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

Curt Widhalm, LMFT and Katie Vernoy, LMFT

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. read less
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Episodes

The Power and the Peril of Pop Psychology
3d ago
The Power and the Peril of Pop Psychology
The Power and the Peril of Pop Psychology Curt and Katie chat about pop psychology. We look at what it is, how it influences society, the dangers of leaving it unchecked, and how therapists can support their clients in navigating through all the different self-help content. We also challenge the use of Enneagram and Myers Briggs as “identity” and talk about using pop psychology as a starting point for conversation rather than taking it all at face value. Transcripts for this episode will be available at mtsgpodcast.com! In this podcast episode we talk about the dangers of pop psychology Curt has had a bee in his bonnet about pop psychology and the potential harms of watering down psychology for the public. We decided we’d take a critical look at what’s out there, including self-help, business, and news content that may be harming the public. What is pop psychology? ·      Researchers sharing their findings through popular media using lay language ·      Applied psychology – practical self-help created by psychology practitioners geared toward improving your life ·      Targeting people with mental health concerns to decrease suffering – may be created by people with lived experience and is self-help in the place of therapy ·      Applying psychology to other realms (like business or sales, spirituality) What are concerns with pop psychology? ·      Overemphasizing the importance of specific pop psychology principles and claiming these things as identity ·      Not going back to the evidence base or looking at who the authors are (is it their research or is it a good storyteller who is extrapolating) ·      The impact of the audience on which stories or psychological findings are shared How does Malcolm Gladwell fit into this conversation about the dangers of pop psychology? ·      He was enamored with the “Broken Windows” theory of policing and his writings influenced the use type of policing in New York (including Stop and Frisk) ·      He ignored the criticism of these policies, like the racial bias that was seen ·      He chose not to write about policies that were working to decrease the over prescribing opioids ·      He has not recognized the influence on those who read his work What role can therapists play in supporting our clients around pop psychology? ·      Talk with our clients about what they are reading and use it as a starting point ·      Bring the evidence-based science into the conversation ·      Help them to create a unique, tailored plan for your client to use what works for them ·      Correcting misinformation (e.g., the stages of grief) ·      Putting out content that is accurate ·      Staying current on what is being talked about in popular media Stay in Touch with Curt, Katie, and the whole Therapy Reimagined #TherapyMovement: Our Linktree: https://linktr.ee/therapyreimagined Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide Creative Credits: Voice Over by DW McCann https://www.facebook.com/McCannDW/ Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano https://groomsymusic.com/
Is AI Really Ready for Therapists? An interview with Dr. Maelisa McCaffrey
Feb 12 2024
Is AI Really Ready for Therapists? An interview with Dr. Maelisa McCaffrey
Is AI Really Ready for Therapists? An interview with Dr. Maelisa McCaffrey Curt and Katie interview Dr. Maelisa McCaffrey of QA Prep about her assessment of the AI tools available for therapists. We chat about the high expectations many clinicians have for note writing tools (and whether these expectations are really reasonable right now). We also look at what therapists are getting wrong when starting to use these tools, exploring some concerns related to HIPAA compliance and who is actually putting together these tech tools. Transcripts for this episode will be available at mtsgpodcast.com! In this podcast episode, we talk about the development of AI tools for therapists Curt and Katie asked Dr. Maelisa McCaffrey to come on and talk about what she thinks about AI for documentation. What are therapists getting wrong about AI? ·      Therapists believe that AI can do their notes, but it is often a lot of work and/or is an expensive application is required ·      There is a choice when using a free platform and/or an untrusted platform is that you are either writing an insufficient note or adding PHI, which causes you to break HIPAA ·      AI for notes takes a very long time due to how slowly they process the information as well as your need to review and edit each note ·       Some platforms are claiming to be HIPAA compliant and are not What are the different ways that AI works to provide documentation? ·      AI listens to the session and/or you upload the recording or a transcript ·      You enter the information on what happened in the session and AI writes the formal notes What do therapists need to know about an AI platform before using it? ·      Checking for actual HIPAA compliance versus a false statement about HIPAA compliance ·      Understand how it is telling you to use the software ·      Do they give you a BAA? ·      The pricing is relatively similar to an EHR - $10-$40 per month ·      This is not an electronic health record or practice management system ·      Some of the AI applications do not have access to the diagnosis, assessment, treatment plans, so you will have to insure that you prove medical necessity and demonstrate the clinical loop Are these AI platforms really ready for therapists? ·      The tech experts are taking care of data security ·      Many companies are still figuring these things out ·      All of the platforms Maelisa tested created fake elements of sessions (i.e., put things in the notes that did not happen) What else can therapists use AI for? ·      Creating templates for progress notes (i.e., not for a specific client, no PHI) ·      Creating resources for clients What do therapists need to do for their clients if they are using AI? ·      You must inform your client that you are using AI (informed consent) ·      AI is experimental, so it must be optional for your clients to opt in ·      You must insure that the platform is actually secure and HIPAA compliant ·      Ethics codes aren’t really saying anything, but some statements could be coming out soon on the ethics of how to use AI with or for clients What do therapists need to know about AI? ·      It is very new and changing constantly ·      This is going to happen, so we need to understand and participate in this transition ·      New resources will be created through AI Stay in Touch with Curt, Katie, and the whole Therapy Reimagined #TherapyMovement: Our Linktree: https://linktr.ee/therapyreimagined Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide Creative Credits: Voice Over by DW McCann https://www.facebook.com/McCannDW/ Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano https://groomsymusic.com/
Are Therapists to Blame for Ineffective Workplace Wellness Programs?
Feb 5 2024
Are Therapists to Blame for Ineffective Workplace Wellness Programs?
Are Therapists to Blame for Ineffective Workplace Wellness Programs? Curt and Katie chat about a recent New York Times article that claims that individual mental health interventions are not effective in the workplace. We explore that and other studies on workplace wellness programs, looking at what is ineffective, what actually works, and what roles therapists can play in improving outcomes for employees (and employers). We also take a quick look at the ethical or moral questions therapists face when being paid to do these programs. Transcripts for this episode will be available at mtsgpodcast.com! In this podcast episode we talk about a recent study on workplace wellness programs In a recent New York Times article, they talked about a study that shows little efficacy of workplace wellness programs in the UK. We decided to dig deeper into the research and see what therapists need to know when signing on to provide these programs. What does the research say about workplace wellness or individual-level mental health interventions on outcomes for employees and employers? ·      People in these programs are not better off than people who are not ·      Some desired outcomes (health markers, absenteeism, job performance) are not significantly better ·      Some positive clinical and employment outcomes from actual mental health programs ·      Individual solutions don’t solve systemic problems What are the dynamics at play in employee well-being? ·      Things that do work: more compensation, more say in how their work looks ·      The difference between convenience and work-place wellness ·      Typically, organizations are not assessing efficacy of their own wellness programs What is the therapist role in workplace wellness? ·      We know that many of these programs are ineffective – should we still continue to do them? ·      How should consumers of these products and programs inquire about efficacy or even completion? ·      Should therapists be concerned about whether people complete their course or find benefit from it? ·      Understanding what resources are available (and being encouraged to use them) may help folks to better benefit from them (as extrapolated from Curt’s undergraduate research) What can clinicians do to support actual workplace wellness? ·      Don’t co-sign on the idea that the onus is on the individual to fix the system ·      Provide actual mental health interventions for mental health needs ·      Facilitate conversations about systemic problems and solutions ·      Support positive interventions for individuals that are doable and effective ·      Exploring the ethics of providing these programs Stay in Touch with Curt, Katie, and the whole Therapy Reimagined #TherapyMovement: Our Linktree: https://linktr.ee/therapyreimagined Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide Creative Credits: Voice Over by DW McCann https://www.facebook.com/McCannDW/ Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano https://groomsymusic.com/
When Your Client is a Super Fan: Exploring parasocial relationships and their effects on mental health
Jan 29 2024
When Your Client is a Super Fan: Exploring parasocial relationships and their effects on mental health
When Your Client is a Super Fan: Exploring parasocial relationships and their effects on mental health Curt and Katie chat about parasocial relationships. We talk about what parasocial relationships (and break ups) are, who is most likely to engage in these relationships, and the positive and negative impacts of these one-sided relationships. We also look at how to use these relationships within therapy. This is a continuing education podcourse. Transcripts for this episode will be available at mtsgpodcast.com! In this podcast episode we talk about parasocial relationships People develop relationships with celebrities, TV personalities, and others in the public eye. But do therapists assess the impact these relationships have on their clients and their mental health? This episode explores the ways that clients interact in one-sided relationships, the mental health benefits and drawbacks to engaging in these relationships, and ways for therapists to assess the potential impacts on client mental health and behavior. How can parasocial relationships show up (and be utilized) in therapy? ·      How to help clients identify appropriate role models ·      Using parasocial relationships as practice for social relationships ·      Ask what content clients are consuming to identify what messages they are receiving ·      Get very direct: ask about all of the content they regularly consume ·      Look especially at the content or influencers talking about things relevant to their presenting problems ·      Explore how clients with social anxiety are interacting with potential parasocial relationships ·      Staying abreast of news stories related to parasocial objects ·      Listening for certain types of unhealthy messages (like toxic masculinity) ·      Helping to expand your clients’ critical thinking and influences in their lives ·      Understanding why they are choosing these relationships and the meaning they are making from them ·      Using these relationships as practice or places to seek self-awareness and insight, especially related to identity and values ·      Grief work when there are parasocial breakups Receive Continuing Education for this Episode of the Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide  Continuing Education Information including grievance and refund policies. Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide Creative Credits: Voice Over by DW McCann https://www.facebook.com/McCannDW/ Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano https://groomsymusic.com/
What Is It Like To Be a Medicare Therapist? An interview with Gabrielle Juliano-Villani, LCSW
Jan 22 2024
What Is It Like To Be a Medicare Therapist? An interview with Gabrielle Juliano-Villani, LCSW
What Is It Like To Be a Medicare Therapist? An interview with Gabrielle Juliano-Villani, LCSW Curt and Katie interview Gabrielle Juliano-Villani, LCSW, about what it looks like to take Medicare. We talk about common myths and what the actual experience is like. We also explore the business case for taking Medicare and why (and how) therapists can grow their practice by opting in as a Medicare provider. Transcripts for this episode will be available at mtsgpodcast.com! In this podcast episode, we talk about taking Medicare as a therapist Curt and Katie asked Gabrielle Juliano-Villani, LCSW to come in to talk about what it is like to take Medicare as a therapist.  What is involved in being a Medicare provider? ·       Clientele on Medicare include elderly and disabled ·       There is a huge need to clinicians to take Medicare ·       You will get a lot of referrals – Gabrielle filled up her caseload and made 6 figures in her first year in private practice What types of clinical expertise is necessary for therapists who take Medicare? ·       Loss of independence and aging issues ·       Grief and loss ·       Chronic health conditions and illnesses ·       Loss of mobility ·       Dementia and cognitive issues ·       Family dynamics and estrangement ·       Understanding later in life logistics ·       Caregiver concerns What are the business or day-to-day elements of taking Medicare? ·       Referral sources are medical doctors, care managers, and other therapists ·       Website content designed with caregiver or family member in mind (who would be searching for the services) ·       Sorting through Medicare and Medicare Advantage (i.e., commercial insurance Medicare replacement) plans – clients don’t know the difference between Medicare and Medicare Advantage ·       Ask to see all of their insurance cards to identify what coverage they have: o  Bill Medicare directly for patients with Medicare – you are a Part B provider (outpatient) – you will get 80% from Medicare and the other 20% from the patient, a supplemental plan, or Medicaid o  Bill the commercial insurance plan for Medicare Advantage patients (like regular insurance billing) ·       Audits are not common and are navigable with good notes and ability to make corrections ·       Audits are more likely if you’re doing unusual billing practices ·       The application process is probably the most challenging part of taking Medicare Stay in Touch with Curt, Katie, and the whole Therapy Reimagined #TherapyMovement: Our Linktree: https://linktr.ee/therapyreimagined Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide Creative Credits: Voice Over by DW McCann https://www.facebook.com/McCannDW/ Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano https://groomsymusic.com/
