In it for the Money?

In it for the Money?

Curt and Katie talk about money. We look at the financial needs of therapists, the perspective of clients and the public that we charge too much OR that we should not want money; the common martyrdom expectation that can negatively impact therapists and the profession.

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:

  • Controversy about therapists wanting money
  • What is expected of therapists – martyrdom and a vow of poverty?
  • Financial stability and needs of therapists
  • The consumer perspective – am I just a paycheck? Or do you really want to help me?
  • The importance of your WHY
  • The perspective of the profession based on how much money is charged by most professionals
  • Providing a social/relational service for money – Are we “emotional prostitutes?”
  • The difficulty in assigning monetary value on what we do
  • The goodness of our hearts and the sympathetic plea of our clients
  • The difficulty in demonstrating and describing the value of therapy
  • The challenge of fee setting in private practice
  • The dynamics of insurance or social service programs impacting the clinical relationship
  • The common questions – Am I just a paycheck? Am I important enough to help?
  • The danger of therapy becoming transactional, especially when you’re burned out and under compensated
  • Therapist perspective on making money, especially given the lower paid and unpaid work at the beginning of the career
  • How the profession’s current set up impacts therapists’ ability to make money
  • Comparison to other similar professions (like doctors) – both in their training and career trajectory, looking at why they end up making more
  • The sliding scale problem – Are we rescuing our clients?
  • The shame of having financial needs
  • Self-worth being conflated with fee-setting
  • Exercise of thinking/feeling into your fee vs practical fee setting based on financial needs
  • The need for therapists to figure this out, so they can become more comfortable with making sufficient money to sustain their careers!

Our Generous Sponsors:


Trusted by over 40,000 customers, SimplePractice creates software and services for health and wellness professionals. Its EHR empowers practices to run their businesses more efficiently, streamlining administrative tasks, enabling regulatory compliance, and improving documentation.

Learn more by going to . You can also sign up and receive a special promotion of getting 3 months of SimplePractice for the price of 1. Please note, this offer is valid for new customers only.

Become a Group Guru

Learn how to fill a group in private practice without coffee dates or networking events, even if no one in your community knows your name yet and you have no idea where to start.  Free trainings and resources (like a free 5-day group jump start guide with your step-by-step plan to creating the group your ideal clients are ready to enroll in today) at

Resources mentioned:

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

Facebook Ad: Still Dreaming of Being a 6 Figure Therapist?

Katie Read

Article: How much money do you need to be happy?

Facebook Live with Tiffany McLain

Study from California Bar Association: Pessimism for the future

Michael Blumberg, LCPC

Tiffany McLain – Hey Tiffany!

Therapy Reimagined 2018: Ben Caldwell – Saving Psychotherapy (snipet)

Saving Psychotherapy (Book) by Dr. Ben Caldwell

Casey Truffo

Citation: Crain, A. (2016). Understanding the impact of unpaid internships on college student career development and employment outcomes. NACE Journal.

Relevant Episodes:

Who Gets to Have Therapy?

Tiffany McLain: Making Bank as a Therapist

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

0 replies

Leave a Reply

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