MWP 2016 Summer Newsletter
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Networking and support for all women in the mental health professions.

MWP Website Directory

As many of you may have noticed, we finally launched a new website! This was no easy task! Websites are not a “one and done” project and require ongoing, iterative development and improvement. So please be patient as we work out some unexpected bugs.
We have heard some of your concerns and have made it possible to edit your own directory profile by “Claiming your Listing.” Follow the step-by-step instructions below to learn more. You will also still have the option of sending an e-mail to Susan Johnson ( with edits, updates, or questions. We plan to have many opportunities throughout the year to assist any member in this process as technology is not everyone’s forte. Please be sure to review your profile to ensure all information is accurate and complete. There have been, and there will be mistakes along the way. We apologize for this in advance and will continue to make improvements on our website and listen to your needs. Stay tuned!
-by Hanin Ailabouni, M.S. Ed., LPC, NCC
Chair, Executive Committee|

Web Site Membership Searchable Directory at

Your information on your directory listing on the MWP website can be updated in two ways.
  1. Email any changes or additions such as a photo or a brief bio to the MWP administrative assistant, Susan Johnson, at
  2. “Claim your listing” and be able to edit your own information.
How to “Claim Your Listing”

First, locate your own listing.
Then click the "Business Owner?" link in the right column.

If you are not logged in, it will prompt you to log in.
Once logged in you will be brought directly to here.

OR if you were already logged in, this is what appears immediately when you click the "Business Owner?" link.
Submit the form with your full name, phone number, position, and comments. (The “comments” box is pre-filled with a standard message).

Once this is submitted, you will see the message "Request Sent Successfully"
Editing Your Profile/Directory Listing on the MWP Website

After your “claim” has been approved, you will see the “owner verified listing” box.

Above it you will see the prompt to “Edit this Post”.

Click on “Edit this Post” to make changes or additions to your listing.

Here you can change how your name is listed.

In the Listing Description you can add your bio information.

You can scroll the insurance, services, specialties and population.

You will then see your listing.
You can go back and edit more
You can approve the changes by clicking on “Update Now”.

Save the Date!

Wine and Chocolate will take place on Tuesday, October 18, 2016, from 5:30-9:00.

Do you know about Wine and Chocolate? It is a time to celebrate MWP, a time to thank our members, a time for potential new members to check us out, a time to network, and a time to have fun!

You don’t want to miss it, so clear your calendar, put in for time off – whatever it takes. Start thinking about colleagues you will invite. We look forward to seeing you there!

- by Laurie Nelson, LICSW
Personal Development Committee Chair

Student Group

When I first started MWP I had just moved from Iowa and had no connections in the field. I was super excited to be a part of a group of women with whom I could connect. I started going to MWP events and I met many inspiring women from whom I could learn so much. One thing I realized I was missing was a connection with my fellow students. Being new to the area, I was just starting the counseling program at St. Mary's and had yet to make any deep connections with other students. I joined the executive committee and my fellow EC member, Michele Purtle and I started talking about creating a student group, where graduate students and recent grads could get together. This is how Student Group began.  We wanted a place where fellow students and recent grads could come and share the grief of graduate school exams, papers, practicum ideas and reviews, as well as licensing struggles and recommendations. Soon after student group started, Kyja Foster-DeZuirk started coming regularly. Two years later, Kyja has joined the EC and continues to join me monthly at student group, even holding down the fort when I'm unable to make it! 
Student group has so much to offer. We will continue to bring in seasoned professionals to share their wisdom, already licensed professionals who can help tackle the beast that is the licensing process, share lists of practicum options for everyone to give input on, and just provide the opportunity to meet other women in the same place in life! 
Student group occurs every third Saturday at Amore Coffee in St Paul. If the rest of this article didn't convince you, trust me, the cookies are reason enough to come! We are taking a summer break but encourage you to join us when we start up again in September!
FFI: Beth Quinby or Kyja Foster-DeZuirk

-by Beth Quinby, M.A.
Member of the Professional Development Committee

Notes from the Chair

As Chair for the 2016-2017 year, I would like to share our theme of Embracing Differences. MWP strives to learn, grow, and understand the issues of diversity by valuing multiculturalism and seeking an ongoing process of learning, reflection, and action. This passion for embracing differences is at the core of who I am and is one of the areas MWP stands for, too. 
At this year’s Executive Committee planning retreat in June, our goal was to refocus our efforts on the 1998 Strategic Plan with some tweaks for the technological era. This structure included a commitment to ourselves, a commitment to our profession, and a commitment to women. The Executive Committee has been working hard and even had an optional meeting in July (the only month we usually take off) to solidify a structure to remain true to the original intentions of MWP and streamline events to have more manageable tasks and allow for a more comprehensive budget. 
  1. As a commitment to ourselves we have formed the Sharing Pillar to focus on personal development, networking and connection, and student outreach. Some main events in this committee are the Wine and Chocolate Networking event, the Membership Retreat, the Mentorship program, the Private Practice and Student Group, social hours, an online presence, and the newsletter. 
  2. As a commitment to our profession, we have shaped the Learning Pillar to focus on professional development by offering support and guidance for women with professional concerns and fill the gap with fresh and innovative educational programming. The Executive Committee had the opportunity to collaborate with Ruth Markowitz to brainstorm some unique topics that will hopefully interest many of you! This area focuses on the Spotlight Growth Series, a CEU event, and the Annual Meeting. 
  3. As a commitment to women, we will continue with the Doing Pillar also known as the Social Action Committee to make a difference in our own lives and the lives of other Minnesota women through collaborative efforts with other organizations and volunteering with community agencies. 
  4. The Executive Committee has decided to group all tasks related to helping MWP run smoothly and provide organizational support in an Operations Committee. This includes the finances, our wonderful Administrative Assistant, Susan Johnson, and more. 
I encourage you to find an area of passion into which you can invest your energy. We encourage this because we sincerely want each member to feel valued and to feel that they are getting the most out of belonging to our organization. Stay tuned throughout the year to learn more about ways to grow and get involved. 
To that end, we are truly excited about the many benefits MWP has to offer! Below are just a few of the highlights:
  • MWP Spotlight Growth Series to highlight your profession, area of interest, or specialty and to address professional concerns and educational programming typically drawn from the expertise of our own members.
  • Monthly Private Practice Group and Student Group to network with colleagues.
  • Annual Wine and Chocolate Networking Event to support new and returning members.
  • NEW MWP Website with user friendly, searchable member directory and one-click, color coded calendar with member-only access to the latest MWP news.
  • Time for personal renewal at the Membership Retreat.
  • Access to resources and timely information through weekly eBlast and Facebook page. 
  • Mentorship Program to connect with peers at various stages of your career.
  • Opportunities to volunteer in our social action efforts that support women.
Each member is an asset to our organization. Please become an involved member to maximize the value of your membership at this dynamic time in MWP’s history. Feel free to contact me, or anyone on the Executive Committee, if you have questions or want to share your passions. We would love to hear from you and look forward to learning about what makes you unique! 
--by Hanin Ailabouni, M.S. Ed, LPC, NCC
Chair, Executive Committee