What Can Therapists Do When They Get a Life-Threatening Diagnosis? An interview with Patricia Ravitz, LMFT
Jan 15 2024
What Can Therapists Do When They Get a Life-Threatening Diagnosis? An interview with Patricia Ravitz, LMFT
What Can Therapists Do When They Get a Life-Threatening Diagnosis? An interview with Patricia Ravitz, LMFT Curt and Katie interview Patricia Ravitz, LMFT, on how she navigated her pancreatic cancer diagnosis as a therapist. We talk about what happens when a therapist must take time away from their practice without notice, what therapists can do to navigate seeing clients while in treatment, and how you and your clinical work can change when you’re facing mortality. We also talk about support and resources.  Transcripts for this episode will be available at mtsgpodcast.com! In this podcast episode, we talk about how therapists can manage their practice when facing a potentially life-threatening diagnosis Curt and Katie asked their dear friend, Patricia Ravitz, LMFT to come talk about how she handled her practice after getting a cancer diagnosis.  What happens when a therapist must suddenly take time away from their practice for medical treatment? Determining how long will be needed to take time off (if that can be predicted) Identifying how to notify patients and what to share with patients Understanding whether you can have these conversations with patients (or not) Choosing a method for notification  Consulting with a colleague who can help with notification and/or follow up What can therapists do to continue to see clients while in chemotherapy? Assessing your response to chemotherapy and when you might be able to work Identifying days that you typically are able to be present and focused for your clients Determining who you can effectively see as a therapist and who you need to refer out Scheduling therapy around your treatment schedule as well as their clinical needs How might your clinical work change when you’re facing mortality as a therapist? The reality of the precariousness of life can impact the sense of urgency Sorting through what each client wanted to hear about or needed to talk about Focus and sharpening the therapy, moving away from complacency The emotions and care from the clients to the therapist Processing the relationship in a different way What kind of support or resources should therapists use when facing a challenging diagnosis? Personal support, therapy, consultation groups A professional will Understanding how this impacts other relationships and how you look at the world These types of experiences transform how we operate Stay in Touch with Curt, Katie, and the whole Therapy Reimagined #TherapyMovement: Our Linktree: https://linktr.ee/therapyreimagined Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide Creative Credits: Voice Over by DW McCann https://www.facebook.com/McCannDW/ Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano https://groomsymusic.com/
Want to Fix Mental Health Workforce Shortages? Speed up the Licensing Boards: An interview with Dr. Ben Caldwell
Jan 8 2024
Want to Fix Mental Health Workforce Shortages? Speed up the Licensing Boards: An interview with Dr. Ben Caldwell
Want to Fix Mental Health Workforce Shortages? Speed up the Licensing Boards: An interview with Dr. Ben Caldwell Curt and Katie interview Benjamin E. Caldwell, PsyD, about licensing board inefficiencies leading to incredible delays in folks getting licensed. We talk about the impacts of paperwork processing delays as well the inadequate infrastructure of most licensing boards. We also explore policy and individual options to mitigate or address these problems. Transcripts for this episode will be available at mtsgpodcast.com! In this podcast episode, we talk about how the mental health workforce shortages are exacerbated by licensing boards Curt and Katie decided to invite Dr. Ben Caldwell back onto the podcast to talk about how licensing board inefficiencies are exacerbating mental health workforce shortages. Impacts of delays of paperwork processing on clients and clinicians ·   Delays of folks increasing income as a licensed clinician ·   Lack of mental health clinicians in the work force ·   Prospective clinicians dropping out of the process to become licensed due to the time and financial burden Licensing board infrastructure is often inadequate to get individuals licensed timely ·   Computer systems that licensing boards use are not typically modern ·   The contracts for streamlining processes are often restrictive to specific systems or to how quickly these improvements can move ·   There is little that is automated, but rather includes manual entry which is inefficient and introduces opportunities for error What are potential solutions for the pervasive inefficiency found in licensing boards? ·   Scanning and using optical recognition software for applications and counting hours ·   Contracting with private technology companies that are already gathering this data ·   Finding automated systems that are set up properly from the beginning to minimize training needs ·   Legislation to put pressure on state licensing boards to update computer systems ·   Hiring more people to take on these tasks ·   Using financial reserves to improve systems ·   Mitigating the effects of the delays on the workers (i.e., being able to take required exams for licensure while accruing your hours) ·   Simplifying processes wherever possible (i.e., less buckets of hours with minimum and maximum hours that need to be met) ·   Simplifying applications to make them more understandable for both applicants and reviewers ·   Policy analysis related to the rules – boards make the inaccurate assumption that if a rule exists it must be good ·   Using the legislative process to hold licensing boards accountable for not getting through applications timely and potentially even giving folks provisional licenses while waiting for the application to be reviewed What can individual therapists do to address the delays in processing licensing paperwork? ·   Be as clear as possible in applications and communication to the board to decrease confusion ·   Don’t apply for licensure early (i.e., before requirements are completed) ·   Show up to board meetings and let the licensing board know that delays are a huge problem ·   Advocate with your professional org and/or to your legislators Stay in Touch with Curt, Katie, and the whole Therapy Reimagined #TherapyMovement: Our Linktree: https://linktr.ee/therapyreimagined Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide Creative Credits: Voice Over by DW McCann https://www.facebook.com/McCannDW/ Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano https://groomsymusic.com/
What Do Therapists Need To Do About Medicare? Opting in or out for 2024: An interview with Joy Alafia, CAE
Dec 18 2023
What Do Therapists Need To Do About Medicare? Opting in or out for 2024: An interview with Joy Alafia, CAE
