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Mar 8, 2021

Why Therapists Quit

Curt and Katie chat about the systemic reasons that therapists leave the profession. We look at the work environment, the infrastructure of community mental health, as well as the frequent ways that therapists set up their own private practices. We also identify changes on a systems level as well as calls to actions for individuals who would like to continue as a therapist.   

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:

  • Challenges in the mental health system leading to therapists quitting the profession
  • Why therapists don’t stay therapists when they wanted to stay therapists
  • Obstacles and lack of opportunities
  • The lack of quality of supervision or inadequate training for other elements of the job
  • The lack of research on therapist workforce issues
  • Not a lot of empathy for therapists as we “chose” to do this
  • Caseload sizes, the weight of carrying the challenges of many people
  • Niche fatigue and hearing the same story over and over
  • The challenge of holding the hope for clients and communities
  • The heaviness and the boredom of hearing so many similar conversations
  • The full workload including paperwork and other consultations, case management and advocacy
  • Who is drawn to the work, the desire for deep and meaningful work, and the problems of the bureaucratic system in providing meaningful work
  • The training doesn’t match the actual job
  • The status quo and inertia in the work, while at the same time that all the changes that happen in the other pieces of the profession
  • Productivity standards and billing, differences in philosophy
  • Systemic problems with under and unpaid services and requirements
  • What we’re asking from the professional organizations and the challenges that professional organizations may have in advocating for these types of systemic changes
  • What could actually move forward in legislation
  • The issues related to antitrust
  • People are more concerned about our patients than about therapists
  • Why clinicians in all settings (including community mental health, private practice, etc.)
  • The sameness of the workload when you’re in private practice
  • The isolation as a therapist
  • Increased demands with higher demand, less delineated work/life balance
  • The appeal of a job where you can just show up
  • The weight we carry as business owners, including decision-making and responsibility to generate income
  • The benefit of diversifying your caseload
  • Calls to action: advocating for quality workplaces, finding peer support, setting boundaries for yourself throughout your professional journey, what we can do if enough of us make these changes
  • The time is now to address mental health systemic problems – shining a light on how we are well-situated, making sure we are paid, and sharing messages to support the community


Our Generous Sponsor

Heard Bookkeeping and Tax

As a therapist, you’re probably too preoccupied with your caseload to want to think about bookkeeping or tax filing. Heard Bookkeeping and Tax is a platform built specifically for therapists that helps you track and improve your practice’s financial health. Regardless of whether you’re a seasoned clinician or are in the first year of your practice, Heard will help you to identify areas for growth and streamline best financial practices for your business.

When you sign up with Heard, you’ll work directly with financial specialists to track your income and expenses, file taxes online, and grow your business. You’ll also receive financial insights such as profit and loss statements and personalized monthly reports. You can say goodbye to poring over spreadsheets and guessing your tax deductions or quarterly payments; focus on your clients, and Heard will take care of the rest.

Dr. Jennifer Kashani, a licensed clinical psychologist based in Los Angeles, says: Heard has simplified and streamlined bookkeeping and best business practices in a digestible and accessible way. Having the foundation of Heard for my business has made myself and, in turn, my patients feel more solid.

Plans begin at $60 per month and can easily be tailored to fit your business’ financial needs. You can schedule your first consultation at


Resources mentioned:

We’ve pulled together resources mentioned in this episode and put together some handy-dandy links. Please note that some of the links below might 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!

NY Times: No One Has Openings

The Rand Report: How to Transform the U.S. Mental Health System


Relevant Episodes:

Quarantine Self-Care for Therapists

Toxic Work Environments

Antitrust for Therapists


Connect with us!

Our Facebook Group – The Modern Therapists Group

Get Notified About Therapy Reimagined 2021

 Our consultation services:

The Fifty-Minute Hour

Who we are:

Curt Widhalm is in private practice in the Los Angeles area. He is the cofounder of the Therapy Reimagined conference, former 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 Past 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:

Our Facebook Group – The Modern Therapist’s Group



Voice Over by DW McCann

Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano