Photo ID: a wooden tabletop with a map, sunglasses, a camera, and a leather and canvas bag with a picture of James Guay and text overlay

Getting Personal to Advocate for Compassion, Understanding, and Social Justice, An Interview with James Guay, LMFT

It’s time to reimagine therapy and what it means to be a therapist. We are human beings who can now present ourselves as whole people, with authenticity, purpose, and connection. Especially now, when therapists must develop a personal brand to market their practices.

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 James Guay, LMFT

We so enjoyed talking with James Guay!

James Guay is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (#39252) inspired by seeing his clients transform from being perfectionistic, constantly on the go, feeling empty despite their successes to a place where they can finally truly relax, create a better work/life balance, and be more kind to themselves and others.

He’s also a social justice activist with a mission to help bring more compassion into the world — especially for oppressed minorities.  To advance this cause, he’s testified against conversion therapy at California’s State Capital, appeared on Lisa Ling’s Our America show, appeared on various documentaries including VICE, and has been interviewed and/or written articles for Time, NY Times, LA Times, Huffington Post, Rage Magazine and the Advocate.

In this episode we talk about:

  • Creating understanding and compassion
  • Overcoming perfectionism
  • James talks about becoming a “gay activist” and sharing his own story of conversion therapy
  • How to handle clients googling you when you’ve been real and shared your own story in a real way, especially when it comes into the room
  • Working within your own community
  • How advocacy is good marketing
  • Prevention efforts through social advocacy
  • Raising your voice to empower your clients
  • Aligning your work with your mission to stay energized and rejuvenated

Resources mentioned:

We’ve pulled together any resources mentioned in this episode and put together some handy-dandy links. Please note that some of the links below are 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!

California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT)

You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train by Howard Zinn

To learn more about James Guay, LMFT:

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 about Curt 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 about Katie 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:


Voice Over by DW McCann

Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano

1 reply

Leave a Reply

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