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Jan 13, 2020

An interview with Pardis Mahdavi, PhD, and Negeen Moussavian, AMFT, regarding Iran, current events, and how the news might impact Iranian clients.

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 therapists must develop a personal brand to market their practices.

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.


Interview with Pardis Mahdavi, PhD and Negeen Moussavian, AMFT

Pardis Mahdavi, PhD is currently Director of the School for Social Transformation at Arizona State University. Before coming to Arizona, she was Acting Dean of the Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver (2017-2019), after spending eleven years at Pomona College from 2006-2017 where she most recently served as professor and chair of anthropology and director of the Pacific Basin Institute at Pomona College as well as Dean of Women. Her research interests include gendered labor, human trafficking, migration, sexuality, human rights, transnational feminism, and public health in the context of changing global and political structures. She has published four single authored books and one edited volume in addition to numerous journal and news articles. She has been a fellow at the Social Sciences Research Council, the American Council on Learned Societies, Google Ideas, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. In 2018 she was appointed by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and re-appointed by Governor Jared Polis to serve on the Colorado Commission on Higher Education.

Negeen Moussavian is a Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (#107771) working under the supervision of Curt Widhalm LMFT (#47333) in Encino, CA. She received her Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage & Family Therapy from Pepperdine University. She works with clients dealing with relationships, dating, infidelity, and trauma. Additionally, she works with Iranian-American clients on issues surrounding identity, generational trauma, and other culture specific topics. She implements a combination of holistic and traditional therapy practices, including EMDR therapy.

In this episode we talk about:

  • Current events in Iran as well as historical context
  • Liminality – the feeling of not belonging here or there
  • The importance of being informed
  • The uncertainty that can lead to fear and then to hate
  • The crushing tsunami wave of islamophobia that is coming in the United States
  • How significant events related to Iran impact Iranian-Americans
  • The dramatic changes within Iran
  • How therapists can help Iranian families to cope with the impacts of current events

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Relevant Resources:

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

Pardis Mahdavi’s website:

Pardis’ books:

              (including Passionate Uprisings: Iran’s Sexual Revolution)

School of Social Tranformation at Arizona State University

Negeen Moussavian’s website:

Negeen’s Instagram: @therapywithnegeen

CAV Academy: 2020 Kauai Foundations of Connection Retreat


Relevant Episodes:

Let’s Talk About Race

Let’s Talk About Race Again


Connect with us:

The Modern Therapists Group on Facebook

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

Who we are:

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


Voice Over by DW McCann

Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano