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Spring 2022 Newsletter

Message from the President

Message from the President: Spring 2022

Watch above or read below!

Hello SBCAMFT community, 


It is both an honor and privilege to be holding the role of President for the next two years. Having served on the board of directors for the past five years, I’ve had the opportunity to serve as the Director of Pre-licensing, Vice President/President Elect and now President. It’s a gift to be a part of this community and to serve alongside you all.


As I continue the impact Kristi Miller our Past-President has built, I look forward to deepening two concepts: community + connection. Both of which, I know our pandemic fatigued therapist community has spoken into and asked for. Many of us have been feeling isolated and removed from the therapist community through working remotely via telehealth and the pandemic.


A role I am particularly excited about is our Director of Community Engagement role. This is a new position that will facilitate special interests groups for our community. We recognize that everyone’s comfort level is different - while some might feel comfortable attending a zoom presentation, others crave in person networking or get togethers. Our hope is to poll the community in the next month and create sub-groups as optional meet ups (some in person and some online). Imagine: an EMDR monthly meetup, a hiking with therapists meetup, a monthly coffee meetup, a private practice meetup, the options are limitless! As you begin thinking about what you need or what you’d like to cultivate in our community, reach out to our Director [email protected] to share your ideas.


In the heartbeat of diversity and inclusion, we will continue to put those efforts at the forefront, as we implement a scholarship program for BIPOC students and clinicians, alongside facilitate a deepening of conversations through our Diversity Director and continue to bring Continuing Education opportunities to diversify and deepen our clinical practices.


While our four part diversity newsletter series is finishing up in this edition, we will be implementing a new section of our newsletter to highlight our Diversity Directors initiatives and opportunities as a community to connect.


So stay tuned!


With warmth, gratitude and appreciation,

Claire Blakey

Claire Blakey (she/her), MA, LMFT, PMH-C

President, SBCAMFT

[email protected]

Diversity Spotlight

Message from Diversity Committee Chair, Jonathan Thompson II

Hello SBCAMFT members,

My name is Jonathan Thompson II and I am excited to be in the role of Diversity Director for SBCAMFT. I want to acknowledge recent events in the community throughout Santa Barbara County that have been highlighted in the news as of late. The SBCAMFT Diversity Committee is committed to continuing to provide tools and resources to the community.

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The first quarter of 2022 has been a time of uncertainty due to the ebb and flow of the pandemic, recent court rulings in several high-profile cases, and the conflict in Ukraine. We recently celebrated Black History Month in February and Women's History Month in March. I was recently honored as one of nineteen black healers in Santa Barbara County by the Board of Supervisors. I encourage everyone to continue to expand their knowledge and attend the Melanin Gallery pop-up in support of local black artists.

Both the SBCAMFT Board of Directors and Diversity Committee are dedicated to doing the necessary internal work to organize and structure our goals for 2022 in order to further our mission stated below. I personally welcome feedback and pledge to create more opportunities for growth in this vital area.

I also want to personally thank Dr. Krista Armenta-Belen for sharing her reflections and providing two important considerations when working with people indigenous to California and our local area. I also am grateful to every person who contributed to the Racism, Let's Talk series over the past year. The contributions of the community is what makes this content so much richer.

Please reach out to me directly. I look forward to hearing from you.

Jonathan Thompson II

Jonathan Thompson II (he/his), MA, AMFT

Diversity Director, SBCAMFT

[email protected]

DEIJ (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Justice) Statement

SBCAMFT is committed to working in practical and substantive ways to take action in both our organization and our community, in order to learn about and remain aware of longstanding patterns of historical and systemic discrimination and biases, and to take action towards breaking these patterns.

Racism, Let's Talk: Indigenous Reflections


Reflection from Dr. Krista Armenta-Belen


American Indian Health & Services

Two important considerations when working with people indigenous to California and more specifically our county are:

1.) Due to the large presence of missions in our area, tribal people underwent extended and pervasive colonization which resulted in many spiritual practices, cultural systems, kinship networks, languages, etc. to be put to sleep for a time. Some persisted and were able to keep certain elements alive in secrecy/private, but the impacts of missionization continue to influence our indigenous people today. When inquiring about cultural connection, identity, spirituality, familial relations during the course of treatment, grief and shame can get layered into those topics. Grief around that significant loss of knowledge and connection to our ancestral practices; grief related to the knowledge of what relatives had continue to bear to practice their traditions. Also shame around the dichotomy of identifying as a Native person while also feeling disconnected from practices; not having knowledge around certain aspects of our culture. There are additional layers around federal recognition for local indigenous people that reinforce the mission-era experience of disempowerment and denial of indigenous people as valid. I have found that being able to give space for these topics as they present themselves can be healing and validating and at times can support opportunities for people who desire reconnection to ancestral wisdom and wellness to pursue that.