What Do Therapists Need To Do About Medicare? Opting in or out for 2024: An interview with Joy Alafia, CAE Curt and Katie interview Joy Alafia, Executive Director of California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, on the journey for MFTs and Counselors to become eligible to be Medicare providers. We look at the high-level tasks that every therapist needs to take. We also talk about the decision-making process for whether you should opt in or opt out, providing some basic guidance and resources on the steps you need to take now. Transcripts for this episode will be available at mtsgpodcast.com! In this podcast episode, we talk about MFTs and Counselors becoming Medicare Providers Curt and Katie have spent hours in advocacy efforts for MFTs and Counselors to become Medicare providers through their past involvement in the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT). And it’s finally gone through! We asked Joy Alafia to come join us to discuss this journey as well as what therapists need to do now that we’re eligible to be Medicare providers. We answer the following questions and have a step by step guide in our show notes at mtsgpodcast.com: What was the process for MFTs and Counselors to be included in Medicare? Now that Marriage and Family Therapists and Counselors are eligible to bill Medicare, what do we need to do? What do therapists need to do if they would like to Opt In to provide Medicare services? What do therapists need to do if they would like to Opt Out of billing Medicare? What should therapists consider when deciding whether to take Medicare? ·      Clinical specialty – if you work with folks 65 and older or with disabled folks, you will want to strongly consider taking Medicare as these clients are typically eligible and would like to use their insurance ·      Access – if you have the ability (i.e., space in your caseload) to see Medicare patients, there is a huge need for providers who accept this insurance ·      Credibility – there is increased credibility as a provider when you are able to take Medicare ·      Rates – check out what the rates are for the areas where you see clients. To do so, look for your locality on the Physician Fee Schedule and multiply the rates by 75% if you are a masters level provider. If the rates are sufficient, you will consistently get clients and will consistently get paid. If the rates are not sufficient for your business, you will want to consider opting out and remaining private pay for these clients. ·      Documentation requirements – the documentation requirements are similar for most insurance plans, especially Medicaid. If you’re able to keep clean, efficient documentation, this should not be a deterrent for taking Medicare ·      Billing complexity – you will want to make sure to take trainings available (see below) to understand how you will need to bill this insurance plan and/or hire a biller who does ·      Consistency and recession-proofing your practice – Medicare is known to pay consistently and provide a lot of clients for your practice. As the population ages, this will be a larger and larger portion of the folks seeking mental health services. You may want to consider taking Medicare. Resources for Modern Therapists mentioned in this Podcast Episode: We’ve pulled together LOTS of resources mentioned in this episode and put together some handy-dandy links. California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) CAMFT’s Medicare Corner (for CAMFT members) CAMFT’s Medicare Webinars A TON of other Resources can be found on our website at mtsgpodcast.com. Stay in Touch with Curt, Katie, and the whole Therapy Reimagined #TherapyMovement: Our Linktree: https://linktr.ee/therapyreimagined Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide Creative Credits: Voice Over by DW McCann https://www.facebook.com/McCannDW/ Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano https://groomsymusic.com/
How Can Therapists Take a Real Vacation?
Dec 11 2023
How Can Therapists Take a Real Vacation?
How Can Therapists Take a Real Vacation? Curt and Katie chat about how therapists can take extended time away from their therapy practices. We talk about how to budget time and money for vacation as well as what therapists need to have covered when they’re gone. We also look at how to mitigate foreseeable risk and manage continuity of care. Transcripts for this episode will be available at mtsgpodcast.com! In this podcast episode we talk about how therapists can get time away from work We’ve heard too many people talking about the challenges of taking time off when you’re working as a therapist. How can therapists budget for time off? ·      Determining fees based on time you’re actually working (i.e., charging more or determining number of weekly sessions based on when you can be away) ·      Scheduling based on diminishing the number of actual missed sessions (i.e., scheduling vacations when your clients are on vacation and/or taking long weekends and moving clients within the week to take partial weeks off) What do therapists need to cover when they go on vacation? ·      Clinical coverage within your practice or with colleagues ·      Identify when you’re on-call and how you navigate that within your vacation ·      Supervision coverage planning ·      Understanding when you can respond to clients or supervisees (i.e., being in wise mind) ·      Safety planning with clients, including coverage plan and/or when you’re available How can therapists mitigate the clinical risks for taking longer vacations? ·      Determining when you should stop taking new clients before a longer vacation ·      Teaching your clients to be okay without you ·      Flexibility on when you take time away and how to take time away from the office ·      Planning for foreseeable risks ·      Homework or other resources What does a hybrid work vacation look like? ·      Virtual work as needed ·      Creating times/spaces for clinical sessions and follow up ·      Make sure you have sufficient wifi or cell reception and privacy ·      It’s important to make sure you get downtime and aren’t constantly working Why is it important to take time off when you’re a therapist? ·      Getting rejuvenated and living life ·      Working to prevent burnout ·      Renewed sense of energy within the profession ·      Our job is to talk about pain and suffering and there is so much pain and suffering in the world, so it is important to get restorative breaks Stay in Touch with Curt, Katie, and the whole Therapy Reimagined #TherapyMovement: Our Linktree: https://linktr.ee/therapyreimagined Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide Creative Credits: Voice Over by DW McCann https://www.facebook.com/McCannDW/ Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano https://groomsymusic.com/
Religious Trauma and High-Control Religion: An Interview with Anna Clark Miller, LPC, LMHC
Dec 4 2023
Religious Trauma and High-Control Religion: An Interview with Anna Clark Miller, LPC, LMHC
Religious Trauma and High-Control Religion: An Interview with Anna Clark Miller, LPC, LMHC Curt and Katie interview Anna Clark Miller about religious trauma. We explore what religious trauma and high-control religions are. We look at common mistakes therapists can make when working with religious trauma survivors as well as what therapy and healing can look like for these folks. Transcripts for this episode will be available at mtsgpodcast.com! In this podcast episode, we talk about religious trauma and high-control religion We were interested to learn more about how therapists can support religious trauma survivors, so we reached out to an expert, Anna Clark Miller, to share her wisdom. What is religious trauma? ·      Complex trauma over a long period of time ·      Impacts to the nervous system ·      Traumatic beliefs about religion and the after life ·      Following rules and conforming to a religious group’s idea of how someone should live What mistakes do therapists make when working with religious trauma survivors? ·      Therapists becoming the client’s new spiritual authority ·      Clients using therapy to tell them how to think and live ·      Clients need to own themselves and their own minds, not work to please the therapist What does healing after leaving a “high control” religion look like? ·      The loss of so much, including social support, identity, etc. ·      Complex PTSD healing ·      How will I fit into the world? How will I talk with people? ·      Building hope for someone who is needing to completely remake their life and identity ·      The client needs to create a sense of safety within themselves ·      You can’t “rip off the Band-Aid” with leaving a high control religious group ·      Helping clients with their judgment around their emotions (starting with observation before judging if it is good or bad) ·      Working with clients to examine their beliefs (over time) What is included in the treatment for religious trauma survivors ·      Noticing one’s body ·      Exploring and reimagining healthy relationships ·      Identity work ·      Deconstruction of topics based on what the client is thinking, feeling, etc. ·      Addressing spiritual bypassing ·      Not just “mindfulness” due to concerns about secular psychology Stay in Touch with Curt, Katie, and the whole Therapy Reimagined #TherapyMovement: Our Linktree: https://linktr.ee/therapyreimagined Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide Creative Credits: Voice Over by DW McCann https://www.facebook.com/McCannDW/ Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano https://groomsymusic.com/
How Much Autonomy Do Therapy Clients Deserve? Balancing client autonomy with therapist skill
Nov 27 2023
How Much Autonomy Do Therapy Clients Deserve? Balancing client autonomy with therapist skill
How Much Autonomy Do Therapy Clients Deserve? Balancing client autonomy with therapist skill Curt and Katie chat about client autonomy. We look at what patient autonomy is and what therapists need to understand about this very complex topic. We explore how therapists can overstep or abdicate their role in supporting their clients in making decisions. We also look at what true informed consent is and the dimensions of client autonomy. This is an ethics continuing education podcourse. Transcripts for this episode will be available at mtsgpodcast.com! In this podcast episode we talk about client autonomy Therapists are faced with balancing their professional knowledge with the needs and desires of clients. At the core of this issue is the principle ethic of client autonomy. How much autonomy do therapists need to give clients? What do therapists do when clients don’t have the capacity for autonomy in the first place? This workshop explores the considerations that therapists must face when balancing the needs of clients with professional mental health services.hen What is patient or client autonomy in mental health? ·      Clients making decisions about their treatment based on solid information and an understanding of that information ·      There is a debate related to whether we defer to clients’ decisions no matter what versus standing in the role of professional therapist What do therapists need to understand about client autonomy? ·      There is a lot of complexity and nuance related to therapist responsibility as professionals versus when therapists can become too paternalistic ·      There is a not a lot of discussion within the ethics codes related to client autonomy, they are usually in the preamble, so it is more important while also be less discussed ·      Freedom (or liberty) to make choices versus agency (or capacity) to understand the choices ·      Therapists need to clarify for clients the options and make sure they can make informed decisions How is informed consent related to client autonomy? ·      If clients don’t know what their therapists are doing, do they have client autonomy? ·      Evaluation of whether someone has the capacity to make treatment decisions can be impacted by bias, but is the role of the therapist within the mental health treatment ·      We don’t want to equate autonomy with autonomous decision-making Dimensions of client autonomy and the therapist’s responsibility ·      Decisional dimension – being able to plan and make decisions about their mental health treatment ·      Executive dimension - being able to follow through on the plans made ·      Therapists need to be able to step forward and provide additional support to clients to bring them back to autonomy or hold a line in treatment that will and will not be offered ·      Informed dimension - understanding the difference between informed consent and informed assent and being able to give instructions ahead of time if have a mental health crises ·      Looking at a “Mental Health Advanced Directive” – one example is the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (see the resources section in the show notes). Paternalism and client autonomy ·      Not all “paternalism” is wrong – when clients are unable to care for self, they may need some paternalism to be able to be safe or get the treatment that they need ·      Asymmetrical versus libertarian paternalism is discussed ·      The importance of understanding your own bias and how the way you frame options can be manipulative Receive Continuing Education for this Episode of the Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide Continuing Education Information including grievance and refund policies. Stay in Touch with Curt, Katie, and the whole Therapy Reimagined #TherapyMovement: Patreon Buy Me A Coffee Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide Creative Credits: Voice Over by DW McCann https://www.facebook.com/McCannDW/ Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano https://groomsymusic.com/
What’s Confidential and What’s a Secret? Navigating “No Secrets” Policies
Nov 20 2023
What’s Confidential and What’s a Secret? Navigating “No Secrets” Policies
What’s Confidential and What’s a Secret? Navigating “No Secrets” Policies Curt and Katie chat about no secret policies. We look at what they are, what needs to be in these policies, how to navigate secrets in therapy, the importance of these policies in relational therapy, and the complexity of “no secrets” when working with kids and teens. Transcripts for this episode will be available at mtsgpodcast.com! In this podcast episode we talk about no secrets policies in therapy In our continuing efforts to touch on all the topics that therapists need to know about, we decided to dig deeply on no secrets policies. What is a no secrets policy? ·      Typically, these types of policies are created for relational therapy ·      “No secrets” means that the therapist will not keep a secret that is clinically relevant from a member of the treatment unit, even when someone contacts the therapist outside of session ·      This policy needs to be understood by all the members of the treatment unit How can therapists navigate secrets in therapy? ·      If there is communication outside of therapy, it is important to hold the boundaries within your no secrets policy ·      Flexibility related to when and how secrets are shared (versus rigidity and immediacy) ·      Explicit discussion around exceptions of the “no secrets” policy related to intimate partner violence ·      It is important to have a clinical evaluation of when and how the secret is shared into the treatment unit and whether the secret is clinically relevant to the treatment unit ·      Clarify the treatment unit and clinical orientation to sort through what needs to be in your secrets policy ·      Determining how not to be triangulated by members of the couple or family What needs to be in a therapist’s secrets policy? ·      Clear guidance on who is included in the treatment unit ·      What secrets will be kept or not kept (e.g., intimate partner violence) ·      How secrets will be handled as they come up ·      Assessment of the capacity of each member of the treatment unit to participate in these conversations about confidentiality and secrets What about no secrets when you’re working with kids and teens? ·      Clarity on the treatment unit (individual kid or family, etc.) ·      Identifying how confidentiality is held for kids and teens ·      Working with the kids and teens to plan for disclosure to caregivers ·      For parents of young/school-aged children, there may be work to help caregivers to disclose information appropriately over time (thus the therapist holds the secret for a period of time) Stay in Touch with Curt, Katie, and the whole Therapy Reimagined #TherapyMovement: Our Linktree: https://linktr.ee/therapyreimagined Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide Creative Credits: Voice Over by DW McCann https://www.facebook.com/McCannDW/ Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano https://groomsymusic.com/
Is This My Stuff? How therapists can sort through countertransference: An Interview with Dr. Amy Meyers, LCSW
Nov 13 2023
Is This My Stuff? How therapists can sort through countertransference: An Interview with Dr. Amy Meyers, LCSW
Is This My Stuff? How therapists can sort through countertransference: An Interview with Dr. Amy Meyers, LCSW Curt and Katie interview Dr. Amy Meyers on countertransference. We talk about what countertransference is, how therapists typically struggle when working in the transference and countertransference, how the profession’s relationship to countertransference has changed, and what therapists can do to better understand themselves. We also talk a bit about the blank slate. Transcripts for this episode will be available at mtsgpodcast.com! In this podcast episode, we look at countertransference We’re talking about a topic we haven’t touched on yet: countertransference. We are joined by an expert in countertransference, Dr. Amy Meyers, LCSW What is countertransference? ·      Beyond self-awareness and understanding oneself ·      We have experiences and make them our own and expect people to respond to me in the same way as others have in the past What do therapists struggle with when addressing transference and countertransference? ·      When therapists don’t know themselves well enough, they will not be able to identify when countertransference is coming up ·      Therapists will often avoid conflict or put too much of themselves in the room without full assessment ·      Therapists misunderstand the utility of countertransference and try to avoid it ·      Simplification of the blank slate. Dr. Meyers’ understanding is that it is avoiding unintentionally putting your emotions in the session, which gets in the way of clients’ projecting emotions on the therapist (transference) How should therapists be taught to use countertransference? ·      Looking at how you feel about the interactions with your clients and your feelings about your clients as individuals ·      Treating therapists as human beings with emotions and explore how their humanity interacts with their work with their clients How has the field changed its relationship with countertransference? ·      People have moved into quicker therapy and more manualized treatments ·      There is less focus on longer term, relationship based treatment rather than tools and strategies ·      Supervisors and trainers are less focused on training therapists in this element of the work What can therapists do when they become aware of their countertransference reactions ·      Considering other options rather than what is familiar ·      Using the relationship in therapy as a corrective emotional experience ·      We discuss a couple of case examples to explore how to work with countertransference with real clients ·      Sorting out what is self-disclosure versus use of self in session and how are each can be helpful ·      Go to therapy ·      Go to supervision ·      Learn and read more about countertransference Stay in Touch with Curt, Katie, and the whole Therapy Reimagined #TherapyMovement: Our Linktree: https://linktr.ee/therapyreimagined Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide Creative Credits: Voice Over by DW McCann https://www.facebook.com/McCannDW/ Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano https://groomsymusic.com/
Decolonizing Therapy: A Movement - An Interview with Dr. Jennifer Mullan
Nov 6 2023
Decolonizing Therapy: A Movement - An Interview with Dr. Jennifer Mullan
Decolonizing Therapy: A Movement - An Interview with Dr. Jennifer Mullan Curt and Katie interview Dr. Jennifer Mullan about decolonizing therapy. We discuss what it means to decolonize therapy and the importance of doing so, as well as the challenges therapists face when they are looking to decolonize their practices and incorporate cultural and community healing. We also explore rage, the tendency to pathologize big emotions, and the impact of historical trauma. Transcripts for this episode will be available at mtsgpodcast.com! In this podcast episode, we look at what it means to decolonize therapy Over time we’ve talked with innovators who are pushing back against the status quo and the medical model. We were so excited to dig more deeply into Decolonizing Therapy with Dr. Jennifer Mullan. What does “decolonizing therapy” mean? ·      Looking at accessibility to therapy and how lack of access impacts individuals ·      Decolonizing therapy doesn’t work for everyone, especially folks in the global majority and/or who have the most need ·      The way that therapy is practiced is not sufficiently addressing the mental health crisis ·      Shifting therapy to include cultural healing practices, community healing and support ·      Moving the “blame” for poor mental health away from the individual to the individual’s context What can therapists do if they would like to decolonize their own therapy practice? ·      Make sure you are doing your own work and have support while working in the role of healer ·      Identifying and accepting that all individuals have social, political and other frames that come in with them to the therapy room ·      Unlearning and embracing new knowledge, being okay with not knowing ·      Looking at historical trauma and colonization as core attachment wounds ·      Understanding how historical events impact your clients (and yourself) ·      Looking at how historical trauma is transmitted directly and indirectly ·      Learn in community ·      Rethink diagnosis What can therapists get wrong when they are working to decolonize their therapy practice? ·      Struggling to see where compliance can conflict with the needs of clients at times ·      The impact of diagnosis on clients (especially behavioral diagnoses frequently given to Black and brown boys that often lead a child into the school to prison pipeline) ·      Not understanding larger concepts around what is political and big questions like why are people poor? ·      Deflecting questions from clients as being clinical material rather than understanding that clients are seeking a human connection ·      Holding to firmly to rigid “rules” around attendance and coming on time, for example How can therapists work with rage and other big emotions? ·      It’s important to recognize that we are not receiving sufficient education around rage ·      It is important to understand what rage and what it is not ·      Grief, shame, and trauma lead to rage Stay in Touch with Curt, Katie, and the whole Therapy Reimagined #TherapyMovement: Our Linktree: https://linktr.ee/therapyreimagined Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide Creative Credits: Voice Over by DW McCann https://www.facebook.com/McCannDW/ Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano https://groomsymusic.com/
Should Therapists Admit to Making Mistakes in Therapy?
