Gaslighting Therapists

Gaslighting Therapists

Curt and Katie talk about the concern that therapists will be gaslit as therapist workforce takes on the next epidemic – the mental health pandemic. We discuss how mental health workers are seen as essential, but are not paid or are underpaid. We dig into the dangerous “Hero Narrative” and its specific impacts on the health and livelihood. We also provide some calls to action to move our profession in the right direction, especially during these times.

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 concern that mental health workers are seen as essential, but are often not paid
  • The stagnation of wages already present in our profession
  • The opportunity to stand up and improve our profession
  • The call for volunteers that has already started
  • The challenge of considering volunteerism relative to the needs of your clients and your family
  • The other opportunities to give back and serve clients for free and increase access to mental health services
  • The public demonization of therapists pushing back on requests to provide free mental health services
  • The danger of the Hero Narrative
  • The specific impact of the feminization of caring and helping professions
  • The fallacy of “getting paid” in supervised hours
  • How this work is like jumping on a grenade for the greater good (and you can only jump on one grenade)
  • Ways to pull out the idea that “Sacrificing” yourself is necessary or even acceptable as a therapist – looking at ourselves as the instruments of change requiring us to protect ourselves
  • Call to Action – the need to stand up for self-protection, refrain from taking unpaid positions, positions without proper protections, and from taking supervisory positions that support these types of organizations
  • Call to Action – Contacting legislators to support only legislation that provides protections for the therapists, demand language that only provides funding to agencies that already pay their workers
  • Call to Action – Pressure professional organizations to support and write these types of bills
  • The importance of asking for a living wage for mental health workers
  • How to give back and volunteer responsibly and thoughtfully

Our Generous Sponsor: Therapy Reimagined

So…you’re wondering how to make it through this. Worried about finances, what’s next, how to keep doing your best therapy, continued adjusting to telehealth, etc. Now, more than ever, it may be worth it to invest in your clinical and business decisions to improve your practice. We recognize that getting help is better than going at it alone.

During overwhelming or uncertain times (like these) it can be especially helpful to seek supervision or consultation. When you can’t get out of your own panic or concrete thinking, we’d like to be your thinking partner. But we know that money is uncertain, so we’re offering our 50-minute-hour at half price. That’s right – a consultation with Curt or Katie (while we’re stuck in quarantine) for only $100.

As you know, Curt and Katie have worked in a lot of different mental health settings, so we can advise on legal and ethical issues, navigating your career, clinical supervision, making decisions in your business, and a whole lot more.

Check out our offerings and sign up at Use the coupon code CAREPACKAGE at check out for your $100 discount*.

*Subject to availability and may be changed without notice.

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!

Curt’s Blog: Gaslighting the Mental Health Worker Force

The Medium Article: Prepare for the Ultimate Gaslighting

Ben Caldwell’s Article: Why Good Therapists Suffer from Exploitation

Contacting Legislators:

Find your Rep:


Tips for talking to legislators:

Therapy Reimagined 2020:

Therapy Reimagined 2020 Conference: Speakers!!

Therapy Reimagined 2020 Call for Sponsors

Relevant Episodes:

In it for the Money?

Toxic Work Environments

A Living Wage for Prelicensees

Making Access More Affordable

Who Gets to Have Therapy?

Modern Therapists Strike Back

Striking for the Future of Mental Healthcare

Connect with us!

Our Facebook Group – The Modern Therapists Group

Get Notified About Therapy Reimagined 2020 (and TR2019 Virtual Conference)

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, the 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 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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