269 episodios

The Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide: Where Therapists Live, Breathe, and Practice as Human Beings

It’s time to reimagine therapy and what it means to be a therapist. We are human beings who can now present ourselves as whole people, with authenticity, purpose, and connection. Especially now, when clinicians must develop a personal brand to market their private practices, and are connecting over social media, engaging in social activism, pushing back against mental health stigma, and facing a whole new style of entrepreneurship.

To support you as a whole person, a business owner, and a therapist, your hosts, Curt Widhalm and Katie Vernoy talk about how to approach the role of therapist in the modern age.

The Modern Therapist's Survival Guide with Curt Widhalm and Katie Vernoy Curt Widhalm, LMFT and Katie Vernoy, LMFT

    • Salud y forma física

The Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide: Where Therapists Live, Breathe, and Practice as Human Beings

It’s time to reimagine therapy and what it means to be a therapist. We are human beings who can now present ourselves as whole people, with authenticity, purpose, and connection. Especially now, when clinicians must develop a personal brand to market their private practices, and are connecting over social media, engaging in social activism, pushing back against mental health stigma, and facing a whole new style of entrepreneurship.

To support you as a whole person, a business owner, and a therapist, your hosts, Curt Widhalm and Katie Vernoy talk about how to approach the role of therapist in the modern age.

    The Clinical Supervision Crisis for Early Career Therapists: An Interview with Dr. Amy Parks

    The Clinical Supervision Crisis for Early Career Therapists: An Interview with Dr. Amy Parks

    The Clinical Supervision Crisis for Early Career Therapists: An Interview with Dr. Amy Parks Curt and Katie interview Dr. Amy Parks about the lack of resources for pre- and provisionally licensed mental health professionals to find a clinical supervisor. We discuss the current state of clinical supervision, the barriers for folks becoming clinical supervisors, what makes a good supervisor, navigating online supervision, and what licensed folks might consider when seeking consultation.
    Transcripts for this episode will be available at mtsgpodcast.com!
    An Interview with Dr. Amy Parks, Founder of the Clinical Supervision Directory Dr. Amy Fortney Parks brings with her over 30 years of experience working with children, adolescents and families as both an educator and psychologist.  She is a passionate “BRAIN -ENTHUSIAST” and strives to help everyone she works with understand the brain science of communication, activation and relationships.
    Dr. Parks has a Doctorate in Educational Psychology with a specialty in developmental neuroscience. She is a Child & Adolescent Psychologist as well as the founder and Clinical Director of WISE Mind Solutions LLC and The Wise Family Counseling, Assessment & Education in Virginia.  She is also the founder of the Clinical Supervision Directory – a connection super-highway for supervision-seekers working towards licensure in counseling and social work across the US.
    Dr. Parks serves as a Clinical Supervisor for Virginia LPC Residents, as well as Dominion Psychiatric Hospital. Additionally, she is an adjunct professor at George Washington University & The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Dr. Parks is a frequently sought-after parent coach and speaker for families and groups around the world.  
    In this podcast episode, we talk about clinical supervision for modern therapists We look at the gap in clinical supervision for prelicensed or provisionally licensed mental health professionals.
    What is the state of clinical supervision for mental health professionals? “Arbitrary reasons or barriers to entry are one of the main reasons why we're not getting more clinical counselors on the ground to serve the public. Because when somebody graduates from graduate school… hundreds of thousands of clinicians are graduating, and hundreds of thousands of them will not get connected to supervisors, until they figure out where to find their lists.” – Dr. Amy Parks
    No consistent resources for newly graduated clinicians to find supervisors Different state to state or area to area Lack of supervisors and a lack of a mechanism to connect supervisors and supervisees What are the barriers to folks becoming clinical supervisors? Different standards in different states Sometimes becoming a supervisor is too overwhelming, complicated, or too much responsibility The need for advanced training in supervision What makes a good supervisor? “Everyone should have supervision as part of their employment. It should be excellent. It should be professional, and it should be a benefit, period, end of discussion. But I can guarantee you 100% that that is not the majority of the country. And that's not the way it's done in every career field either.” – Dr. Amy Parks
    Training Diverse experience Understanding the boundaries between supervision and counseling Supervisor, consultant, teacher roles Cultural humility, bias – looking at clients and supervisees Navigating Online Supervision Video supervision (rather than phone) Have supervisees record (video) their sessions for feedback Research shows that telesupervision is as effective as in person Laws related to in-person versus virtual supervision Supervision or Consultation After Licensure The value of getting consultation after you’re licensed The importance of a beginner’s mind The challenges of finding good consultation Finding the right match when seeking supervision or consultation Our Generous Sponsors for this episode of

    • 35 min
    What is Parental Alienation and How Can Therapists Successfully Treat it?

    What is Parental Alienation and How Can Therapists Successfully Treat it?

    What is Parental Alienation and How Can Therapists Successfully Treat it? Curt and Katie chat about a controversial topic: Parental Alienation. We look at what parental alienation is, the controversies and complexities surrounding this process, how to assess for parental alienation, and how to effectively treat the family system. We talk about how traditional therapy methods are inadequate and potentially harmful in these cases and what to do instead.  This is a continuing education podcourse.
    Transcripts for this episode will be available at mtsgpodcast.com!
    In this podcast episode we explore Parental Alienation We both have worked with families that  
    What is Parental Alienation? The impact a parent/guardian has over how a child interacts with another parent/guardian Complex dynamic within a family where conflict is present Breakdown of relationship based on behavior of alienating parent toward targeted parent The Four Factor Model from Baker (2020) How do you assess for Parental Alienation? Challenges with correctly identifying this process/dynamic Controversies and lack of recognition of Parental Alienation as a separate diagnosis from Parent-Child Relational Problem Identifying what Parental Alienation is not Clues that stories from kids are manufactured versus authentic stories of child abuse The need for access to the full family system to obtain sufficient information Exploring: What is alienating behavior? How does it work? Effective Case Conceptualization and Treatment for Parental Alienation “Research actually shows [for parental alienation] that only working with one part of the system and in a very isolated way, can sometimes create more harm in the system.” – Curt Widhalm, LMFT
    The importance of a family systems approach Involvement of government systems Uncovering the generational or individual trauma for all members of the system How to engage the tools available to advocate for important treatment elements to be in place The importance of understanding scope and how to write recommendations to court Preventing therapist shopping and treatment avoidance Harmful recommendations that can hinder progress within these systems “Don't be alone with these cases. Don't keep your observations to yourself – I think whether it's with a treatment team or your own consultation or your own therapy - these things can bring so much up in therapists because of their own stories, their own history and the just the intensity of what's happening in these systems.” – Katie Vernoy, LMFT
    Treatment teaming and avoiding isolation Educating about Parental Alienation Supporting the targeted parent to improve the relationship with the child Working with alienating parent to prepare for improvement in child’s relationship with targeted parenting Co-parenting and conflict resolution Therapist communication with all members of the system  
    Our Generous Sponsors for this episode of the Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide: GreenOak Accounting  At GreenOak Accounting, they believe that every private practice should be profitable. They’ve worked with hundreds of practice owners across the country to have the financial confidence and information to make data-driven decisions. We want our client's businesses to be profitable so they can focus on fulfilling their mission.
    GreenOak Accounting specializes in working with therapists in private practice, and they have helped hundreds of therapists across the country reach their financial goals. They offer a number of monthly packages to fit a growing practice's needs - from bookkeeping to CFO services. Other specialized services include Profit First Support, compensation planning, and customized KPI Dashboards. They help therapists achieve their clinical goals by making sure they have a profitable practice, and offer unsurpassed support along the way.

    If you’re interested in scheduling a complimentary consultation, please visit their website at www.G

    • 1h 13 min
    The Practicalities of Mental Health and Gender Affirming Care for Trans Youth: An Interview with Jordan Held, LCSW

    The Practicalities of Mental Health and Gender Affirming Care for Trans Youth: An Interview with Jordan Held, LCSW

    The Practicalities of Mental Health and Gender Affirming Care for Trans Youth: An Interview with Jordan Held, LCSW Curt and Katie interview Jordan Held, LCSW, about gender affirming care, trans mental health, the practicalities of transition (as well as the different types of transition), specifics when working with trans youth, and the politicization of trans folks. We also explore culture and privilege related to transition.
    Transcripts for this episode will be available at mtsgpodcast.com!
    An Interview with Jordan Held, LCSW Jordan Held (he/him/his), LCSW is a Primary Therapist and Gender Specialist at Visions Adolescent Treatment Center. Prior to Visions, Jordan was a Therapist and Intake Coordinator at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in the Center for Trans Youth Health and Development, the largest trans youth health clinic in the USA.
    Jordan’s mental health practice centers around creating a trauma-informed and healing-centered space for both adolescents and their families. Jordan’s expertise is working with gender and sexual minority youth with complex histories of PTSD and trauma. Jordan speaks internationally about creating and supporting affirmative LGBTQ+ environments with an emphasis on informed consent and enhanced family communication. As a queer-identified, transgender man, Jordan brings an important dual perspective to his work as a mental health provider.
    Prior to social work, Jordan worked extensively in secondary school education, with a decade of experience teaching, coaching, and developing health and wellness curricula. Jordan’s work focuses on gender violence prevention, diversity, equity, inclusion, and cultivating strength and belonging for teens. Jordan is on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles LGBT Center, the Laurel Foundation, JQ International, and Mental Health America of Los Angeles. Jordan is also a long-time facilitator at Transforming Family, a support group for gender-diverse youth and their family.
    Jordan holds a Master of Social Welfare degree from UCLA, a Master of Sports Leadership degree from Northeastern University, and a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from the University of Connecticut. Jordan is an avid sneakerhead who self-cares by lifting heavy weights, going to the beach, loving his rescue dog, and embracing his gender euphoria!
      In this podcast episode, we talk about trans mental health For Pride Month, we wanted to deepen our conversation on trans mental health and what therapists should know when working with trans individuals.
    What is gender-affirmative care? “Trans people are being used as political pawns.” – Jordan Held, LCSW
    The way that “gender affirming care” is being taken out of context What is actually happening, how it has been politicized The misinformation related to what is available to children who are exploring their gender (i.e., parental consent and youth care) The role of therapists versus the role of medical providers Discussion of gender norms Different types of transition for trans individuals Social transition (name, pronouns, clothes, haircut) Medical interventions that may start during puberty (i.e., puberty blockers, progesterone only birth control) Cross sex hormones and surgeries (which actually require a long process) States are very specific for what they require for gender care (as do insurance companies) Conversations in therapy for trans youth Gender journey Meeting the kids where they’re at Lying to get what they need Letters and recommendations for surgery The gender dysphoria diagnosis and sorting that out from depression, anxiety, etc. Supporting trans youth with social transition and getting the support they need The concerns with maladaptive coping skills available online Positive resources for trans youth (scroll down to resources) Identity and impacts The Politicization of Trans Individuals “Shame on us as adults that we are so scared, we have so much fear over – let’s be honest –

    • 46 min
    Portrayals of Mental Health and Therapy in the Media: An Interview with Danah Davis Williams, LMFT

    Portrayals of Mental Health and Therapy in the Media: An Interview with Danah Davis Williams, LMFT

