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Jul 18, 2022

I Just Graduated, Now What? – Career Advice for New Mental Health Clinicians

Curt and Katie discuss how clinicians can decide what types of jobs to pursue when they first graduate from their clinical program. We look at whether you should go into a community mental health organization or a private practice. We also dig into what you might want to consider when making these choices and looking for these jobs. Curt and Katie share their own perspective and experiences to help you consider many different options at this stage in your career.

Transcripts for this episode will be available at!

In this podcast episode we talk about a new therapist’s career path  

We received a listener email asking advice for how to approach getting their first job after graduating. We decided to answer that listener and to address the question of how to start your career more broadly.  

Should you go into a community mental health organization or private practice?

“I'm of the philosophy that, especially if where you imagine yourself being is in private practice at some point, my recommendation is start doing that as soon as reasonably possible” – Curt Widhalm, LMFT

  • Considerations related to longer term goals
  • Practical and logistical factors related to compensation, benefits, and time
  • Clinical training and opportunities

What to consider when looking to join a group private practice

“When you are looking for a group practice, don’t look for something that’s just a duplication of a community mental health organization… there is a discernment that needs to happen to identify: is this actually preparing you for the private practice that you want to have in five years? Or is it a mill, where you're churning through insurance clients that don't align or… you're working for a fee that you wouldn't be able to sustain?” – Katie Vernoy, LMFT

  • Caseload and pay expectations
  • Training and supervision opportunities
  • What you are willing to do to obtain your own clients
  • Whether you will stay at an agency while building a caseload

What are the job options for therapists when they graduate?

  • The importance of informational interviews to understand the options
  • The benefits (and detriments) to different types of work settings
  • Community mental health versus private practice
  • Moving around and getting different experiences versus starting in a niche
  • Identifying what is right for you

Our Generous Sponsors for this episode of the Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide:


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Resources for Modern Therapists mentioned in this Podcast Episode:

We’ve pulled together resources mentioned in this episode and put together some handy-dandy links. Please note that some of the links below may be affiliate links, so if you purchase after clicking below, we may get a little bit of cash in our pockets. We thank you in advance!

Relevant Episodes of MTSG Podcast:

Getting a J-O-B as a Therapist

Interview Strategies for Therapists

The Burnout System

Why Therapists Quit

How to Overcome Impostor Syndrome to Leave Your Agency Job: An interview with Patrick Casale

Building Hope for the Next Generation of Therapists: An interview with Robin Andersen


Who we are:

Curt Widhalm, LMFT

Curt Widhalm is in private practice in the Los Angeles area. He is the cofounder of the Therapy Reimagined conference, an Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University and CSUN, a former Subject Matter Expert for the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, former CFO of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, 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, LMFT

Katie Vernoy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, coach, and consultant supporting leaders, visionaries, executives, and helping professionals to create sustainable careers. Katie, with Curt, has developed workshops and a conference, Therapy Reimagined, to support therapists navigating through the modern challenges of this profession. Katie is also a former President of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. 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 with Curt, Katie, and the whole Therapy Reimagined #TherapyMovement:


Buy Me A Coffee

Podcast Homepage

Therapy Reimagined Homepage






Consultation services with Curt Widhalm or Katie Vernoy:

The Fifty-Minute Hour

Connect with the Modern Therapist Community:

Our Facebook Group – The Modern Therapists Group

Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide Creative Credits:

Voice Over by DW McCann

Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano