Being a Therapist on Both Sides of the Couch
An interview with Rwenshaun Miller, LCMHC, where he shares what therapists get wrong when understanding the client perspective and how to genuinely connect with clients. Curt and Katie chat with Rwenshaun about tough questions on racial bias in diagnosing and the impact of systemic structures in Black and brown communities. They also discuss a vision for an ideal mental health system and suggestions for how to start advocating for change.
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.
Interview with Rwenshaun Miller, MA, LCMHC, NCC
Rwenshaun Miller is an accomplished author, motivational speaker, counselor, consultant and philanthropist who has dedicated his life and career to, not only reshaping the negative connotations often associated with mental health, but also directly impacting the lives of those living with mental health challenges. Of all his accolades and roles, Mr. Miller proudly first serves as a Mental Health Change Agent. As a result, Mr. Miller has globally impacted the lives of many through his awareness efforts.
Mr. Miller’s relentless passion and commitment derived from his personal experience living with Bipolar Disorder. Through his journey, Mr. Miller initially encountered similar challenges many face, including that of acceptance of a mental health diagnosis. Eventually, Mr. Miller decided to not allow this diagnosis to define and debilitate him realizing that Bipolar Disorder is not what defines who he is. Thus, he embarked on a path to help uplift, empower, encourage and teach others who live with mental health challenges how to “thrive” in life.
In this episode we talk about:
- Rwenshaun’s story of encountering systemic barriers while facing his own mental health challenges and how he uses his experience as a client to inform his work as a therapist as well as educate other therapists.
- Looking at “both sides of the couch” and bridging the differences between what we learn as clients and what we are taught to do as therapists.
- Discussion of what therapists do wrong when it comes to understanding the client perspective.
- The utility of diagnosing as well as problems with treating someone like a diagnosis (impact on self-perspective, living up to the diagnosis, etc.)
- Examining how inherent white bias shows up in diagnosing and how to consider environmental factors when conceptualizing a client’s behavior.
- Exploration of how systemic structures impact the mental health of BIPOC youth and the need to challenge the systems that hold these individuals back.
- Looking at ways to step outside the box of conventional therapy techniques to meet client’s where they are at and connect with them as a person (engaging clients in video games, basketball, yoga, etc.).
- Discussion of how to set the stage for therapy to ensure it is comfortable for the therapist and client.
- Exploration of how the stigma of mental health has changed in BIPOC communities and what is needed to change systemically to continue reducing the stigma.
- Envisioning an ideal for how therapists and systemic structures can support the mental health needs of society, along with examining current barriers and how work to reduce them.
- The importance of advocating for preventative care to improve mental health care.
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Who we are:
Curt Widhalm is in private practice in the Los Angeles area. He is the cofounder of the Therapy Reimagined conference, an Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University and CSUN, a former Subject Matter Expert for the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, former CFO of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, 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: http://www.curtwidhalm.com
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. In her spare time, Katie is secretly siphoning off Curt’s youthful energy, so that she can take over the world. Learn more at: http://www.katievernoy.com
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.
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