How do you show up when you’re a therapist (or therapist-in-training)? It’s this existential question that formed the foundation for The Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide, a podcast created by Katie Vernoy and Curt Widhalm.
If you’ve ever struggled with the prevailing wisdom that therapists should exist in session only as blank slates, you’re not alone. “I was taught to be beige,” says Katie of her formative training. But the idea of working from an emotionless center didn’t sit well with her or Curt. So they built an online space in which practitioner authenticity, and all the challenges that came with that vulnerability, could be explored.
As if the podcast wasn’t enough, Katie and Curt also created Therapy Reimagined: The Modern Therapist Conference, a yearly event celebrating diversity, innovation, and connection for the #moderntherapist IRL.
“Graduate education towards being a therapist teaches people how to do and doesn’t teach people how to be,” says Curt. Additionally, conventional training often warns against showing up as yourself because doing so might distract from the prevailing clinical model and overshadow the client.
Katie argues the opposite. Expanding on Curt’s observation, she points out that by allowing your whole humanness to share space with a client, you’re forging a stronger working relationship. “Those were the most impactful moments of the therapy process,” she says, “when I was a human being.”
Of course, Curt and Katie serve up some healer and wounded healer realness and get into the thorny issue of continuing education hours. But Curt and Katie aren’t the types to rail against the CEU system or the country’s warped insurance model (ok maybe a little). Instead, they’ve joined forces to combat outdated traditions, educate new and not-so-new therapists alike, and build a better model for the future of mental health and welfare,
This year’s Therapy Reimagined conference will be held on September 25-26,2020 in Universal City, CA.
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