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Aug 12, 2019

Curt and Katie talk about how to take care of your clients, your communities, and yourself after a mass shooting. We look at the types of victims, the different stages of response, and treatment considerations.

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:

  • Responding to the recent Mass Shootings
  • The different roles that therapists can be expected to play after a Mass Shooting incident
  • The types of victims of these events (from victims radiating out to people who are learning about these events on social media)
  • The different stages of trauma response – and the caution to not assume everyone will end up with PTSD
  • Who is at risk for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
  • The different factors that can lead to an emotional response to the shooting, regardless of how close you are to the incident
  • The importance of Psychological First Aid (and how Critical Incident Stress Debriefing can be harmful)
  • Vicarious and Re-traumatization, triggers, no response
  • The impact of previous traumas
  • The importance of community supports and types of community interventions
  • Looking at how to assess boundaries and be part in the community healing
  • Post-Traumatic Growth and finding meaning, purpose
  • How often those with mental illness diagnoses might feel stigmatized when they are scape-goated and should also be supported
  • How the role that therapists play can impact therapists
  • The careful assessment of how you can help and what you can offer to people impacted by these events
  • Important self-care reminders for therapists

Our Generous Sponsors:

This episode is sponsored by Center For Discovery.
Center For Discovery provides evidence-based treatment for eating disorders, binge eating disorders, mental health, substance use, and co-occurring conditions nationwide. Discovery offers gender inclusive and gender-specific treatment with separate programming for adolescent and adults. Programs have a high staff to client ratio because individualized attention is critical when it comes to providing effective and efficient treatment. Learn more about these clinical programs at Discovery offers free resources including weekly support groups, a recovery app, free evaluations, and treatment scholarships. Learn more about Discovery's Free Weekly Support Groups, for those struggling and loved ones, at Center For Discovery is a preferred provider and in-network with all major insurance companies.

This is episode is also sponsored by My Solution Services.

My Solution Services is more than your typical VA. With over 13 years of experience in Mental Health, they specialize in working with professional clinicians all over the US and Canada. My Solutions Services, Inc provides Online Business Management (OBM) and Certified Professional Practice Building Coaching for therapists. They help with the daily tasks of running the business side of private practice - everything on the outside of the therapy room! Working with therapists around the world they provide the assistance you need that is customized to your practice. Visit out their website for resources and information on building your solo or group practice at  

AND they have a special gift for is The Ultimate Guide to Outsourcing in your Private/Group practice. With over 200 items here, you don't have to do the daily tasks of running your business on your own ever again! Get your guide at:


Resources mentioned:

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

Tons of articles:

SAMHSA Bulletin on Mass Violence

America Society of Evidence Based Policing: The Harmful Effects of Critical Incident Stress Debriefing

Disaster Relief.Org Psychological First Aid

National Child Traumatic Stress Network Psychological First Aid

APA "What happens to the survivors"

The Mental Health Consequences of Mass Shootings - Sarah R. Lowe, Sandro Galea

Trauma Resiliency Model and Community Resiliency Model

Heather Littleton response to Virginia Tech shooting

Andrew Smith Virginia Tech

Response at UCSB

APA Statement on Shootings at Dayton and El Paso

NAMI Statement on Mass Shootings in Texas and Ohio

Ben Caldwell Labs Marketing Therapy After Disasters

APA Report on Gun Violence Prevention

Red Cross Trainings


Relevant Episodes:

Managing Vicarious Trauma

Compassion Fatigue


Connect with us!

Our Facebook Group – The Modern Therapists Group

Therapy Reimagined 2019


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