In Light of Orlando II:
7 Self-Care Suggestions
for LGBTQ+ Mental Health Workers

For many of us who are LGBTQ+ mental health providers, these weeks since Orlando have been intensely emotional and psychologically draining – on both a personal and professional level.
We have been raw with our own pain, PTSD, shock and grief from the tragic events of Sunday, June 12, 2016; only exacerbated by the ongoing subsequent political, religious, familial, and social macro- and micro-aggressions that unsurprisingly followed. Orlando epitomizes the day-in and day-out personal and collective violence, rejection, discrimination, invisibility, and injustices caused by homo-hatred, heterosexism, racism, xenophobia, bi-erasure, and transphobia that we in the queer and queer POC communities face each day. We, as LGBTQ+ people, consistently confront these root causes of our collective and personal Oppression Fatigue. Orlando maximized them to our core.
And yet, as therapists, we still showed up each day (as best as we could) and have done our work of listening empathetically to the PTSD, grief, fear and anger of our LGBTQ+ clients; and equally attended to the therapeutic needs of our non-queer clients – who may or may not have even mentioned Orlando.
This parallel process, clinical hour after clinical hour, can naturally take a toll on us. This toll often results in vicarious trauma. Unattended vicarious trauma of caregivers can develop into Compassion Fatigue. Compassion fatigue, (emotional exhaustion and an isolative emptiness of empathy), is already a common hazard of our job as mental health providers. It is exponentially more likely and more harmful when it is exacerbated by a trauma that strikes deeply in our own lives and in the communities of our chosen family.
Given these times, perhaps more than ever, taking our own advice and making our self-care a priority is nothing less than imperative. In the name of responsible personal and professional care, I offer these suggestions:
We must not be in denial about how Orlando may be impacting us personally and professionally.
We need to consciously assess our emotional, spiritual and physical well-being.
We must accept our own limitations, take more breaks, and make healthy choices that honor our needs and feelings.
We need to connect with our trusted colleagues, our own therapists or guides, so that we can stay ahead of our own vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue. We in Minnesota are organizing a gathering for LGBTQ+ mental health professionals to address these issues: The Ripple Effects of Orlando: We LGBTQ+ Therapists Need to Take Care of Ourselves, Too.
We must seek professional consultation about any client counter-transference issues or feelings of burn-out.
We need to request and accept support and care from our friends and loved ones.
I will go a step further and insist that we come out of the clinical boxes we call our offices and take a stand. Despite the fact that many of us therapists are introverts, I suggest that, in whatever way we can, we extend our time, money, vote, voice or effort towards any action that puts a dent in our own oppression and the oppression of our clients.
Compassion fatigue born of oppression fatigue succinctly illustrates the undeniable intersections of the professional, is the personal, is the political.

-by Irene Greene, M.S.Ed.
Chair  MN LGBTQ Therapist Network Steering Committee /

This article was reprinted with permission.
Visit Irene Greene’s blog at:

Therapeutic Story Writing

For years I’ve encouraged clients to journal as a reinforcement for therapeutic growth. At times I’ve given them various sentence stems they can use to get started, such as:
  • I appreciate learning this 
  • I’m grateful for
  • This has been difficult and I’ve grown from it in these ways
  • My strengths today
  • Positive possibilities 
It’s only recently that I started encouraging the use of writing in a story-telling way. Take an experience, discovery, memory, and build it into a descriptive story that you can imagine finding in a beautiful story book. That doesn’t mean the story itself has to be beautiful. It can be about a painful or traumatic memory, but it builds in a positive perspective that can help the writer more fully embrace the therapeutic growth they’re experiencing and pursuing. 
Begin writing with an author’s identity, even if you have to pretend you’re a writer. Believe in the importance of your story. Trust that what’s needed to come out, will. Draw a picture with your words. Always keep a positive purpose in mind. The positive purpose is discovering and reinforcing strengths you’ve gained and discovered by revisiting vivid aspects of your life experience. 
The story can be written in first (I and me), second (you and yours), or third person (he, she, it, they). The example below is written in first person and to some may feel the most natural way to start. Third person, however, can have benefits of healthy detachment while still delivering some powerful insights and strengths. 
Reading the story out loud to a trusted therapist or friend also delivers the benefit of deep feeling with recognition of both the painful and helpful aspects of revisiting an experience. It’s a natural stepping stone to then converse more about the ways the writer feels it has helped them gain new perspectives on issues that have caused difficulties for them.
When I wrote “The Milo Field,” I experienced deep sadness yet significant internal validation and new perspectives that left me with an exhilarating gratitude. The therapeutic benefit is strong and lasting. I’m honored to share it with you and hope you may find it useful for yourself or clients.

