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Nov 25, 2019

Curt and Katie talk about Person of the Therapist training. We talk about a revolutionary training model that starts with who a therapist is and what will come up for them as a therapist – rather than setting unreasonable expectations of blank, neutral, perfect therapists.           

It’s time to reimagine therapy and what it means to be a therapist. To support you as a whole person and a therapist, your hosts, Curt Widhalm and Katie Vernoy talk about how to approach the role of therapist in the modern age.

In this episode we talk about:

  • Person of the Therapist training – addressing the whole person therapist
  • The work of Dr. Harry Aponte at Drexel University
  • Looking at how pulling from your own history can impact how you approach the work in the room
  • The importance of finding your own personal themes and challenges, owning your own story
  • Innovative classes that start graduate programs with personal growth and insight
  • Normalizing reactions and individual differences from the beginning of our education
  • How close the line can be between education and therapy
  • The fallacy that therapists can be blank or neutral
  • The drive toward Evidence Based Practices
  • The depth of supervision that occurs when focusing on the person of the therapist
  • The problem of siloed areas of the field and how bringing it back into the same room
  • The vulnerability required for the depth of this work
  • The ability to increase maturity of the therapist more quickly through this type of work
  • The importance of structure and containment to do this type of work
  • Teaching self-awareness and self-monitoring
  • The power of building supportive community to do work more in the open, to decrease shame and perfectionism
  • Learning how to give respectful, structured, effective feedback – exercising your empathy muscle
  • How building resilience and connection can improve the profession as a whole
  • Increasing distress tolerance and capacity for taking feedback
  • Looking at the benefit of doing this work at all stages in your career


Resources mentioned:

We’ve pulled together resources mentioned in this episode and put together some handy-dandy links.

Dr. Harry J Aponte

Person of the Therapist Training Model by Dr. Harry Aponte

Claudio & Watson: Perceived impact of the Person of the Therapist Training model on Drexel University Master of Family Therapy postgraduates’ clinical work

Kissil, Carneiro, & Aponte: Beyond duality: The relationship between the personal and the professional selves of the therapist in the Person of the Therapist Training

Watson: Doing it right: Branding the Person of the Therapist Training model in Drexel University’s Master of Family Therapy program

Aponte & Ingram: Person of the Therapist supervision: Reflections of a therapist and supervisor on empathic-identification and differentiation



Relevant Episodes:

Therapists in Therapy

Impaired Therapists

That’s Unethical

Therapist Haters and Trolls


Connect with us!

Our Facebook Group – The Modern Therapists Group

Get Notified About Therapy Reimagined 2020 (and TR2019 Virtual Conference)


Our consultation services:

The Fifty-Minute Hour


Who we are:

Curt Widhalm is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in private practice in the Los Angeles area. He is a Board Member at Large for the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, a Subject Matter Expert for the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, Adjunct Faculty at Pepperdine University, and a loving husband and father. He is 1/2 great person, 1/2 provocateur, and 1/2 geek, in that order. He dabbles in the dark art of making "dad jokes" and usually has a half-empty cup of coffee somewhere nearby. Learn more at:

Katie Vernoy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, coach, and consultant. As a helping professional for two decades, she’s navigated the ups and downs of our unique line of work. She’s run her own solo therapy practice, designed innovative clinical programs, built and managed large, thriving teams of service providers, and consulted hundreds of helping professionals on how to build meaningful AND sustainable practices. In her spare time, Katie is secretly siphoning off Curt's youthful energy, so that she can take over the world. Learn more at:

A Quick Note:

Our opinions are our own. We are only speaking for ourselves – except when we speak for each other, or over each other. We’re working on it.

Our guests are also only speaking for themselves and have their own opinions. We aren’t trying to take their voice, and no one speaks for us either. Mostly because they don’t want to, but hey.


Stay in Touch:

Our Facebook Group – The Modern Therapist’s Group



Voice Over by DW McCann

Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano