Photo ID: The domed roof of a government building with a picture of Heather Walker Janz holding a sign that reads

Let’s Get Political: An Interview with Heather Walker Janz

An interview with Heather Walker Janz, LMFT – Curt and Katie talk with Heather about being a therapist and being an activist as well as the challenges of being in the public eye during a national campaign. Heather’s call to action: step up and use your voice!

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.

Transcript

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Photo Id: Heather Walker Janz holding a sign that says "Rise & Vote"Interview with Heather Walker Janz, LMFT

Heather Janz, LMFT, has established a private practice in California’s central valley serving teens and young adults referred through the Juvenile Justice Center, hospitals, and county mental health crisis centers. Heather inspires her clients and fellow mental health professionals by modeling assertiveness and positive communication through activism and advocacy. She is the current president of her local chapter of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CSJV-CAMFT) and has also been involved in several movements including The Women’s March, Families Belong Together, and March For Our Lives. You can learn more about Heather at http://www.heatherjanz.com.

In this episode we talk about how you can be a therapist and an activist:

  • Being a therapist during a campaign
  • How Heather is navigating the complexities of being visible in the campaign where her husband is a democrat running to be the representative for Congressional District 22
  • The challenges of being a therapist during a national campaign
  • How Heather has processed her visibility and the campaign with her clients
  • The unexpected benefits of Heather’s personal life being so public, within her clinical work

“It’s been empowering because I’m able to model for them what I’ve been teaching in treatment in terms of communication skills, assertiveness, using your voice.” – Heather Walker Janz

  • The challenges of having different political views than clients – how to process it with clients
  • The benefits of being on record related to specific more controversial issues
  • How she has transitioned from having no visibility (as directed in school) to being in most of her clients’ mailboxes
  • The idea that clients need us to take care of them by being so invisible
  • How Heather screens new clients in and out to make sure that clients are not sensationalized related to the election
  • The additional steps Heather will take to protect her clients’ confidentiality on social media
  • Heather’s lack of confidentiality and how she relies on her ability to remain genuine in all spaces
  • The surprises that have come during the campaign
  • How to diminish the impact of the external stuff (campaign or personal matters) and the strict boundaries that Heather holds to shift the conversation to the clinical material
  • The supports that Heather has put in place to manage her work, the campaign, her own volunteer work

“Although I want to do it all, I don’t have to do it all right now. So there are some projects that I really wanted to get done, and I wanted to do it all right then. But not everything has to get done right now.”– Heather Walker Janz

  • The self-care practices that Heather has put into place, how she has learned to say “no”
  • Advice for others seeking to enter politics as a therapist – “Step up and use your voice”
  • Why it is so important that we step up, even if we don’t know if we’re ready, we can’t wait
  • How our activism can give our clients hope
  • How therapists as mental health experts interacting with legislators and staffers can decrease mental health stigma

Resources for Modern Therapists mentioned in this Podcast Episode:

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

California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

Heather’s Website

Andrew Janz for Congress

Our Generous Sponsor for this episode of the Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide:

Ben Caldwell Labs

Thanks again to our sponsor, Ben Caldwell Labs. They offer a whole suite of tools to help all of us be more successful therapists throughout our careers, including continuing education, California license exam prep, and the updated and essential reference book, Basics of California Law for LMFTs, LPCCs, and LCSWs. Visit http://www.BenCaldwellLabs.com/Modern to get 20% off of Basics of California Law when you order by the end of 2018.

Our Next Event:

The Therapy Reimagined Conference in Los Angeles in October 2018!!

Who we are:

Picture of Curt Widhalm, LMFT, co-host of the Modern Therapist's Survival Guide podcast; a nice young man with a glorious beard.Curt Widhalm, LMFT

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 http://www.curtwidhalm.com.

Picture of Katie Vernoy, LMFT, co-host of the Modern Therapist's Survival Guide podcastKatie Vernoy, LMFT

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 http://www.katievernoy.com.

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.

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Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide Creative Credits:

Voice Over by DW McCann https://www.facebook.com/McCannDW/

Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano https://groomsymusic.com/

Transcript for this episode of the Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide podcast (Autogenerated):

Curt Widhalm 0:00
This episode of The Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide podcast is proudly sponsored by Ben Caldwell labs.

Katie Vernoy 0:04
Woo hoo! They offer the desk reference basics of California law for LMFTs, LPCs. And LCSWs.

Curt Widhalm 0:12
Check them out at BenCaldwellLabs.com and listen to the end of the show where we’ll talk a little bit more about them.

Announcer 0:19
You’re listening to The Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide, where therapists live, breathe and practice as human beings. To support you as a whole person and a therapist, here are your hosts, Curt Widhalm, and Katie Vernoy.

Curt Widhalm 0:34
Welcome back to The Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide. I’m Curt Widhalm, with Katie Vernoy. And when we talk about #moderntherapistsproblems, I think one of our good friends is in probably one of the most unique situations that a therapist can begin these days. Our guest today is Heather Walker Janz. She’s a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Fresno. And the other half of her life right now is she’s married to Andrew Janz, who’s currently running for the House Representative position in California district 22. So thank you for joining us with your modern therapists problem, Heather.

Heather Walker Janz 1:08
Thank you for having me, Curt. Thank you for having me, Katie.

Katie Vernoy 1:12
We are so excited to have you. We are huge fans of yours because you have a lot that you’re doing, a lot that’s been yours, a lot that’s gotten added to you now that that Andrew is running against, I won’t say the other person’s name. not giving them any time. But you’re an activist. And you’ve always been an activist, but now it’s kind of on a larger scale. And so I’m really interested to dig into that. But I realized I need to give you an opportunity to introduce yourself. I did the Curt segue where I’m like, Let’s go jump into the questions. And in fact, my first question is, Who are you and what are you putting out in the world?

Heather Walker Janz 1:47
I’m happy to answer that. So thank you for introducing me. I do live in Fresno. In terms of the election, we like to call it congressional district 22. But I’m from the Central Valley. I grew up here. I went to school at CSU Stanislaus, and then down in Los Angeles at Cal State LA. But I’ve always been a helper and really, who I am and what I do has developed over the years, and it changes everyday now. But I am a therapist. So I do have that role. I have a private practice where I serve people here in Fresno and the Central Valley. And I do a lot of other things to touch people’s lives and in trying to help them but recently, I’ve had to think outside the box in terms of how I do that. So because of everything going on, I’ve had some challenges with time. So I’ve been trying to develop new ways of helping people where I don’t have to worry about time. So I’m also developing a platform to try and help young people with life skills. So I’m putting out courses through that it’s called Help Yourself University. And I have an association that I’m a part of, it’s the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists in the local chapter and serving as president. So I try and lead and take action in our local chapter to help others and advocate for issues related to mental health. But then I also support my husband Andrew Janz in the campaign to, to hopefully make a difference in this community and bring attention to issues that are important to the people locally here.

Curt Widhalm 3:29
And anytime that therapists can get involved politically, we really do support that, in fact, when I had originally met Heather was not in California, but in Washington, DC, and one of the lobbying trips that we had gone out to work on getting Medicare reimbursement for MFTs and PCCs. Being so politically involved, and especially now in the way that you are in with Andrew’s campaign. How are you seeing the impact of that, in your practice, that you’re very obviously out as Democrats right now, you’re probably in a community that has traditionally been very Republican. I’m wondering how that affects how your clients are talking to you in session, how you go out marketing yourself, are you missing other networking opportunities that you had before? How is this particular time in your life affecting your practice?

