Donald Trump in Therapy

Donald Trump in Therapy

Curt and Katie talk about how politics have started coming into the therapy room. We look at how the election of Donald Trump seemed to increase clients (and therapists) actively bringing world events into the therapeutic work.

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 shift from avoiding politics, religion, etc. in therapy to having it be central in therapy conversations
  • How Donald Trump’s presidency (and the impacts of his administration) show up in the room
  • What can happen when therapists share their political views with their clients
  • The fear, trauma, and grief that has become more present in the conversations about the world at large
  • How an informed client population means that therapists need to be aware of both the events and the potential impacts on individuals (and groups).
  • The importance clients have started placing on political similarity or safety to express their viewpoints, even in the intake phone call
  • Research on political disclosure in therapy, perceived similarity of political views, and the impact on therapeutic alliance
  • The risk of falsely assuming alignment or over-disclosing political views with clients
  • Looking at when political/philosophical conversations are just fun and not helpful
  • The different impacts of the events of the day based on demographics and identity
  • Opening space, using caution, observing to continue to have these conversations be therapeutic
  • How burnout can impact these conversations
  • Counter Transference and whether your own reactions should come into the treatment room with your clients
  • Looking at how true reactions can be used in treatment, the bias of remaining neutral
  • The potential for complex conversations that can heal with our clients
  • The instinct to try to “correct” clients with opposing viewpoints (and the damage that can do)
  • How therapists should prepare for being in the room for these conversations, and take care of themselves in the process.

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This is episode is also sponsored by My Solution Services.

My Solution Services is more than your typical VA. With over 13 years of experience in Mental Health, they specialize in working with professional clinicians all over the US and Canada. My Solutions Services, Inc provides Online Business Management (OBM) and Certified Professional Practice Building Coaching for therapists. They help with the daily tasks of running the business side of private practice – everything on the outside of the therapy room! Working with therapists around the world they provide the assistance you need that is customized to your practice. Visit out their website for resources and information on building your solo or group practice at

AND they have a special gift for you…here is The Ultimate Guide to Outsourcing in your Private/Group practice. With over 200 items here, you don’t have to do the daily tasks of running your business on your own ever again! Get your guide at:

Resources mentioned:

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

Article Citations:

Solomonov, N. and Barber, J.B. (2018). Patients’ perspectives on political self-disclosure, the therapeutic alliance, and the infiltration of politics into the therapy room in the Trump era. J. Clin. Psychol. 2018; 74:779–787.

Farber, B. (2018). “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right”: Politics and psychotherapy, 2018.  J. Clin. Psychol. 2018; 74:714–721.

Instagram: Dr. Jennifer Mullan’s Decolonizing Therapy

Clinical Encounters with Children in the Trump Era

Relevant Episodes:

How Much is Too Much (on Self-Disclosure)

Dual Relationships Pros and Cons

Vulnerability, The News and You

Connect with us!

Our Facebook Group – The Modern Therapists Group

Therapy Reimagined 2019

Our 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 Group


Voice Over by DW McCann

Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano

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