Suicidal Therapists

Suicidal Therapists

An interview with Norine Vander Hooven, LCSW about therapists who become suicidal. Curt and Katie interview Norine on the risk factors that therapists face as well as how we can support each other in our community. We talk about prevention, interventions with a colleague, and how to manage when a colleague dies by suicide.

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 Norine Vander Hooven, LCSW

Norine Vander Hooven is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has been in practice for 32 years. She specializes in trauma, anxiety, suicide prevention, and life transitions. Norine is also certified in EMDR therapy, and is in training to be an EMDR therapy consultant. She uses this to work with people with PTSD, anxiety, and traumatic life events. Norine provides clinical consultation for therapists, as well as she works with young adults and adults in her private practice. Learn more at

In this episode we talk about:

  • Following up on a previous episode, Therapist Suicide.
  • Looking at supervisors who have died by suicide
  • The lack of research and data regarding therapist suicide (both ideation and completion)
  • The fear and stigma about disclosing suicidal ideation and attempts for therapists
  • The difference between therapists and others in suicide risk
  • Heightened risk factors for therapists
  • How therapists take in the work with their clients
  • The isolation and lack of support that can happen with therapists
  • Suggestions for therapists to address suicidal thoughts, isolation, loneliness
  • Belonging, Burden, and Capability
  • The importance of community and consultation
  • The suggestion to be in your own therapy
  • Incorporating self-care even down to the small moments during the work day
  • How to incorporate knowledge about the challenge of the profession into our educational system
  • The shame therapists feel (both perceived and actual) about mental health challenges
  • How to support therapists who might be experiencing suicidal thoughts
  • How to provide therapy to therapists, incorporating conversations and assessment about suicide from the beginning, normalizing the experience and challenge of being a therapist
  • Supporting therapists in our community
  • Planning for postvention – comprehensive conversations after therapists have clients die by suicide or other big events in our colleagues’ lives
  • The importance of normalizing the feelings that therapists could be presenting with in consultation groups
  • What can we do when one of our colleagues die by suicide
  • The typical reactions and responses from colleagues, clients, and community members
  • Preparing to have a conversation with a client whose therapist has died by suicide
  • How to communicate about the death in the therapist community
  • The importance of a therapist will for all therapists, and supervisors

Our Generous Sponsor: Reasons Eating Disorder

Reasons Eating Disorder Center in Los Angeles, CA provides comprehensive, personalized and gender-inclusive treatment programs for ages 12 and older. Reasons’ programs are designed to address the complexities of eating disorders and their intersection with anxiety, trauma, OCD, and substance abuse by providing each patient with a multidisciplinary team of professionals to assist in their process of healing. We offer our patients hope rooted in the belief that they are capable of living an authentic life of meaning and connectedness.

Reasons Eating Disorder Center is an innovative program founded on the belief that healing is a fundamental aspect of eating disorder treatment. We believe that eating disorders are rooted in and driven by anxiety and profound disruptions to the sufferers’ sense of self. We offer our patients hope, rooted in the belief that they are capable of living an authentic life of meaning and connectedness. Our goal is to create a culture that nurtures the integration of body and mind through the daily practice and continual reinforcing of the balancing ideas of Doing and Being.

Reasons offers highly personalized, gender-inclusive treatment for adults and adolescents. Our levels of care include Inpatient, residential, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient and independent living. Reasons is located in the greater Los Angeles area and accepts most insurances. Please visit for more information, or call our admissions team at 844 572-2766.

Relevant Resources:

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

Contact Norine on her website at:

Resources on Norine’s website:

NY Times Article – Stacey Freedenthal

Helping the Suicidal Person – Stacey Freedenthal

Dese’rae Stage’s Website Live Through This – stories of suicide attempt survivors:

Dr. Bart Andrews Story on Live Through This:

American Association of Suicidology – Extensive resources and they also have a group for Clinicians who have lost clients or loved ones to suicide:

Professional Wills by Dr. Ben Caldwell – Course on SimplePractice Learning

Relevant Episodes:

Therapist Suicide

We Can’t Help Ourselves

Therapists in Therapy

Therapists on Your Couch

Impaired Therapists

Connect with us:

The Modern Therapists Group on Facebook

Get Notified About Therapy Reimagined 2020 (and TR2019 Virtual Conference)

Who we are:

Curt Widhalm is in private practice in the Los Angeles area. He is the cofounder of the Therapy Reimagined conference, the CFO of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, an Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University, a former Subject Matter Expert for the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, 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 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:


Voice Over by DW McCann

Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano

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