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Aug 20, 2018

An interview with Heather Walker Janz, LMFT – Curt and Katie talk with Heather about being a therapist and being an activist as well as the challenges of being in the public eye during a national campaign. Heather’s call to action: step up and use your voice!

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 Heather Walker Janz, LMFT

Heather Janz, LMFT, has established a private practice in California’s central valley serving teens and young adults referred through the Juvenile Justice Center, hospitals, and county mental health crisis centers. Heather inspires her clients and fellow mental health professionals by modeling assertiveness and positive communication through activism and advocacy. She is the current president of her local chapter of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CSJV-CAMFT) and has also been involved in several movements including The Women’s March, Families Belong Together, and March For Our Lives. You can learn more about Heather at

In this episode we talk about:

  • Being a therapist during a campaign
  • How Heather is navigating the complexities of being visible in the campaign where her husband is a democrat running to be the representative for Congressional District 22
  • The challenges of being a therapist during a national campaign
  • How Heather has processed her visibility and the campaign with her clients
  • The unexpected benefits of Heather’s personal life being so public, within her clinical work
  • The challenges of having different political views than clients – how to process it with clients
  • The benefits of being on record related to specific more controversial issues
  • How she has transitioned from having no visibility (as directed in school) to being in most of her clients’ mailboxes
  • The idea that clients need us to take care of them by being so invisible
  • How Heather screens new clients in and out to make sure that clients are not sensationalized related to the election
  • The additional steps Heather will take to protect her clients’ confidentiality on social media
  • Heather’s lack of confidentiality and how she relies on her ability to remain genuine in all spaces
  • The surprises that have come during the campaign
  • How to diminish the impact of the external stuff (campaign or personal matters) and the strict boundaries that Heather holds to shift the conversation to the clinical material
  • The supports that Heather has put in place to manage her work, the campaign, her own volunteer work
  • The self-care practices that Heather has put into place, how she has learned to say “no”
  • Advice for others seeking to enter politics as a therapist
  • Why it is so important that we step up, even if we don’t know if we’re ready, we can’t wait
  • How our activism can give our clients hope
  • How therapists as mental health experts interacting with legislators and staffers can decrease mental health stigma


Resources mentioned:

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

California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

Heather’s Website

Andrew Janz for Congress


Our Generous Sponsor:

Thanks again to our sponsor, Ben Caldwell Labs. They offer a whole suite of tools to help all of us be more successful therapists throughout our careers, including continuing education, California license exam prep, and the updated and essential reference book, Basics of California Law for LMFTs, LPCCs, and LCSWs. Visit to get 20% off of Basics of California Law when you order by the end of 2018.

Our Next Event:

The Therapy Reimagined Conference in Los Angeles in October 2018!!

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 about Curt 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 about Katie 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