    Portrayals of Mental Health and Therapy in the Media: An Interview with Danah Davis Williams, LMFT Curt and Katie interview Danah Davis Williams, LMFT on the portrayals of mental health and therapy in the media. We explore responsible portrayals as well as the harmful practices that some writers and studios engage in. We also talk about the opportunities for modern therapists to have an impact on how diagnoses and mental health treatment are represented on film and television.
    Transcripts for this episode will be available at mtsgpodcast.com!
    An Interview with Danah Davis Williams, LMFT Danah Davis Williams is a Licensed Psychotherapist, an Actor, a Psychological Creative Consultant, a Podcast Host and current Past President of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT).
    As a therapist, Danah is in private practice in Santa Barbara, California (California Coastal Counseling) where she specializes in helping people break destructive patterns of coping through the use of practical, evidenced-based coping skills and personal process. She is extensively trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT).
    As a consultant, Danah provides personalized psychological consultation for filmmakers, executives and creatives committed to socially responsible, captivating storytelling through authentic characterization of mental health, its treatment and interpersonal impact. She runs a psychological consulting business helping entertainment industry leaders ensure accurate representation of mental health: working with filmmakers, writers, execs, and high-profile actors from networks like FX, CBS, ABC, NBC, Freeform and MGM.
    Danah is also the host, producer and co-creator of the Reel Psychology Podcast on Fireside, where she and Jon Lee Brody are raising mental health awareness by talking about fictional characters and their mental health.
    In this podcast episode, we talk about how the media often portrays mental health We invited our friend Danah Davis Williams to join us to talk about mental health in the media.
    What does the media get wrong when portraying mental health and therapy? Inaccurate portrayals of diagnoses Manipulative or unethical therapists The problems with “guilty pleasures” that include inaccurate or harmful portrayals “I really feel that one of the ways that we can see more authentic representation is to have more diversity and more people with mental health background in storytelling, in the writers’ rooms, or becoming creators themselves – because people write what they know.” – Danah Davis Williams, LMFT
    The opportunities for therapists to be creators and consultants Translating clinical work into consulting and creating Vulnerability when sharing journey as a therapist Using skills from practice building to create opportunities as a creator The process of consultation for scripts and what to consider when providing feedback Ethical thoughts related to representations How to build a network and consulting business How the storytellers look at mental health and healing “What I've had multiple times is a filmmaker or studio coming to me, and they're looking for the silver bullet. They have a character that has had some trauma or struggling with a specific diagnosis or relational conflict or what have you. And they want to know, what's the silver bullet, one- or two-page scene that we can include? (And sometimes not even that.) What's the five second dialogue that we can include that shows that they have worked on their mental health, they have recovered, and they are thriving? And it's like, it doesn't work that way.” – Danah Davis Williams, LMFT
    The silver bullet that “heals” the client Inaccurate portrayals of therapy or healing and the impact on clients Ethics to consider (especially given you’re not acting within your profession with an ethical code) The challenges of unscripted shows Shows that get it right when

    • 35 min
    Beware of Scams Targeting Therapists

    Beware of Scams Targeting Therapists

    Beware of Scams Targeting Therapists Curt and Katie discuss common scams that specifically target therapists. We look at how to identify scams or sketchy business practices that can be very confusing as well as dangerous to clinicians. We also talk about how to protect yourself as well as solid business practices that you can implement to stave off some of these scammers.  
    Transcripts for this episode will be available at mtsgpodcast.com!
    In this podcast episode we talk about scams that target therapists We have heard about a lot of scams in our careers. We figured it was time to do another “survival guide” episode on how to protect ourselves as therapists.
    What are the most common scams targeting therapists? “And most of the scams seem to be trying to tell someone that they are in trouble -  And if you just pay me this trouble will go away.” – Katie Vernoy
    Information used from popular therapist directories Claiming to be a law enforcement professional, missed court date, or the IRS Image copyright infringement Businesses that target you to charge them for things that are free or with another company Clients or people seeking therapy for family members and then overpay and ask for a refund Text messages or emails with unsolicited links that can leave malware on your computer Phishing schemes Testing stolen credit cards or stolen identities How can modern therapists protect ourselves from these scams? “Be skeptical of these things, hang up, call legitimate numbers from the offices of these departments. And if nothing else, let those departments know, let your professional organizations know – these are the kinds of messages that I'm receiving. Those organizations will usually have some kind of response that they blast out to their members with their licensees, hey, there's a scam going around, be aware of it.” – Curt Widhalm
    Get into wise mind (avoid responding to false urgency) Go through official channels (contact actual officials) Contact an attorney if unsure Understand how legal notices are properly delivered Caution with financial systems and not allowing people to pay upfront Requiring person seeking services to contact therapist Cyber security trainings Communicating appropriately and consistently Holding to systems and boundaries Make sure to share these scams with professional organizations, the official entity, or your licensing board  
    Our Generous Sponsors for this episode of the Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide: GreenOak Accounting  At GreenOak Accounting, they believe that every private practice should be profitable. They’ve worked with hundreds of practice owners across the country to have the financial confidence and information to make data-driven decisions. We want our client's businesses to be profitable so they can focus on fulfilling their mission.
    GreenOak Accounting specializes in working with therapists in private practice, and they have helped hundreds of therapists across the country reach their financial goals. They offer a number of monthly packages to fit a growing practice's needs - from bookkeeping to CFO services. Other specialized services include Profit First Support, compensation planning, and customized KPI Dashboards. They help therapists achieve their clinical goals by making sure they have a profitable practice, and offer unsurpassed support along the way.

