Therapists Shaming Therapists, An Interview with Katie Read, LMFT
An interview with Katie Read about therapists shaming each other when they raise their fees or start playing bigger. Curt and Katie talk with Katie about the puritanical culture within the therapist community that leads to group think, public shaming, and milquetoast messaging to mitigate their fear that anything different will be attacked. We look at reasons behind this (jealousy, guilt, shame, and moralism) as well as what therapists can do to step outside of this culture to create more success.
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 Katie Read, LMFT, Six Figure Flagship
Katie takes lessons from her nearly-20 successful years in the field to help clinicians grow…then OUTgrow…their practices.
Immediately upon licensure, Katie was made Director of a large Transitional Aged Youth program in Oakland, CA. Later, she was recruited to Direct one of Sacramento’s largest Wraparound Programs, and from there she moved into the role of Director of Clinical Supervision, personally supervising 40+ interns towards licensure.
Concurrently, Katie had private practices in multiple cities, taught graduate psychology students, and wrote and created therapist training materials.
Katie is also a special needs mom and loves helping other moms tune into their own intuition and lead their best-possible lives by taking the sometimes-scary leap into following what’s best for them, deep down.
She is the creator of:
The Clinician to Coach Academy,
The Clini-Coach Certification,
and the Six-Figure Flagship Program.
She’s a little bit obsessed with helping therapists get profitable doing the creative, out-of-the-box, authentic work you’re called to do!
In this episode we talk about:
- How therapists are treating each other
- The concept of trolling, piling on, shame
- The Article in the Atlantic – New Puritans – and the concept of the illiberal left
- How identity plays a role and the group dynamics within therapist Facebook groups
- The shaming related to increasing your fees
- Katie Read’s origin story as an on the street social work
- The value placed on sacrifice and avoiding guilt for the difference in privilege when working with clients who are impoverished
- Socially-prescribed perfectionism, self-imposed perfectionism
- The fine line about what is acceptable to charge or make as a therapist
- Cancel culture and the lack of allowance for errors
- Echo chambers, factions, and exclusion
- The fear of dissenting opinions
- The low context of the internet paired with the high context nature of a therapist’s job
- Milquetoast messaging to avoid getting attacked
- Dialing down authenticity to fit into what is acceptable
- Challenging our financial mindset
- Cultural and societal factors that frame us as cheap labor
- The seeming requirement for therapists to suffer in order to understand our clients
- The reality of therapists as business owners
- Therapist guilt for “earning money”
- Feminized professions and the expectation of doing things out the goodness of our hearts
- Rapidly changing social rules versus entrenchment in what has been
- How this identity shift is spilling over into real life
- Jealousy, guilt, and shame, and moralism
- The best therapists have the worst impostor syndrome
- How to navigate when you’re a therapist going against the grain
- The importance of every therapist doing their own money mindset work
Our Generous Sponsor:
Trauma Therapist Network
Trauma is highly prevalent in mental health client populations and people are looking for therapists with specialized training and experience in trauma, but they often don’t know where to start.
If you’ve ever looked for a trauma therapist, you know it can be hard to discern who knows what and whether or not they’re the right fit for you. There are so many types of trauma and so many different ways to heal. That’s why Laura Reagan, LCSW-C created Trauma Therapist Network.
Trauma Therapist Network is a new resource for anyone who wants to learn about trauma and how it shows up in our lives. This new site has articles, resources and podcasts for learning about trauma and its effects, as well as a directory exclusively for trauma therapists to let people know how they work and what they specialize in, so potential clients can find them.
Trauma Therapist Network therapist profiles include the types of trauma specialized in, populations served and therapy methods used, making it easier for potential clients to find the right therapist who can help them.
The Network is more than a directory, though. It’s a community. All members are invited to attend community meetings to connect, consult and network with colleagues around the country. Join our growing community of trauma therapists and get 20% off your first month using the promo code: MTSG20 at http://www.traumatherapistnetwork.com.
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!
Katie Read’s program: Six Figure Flagship
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Who we are:
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: http://www.curtwidhalm.com
Katie 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 a former 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: 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.
Stay in Touch:
Voice Over by DW McCann https://www.facebook.com/McCannDW/
Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano http://www.crystalmangano.com/
Transcript for this episode of the Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide podcast (Autogenerated):
Curt Widhalm 00:00
This episode is sponsored by Trauma Therapist Network.
Katie Vernoy 00:04
Trauma therapist network is a new resource for anyone who wants to learn about trauma and how it shows up in our lives. This new site has articles, resources and podcasts for learning about trauma and its effects, as well as a directory exclusively for trauma therapists to let people know how they work, and what they specialize in so potential clients can find them. Visit trauma therapist network.com To learn more,
Curt Widhalm 00:27
Listen at the end of the episode for more about the trauma therapist network.
