Career Trekking with MTSG

Career Trekking with MTSG

An interview with Marissa Esquibel, LMFT on her journey from community mental health to private practice. Curt and Katie talk with Marissa about how she used the Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide podcast to shift her mindset and change her career trajectory. Marissa highlights the benefits of belief, guidance, and community.

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 Marissa Esquibel, LMFT

“Though she be but little, she is fierce.”


Marissa Esquibel is not like a regular therapist, she’s a cool therapist. With her practice located near Los Angeles, Marissa is on a one-woman mission to empower young women to stop playing small and to start taking up space. She works exclusively with young adults, 20-something’s, who are checking off all the boxes of “success,” and yet, they feel like failures internally. They often come to Marissa dealing with depression, anxiety, imposter syndrome, or codependency. As an undergraduate, she attended UC Santa Barbara and then received her Masters in Clinical Psychology from California State University, Fullerton. In September of 2018, she became licensed and opened-up shop to her virtual therapy practice in March 2020. When Marissa is not in session with patients, she spends her time reading, hanging out with friends and family, binging on podcasts and audiobooks, attending her own therapy, and making sure to get her 10,000 steps a day. She loves her work, job, and life and looks forward to connecting with you.

Learn more about Marissa at

In this episode we talk about:

  • Marissa’s burnout story and how she made the trek from community mental health to private practice
  • Reflections on the question: what do therapists get wrong (and the self-analysis and feedback informed nature of the question)
  • The idea of self-sacrifice and hard work being required to be a good therapist
  • The importance of critical thinking regarding what is effective, what is healthy for me
  • How Marissa made the decision to move to a group practice and then her own private practice
  • Marissa’s experience at Therapy Reimagined 2019 and her follow up with speakers
  • The need for belief, guidance, and community
  • Marissa talks about the episodes that helped her to move forward
  • How Marissa implemented a new plan for her career
  • “I choose this agony, this heart ache, this effort” – Marissa Esquibel, LMFT
  • Marissa’s choice to be vulnerable at this time and to keep on going
  • The determination and belief that has kept Marissa moving forward on her vision and mission
  • The need to hear from (and connecting with) people at each stage of career development

Our Generous Sponsors:

GreenOak Accounting

If you love dreaming about growing your practice, but you feel a disconnect between where you are now and where you want to be, check out GreenOak Accounting. You went to school to become a therapist, not an accountant! Your time is much better spent doing what you love–and not crunching numbers. That’s where GreenOak Accounting comes in! They specialize in working with private practices just like yours, so you can reclaim precious hours each week! They can help with all your accounting needs like bookkeeping, budgeting, forecasting, payroll and even assist with implementing Profit First. If you are interested in freeing up your schedule for more clients, or just getting back time for yourself, go to to schedule a free, no obligation consultation today. You can also check out our podcast, Therapy for Your Money, hosted by GreenOak Accounting owner Julie Herres.

CPH & Associates

CPH & Associates is an insurance company that specializes in professional liability insurance for mental health professionals. We currently insure over 100,000 mental health professionals throughout the United States. We can insure you throughout your professional career starting with your student practicum, through your post masters internship, and on to practicing with your professional license.

With up-to-date legal resources and exceptional customer service, CPH protects your career against a grievance from a regulatory board, claim, or lawsuit. Because our business is specialized, we are able to focus on your liability needs in a way that bigger companies are not. We are able to serve a large client base while maintaining a small-office approach. With options to add General Liability, Cyber Liability, and coverage for your LLC or corporation, a policy with CPH is tailored specifically to meet your liability needs. Policy holders are encouraged to take advantage of our Attorney Avoiding Liability Helpline, providing two free hours of attorney consultation per year for situations with a client that could result in a claim or lawsuit. With our online application and renewal process, real-time online policy change capabilities and knowledgeable customer service, we continue to keep our customers’ needs a priority! Get a quote and apply online to receive proof of coverage within minutes 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 may 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!

Marissa’s social media:

Tiffany McLain – Lean in Make Bank

Relevant Episodes:

Toxic Work Environments

Joining Your Association

Making Bank as a Therapist

Getting a J-O-B

Interview Strategies for Therapists

The Burnout System

Giving and Getting Good Supervision

Therapist Safety

Connect with us!

Our Facebook Group – The Modern Therapists Group

Get Notified About Therapy Reimagined Conferences

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, 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:

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

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *