Mental Health Entrepreneurship

Mental Health Entrepreneurship

An interview with Lawrence E. Shapiro, Ph.D. about lessons learned through serial entrepreneurship. Curt and Katie talk with Dr. Shapiro about how to identify whether your idea for a product or service is good, the importance of solving a problem, and what business models are strongest for therapists. He also talks with us about why we shouldn’t fall in love with our products, why we shouldn’t expect to make money writing books, and why building apps don’t make sense.

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.

Interview with Lawrence E. Shapiro, PhD

Lawrence E. Shapiro is an internationally known psychologist, recognized for his innovative and practical approach to helping people with mental health problems. Dr Shapiro has written more than 75 books and developed more than 100 therapeutic board and card games.  His work has been published in 28 languages.

Dr. Shapiro has developed a broad understanding of mental health problems in various professional positions as a teacher of emotionally disturbed teens, a school psychologist, a Director at the National Children’s Center in Washington D.C., and in private practice in Washington DC and Philadelphia.

Dr. Shapiro is also considered a pioneer in using technology to address mental health problems. He has developed a number of apps for mobile devices, including an award-winning app to help prevent suicide among military personnel. He is the Founder and President of Between Sessions Resources, a company that develops clinical software for therapists and counselors and publishes therapeutic homework that professionals give to their clients to accelerate their growth.

Dr. Shapiro’s books include:

For Parents: How to Raise a Child with a High EQ: A Parents’ Guide to Emotional Intelligence; The Secret Language of Children; The Baby Emergency Handbook

For Kids and Teens: The ADHD Workbook for Kids; I’m Not Bad, I’m Just Mad, Stopping the Pain: A Workbook for Teens Who Cut and Self-Injure

For Adults: Overcoming Depression, The Panic Disorder Workbook, Taking Care of Your Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Dr. Shapiro is a frequent media guest, and has appeared on CNN, NPR, The Today Show, and many other national and local outlets.

In this episode we talk about:

  • Shapiro’s forays into entrepreneurship and alternate revenue streams
  • The importance of getting used to making mistakes
  • The lack of follow through that leave ideas as ideas (and not businesses or products)
  • The need to actually be solving a problem, not pursuing an interest
  • Finding something that has value to other people
  • Writing books and self-publishing
  • The goal for self-publishing a book (it’s not the profit)
  • A book as a business card
  • Strongest business models
  • The need for on-going work and learning as an entrepreneur
  • Protecting your work (copywriting, registered copywriting, trademarking)
  • Ideas are just ideas and may not actually need protecting
  • The perspective of improving on what others have done, rather than coming up with a unique idea or doing what has “never been done before”
  • An iterative process to find your product, incremental innovation
  • Leveraging the success of others
  • How to learn what to do, following the recipe of what is worked
  • Selling a business and moving onto the next idea
  • Different places that people can shine – ideas, implementation, marketing
  • The benefit of having partners to have different skill sets
  • Marketing as building your platform and audience
  • Why Dr. Shapiro advocates for email marketing
  • The concept of a sales funnel and adding value along the way
  • Metrics and data for email marketing
  • Content marketing and giving away free stuff
  • Lawrence Shapiro’s Goldfish Tank
  • Why an app doesn’t make sense – the economics don’t work
  • Affiliate relationships – what to look for, what they could include, how to stand out
  • Understand them and know how you can help them
  • Why you shouldn’t fall in love with your product
  • Following the rules of business

Our Generous Sponsor

Heard Bookkeeping and Tax

As a therapist, you’re probably too preoccupied with your caseload to want to think about bookkeeping or tax filing. Heard Bookkeeping and Tax is a platform built specifically for therapists that helps you track and improve your practice’s financial health. Regardless of whether you’re a seasoned clinician or are in the first year of your practice, Heard will help you to identify areas for growth and streamline best financial practices for your business.

When you sign up with Heard, you’ll work directly with financial specialists to track your income and expenses, file taxes online, and grow your business. You’ll also receive financial insights such as profit and loss statements and personalized monthly reports. You can say goodbye to poring over spreadsheets and guessing your tax deductions or quarterly payments; focus on your clients, and Heard will take care of the rest.

Dr. Jennifer Kashani, a licensed clinical psychologist based in Los Angeles, says: Heard has simplified and streamlined bookkeeping and best business practices in a digestible and accessible way. Having the foundation of Heard for my business has made myself and, in turn, my patients feel more solid.

Plans begin at $60 per month and can easily be tailored to fit your business’ financial needs. You can schedule your first consultation at

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 may 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!

Dr. Shapiro’s Contact Information

Dr. Lawrence Shapiro on Amazon

Relevant Episodes:

Marketing with Empathy

Authentic Side Hustles

Not Your Typical Psychotherapist

Creating Opportunities

Clinical Marketing

Connect with us!

Our Facebook Group – The Modern Therapists Group

Get Notified About Therapy Reimagined Conferences

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, an Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University and CSUN, a former Subject Matter Expert for the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, former CFO of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, 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 Past 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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