Heather Walker Janz 4:19
These are great questions, the impact has been really amazing. There have definitely been challenges, and there have been great things about it. In terms of speaking of the challenges, there was a lot of thinking through and even some anxiety about how are my clients going to react and how will they feel about this? But it’s actually been to many of my clients and at least when they talk to me it’s been empowering because I’m able to model for them what I’ve been teaching and in treatment in terms of communication skills, assertiveness, using your voice, and so I’m no longer the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain. They’re not wondering like if I’m actually practicing what I’m preaching and if I really believe what’s coming out of my mouth, they know what I do in my personal time. So I think that it’s allowed some of my clients to actually be more open and honest, in therapy, they’ve been willing to disclose things that they may have been hesitant to before. And they’re no longer afraid that I might have some judgments or because of my privilege that I don’t understand what their struggles are. Because outside of the therapy room, I am talking about their struggles and advocating for their struggles. So they come back really excited to do their own work with me, because they know that I represent what they care about. So that’s been really great. In terms of challenges, that obviously, I am going to be working with families that have different opinions and political views. And we’ve talked about that, you know, I’ve been able to say, sometimes that may distract from what we’re working on in therapy. And if you become uncomfortable at any point, let me know. And we can we can talk about how to problem solve that in this session, we can talk about referrals, if you feel like you need to work with someone else, but I haven’t actually had families leave, which has been wonderful. And I think what I’ve learned from it is we can look past the partisan views and still work on specific goals, despite our differences or disagreements with certain issues.

Katie Vernoy 6:36
Did you find that that was different with people that you had longer standing relationships with versus newer clients? Because it seems like being able to have those deeper conversations about hey, you don’t have to vote for my husband. You know, we have different political opinions. But that’s not going to that’s not going to impact our work. It seems like with a newer client, that might be a harder sell, whether whether, whereas with a longer term client, it seems like the relationship would be strong enough to hold that. I don’t know if this is relevant at all.

Heather Walker Janz 7:05
You’re right, Katie, it, it was a lot easier to talk about that with clients who have been with me for a long time. So those that have been with me even like for a year or more, they’re, they’re able to say, well, you know, we do good work. And we’re looking at that. But newer clients, it’s really been a conversation that happens at the beginning during an initial evaluation. And I’ve always had office policies that talk about interactions outside of therapy, dual relationships, and how that can either enhance or distract from therapy. So I’m able to say very specifically, I will likely see you in the community. I am online marketing, advocating speaking about issues. If you are uncomfortable with this, please let me know at this point, that way, we could talk about the right fit for you. I haven’t had anyone say well, that, you know, I don’t like that, and I’m leaving. So that’s been good. But I also wonder sometimes do people not call me because they know what I represent or where I come from. But I had more clients or parents of clients call me and say, I know that you support gay rights, I know that you support immigrants. So we want to come to you, which has been really cool.

Curt Widhalm 8:27
For that line of maybe wondering about you being politically out about maybe some of these controversial issues, gay rights, or immigrant issues in the broader community. How have you wrestled with that? Personally, as far as being okay, with your values being so broadcast out there,

Heather Walker Janz 8:48
it contradicts a lot of what I learned in at least in undergrad and grad school, I think I was a little more prepared to to be genuine with who I am as a person and as a therapist. So I’m no longer allowed to, to be not knowing before it was don’t have a Facebook or a Twitter account or an Instagram because your clients will see you on it, they’ll know about you, they’ll know who your husband is and who your who your family is, and, and that’s not okay. But from this experience, I don’t have a choice in that. People are gonna know who I am my picture is in their mailbox at home. They’re gonna know who I am. And so I can’t, I can’t hide from that. And I’ve been able to learn that it’s helped the relationships, they actually can trust who I am. And we assume that all of our clients are going to be irresponsible and start commenting on our things or stalking us and that’s just not the reality. Most people want to do good as well and aren’t crossing that boundary line. And if someone’s going to cross a boundary line, they’re going to do it regardless if they know what your social media account is or not.