You’re listening to the modern therapist 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, Kurt Wilhelm and Katie Vernoy.
Curt Widhalm 00:47
Welcome back modern therapists, this is modern therapist Survival Guide. I’m Curt Widhalm with Katie Vernoy. BLEEP you! This is the podcast where we talk about all things therapists, therapy related, therapist communities. And we are talking about the ways that we treat each other and a lot of this happens in the online groups. You know who you are. And
Katie Read 01:20
But do they?
Curt Widhalm 01:22
I think they do. Well, helping us here in this conversation today coming back to the show. Our good friend Katie Read. So before we before we start shaming the shamers.
Katie Vernoy 01:37
Curt Widhalm 01:39
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you’re bringing into the world.
Katie Read 01:44
Hi, I’m Katie Read. Thank you for having me back. I missed you guys. We haven’t been around here for a while.
Katie Vernoy 01:50
Katie Read 01:51
Good to be back. Although I did get to see you in person at the conference recently, which was amazing. So anyway, you can find me over at six figure flagship dot com. I do. One of the things that plenty of therapists like to shame, which is encouraging therapists who are creative who had that little spark that maybe someday they want to outgrow the therapist office, I… whispering under my hand here, I help them do that. Lest all the shamers jumped out at us. That’s what I do. But I have like you been very active in therapists groups over the last couple years, and been often just shocked by the level of shaming that can happen in these groups. And it’s so funny, I don’t know about you guys. I’ve told this to other people, non therapists, like neighbors, friends just being like, Yeah, it’s amazing. Those groups, people are astounded to hear that therapists would shame one another like it would never occur to them that therapists would be because they think of us all as being nice and wonderful and accepting and loving and caring and empathic, and all of these things. And I know we all three have had conversations in the background, like why does that fall apart on the internet, and I really do think it’s just on the internet. It’s not in person. It’s just on the internet, but on the internet and therapists group. So not that I have any grand answers for this. But I’m super interested in this conversation today.
Katie Vernoy 03:18
We’ve talked about this in some ways before, and we’ll link to those episodes in the show notes that we’ve got a therapist, haters and trolls. And there’s a couple others, I’ll look at them when I’m getting ready to put this together. But to me, I think the biggest thing that I see that that has always been shocking to me is the the piling on, that happens at someone put something out there, it becomes given that that is wrong and bad. And somebody has an opinion that this is wrong and bad. And then there’s the defenders, but then there are the piler on-ers, is that is that a word? The people that then cosign on this negative information. And then all of a sudden, it’s like the snowball effect. And there’s like, hundreds of comments, and you are horrible and all of this stuff. And I think that there is an element of this that I think we do want to call people out when they’re doing things that are harmful. I think the the criteria for what is harmful sometimes feels a little bit wiggly to me
Curt Widhalm 04:26
I kind of started looking at this more from just kind of a an academic approach. And what sparked this, for me was an article in The Atlantic called the new Puritans by Anne Applebaum. And it’s an incredible article, we’ll link to it in the show notes. But it starts to talk about the illiberal left, which many therapists politically identify in kind of this political compass of the left side. And what happens in echo chambers like there pice groups is that it becomes many people coming with a desire for positive social change and social mores are changing that. We’ve seen this happen not only in society, but in our field over the last 20 years. But what happens seemingly is, we’re developing this this collective identity in these groups that becomes part of our own identities and seeing other people acting even slightly different than how we would act ends up becoming almost there’s harm to our own self identity that needs to be processed and spoken out against when it comes to things like, hey, I want to raise my fees on my clients by $5 per session.