Oct 30 2023
Should Therapists Admit to Making Mistakes in Therapy?
Should Therapists Admit to Making Mistakes in Therapy? Curt and Katie chat about what therapists can do to effectively navigate their own mistakes in the therapy room. We look at what constitutes a mistake in therapy, the types of mistakes that therapists make, and considerations on how to address mistakes. This is an ethics continuing education podcourse. Transcripts for this episode will be available at mtsgpodcast.com! In this podcast episode we talk about how modern therapists can navigate making mistakes When therapists make mistakes, clients can prematurely terminate treatment or fail to meet their goals. Most research on effective therapy looks at factors that minimize the therapist’s tendency to make mistakes, rather than what to do when they happen. However, focusing on the effectiveness of handling mistakes is one of the factors that clinicians can actually control. This workshop focuses on how effectively handling mistakes made by therapists and the mental health system can lead to better outcomes for clients. What should therapists do when they make a mistake? ·       Looking at the humanity of the therapist ·       It is important to define what is actually a mistake ·       Looking at where mistakes can happen within treatment ·       Mistakes can be defined based on the definition of success What types of mistakes do therapists make in therapy? ·       Incorrect or mismatched treatment without adjustment ·       Treatment failures happen for many different reasons – what is a mistake versus a work in progress? ·       Mistakes can be based on the individual client or therapist factors and the focus of the therapist in the therapeutic work and relationship When should therapists admit mistakes? ·       Consideration of whether admitting the mistake will harm the client ·       Going beyond “non-malfeasance” ·       Exploring how clients like to handle a mistake ·       Paying attention to therapist’s own preferences or bias ·       Understanding when and how to take responsibility for what you’ve done as a therapist ·       Avoiding the impact on the client that they believe that they have made the mistake ·       Making sure therapists are resourced when they engage in this process What are the systemic errors in mental health treatment? ·       Taking a global view to therapy can allow for seeing the other elements and systems ·       Recognizing the limits of what therapists can do to solve clients’ concerns, including due to agency policies ·       Harm caused by the profession and professional associations (statements made, research completed, etc.) Receive Continuing Education for this Episode of the Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide Continuing Education Information including grievance and refund policies. Stay in Touch with Curt, Katie, and the whole Therapy Reimagined #TherapyMovement: Patreon Buy Me A Coffee Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide Creative Credits: Voice Over by DW McCann https://www.facebook.com/McCannDW/ Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano https://groomsymusic.com/
Is BPD a Genuine Diagnosis or a Dismissive Label?
Oct 23 2023
Is BPD a Genuine Diagnosis or a Dismissive Label?