Katie Vernoy 10:00
Yeah, I think that’s a really good point. Because I think a lot of the the laws and ethics or old ideas around how we should behave, around dual relationships, about public persona. I think it really comes from this place of our clients, like you said, being irresponsible or being people we have to take care of. But I know for myself, I’m a therapist, and I’m a client, you know, granted, it makes me a unique client. But I think there’s that piece of, why would I do that? Like, why do I need to be taken care of in that way, as a client? And I think it’s because it’s this assumption, you know, I think there’s there’s a stigma around it. There’s this idea that, you know, people seeking treatment somehow need extra care. And I think that’s not necessarily true. I think certainly, there’s clients that we’re gonna have to be cautious about. And and that’s a question I have is kind of how you determine at this point, if you’re screening someone in or out if they can kind of manage this, this type of, for lack of a better phrase dual relationship. But I think it’s something where in any profession in any arena of life, there’s going to be people who’ve crossed lines and boundaries. And as therapists we need to do our best, but I don’t think that that we need to pretend that we don’t need to infantilize the client population all the way across, they can handle this stuff, they’re interacting with this stuff. Oftentimes, at least for me, most of my clients are better at navigating social media than I am. So, they know more. You know what that’s about than I am. But let me get to the question, which is, at this point, I think you’re probably, you know, your time is pretty limited. So you probably not taking in a whole lot of clients. But if you take on a client, how do you how do you do that screening? How do you determine if they could navigate this because your activism is very visible, and your views are very visible, and you are very visible. So how do you navigate that? How do you determine if they can deal with it?

Heather Walker Janz 11:51
Well, in the initial evaluation, when I’m talking about office policies, and how I’m out there, I let them know like your confidentiality is important. And we want to protect that we want to protect the process that you’re engaging in when you’re in treatment. So I don’t want you to be commenting on my social media, I don’t want you to leave me reviews, I don’t want you to have to defend me if someone on Twitter is attacking me or my husband. And most of them will say, Oh, yes, okay, I understand that. But with the exception of maybe one or two people where they’re confused, and they’re like, no, but they seemed very sensationalized about the whole thing, then I know that it’s not a good fit, and I have to let them know that I am not able to help them, because it would be too distracting to the treatment, and then I may refer out, and that’s a judgment call we have to make based on, you know, all of the supervised training we’ve gotten.

Katie Vernoy 12:54
Yeah, yeah, the sensationalized piece, I just was thinking about the the notion that our clients have confidentiality, but you don’t. And you’re on a national stage.

Heather Walker Janz 13:07
Yeah.

Katie Vernoy 13:07
And so has that impacted the way you do the clinical work? Because oftentimes, not that you’re over disclosing or that kind of stuff, but theoretically sensationalized clients, which it sounds like you’ve rolled out, could theoretically start disclosing what was going on in sessions and your personal opinions and all of those things and try to find some way to do that. Is that is that a fear? How has it impacted you at all?

Heather Walker Janz 13:31
I have to be genuine myself and have my own values. And so I know that as long as I’m conducting myself, I will conduct myself the same in session as I would on stage somewhere else. So I am just as genuine as I can be inside and out. And if they were to, to talk about what we say in session, I’m okay with that.

Curt Widhalm 13:53
What’s been the most surprising thing that’s come up during this election process?

Heather Walker Janz 13:58
This is a difficult question, because there’s something new every day, but I would say, if therapeutically, the surprising part was how excited clients got around it, how much more they were committed to the work, and showing up and really appreciating that I was still here despite the campaign going on. Because a lot of them said, Well, what’s going to happen? Are you going to, are you going to cut me out? Or are you going to stop doing therapy? And when I’m here when they know the night before I’ve been on TV, or I’ve been traveling, or I’m rallying at the border, and then I’m in session the next day, they really appreciate it. And I think we’ve been able to do a lot of good work that way.

Katie Vernoy 14:45
That’s so awesome.

Heather Walker Janz 14:46
There’s been other surprises, too. I think in terms of you know, campaigns get dirty. There’s mudslinging. There’s a lot of things that are that are just not true that are said, so I did have fears and anxiety about what other candidates would say about my husband and, and, surprisingly, I was attacked at just as a spouse. And so I did worry about that and how it would impact my work. But my clients still showed up, and they said, You know, I just don’t, I just don’t believe that based on the work that we do. They’ve, some of them feel like they do have to defend me. And I just remind them that they absolutely should not and do not have to do that. Because this work is about them. And not me, and I have my own supports in place. And I do let them know I have my own supports in place, my own groups, my own therapist, who will help me work through those things. So my clients do not have to worry about that responsibility for me.

