Bad Business Practices

Bad Business Practices

Curt and Katie talk about the mistakes that therapists make in their business that can impact their clinical practice, their financial stability, and their reputation both with their colleagues and their clients.

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 intersection between business and clinical practices
  • The different mistakes that therapists make like not returning phone calls, being clumsy with intake call and intake process, failing to talk about fees before meeting in person, insurance bait and switch, scheduling snafus in shared offices, lack of control in your space, running late, poor referrals, not getting consent from both parents, clients missing payments and racking up debt
  • How to improve business practices to improve clinical relationships
  • Using therapy skills to improve “sales”
  • Systems to help clients engage in treatment from the beginning
  • The importance of establishing fees and contracts/consents prior to the first session
  • Clear parameters can equal clinical safety
  • Timeliness can equate to trust
  • The handoff from intake or practice owner to the clinician who will work with the client
  • Showing confidence in your own work and any referrals you make
  • Making sure to talk through all of the consents and policies
  • Communication practices with clients
  • Taking notes, remembering what has happened in the session
  • Client experience, customer care
  • Re-engagement
  • Deliberate Practice and Scott Miller’s Feedback Informed Treatment
  • The importance of putting systems in place that support you and your clients

Our Generous Sponsor:

Thanks again to our sponsor, Ben Caldwell Labs. If you’re a therapist, there’s a good chance you already know Ben. He has built his career fighting for you, and for me, and for all of us to be able to do well even in a challenging professional landscape. Check out for his books, California exam prep, continuing education, and more. Thinking of taking your practice online? Visit to get 20% off their on-demand CE course, Basics of Telehealth.

Resources mentioned:

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


Scott Miller’s Feedback Informed Treatment

Maureen Werrbach with The Group Practice Exchange

Dr. Ben Caldwell with Ben Caldwell Labs

Mixing Modern Therapist live networking events – email us for info:

The conversations happening in Our Facebook Group

Other Relevant Episodes:

Making Bank as a Therapist

Deliberate Practice 1: Finding Your Blind Spots

Deliberate Practice 2: Be a Better Therapist

Our event this year:

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

Our new 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 Survival Guide Group


Voice Over by DW McCann

Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano

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