2.) Each individual Native experience is unique and highly personal. There are nearly 600 distinct and separate federally recognized tribes that call America home; that does not include the countless other tribes not recognized by federal or state processes that also maintain separate and vibrant cultures. Just as we would expect with other racial/ethnic groups, what it means to be indigenous and the practices, or worldviews, associated with that identification vary greatly. Relying on the individual to inform your perspective on this is the common best practice. You can also educate yourself around general information that is common to many Native communities via SAMHSA’s Culture Card (see resources below).


Dr. Krista Armenta-Belen, LMFT is samala chumash from the Santa Ynez reservation. She is currently practicing in the Indian Health Services sector, both for tribal and urban facilities in Santa Barbara County, providing direct clinical services and community-led prevention/ early intervention efforts.


Racism, Let's Talk: Indigenous Resources & Voices


Click below for resources to help you better support the Indigenous communities in CA:

Indigenous Mental Wellness Toolkit from the Indigenous Wellness Circle

Chumash Tribal Health Clinic

Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians

Changing the Narrative About Native Americans

SAHMSA's American Indian & Alaskan Native Culture Card

Chumash Perspective (Video)


National Women's History Museum Online

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Earlier this month, the SBCAMFT Board of Directors met for their annual retreat to discuss how we are growing in our pursuit both personally and professionally in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice. We shared ideas on ways to improve this mission via CE and community events, membership recruitment and engagement, communications, and building equitable opportunities for all clinicians. The SBCAMFT Board of Directors encourages members to participate in these conversations and efforts. We invite you to attend one of our upcoming community conversations, Tea with J.T., with our Diversity Director, Jonathan Thompson II.

Save the Dates: Tea with J.T.

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Where: Zoom (link will be provided)

When: Friday, April 22, 2022, Noon-1pm

What: This virtual event invites clinicians to come together to get to know our new Diversity Director and build a community conversation about diversity.

Cost: FREE for all SBCAMFT and Non-SBCAMFT members (Join now!)

Sponsored by Mission Harbor Behavioral Health 



Where: TBD at a location in Santa Barbara

When: Friday, May 20, 2022, Noon-1:30pm

What: This in-person event invites clinicians to come together to get to know our new Diversity Director and build a community conversation about diversity.

Cost: FREE for all SBCAMFT and Non-SBCAMFT members (Join now!)

Sponsored by Mission Harbor Behavioral Health 



Where: TBD at a North County Location

When: Saturday, June 25, 2022, 10am-11:30am

What: This in-person event invites clinicians to come together to get to know our new Diversity Director and build a community conversation about diversity.

Cost: FREE for all SBCAMFT and Non-SBCAMFT members (Join now!)

Sponsored by Mission Harbor Behavioral Health 


Pre-licensed Spotlight

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Message from Pre-licensed Committee Chair, Josh Manney

Hello everyone! I’m Josh, the Director of Pre-licensing for SBCAMFT. I am super excited to tell you about our upcoming offerings for the Pre-licensed community. First, we are hosting a monthly Pre-licensed Peer Support Group meeting the 1st Friday of each month held over video. Next up, we will be hosting a few in-person events for folks to connect face-to-face and continue to build connection and community as a Pre-licensed therapist. On top of all that, we are partnering with the State CAMFT on continuing with our Road To Licensure training series. Stay on the lookout for all of these events and more which will be posted on the SBCAMFT website. We hope to see you at one of these events!

Josh Manney

Josh Manney (he/his), MS, AMFT, APCC

Pre-Licensed Director, SBCAMFT

[email protected]

Pre-licensed Events

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Where: Zoom (link will be provided with registration)

When: First Friday of every month from 10am-11am

What: This virtual event for pre-licensed clinicians is a great place to come together to support one another during your pre-licensed journey. We will have a guest speaker each meeting who is a licensed clinician who can share their journey and answer questions the group has for them. Peer support groups do not include case consultations.

Cost: FREE for all SBCAMFT and Non-SBCAMFT members (Join now!)