Katie Vernoy 15:45
I would think that would be hard. I just think about the relationship and that a lot of clients have with their therapist, and I could see just really wanting to defend you. And so it sounds like you’re handling it really well. And you’ve given them the confidence to say, Okay, well, she’s got this, I don’t need to worry about it, but it definitely brings something else in the room, you know, they do see you at the border rally, they do see you, you know, on TV, and then you’re in the room, or they see the attacks. And I have to imagine that it does take up some clinical time. Is there clinical relevance in that stuff? Like, like, how does that I mean, obviously, it’s individualized, but but when you start talking about those things, how are you able to kind of turn that back into clinically relevant material?

Heather Walker Janz 16:32
Well, you know, what I am, I am pretty rigid with my boundaries and talking about the election in treatment. So typically, and my clients, just they sense that and they you know it, so they’ll bring it up right before session or at the end of the session. As they’re leaving, there was something that came up outside of session related to the campaign. But if it does come up in session, and you know, once or twice it has, I have turned it back to say, you know, how does this? How does it impact you? And you know, how can we work on it so that it’s not so much? And we do try we do turn it back into Why does it bother them? What’s going on personally for them? It’d be just like when your clients say, you know, they asked you Do you have kids? Are you married? It’s the same thing. But this is about a very specific, politically related issue.

Curt Widhalm 17:26
And it seems like, you know, just the entire political stage right now in America overall, but especially with Andrew’s opponent being so prominent on the national stage, that it’s a very interesting congressional race. And we’re not even in your district. The atmosphere around and locally, I have to imagine is probably very exciting for a lot of people and a lot of clients in this situation as well. You know, I’m so glad to hear that not only are you operating so genuinely, which is what Katie and I talk about all the time on the show, but that you’ve proactively found your support systems, and that you’ve really been able to have your outlets through that throughout this entire process. When in Andrew’s decision to run, did you think I need to have these things in place?

Heather Walker Janz 18:19
Well, luckily, a lot of them were already there. And it you know, I already had CAMFT in place. I already had consultation groups I was attending. I had colleagues that I consult with. So that was wonderful. But immediately, I knew there was an issue in terms of managing time. And so I did seek out my own business coach, I did let the like talk to the campaign about you know, how much do I need to show up for you so that I know what I can commit to, in my own practice and in my own work, so it was very early on but I think, you know, personally, I had a medical issue that came up just a little after the campaign, where I was forced to take some time off that I didn’t plan to and I didn’t want to take off. So I learned that I had to let go of some things. And somebody told me that although I want to do it all. I don’t have to do it all right now. So there are some projects that I really wanted to get done. And I wanted to do it all right then. But not everything has to get done right now. So…

Katie Vernoy 19:24
That seems very wise.

Heather Walker Janz 19:28
Katie Vernoy told me that. And it really has helped me to prioritize things. And I, I have recognized that I could see 40 clients in my practice. But the work that I can do with a campaign, the platform I’ve been put on to use my voice will make a significant difference for a mass amount of people in a short amount of time. And so I really need to spend my evenings and weekends doing that.

Katie Vernoy 19:56
That’s a lot. I mean, I just think about everything on your plate and then It’s a lot. And I think it’s something where I know you’ve sought out the support. But I think that there’s a lot that you’re doing that requires you to be on, to be present, to be presentable. I mean, there’s just so much and I think, you know, many people in campaigns end up very rundown, they get medical issues, that kind of stuff. What are you doing to take care of yourself? How are you making sure that you’re functioning and all cylinders, that you’re able to go down and rally at the border, and then come back and have a session the next day? Like, what how are you managing that?

