength creative input.  Time to readjust the mix, make a new mashup.  No wonder I’ve felt so restless, tired, and frustrated in getting things done–running on a low grade fuel in the creative tank.  Definitely time for an upgrade!

Time to leisurely think and play around with ideas, images, sounds, feelings, things, movements is necessary, sure, but also having enough of the right kind of creative stimulation/input  and activity is vital, too, just like having the right combination fuel, air, and spark before something can catch fire.

While writing this, I realize that what I’ve been thinking about is creative ignition.

How much stimulation, relaxation, imagination, and activity does it take to ignite our creative energy so that our creative fire can continue burning on it’s own?

What does it take to reach this critical creative mass?

Whatever your creative stimulation is, that’s what is part of the ignition mixture–as well as relaxation, imagination, daydreaming, and activity.  Activity can include working on something, walking, getting a massage, talking to someone, anything physical where you’re moving–this is a key ingredient.

How much creative stimulation do you need to enter the creative zone?  How much relaxation, imagination, daydreaming, and activity gets you into and operating from your continuous creative energy source? How much and what kind are key.

More importantly, have you been getting enough, daily?

If not, start now.

I did, and this blog entry, and several other things, resulted.

Try the recipe for yourself and see what happens:

Creative Stimulation + Relaxation + Imagination + Daydreaming + Activity  = Creative Ignition

Get your minimum daily requirement.

Find your mix.

Make your mashup.

See what happens and enjoy it.

Repeat daily.

And…Make sure you upgrade from time to time.

 

 

 

Gifted, talented, creative adults are often asked how they solve problems or come up with unique solutions, answers, ideas, and innovations. Most often their reply is, “I don’t know” or “It just came to me” or another variation of these.  Sound familiar?

This San Francisco store window describes the gifted perfectly....Expressive..Perfectionist..Innovative....Humorous...Adventurous...Creative
Photo: Lynne Azpeitia

Robert Lee Hotz has written an interesting article that reports on neuroscience research that sheds some light on how gifted, talented, creative adults come up with these possibilities and answers–what is happening in their brain when that flash of insight occurs.

I found A Wandering Mind Heads Straight Toward InsightResearchers Map the Anatomy of the Brain’s Breakthrough Moments and Reveal the Payoff of Daydreaming, a thought provoking read.  It provides evidence for the value of  what goes on in the minds of  gifted, talented, creative adults.

In my experience as a psychotherapist, coach, and working with gifted people of all ages, the type of wandering brain activity that’s described by Hotz is going on all the time with gifted, talented, creative people–not just when they are solving puzzles or problems.  This is how gifted people think, understand, and put things together.  It’s how they make their finest contributions.

However, this type of brain activity is not usually valued–at all–by gifted adults or those around them.

Gifted, talented, creative people need some stimulation of ideas, people, sounds, or whatever.  Then when they’ve had enough of that, they need time to let it roll around.

Gifted adults are constantly admonished by others not to daydream or let their minds wander.   Very few people understand the value and importance of daydreaming,  mind wandering, or the unfocused mind.

How many people have ever told you that it was productive to do that?

Leta Hollingsworth, knew this was the best way that the gifted mind operates because in 1942 she wrote that children with IQs of 140, waste 50% of their time in the classroom, and those with IQs of 160 and above waste 100% of their classroom time.

This is the way gifted people learn–by thinking about, examining, playing around with, and exploring things–ideas, pictures, concepts, sounds, smells, textures, lines, creatures, etc.

Gifted people’s minds are definitely very active and productive when others think they are doing nothing.  Now we have some neuroscience research that describes the value of this type of mental activity–and its relationship to results!

Some excerpts:

  • …sudden insights… are the culmination of an intense and complex series of brain states that require more neural resources than methodical reasoning.
  • People who solve problems through insight generate different patterns of brain waves than those who solve problems analytically.
  • …our brain may be most actively engaged when our mind is wandering and we’ve actually lost track of our thoughts, a new brain-scanning study suggests.
  • …we spend about a third of our time daydreaming, yet our brain is unusually active during these seemingly idle moments.
  • …our brain activates several areas associated with complex problem solving, which researchers had previously assumed were dormant during daydreams. Moreover, it appears to be the only time these areas work in unison.
  • “People assumed that when your mind wandered it was empty,” says cognitive neuroscientist Kalina Christoff at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver….As measured by brain activity, however, “mind wandering is a much more active state than we ever imagined, much more active than during reasoning with a complex problem.”
  • ….Some volunteers found answers by methodically working through the possibilities. Some were stumped. For others, even though the solution seemed to come out of nowhere, they had no doubt it was correct. In those cases, the EEG recordings revealed a distinctive flash of gamma waves emanating from the brain’s right hemisphere, which is involved in handling associations and assembling elements of a problem. The brain broadcast that signal one-third of a second before a volunteer experienced their conscious moment of insight….”It almost certainly reflects the popping into awareness of a solution,”
  • In addition, they found that tell-tale burst of gamma waves was almost always preceded by a change in alpha brain-wave intensity in the visual cortex, which controls what we see.
  • Psychologist Joydeep Bhattacharya also has been probing for insight moments…By monitoring their brain waves, he saw a pattern of high frequency neural activity in the right frontal cortex that identified in advance who would solve a puzzle through insight and who would not. It appeared up to eight seconds before the answer to a problem dawned on the test subject.
  • Insight does favor a prepared mind, researchers determined. Even before we are presented with a problem, our state of mind can affect whether or not we will likely resort to insightful thinking. People in a positive mood were more likely to experience an insight
  • “We often assume that if we don’t notice our thoughts they don’t exist,” says Dr. Christoff in Vancouver, “When we don’t notice them is when we may be thinking most creatively.”

So what does all this have to do with gifted, talented, creative adults?

Well, if gifted adults can understand, value, and appreciate the way their mind, imagination, and resources work then they will have a greater appreciation for who they are, what they do, and how they do it–and they will live better, happier, more fulfilled lives and enjoy themselves more while they are making their contributions in the world. That’s my experience with gifted, talented, and creative adults.