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Jan 21, 2019

Curt and Katie talk about how niche, safety considerations, or competence can be used by therapists to discriminate against specific classes of people. Specifically looking at therapists who decide to no longer work with men.  

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:

  • How therapists might be discriminating when they refuse to work with a specific gender
  • Niche, specialization, scope of competence (or scope of excellence)
  • How to assess whether you are discriminating or providing the highest level of care (i.e., referral)
  • Having a thoughtful process and clear conversation to help clients find the best match
  • Assessing safety in deciding who to take into your practice
  • The importance of good screening tools
  • The problem of refusing to see clients when you are fearful of a whole protected class of individuals
  • Marketing to your ideal client to help the clients you’re best suited to help call you
  • When there is a competence issue to be a therapist when you are not able to work professionally with specific protected classes
  • The role that past traumas and wounding experiences have on our ability to be effective therapists
  • Self-awareness versus discrimination
  • The argument about whether we “have to” serve everyone who reaches out to us for help
  • Options when you don’t feel capable of serving specific issues or specific classes of people
  • Referring out, learning more, working on your own triggers
  • The standard that therapists are held to
  • How not to discriminate – helping clients to make an informed choice, providing professional assistance (referring out)
  • When you must see clients according to the ethics codes
  • How to take care of yourself as a therapist
  • Respecting that we are human beings with limits, while still understanding the higher standard that we are held to

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Relevant Episodes:

Therapist Safety

The Brand Called You


Resources mentioned:

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

Our Facebook Group – The Modern Therapists Group

Therapy Reimagined 2019: Sign up here to get notified when the details are released.


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