Heather Walker Janz 20:35
I’ll be honest, that it’s always a struggle. But I have to check in with other people, I have to check in with my own supports and problem solve what what has been a struggle for me so that it doesn’t continue to. I had to learn to say no, and that is so hard for me as a helper. And I think it’s something that a lot of therapists struggle with is to say no to things. So I had to learn to say no, or to delegate, and I definitely have had to delegate in terms of my local chapter, in terms of my practice, I’ve had to delegate things. When I volunteered to be on the committee for Women’s March there were there were things that I had to delegate, in order to achieve and learned I could not do it all myself, or I wouldn’t be around very long.

Curt Widhalm 21:21
If there’s anybody who’s considering running for office who’s a therapist already, or they’re in a position like you are, where it’s a spouse who’s running, what advice do you have for them, that you’ve learned along the way? That was just kind of one of those things? Where, oh, I wish somebody would have told me this?

Heather Walker Janz 21:39
Well, I think the the most important thing is you don’t want to wait around for the right time. You don’t want to, to wait and see if somebody else better steps up and does it because that’s just not going to happen. If you care about something, you need to step up. And even if you don’t know everything about it, there will be people to help you along the way. So you need to just step up, and speak out and try and do it. Because nobody else is going to do this for us. You know, I got into the field and even in my association in our association, and I thought, well, what are my mentors? What are what are the older therapists going to do for us? When are they going to take care of this issue? Or, you know, they’re supposed to be teaching me? No, that’s not the case. We are, we are learning ourselves, we have to step up ourselves. I was watching my clinical supervisor down in Cal State LA, she was doing, she was on someone’s YouTube channel. And talking about the problems of how young people communicate mostly online and how that’s going to create issues later on. And the interviewer asked her, Well, what are you going to do about it? You’re a therapist, and she said, Well, I’m going to retire and travel, you guys need to figure this out. So I’m just, you know, what I’m learning is we just have to step up, we can’t wait until we’re older, more experienced, more wise, you just need to step up and ask questions so that you can get yourself out there.

Katie Vernoy 23:11
So the message is use your voice.

Heather Walker Janz 23:14
Use your voice.

Katie Vernoy 23:14
Which it sounds like, step up and use your voice. I love that. Because I think so often as therapists we are disempowered in the messages we receive about the blank slate, about how we must present ourselves in public arenas. And I think that’s shifting, I hope that shifting, but I think being able to navigate it so successfully, with such a big voice, because I mean, your voice is big right now, you’re able to really say a lot right now. And being able to navigate that successfully with a full private practice is just phenomenal. I mean, it’s, it’s so inspiring, I think because I think so many people will like, well, if I go to that March, if so what if somebody sees me? And it’s like, well, you you went to the March before the campaign, and now you go to the March and you get filmed or, you know, put on TV about being at the March, you know, and so you can’t hide that anymore. Saying like, Hey, it’s okay to step up, your clients will find you, that your clients will, will be able to do the work. I think it can be very empowering, because there’s so many therapists who have a lot of strong feelings about what’s going on right now. And you’re saying it’s okay, be a therapist, be an activist, you can do it.

Heather Walker Janz 24:25
Yes, it gives your clients hope that people that I work with when they complain about something like they can’t pay their medical bills, or they just lost their insurance, and they’re very upset and I tell them, you know, call your congressman, write a letter. And before it would be like, Well, why does that matter? What’s that going to change? Or they don’t even answer the phone. So who cares? But they see that taking action actually brings attention to the issue. And they believe that if they do it, it does matter. So the fact that we are advocates in the field will help our clients to really believe that they can do it themselves too.

Curt Widhalm 25:05
And through some of my advocacy work, and I’m sure that Heather can expand on this too is, the first step is just show up. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be on a national stage like this. It can be locally, it can be within even your local therapist chapter. Showing up is usually the first step to creating change. But it’s also been very surprising to me as my advocacy and getting involved with legislators at higher and higher levels is that their people, at least most of them, most of them are people who listen, and who will at least be respectful, if not take in a different perspective. And I think in all of the mudslinging that does happen as far as elections and campaigning goes, is that when it actually does get to the legislative process, if it’s on a government level, is that it’s interacting with staff people who are people, and are oftentimes the ones who make things happen, too. And that’s where showing up can really happen, too.

Heather Walker Janz 26:12
Yes, it’s been the magical part about this campaign is that I’ve been able to sit and have meals with leaders, staffers, senators, congressmen and women, on a very personal level. And when they asked me who I am, and what I do, I don’t just say, Well, I’m Andrew’s wife, you know, I get to tell them about my work, and the communities and the people that I work with and the issues that they care about. And I’ve been asked by, you know, by a congressman, well, why do you think there’s such a mental health problem in the Central Valley? What issues are contributing to that? And I get to share my my expertise and opinion about what’s affecting that people hear, and you know what, I had that Congressman’s ear for a certain amount of time, and he will remember what the valley needs and consider that when they’re making decisions. And it’s really, really cool.

Katie Vernoy 27:12
And I think that’s really important, because I think, too often, therapists don’t necessarily understand or really fully comprehend how much we are experts in the issues that our communities face. I mean, we’re listening to anywhere from 10 to 40 people a week, talking about the real problems that they face. And I think being able to take some advocacy stand, whether it’s for mental health, whether it’s for other specific issues. We’re experts, you know, we have masters or doctoral degrees, we have so much information. And we have, we have, you know, not personal stories that we can tell, but we have the depth of understanding that a lot of people don’t have and so to use that, as you know, to say, Yes, I have something to contribute, is really important to recognize that and to be willing to step up and deal with the complexity of having your voice out there and your views out there. I think it’s it’s such a neat, important message. And I’m glad you’re you’re living that, that you’re walking out that talk.

Heather Walker Janz 28:16
Yes, and I hope that more therapists do step up, I think it would be beneficial to have helpers and people from the mental health field to be in other leadership positions so that we can make a difference.

Curt Widhalm 28:30
So this might be a little bit premature with everything going on with Andrew’s campaign right now, but is running for office on your horizon?

Heather Walker Janz 28:40
Uh, you know what it? It was not, but I’ve been asked that a lot. And I I’ve been asked about city council positions. And Mayor, it’s really interesting. So you know what, I I’m just gonna do the work that I can right now to the best of my ability. And we’ll see what happens.

Katie Vernoy 28:58
That’s funny, because I think we’ve had a conversation offline about that. It’s, it’s interesting that because you’re that you are such a leader, and you’re so well spoken that that becomes the obvious choice. And so I do hope you consider it over time.

Heather Walker Janz 29:11
Thank you.

Curt Widhalm 29:14
Well, our guest today is Heather Walker Janz. Where can people find out more information about you and your practice?

Heather Walker Janz 29:22
I have a website. It’s www.heatherjanz.com. And there are links to my other projects there my Janz Therapy website and my Help Yourself University website, as well as Andrew Janz for Congress website. So heatherjanz.com.

Curt Widhalm 29:40
And we’ll include links in our show notes to all of that, and you can find that on our website mtsgpodcast.com. While you’re there, you can click on over to our conferences tab and see our Therapy Reimagined 2018 conference. Heather’s actually going to be there talking about being an advocate and in the Mental health world. And that’s gonna be in Los Angeles here in October 2018. And our platinum sponsor is SimplePractice for that. And so until next time, I’m Curt Widhalm, with Katie Vernoy And Heather Walker Janz.

Katie Vernoy 30:13
Thanks again to our sponsor, Ben Caldwell Labs.

Curt Widhalm 30:16
They offer a whole suite of tools to help us all be more successful therapists throughout our careers, including continuing education, California license exam prep, and the updated and essential reference book basics of California law for LMFTs, LPCCs and LCSWs.

Katie Vernoy 30:31
Please go visit BenCaldwellLabs.com/modern because he’s giving you 20% off of the basics of California law when you order by the end of 2018. Once again, that’s BenCaldwellLabs.com/modern

Announcer 30:43
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