The Milo Field

I knew I had to tell him of the discovery we’d made just beyond the milo field. A favorite patch of woods with the most peaceful and charming babbling brook running through it was normally our reward for making the trek through acres of the dry and unappealing crop. 
We called it the clearing. Its tremendous trees were surrounded by the perfect trickle of streaming water and magical mix of grass and wild flowers. It was ideal for stretching out on our backs and gazing up at the rustling leaves. It never disappointed. To a couple of ten-year-old friends, it seemed to greet us with open arms and a warm hug. The clearing was our pal, ready to join us in calm play that embraced our need to escape the chaos of our families.
But that day was different. As Karen and I approached the clearing, we could see a foreign item that baffled us the instant we saw it in the distance. How did that old Chevy get there? And why? The mysterious car didn’t slow our pace until we both saw what was inside.
Feeling leery, we cautiously approached the driver’s window. The old man sat slumped down with his chin resting on his chest. He was ashen and still. We stared silently at him for what seemed like hours, as if we were both willing him to move, defying our identical thoughts. 
Was it me who first spoke the words, or was it Karen? I don’t know. “He’s dead,” one said. We continued our silent staring in disbelief. Neither of us had ever seen a dead person before. Again it was voiced. “He’s really dead.” More silent staring continued as a sobering sadness overcame us and our young minds felt humbled by the old man’s life. His weathered face seemed to house a deep and lonely fatigue.
“We better go,” I said, and we turned to begin our trudge back through the milo field. The only sound was the crackling of the dry stalks as we walked briskly up the gentle slope. Our urge to run kicked in at the same instant and our safe arrival back at my house brought only a moment of relief as the burden of deciding whether to tell Dad set in. Karen went home immediately, barely muttering, “Well, bye.”
Dad would be home from work soon. Maybe I’d say nothing. I didn’t want him to get mad. I was terrified of this man; he did so many terrifying things. He was easily angered even when we had no idea we’d done something wrong. But I knew he never minded that we walked down to the clearing. And surely he’d know what to do about the dead farmer.
When Dad arrived home, I mustered my courage and braved sharing what Karen and I had seen at the clearing. Almost more surprising than finding the dead farmer, was experiencing Dad’s respectful response to my report of our unusual discovery. His voice was calm and caring, something I’d never witnessed before. Dad said simply, “Let’s go see.”
As we started out through the field, he reached down for my hand. Shockingly, we held hands for the first time I could ever remember. I felt safe and trusting of him in those moments, an unimaginable feeling I’d never have predicted. This, from the loud and frightening man who’d become my step father when I turned four years old. 
His drinking brought out an unexplained ferocious anger in him that turned my mother into a silent being, afraid to protect us from his harsh verbal and physical lashings. Everything about the man made me tremble inside. I learned quickly that safety was in speedy and quiet obedience to his every command. 
But now we were alone together in a new endeavor, hand-in-hand, crunching our way through the milo field to do what needed to be done about the dead man. With every step we took, my wonder about the dead farmer faded as the sheer amazement of holding hands with my step father grew. I secretly wondered, “Is this what it’s like to have a normal dad?” It feels strong and stable. How strange to feel protected by his strength instead of terrified by it. I wished it could last.
So many silent steps we trudged back down through the field, again hearing only the crunch of the crop as we marched along. I filled with a sense of awe that I could feel safe and special with the man who’d beaten me the first day of our life together. That new life was in a small town. The house we’d arrived at was evidently our new home. It was a run down, tiny rambler with severely overgrown grass and weeds, littered with dozens of rolled up newspapers. It looked as abandoned as I felt.
I’ll never know what exactly he’d wanted this four-year-old child to do differently when he was mowing that scruffy yard and commanded simply, “Pick up the newspapers.” I would have done it precisely that way instead if I’d known. Even before he unleashed his sudden attack due to my incorrect guess about where to put the newspapers I was picking up, I felt terrified and unsafe. My body ached with a deep longing for my grandmother and grandfather, with whom we’d lived before coming here. With him.
I didn’t understand why my mother had taken my sister and me away from the sweet life we’d had living with her and our grandparents. I wanted them back, their tidy little home, their yard, their calm, safe love. But they were gone, seemingly replaced by this man, this stranger, introduced to me by my mother the day we left only as, “This is your new daddy.”
I met a new dimension of my not-so-new daddy that day in the milo field. He was a protector. His strength protected us from many of life’s outside threats, almost everything except his own inner demons. I can still feel the unexpected awe, experiencing that dimension of the strong father holding my hand. 
The milo field made us partners in a task that ended up never needing to be done. When we arrived at the clearing, the old Chevy and the sleeping farmer were gone. But the love remained.
-by Susan Zimmerman, LMFT, ChFC

