Photo ID: Someone looking down at a vigil candle with several such lights in the background with text overlay

Therapist Safety

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 therapist safety:

  • Information about a recent shooting incident at the Yountville Veteran’s Home
  • Risks that therapists can face
  • Making sure that you take care of your own safety first and foremost!
  • Screening for risk factors from the initial call throughout treatment
  • Best practices for safety in private practice, agencies, and community-based work
  • Field safety for home visits (including safety in numbers)
  • Advocating at your agency, in your community
  • Tarasoff and the interaction between Mental Health and Law Enforcement
  • Setting up your room so everyone feels safe
  • Commonsense practices to keep you safe
  • Grounding yourself for the work once you’ve made sure you’re safe
  • The impact of direct and secondary trauma
  • Take care of yourself

Resources mentioned:

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

CNN Article: Three Women, Suspect Dead After Hostage Standoff in Yountville, California

Go Fund Me: Jenn Gonzales Shushereba Memorial

Community Members talking about this topic:

Nabil El-Ghoroury, PhD, CAE, Executive Director of California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

Lauren Adams – @lcswhatever and her tweet about safety

Additional Articles on the Topic:

Gun Violence: Prediction, Prevention, and Policy by the American Psychological Association

APA Resources for Coping with Mass Shootings, Understanding Gun Violence

APA: Stay Safe in Practice

National Association of Social Workers Social Justice Brief: Gun Violence in the American Culture

American Counseling Association: Coping in the Aftermath of a Shooting (article removed)

Mass Shootings and Mental Illness

Violence Against Mental Health Professionals: When the Treater Becomes the Victim

Homicides of Mental Health Workers by Patients: Review of Cases and Safety Recommendations

Active Shooter Resources

Our events this year:

The Brand Called “You”: Legal & Ethical Issues in Developing a Personal Brand

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

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:


Voice Over by DW McCann

Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano

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