Is BPD a Genuine Diagnosis or a Dismissive Label? Curt and Katie chat about whether (or not) Borderline Personality Disorder is a useful diagnosis. We look at the difficulty in differential diagnosis, the huge overlaps with other diagnoses, and the harm caused by misdiagnosis and dismissal of these clients. We also explore whether BPD is just complex PTSD in disguise. We don’t come to total agreement, but we get a little bit closer on how we can move past the harmful elements of the BPD label.  Transcripts for this episode will be available at mtsgpodcast.com! In this podcast episode we explore the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder After reading an article that suggests that there is no clinical utility to the BPD diagnosis, we decided to dig into whether or not BPD is a diagnosis worth using. We struggled to get this episode recorded as we started from a place of deep disagreement. We were able to get to a helpful conversation, we think. Why is Borderline Personality Disorder controversial? ·       It is heterogeneous ·       There are a lot of rule outs and overlap with other diagnoses ·       There may not be clinical utility in using this diagnosis ·       There is bias and judgment related to having this diagnosis ·       There is a lot of harm from misdiagnosis What are the problems and challenges in diagnosing “BPD?” ·       Overlap with autism, psychosis, complex or chronic trauma and others ·       Must look at the causes rather than solely the symptoms ·       The ongoing complexity of how trauma interacts with other elements of a person’s experience and personality make it hard to tease out what is really going on How is Borderline Personality Disorder distinct from Chronic PTSD? ·       First you must understand the relationship between PTSD and Chronic or Complex PTSD ·       A theory is that Chronic PTSD has more relational avoidance than BPD ·       Another theory is that BPD has an absence of sense of self, which CPTSD does not ·       There is literature that shows that not all patients with BPD have trauma history Should BPD remain as a recognized diagnosis in clinical practice? ·       We’re still not sure and don’t completely agree ·       At the very least, it needs to be renamed Stay in Touch with Curt, Katie, and the whole Therapy Reimagined #TherapyMovement: Our Linktree: https://linktr.ee/therapyreimagined Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide Creative Credits: Voice Over by DW McCann https://www.facebook.com/McCannDW/ Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano https://groomsymusic.com/
Dealing with “Therapy Doesn’t Work”
Oct 16 2023
Dealing with “Therapy Doesn’t Work”
Dealing with “Therapy Doesn’t Work” Curt and Katie chat how to engage with people who doubt the efficacy of therapy. We look at how to address general skeptics, mandated clients, hesitant prospective clients, and uncertain longer-standing clients. Spoiler alert: validation, understanding, and coming back to the relationship go far. Transcripts for this episode will be available at mtsgpodcast.com! In this podcast episode we explore how to talk with folks who don’t believe in therapy In response to a Reddit thread asking how therapists can respond when someone says they don’t believe in therapy or that therapy doesn’t work. How can therapists respond when someone says, “therapy doesn’t work?” ·      Therapy is not for everyone ·      Validating concerns ·      Work to understand their previous experiences in therapy ·      Acknowledge problematic elements in therapy How do you approach clients who are mandated or forced into treatment? ·      Working with resistance ·      Going back to the relationship and shared goals ·      Meeting client where they are What can therapists do when parents don’t believe in therapy for their kid? ·      Understanding fear or concerns ·      Joining and building rapport ·      Exploring their goals for their child ·      Seeking engagement and involvement ·      Don’t throw evidence-base at them ·      Explaining how therapy works for kids ·      Avoiding defensiveness on the part of the therapist How can you explain therapy to a hesitant client considering therapy for the first time? ·      Validation of fears and concerns ·      Acknowledging challenges in coming into therapy ·      Identifying what would be most helpful to address in therapy ·      Trying to break through preconceived worries about it not working ·      Exploring how to find a good match ·      Describing what therapy can look like ·      Explain that therapy might not be the only answer (e.g., coaching, social work, meds, etc.) The importance of being able to describe what therapy is like with you ·      Curt’s suggestion of having a casual conversation with a colleague to describe what your therapy look like ·      Know how to describe your approach to people who don’t know what therapy is ·      Not every client is best for you ·      Focusing on the relationship you will provide to the client What are the options for talking with long term clients who are doubting therapy? ·      Use the concerns clinically ·      Validating concerns ·      Coming together related to expectations and goals ·      Acknowledging when therapy isn’t working ·      Reframing incremental progress ·      Therapists seeking consultation and supervision, so these conversations don’t feel painful Stay in Touch with Curt, Katie, and the whole Therapy Reimagined #TherapyMovement: Our Linktree: https://linktr.ee/therapyreimagined Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide Creative Credits: Voice Over by DW McCann https://www.facebook.com/McCannDW/ Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano https://groomsymusic.com/
Is Your Therapist Website ADA Compliant? An Interview with Anita Avedian, LMFT
Oct 9 2023
Is Your Therapist Website ADA Compliant? An Interview with Anita Avedian, LMFT
Is Your Therapist Website ADA Compliant? An Interview with Anita Avedian, LMFT Curt and Katie interview Anita Avedian, LMFT about her recent experiences related to an ADA complaint on her website. Anita shares with us how she has navigated this lawsuit and what she’s learned about ADA Compliance for websites. We also talk about the predatory lawsuits on small businesses in California and the benefits of becoming ADA compliant for therapists. Transcripts for this episode will be available at mtsgpodcast.com! In this podcast episode, we look at what therapists should know about ADA compliant websites Our friend, Anita Avedian, LMFT, just went through a legal complaint related to her website. It was found to not be ADA compliant, meaning that she had to pay some fines and update her website. She wanted to share what she learned, so we thought – let’s bring this conversation to the podcast!  What is needed for a website to be ADA compliant? ·      Images have to have alt text ·      Videos have to have closed captioned at 95% accurate ·      Videos need both closed captions and transcripts ·      Contrast colors need to be far enough apart for visibility ·      Appropriate font sizes ·      Buttons and navigation system have to be ADA compliant ·      You cannot have PDFs on your website, you must have documents ·      When you are cited, you have to make corrections and keep it up What goes into an ADA compliance lawsuit against a website (including therapist websites)? ·      There are predatory lawyers who are seeking out noncompliance to open lawsuits with small businesses ·      There are thousands of lawsuits ·      Your liability insurance doesn’t cover these claims because it is considered discriminatory ·      Oftentimes you don’t know that you’re being sued ·      There is not an opportunity to make corrections, you are fined and must make corrections immediately ·      There is usually oversight and monitoring for 5 years How can therapists make their websites more accessible? ·      Accurate transcripts and closed captioning for videos ·      Making sure that you are at least 95% compliant by doing a free scan ·      Using some of the resources listed in the show notes on our website at mtsgpodcast.com (in the resources section) ·      Having a deep scan to identify how close you are to compliance ·      Making sure that your web developers know how to make your website ADA compliant ·      There are attorneys to help with this process and can provide training on how to make a website ADA compliant ·      Side benefits of improved SEO and Google standing ·      There isn’t currently a widget to make your website ADA compliant and website themes and templates do not have these requirements built in structurally Stay in Touch with Curt, Katie, and the whole Therapy Reimagined #TherapyMovement: Our Linktree: https://linktr.ee/therapyreimagined Patreon Buy Me A Coffee Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide Creative Credits: Voice Over by DW McCann https://www.facebook.com/McCannDW/ Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano https://groomsymusic.com/