    If you’re interested in scheduling a complimentary consultation, please visit their website at www.GreenOakAccounting.com/consultation to learn more.

    Thrizer
    Thrizer is a new modern billing platform for therapists that was built on the belief that therapy should be accessible AND clinicians should earn what they are worth. Their platform automatically gets clients reimbursed by their insurance after every session. Just by billing your clients through Thrizer, you can potentially save them hundreds every month, with no extra work on your end. Every time you bill a client throug

    • 30 min
    Beyond Reimagination: Improving your client outcomes by understanding what big tech is doing right (and wrong) with mental health apps

    Beyond Reimagination: Improving your client outcomes by understanding what big tech is doing right (and wrong) with mental health apps

    Beyond Reimagination: Improving your client outcomes by understanding what big tech is doing right (and wrong) with mental health apps Curt and Katie chat about the big tech “disruptors” in the mental health space and what therapists can learn from their tactics to support clients. We look at who is using mental health apps, what mental health apps are getting right (and wrong), and how therapists can take what is working and work differently to more effectively serve our own clients. This is a continuing education podcourse.
    Transcripts for this episode will be available at mtsgpodcast.com!
    In this podcast episode we look at what therapists can learn from big tech disruptors in mental health We have seen more and more tech companies and apps come into the mental health space and have heard more and more folks worried about how their private practices will be able to survive. We are revisiting a topic we covered in a presentation at our Therapy Reimagined 2021 conference to help modern therapists navigate this new mental health landscape.
    Looking at the gaps in mental health treatment and how big tech is working to “fix” them Exploring the goals from the Rand report on fixing mental healthcare in the United States Mental Health apps (with many broad definitions) Access to lots of different types of services and self-help A one stop shop with a full range of services Direct negotiation with insurance companies The types of technology used in mental health apps and the risks and benefits of these advances Algorithms Geo location data Complex payment structures Outcomes and feedback What mental health apps are doing well for clients Getting clients into therapy much more quickly Decreasing costs for consumers Increasing flexibility and availability Not requiring for things to happen in real time (asynchronous therapy) What mental health apps are getting wrong McDonaldization and commoditization Proprietary treatment methods and incentives for specific worksheets or staying within the app Misalignment between the goals of the client and the goals of the corporation Self-driven, leading to folks to potentially getting insufficient resources Individual versus community focus Caseloads and potential for therapist income (as well as burnout and poor care) Concerns about the additional risks that can happen with mental health apps “[In] this profit versus service model… there's this idea that you are not a client, not a patient, you are a consumer and someone to market to. And so you'll be marketed to as a client throughout the app. And as a clinician, you become a marketer for those things behind the paywall. And that is terrifying. Because it's not based on treatment.” – Katie Vernoy
    The apps are not bound by HIPAA, but instead the SEC Data sharing and Alexa suggesting supplements to address client mental health concerns Additional legal and ethical risks Who is using app-based mental health services? Therapy veterans are moving to apps Access is not actually improved The reasons that clients are moving from a traditional therapist to therapy apps Outcomes across different types of apps and different types of clients Niche apps are more effective than generalist apps What we can do to move our therapist practices forward? “Now I've seen a number of people describe… if these therapy apps are going to be the McDonald's of therapy, well, we're the prime rib! You actually have to consider are you providing actual prime rib? Or are you more like a Carl's Jr?” – Curt Widhalm
    Using the benefits of technology to decrease friction for your clients accessing therapists Increasing flexibility and creativity Be a better therapist and understanding the digital therapeutic alliance Paying attention to laws and ethics, scope of practice, and treatment planning Our Generous Sponsors for this episode of the Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide: Turning Point Financial Life Planning Turning Point Financ

    • 1h 16 min

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