Creating Connections and Building Bridges...Together:
LACPA’s 2021 Presidential Theme

By Michael Fresé, Ph.D.


Within a few years, she asked “Would you have any interest in getting more involved with LACPA - like on the board?” which frankly terrified me. As an early career psychologist, the last thing on my mind was overextending myself. In 2015, I met with then President-Elect Lisa Osborn, Psy.D., and was trained by Ilene Bell, Ph.D. and Pamela McCrory, Ph.D. to prepare me for my 2016 role as the Board of Psychology representative.


To share a little about my background for those I have not yet met, I am from Northern California and left Los Altos Hills for an internship at the Salt Lake City Veteran’s Administration. My postdoctoral fellowship was at the Greater Los Angeles Veteran’s Administration, in collaboration with the University of California, Los An­geles (UCLA) Center for Neurovisceral Sciences and Women’s Health (later renamed the UCLA Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience), where I worked under the tutelage of Michelle Craske, Ph.D. (UCLA) and Bruce Naliboff, Ph.D. (GLAVA). After completing my fellowship, I became licensed and started my facility-based geropsychology private practice at the Los Angeles Jewish Home, where I had been since 2010. In 2018, I opened an office in Brentwood. This past August, I joined the California State Veteran’s Home in West Los Angeles as the Staff Psychologist, which has caused me to cut back on my private practice work considerably. It feels great to be back on the campus where so much of my clinical training took place.


Over the past five years that I have served on the board, I have had the privilege of seeing all the hard work the board members put into making LACPA such a wonderful organization. Our board members have started initiatives to help our fellow Angelenos by providing those on Skid Row with hygiene kits to moderating/facilitating Commu­nity Visions Conversations in partnership with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.


LACPA is not just for private practice psychologists. We are the largest chapter of the California Psychological Association, and larger than some state organizations; we can do better in bridging the gap between private practice and institutional practice. One of my Presidential goals is to increase membership and outreach to institution-based psycholo­gists, whether they are employed by the City of Los Angeles, County of Los Angeles, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Kaiser, UCLA, the University of Southern California, or other organizations. In thinking of my Presidential theme for 2021, I reflected back on this year and what we have all witnessed and lived through: COVID-19, which has resulted in over 200,000 deaths as well as job losses and financial insecurity for millions; increased political polarization; an acute awareness of systemic racism due to social media and cell phone videos; a sense of helplessness and hopelessness for many; and the Presidential election in November. How can we, as mental health professionals, not only survive this year of stress and loss, but heal and come out stronger than before? I hope you will join me, our wonderful Board of Directors, and your fellow LACPA members on this journey of healing by creating connections and building bridges...together.