Photo ID: A woman with her hands cradling her baby bump with a photo of Emily Sanders to one side and text overlay

Navigating Pregnancy as a Therapist, An Interview with Emily Sanders, LMFT

An interview with Emily Sanders, LMFT about how to navigate being a therapist while pregnant. Curt and Katie talk with Emily about when and how to disclose to clients, what it means to integrate the pregnancy into the clinical work, the transference and the richness that is available in the clinical work. We also look at practical, business, and clinical logistics for pregnant therapists (with a couple of thoughts for therapists with pregnant partners).

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.


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Interview with Emily Sanders, LMFT

Emily Sanders is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of California who works in a solo private practice in Orange County seeing individuals and couples. Her areas of focus are anxiety, perfectionism, attachment wounds, and relationship issues. In addition to her 8+ years of clinical practice, Emily has taught Human Development and Advanced Counseling at Life Pacific University, speaks for retreats and workshops, and contributed to leadership health and readiness assessment teams. Of all the roles she plays, she most loves being wife to her husband, Michael, of 13 years and mother to their three children Liv, Ellis, and Arlin.

In this episode we talk about navigating pregnancy as a therapist:

“It was a piece of my life that they got to share with me.” — Emily Sanders, LMFT

  • The challenges facing therapists when navigating pregnancy
  • Whether or not to hide pregnancies as long as you can
  • How to integrate the pregnancy into the clinical work
  • The fear of bringing your parenting journey into the work
  • Navigating client infertility while pregnant
  • The individual differences that could impact disclosure, transference and the clinical work
  • Considerations for when and how to disclose to each client
  • Themes of abandonment that can come up
  • Desires that clients can express related to wanting to be your partner or your baby
  • The connection clients may feel and what they can witness, the curiosity they can experience
  • Assessing the level of self-disclosure
  • Seeking the stories related to considerations related to parenting and the parenting journey
  • Integrating self into the room as a whole person therapist
  • Planning for taking time away from your practice
  • The business considerations (including finances)
  • Clinical coverage and whether clients return to you after a maternity leave
  • Idea for notifying clients when the baby is born
  • The importance of looking put together when you return and challenging the notion that you might be fragile
  • Transference when you return
  • Looking at the timing of how long you can be gone (financial consideration)
  • The fear that people will decide on their leave based on financial concerns
  • Opportunities afforded when you are going to be out for maternity
  • Business considerations to make sure you’ve addressed prior to maternity leave
  • The logistics of breast feeding when you return to work
  • Considerations when your partner is pregnant
  • Logistic versus comfort-seeking questions you can get from clients both before and after pregnancy

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Listeners to the Therapy Reimagined can get a special 10% discount to any Between Sessions membership by going to! (offer now expired, please visit our website to learn more

Resources for Modern Therapists mentioned in this Podcast Episode:

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!

Emily’s website:

Emily on Facebook:

Relevant Episodes of MTSG Podcast:

Recession-Proofing Your Practice

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 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:

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 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 with Curt, Katie, and the whole Therapy Reimagined #TherapyMovement:


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Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide Creative Credits:

Voice Over by DW McCann

Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano

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

Transcripts do not include advertisements just a reference to the advertising break (as such timing does not account for advertisements).

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