Susan Zimmerman, LMFT, ChFC is a licensed marriage and family therapist and chartered financial consultant. She is a founding partner in her planning firm, Mindful Asset Planning, and now is retired as a financial planner and does therapeutic coaching, teaching, and writing. Susan is the author of several books available on, including Rays of Hope in Times of Loss: Courage and Comfort for Grieving Hearts and Mindful Money for Wealth and Well-Being: Help Clients Strike a Balance in Financial Planning (available in Kindle version). 

Is it O.K. for us to Talk About the News?

Every time we turn on the news or open the internet there seems to be another horror story. We are baffled by what is going on in our country and in the world. It may not seem appropriate to discuss our feelings with others because tensions are high and people seem easily offended. We might not be able to figure out how to have an honest dialogue about our fears and thoughts.

The United States is becoming increasingly diverse. Even so, people of differing faiths, cultures, and races share a common humanity and can share similar core values. When you get to know people on a deeper level, and listen to them, you may have more in common than expected!

Here are a few tips for talking about the news:

Know yourself and examine your own biases.

Educate yourself on current topics and events.

Get accurate information…this is much harder to come by than you think! Read the fine print.

It’s ok not to know everything - ask genuine and productive questions.

Facebook and Internet websites may not be the most reliable sources of information, especially emotion provoking memes - anyone can make them!

Don’t make assumptions.

Think before you speak.

Be open to new information, even when passionate.

Speak proactively not reactively.

Respect, respect, respect…we can’t say this word enough.

REMINDER: Take care of yourself and your children physically, emotionally, and socially at this time. Even media coverage can be traumatizing.

The majority of us who do not hate and who are against the use of violence CAN work together to find a common ground. This is the only way that change will happen. Violence and unfounded verbal attacks fuel more hatred and create further trauma that will surely continue to be passed down into future generations.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: Only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate: Only love can do that."  -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
-by  Felixia M. Valerius, MA, LPCC & Donna Wallace, MA, BCC, LADC

MWP Celebrates 40 Years!!!

Next year, in 2017, MWP will turn 40 years old.  There is a lot to celebrate! MWP can be proud of many accomplishments over the last 40 years and membership has grown. Following tradition, we want to celebrate with a huge birthday bash.  Celebrating is a tradition for MWP.   In 1987 when MWP turned 10 years old and was chaired by Charme Sturkie Davidson, there was a special gala party, a 5k walk and run, as well as educational opportunities.  For the 20th anniversary, in 1997, when MWP was chaired by Cathy Skrip,  the planning committee spent approximately three years planning a celebration that included performances, a movie screening and educational presentations.   Beth Johnson is chairing the committee to plan all the special events to commemorate our 40th anniversary. We are open to ideas and need lots of help!!!  If you are interested in planning or helping out in any way, please contact Beth at

-by Beth Johnson, LMFT
Social Action Committee Chair

The Social Action Committee
is Ready to Take Action

The Social Action Committee has been hard at work developing ideas for the next Social Action program.  This year, the focus will be on empowering women.  The committee has been busy brainstorming ideas, including volunteering at Take Back the Night with the University of Minnesota, doing a movie screening about human trafficking and collaborating with a domestic abuse shelter.  Currently, the committee members are making contact with different nonprofits in the community to assess need, and see how MWP members can help meet this need.  If you are interested in being part of the planning for any of these, please contact Beth Johnson at