Sponsored by Mission Harbor Behavioral Health 



Where: Zoom (link will be provided with registration)

When: May 13, 2022, Noon-2pm

What: This presentation provides an overview of the licensing process for pre-licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs). Topics include the MFT licensing process, supervised experience requirements for applicants, supervisor qualifications and supervision requirements, licensing examinations, and common employment issues.

Cost: FREE for all SBCAMFT and Non-SBCAMFT members (Join now!)

Sponsored by Mission Harbor Behavioral Health

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Make new friends, or connect with familiar ones, as we support one another along the road to licensure.


Keep an eye out for the date and location details later this spring!

Where: TBD

When: July 2022

What: Light snacks and appetizers provided - drinks and other items available for individual purchase (not provided by SBCAMFT)

Cost: FREE for all SBCAMFT and Non-SBCAMFT members (Join now!)

Sponsored by Mission Harbor Behavioral Health 

CE Events

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Doubt & Uncertainty? Clinical Methods to Help Clients

Find Greater Freedom from Anxiety

Presented by

SBCAMFT & Dr. Andrea Kulberg

Where: Online, Zoom

When: April 13, 2022, Noon-1:30pm

What: Anxiety-based disorders are related to difficulty tolerating uncertainty and live on avoidance or compulsions. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is unique among therapeutic approaches in providing skills for accepting doubt and uncertainty, as well as motivation for completing the exposures necessary for the client with anxiety to discontinue avoidance behaviors or rituals, and build a meaningful life.

Cost: $10 for Student/Associate members, $20 for SBCAMFT members and $25 for all State CAMFT members and $30 for Non-SBCAMFT members (Join now!)

About the Presenter: Dr. Andrea M. Kulberg is the founder of Anxiety Experts Clinics in Santa Barbara and Montecito. Dr. Kulberg have dedicated her lifelong career to supporting clients and families with Anxiety Disorders, Eating Disorders, and Autism Spectrum Disorders. In addition to her extensive and impressive resume', she is also an excellent supervisor, clinical director, fun and supportive team player, AND excellent at note-writing and utilizing evidence-based interventions. 

Sponsored by Mission Harbor Behavioral Health 



Mark your calendar for future CE Events! While the subjects will be announced in the future, we invite you to add these dates to your calendar:

  • Wednesday, June 22, 2022, 11:30am-1:30pm
  • Wednesday, October 12, 2022, 11:30am - 1:00 pm
See All Events



Kristi Miller, LMFT

SBCAMFT Board of Directors

President from 2020-2021

Outstanding Chapter Leader Award

Congratulations to our very own Kristi Miller, President of SBCAMFT in 2020 and 2021, for recently receiving CAMFT's award for Outstanding Chapter Leader in Santa Barbara.

From the SBCAMFT Board of Directors:

Kristi has exemplified leadership through this very difficult past year. She has been flexible and responsive as we have adjusted to COVID and the changing needs of our membership. She continued to keep us connected (albeit digitally) and on-boarded strong new directors.

Additionally, Kristi spearheaded the formation of a committee on diversity and continues to support our growth as a chapter.

“I fully appreciate the time that Kristi took to help me transition into my role. She was consistently available and gave patient and thoughtful responses to my many questions. She welcomed me to the board and continues to encourage me in my role. I’m grateful to be on the board under her leadership.”

“I am continually inspired by Kristi’s incredible service on the board of SBCAMFT. She leads by example, taking the time to train, mentor, and educate new board members at every opportunity. Kristi’s long service on the board, and her extensive knowledge of the board’s role in our community is invaluable. She communicates kindly and clearly, making it a joy serve alongside her on the board.” 

Sponsor Spotlight

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Mission Harbor Behavioral Health

Thank you to our Platinum sponsor, Mission Harbor Behavioral Health, for supporting SBCAMFT's programming including events, mixers and our quarterly newsletter.

Please find a helpful mental health guide for Santa Barbara-area Marriage Family Therapists provided by Mission Behavioral Health by clicking the image above or the button below.


The Mission Harbor team is growing and we want you to be a part of it! 

If you are a passionate mental health professional, we want to hear from you. We are hiring for both Santa Barbara and Los Angeles locations. Please view our available job postings, share this post, or tag a friend who might be interested in joining our team. 

At Mission Harbor Behavioral Health, our goal is to create a collaborative partnership with our clients that involves and empowers them within their own recovery process and the specific architecture of their life and mental health. Our clinical staff works as a team and collaborates continuously to create a compassionate and immersive experience.

Santa Barbara Mental Health Guide

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