At Least 3 Reasons Continuing Education Sucks (Usually)

At Least 3 Reasons Continuing Education Sucks

Curt and Katie chat about why continuing education is usually pretty ineffective. We dig into a listener question related to repackaged, introductory level, uninspiring presentations. We look at the systemic concerns related to CE standards as well as the difficulty balancing high quality education with affordability. We explore research that shows that continuing education (especially when it is solely didactic) does not impact client outcomes. We also share ideas to improve continuing education for the next generation of clinicians.

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:

  • The problems with continuing education rules and what that means for the types of education modern therapists often can find
  • The ways in which presenters repackage others’ material
  • Continuing education is not proven to improve client outcomes
  • CE standards that limit the innovation and interactive capability
  • How most CE is very general and appropriate for all levels of clinicians (not solely intermediate to advanced therapists)
  • The type of didactic training that might be impactful or effective (but may not be CE worthy)
  • The problem with not having practical applications involved in presentations
  • Learning, practicing and then doing
  • Why effective continuing education is expensive and whether they make a difference in being better therapists
  • Deliberate practice and the effectiveness of spending time outside of session (and training) practicing skills
  • Practice-based evidence (measuring how well our clients are doing) and why this is the strongest way to do better work
  • The importance of giving accurate feedback to CE providers
  • The acknowledgement and acceptance within the system that CE doesn’t really work – and the push back and reasons why people within the system don’t want to fix it
  • Assessing competence and engagement in training (pros and cons)
  • The balance between accessibility and accountability
  • The shelf-life of graduate education and the need for continuing education
  • Our vision related to continuing education and learning

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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!

The Cycle of Excellence by Tony Rousmaniere

Dr. Joy DeGruy

Why TED Talks don’t change people’s behaviors: Tom Asacker at TEDxCambridge 2014

Scott Miller, PhD: Deliberate Practice

Dr. Ben Caldwell, LMFT – Ben Caldwell Labs


Impact of Formal Continuing Medical Education

Does Professional Training Make a Therapist More Effective?

Relevant Episodes:

All Deliberate Practice episodes

Be a Better Therapist

Finding Your Blind Spots

The Fight to Save Psychotherapy

Connect with us!

Our Facebook Group – The Modern Therapists Group

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 former 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

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