-by Beth Johnson, LMFT
Social Action Committee Chair

Contributors to this Issue

Hanin Ailabouni, M.S. ED, LPC, NCC
Irene Greene, M.S.Ed.
Beth Johnson, LMFT
Laurie Nelson, LICSW
Beth Quinby, M.A.
Felixa M. Valerius, M.A., LPCC
Donna Wallace, M.A., BCC, LADC
Susan Zimmerman, LMFT, ChFC
Newsletter Editor
Farren Swanson, M.A., LMFT
Production Coordinator
Susan Johnson
Web Site
The MWP Newsletter is published four times a year by Minnesota Women in Psychology for its members. All articles and announcements may be edited to conform to space limitations or to improve clarity, without permission of writers. Contributors are given credit via byline. Email articles and items of interest to Be sure to include “Newsletter” in the subject line.

Advertising Guidelines: Ads must be of interest to women psychologists, and MWP reserves the right to reject or edit advertising. Publication of any advertising does not constitute endorsement; advertising by therapists must follow APA guidelines. Cost: Ads will be accepted in increments of business card size (2” x 3 ½”); cost of one business-card-size ad is $20, two—$35, three—$50, four—$60, etc., up to $100 for 8-card-size, equivalent of a full-page ad. All advertising must be prepaid. Procedures: Ads must be camera ready and fit the requirement of increments of business card size. Submit by the newsletter deadline to: or MWP, 5244 114th Ave, Clear Lake, MN 55319.

2016-2017 Executive Committee

Hanin Ailabouni, M.S. Ed., LPC, NCC - Chair
Felixia Valerius M.A.  -Vice Chair
Miriam Zachary, M.A., LMFT - Treasurer
Farren Swanson, M.A., LMFT - Newsletter Editor
Kyja Foster-DeZurik, M.A., LADC, BCC
Julie Gunderson, M.A.
Analisa Jayasekera, M.A., LAMFT
Beth Johnson LAMFT
Laurie Nelson, LICSW
Deb Rich, Ph.D., LP
Stacey Stillmunkes, M.A., LMFT

Regular & Retired Membership in MWP is available to women who hold either a Master’s or doctoral degree in one of the fields of mental health or a related field from a regionally accredited institution and eligible for licensure in Minnesota in one of the fields of mental health.

Student Membership in MWP is available to women who are in the process of becoming a licensed mental health professional who have not yet earned a graduate degree. Student members are not voting members of the organization. Student representatives on Executive Committee may participate in consensus votes within Executive Committee but may never participate to break a tie vote.

Annual dues are based on a sliding scale according to the annual income of the member, currently ranging from $30 to $80 per year. Membership applications are available by emailing the MWP office at or on the website at
You can view the complete calendar on our website!

Monday, August 8
Executive Committee Meeting
7:00-9:00 PM
Location: 475 Cleveland Ave N, Saint Paul
FFI: Hanin

Sunday, August 21
40 Years Celebration Committee
5:00 PM
FFI: Beth

Monday, September 12
Executive Committee Meeting
7:00-9:00 PM
Location: 475 Cleveland Ave N, Saint Paul
FFI: Hanin

Saturday, September 17
Social Action Book Group
1:30 - 3:00 PM
Book: "Stealing Buddah's Dinner"
Location: 7250 France Ave, Edina
FFI: Jane

Monday, October 10
Executive Committee Meeting
7:00-9:00 PM
Location: 475 Cleveland Ave N, Saint Paul
FFI: Hanin

Tuesday, October 18
Wine & Chocolate Membership Event
5:30-9:00 PM
Details to come in weeks aheard
FFI; Laurie
Copyright © 2016 Minnesota Women in Psychology, All rights reserved.

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