Katie Read 05:51
I find this one absolutely fascinating because I, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a post go by in a group where a therapist has said, Hey, I’m thinking about raising my fees, and have not gotten at least some very heavy negativity thrown their way. Which is so fascinating to me. Because if you step back and you look at any career on Earth, we assume about every human being in the world, that you will always be on a quest to kind of step up to the next level in your career step up to the next level in your income. This is understood if anyone tells you they’ve gotten a raise, they’ve gotten a promotion, you say congrats, that’s great. When therapists who are self employed, who have only themselves to answer to they are their own bosses, and when they say it’s time for my yearly raise, and I have earned my yearly raise this year, and they attempt to give it to themselves, what do the therapist communities often do? Jump in with really crazy stuff really crazy? Oh, I don’t know, I didn’t get into this career to make money. I couldn’t imagine putting my clients under that kind of strange, just really, really deeply shaming words coming at them. And I find it fascinating. You know, and I’m not exactly sure where it comes from. But it’s interesting, because in prepping for this podcast, I was thinking about my early days as an intern and, and I do wonder, probably, at least for me, this was part of it. I spent many years even before I went to grad school, I was doing social work type roles in very, very, very impoverished areas. And then during grad school, I was working with foster kids. And then after grad school, I was an on the street social worker in inner city, Oakland, with teenagers and young adults, most of whom were homeless, or they were sex workers or drug addicts, gang members, like Oh, terrible, really difficult lives, right, like really terrible life situations. And I was dead broke, that job paid next to nothing, it was an internship job. And in a way, coming home to my crappy apartment, where people got mugged right outside in broad daylight and eating my ramen noodles, because that was all I could afford. I didn’t have to feel so guilty going into work the next day, because my life was certainly better than my clients lives were at that time. But it was still rough, like things were still rough at my end. And I wonder if I remember at the time, I would say to people, I would say, this is the hardest work you can imagine doing. But if you can do it, you just have to do it. Because these people just need the help. And they need the support. And they need people on the street. And I had this very grand idea of what it was to be an on the street social worker doing that kind of work, and, and staying poor for it. And oh, it took me a long, long time to realize that I had to put the air mask on myself first, you know, like on the plane, like it took me a very long time to come to that change. But I wonder if some part of that for a lot of us does start because I think many of us do start in those types of jobs, those types of internships where you’re seeing such poverty, you’re seeing such difficult lives and you do feel a guilt around that.
Curt Widhalm 08:57
Even in your story here. Part of what I’m hearing is you lead that off with this is unique to therapists. So you’re already framing this as part of therapist identity means that you have to do these certain things. Look at the shame that we put on people who go straight from grad school into private practice, like they are bypassing part of that identity. And, you know, the echoes of the criticisms is, well, that’s such a privileged place to come from that you didn’t have to go through this with all of these other clients. And a big part of that is in this identity becomes this thing called socially prescribed perfectionism that you must do this because what you’re doing reflects on me and in combination with socially prescribed perfectionism comes this self imposed perfectionism that I must act this way. Yeah. And if other people whose identities reflects on the same way as mine And that’s not how I see myself doing, I have to deal with that internal conflict, and it’s much easier to tear you down than it is for me to wrestle with. All right, you do you and I’ll do me and we’ll both potentially help out the people that we’re best suited to help out with.
Katie Read 10:19
That’s so interesting. And it’s so true. And I wonder. So like, I’m thinking about the people who I did know from grad school who came from different backgrounds who did go straight into private practice and whatnot. And you do wonder, do they feel any of that guilt? Do they carry any of that with them? Does that bounce off of them that they’re like, what I was doing exactly what you just said, Curt, like what I was meant to do, I was helping the people I was meant to help. This is where I’m well suited. It’s just interesting.
Katie Vernoy 10:45
And it’s, it’s something where this idea of perfectionism what what resonated for me was this, it’s very thinly defined. And not only have I heard the, the negative backlash around charging a high fee, and and I don’t know, necessarily that I’ve seen a lot of the negative feedback with I’m raising my fee by $5 Next year, but it’s anybody that has a premium fee gets roasted. And anyone that talks about charging very little or being on insurance panels, also gets roasted, because you’re undervaluing the profession, you’re, you’re making it harder for me to make money. And so there’s this really fine line of what’s acceptable,
Katie Read 11:27
Katie Vernoy 11:28
And so this this perfectionism around, I can’t, I can’t make too much, but I also can’t charge too little. It just it feels very crazy making. And I think this, this notion of we’re trying to validate our own identity through making everyone else be like us, or like, what the collective has decided is okay, feels kind of scary.
Curt Widhalm 11:57
And the extension of this goes beyond just, you know, the parent comments in some of these, these groups, that there becomes almost this effort to cancel people across multiple posts, that there seems to be so little room for error, and especially in late, like I said, social mores changing of, you know, a lot of the things that I see is, you know, not doing the emotional work or not doing the education work for other therapists who are potentially asking questions around things like critical race theory and involving, you know, wonderment about communities that they might not have experience with that. While there is validity on both sides is I’ve seen some of this extension go across, you know, bringing up these kinds of arguments across separate posts across separate days, weeks, even months, that his efforts towards this cancel culture esque type thing that serves to only make this problem even worse, by creating even stronger echo chambers of we’re only going to listen to people who think exactly like us. And what ends up happening is we get these factions of, you know, well, here’s the group of like minded people who sit over here. And here’s the group of like minded people who sit over here, and here’s the people who are okay with microwaving fish in the office, and they’re okay in their own corner. But then it just makes it to where it’s uninviting for anybody to have any kind of a dissenting opinion. Because and this is particular to the internet groups that you brought up. Here at the beginning, Katie, internet culture is very, very low context. And therapists are very, very high context people. This is a sociological phenomenon, that high context is understanding people where they’re coming from, you know, we spend years studying how to get the high context of our clients. And we’re used to communicating with people in this very, very high context sort of way. And then you get like one paragraph on a Facebook post to be able to try and explain something to somebody else. And it’s just this very, really low context like fast moving group of people who kind of opt in and opt out but aren’t consistently there. That makes it really enticing to pick on well, you’re missing all of these high context things that just it’s critical, and it’s something that because of internet culture, therapists aren’t used to having to receive information in that low context sort of way in embracing how we communicate online. Mind. In other words, we think that we’re really smart in some areas of our life, and therefore all areas of our life should be really smart. But the internet is not that place.
Katie Read 15:11
And the internet dumbs us down. Well, it’s interesting. And a moment ago, I just lost my train of thought you had said something a moment ago that
Curt Widhalm 15:18
I do that to people.
Katie Vernoy 15:20
Just keep talking, it’s
Katie Read 15:22
10 minutes back. There was something I just lost it
Katie Vernoy 15:27
Well, keep thinking because I had something you know, a few minutes back when you were talking about your, your experience as kind of an on the on the streets, social worker and having to overcome that self imposed identity around if I am not so privileged, I don’t feel guilty going to work. How did you work to overcome that? Because I think we’re looking at being shamed for it. And and you did it within that culture, like I know, that I would imagine you have probably been shamed for for what you do, as you know, a six figure flagship even having that is so money title. So right, having the right so and so actually, how do you how have you gotten through it, I guess.
Katie Read 16:12
Yeah. And I can tell my story, but it’s interesting, because you just reminded me of what Curt had said that I had wanted to comment on. Because it’s all related. You had to Curt the end. And even Katie had said previously, there’s this very narrow band of what kind of therapists are willing to accept as appropriate. And because the echo chambers are loud, and because the pile on culture is intense, within therapists groups, what happens is people are terrified to speak. And so we end up with very very milquetoast messaging. That doesn’t challenge that doesn’t potentially disagree, we end up with people who only want a message in ways that they will not be attacked for because as we all know, it’s very painful and scary. If someone’s coming at you online, some stranger online and other people are piling on and everyone would love to avoid ever having that situation. So we dial down what is true, what is authentic, what is important, we dial it down into what we hope will fit this narrow little brass band of appropriateness. And it’s interesting like us, for me, it took me years and years. I mean, I eventually went from we eventually moved my husband and I to a different town, I opened up a small private practice. And it’s funny, I was one of those therapists, and I was in California, where therapy rates are high. But I was the person where I was charging $90 an hour. And I was the person who set it like this, when a new client came in or called me and said, What’s your fee? I went? Well, it’s 90. But I can slide I can slide. What do you need, I mean, I can do whatever you need, I can really I get whatever you need, whatever you need, like that was me all the time. Because again, I was still carrying this guilt, about even charging that much and feeling like well, I couldn’t even afford to go see me for therapy. So how can I think somebody else’s, I was very much in my clients pockets. And what was really interesting was, I had been in this office for a while, you know, I rented my time other people came in and out. And there were several interns in the office, all supervised by this one supervisor. And I was speaking with one of the interns when we were crossing paths one day, and at this point, I had been a licensed therapist. For years, I had worked my way through community mental health up to being a program director, I had taught grad school, I had done all these things. And I was still charging this low rate because of my own internal money issues. And this intern, I don’t know how we got on the subject. But she said, Oh, yeah, our supervisor now she was still in grad school. There’s a person in her first year of grad school, an intern seeing clients. And she said, Well, our supervisor won’t let us start any lower than 125 as our hourly rate, we’re not allowed to slide under that they were private pay 125 for the interns. And my mind was blown. That here I was with years of experience behind me years of training behind me. And I it really in that moment hit me I was like I am doing this wrong. I am absolutely doing this wrong. And I need to start working on this. And some of it was working on my money mindset, honestly, for me, doing what I eventually did and wanting to outgrow the office that was motivated by different things like we moved states and then I wasn’t licensed for a year while I went through the licensure process in a new state. So my path out of the office and outgrowing the office was sort of organic. It wasn’t a pre plan type of thing. It just happened that I moved into coaching and ended up loving it. But within the coaching world, you really really get challenged very quickly on your financial mindset. And you really actually learn very quickly that the norm in the rest of the world is if you bring great value into someone’s life, you are well paid for it. And we therapists continually underestimate the great, great, transformative, wildly important value that we bring into people lives. And whether you choose to continue to do it in the context of therapy or to write a book, or to go on a speaking tour to do any of the number of things that therapists can go out in the world, and do, we do by virtue of our passion, our education, all of these things, we bring great value we bring about great transformation in people’s lives, and in most of the rest of the world, that would be naturally richly rewarded. But because of sort of the culture, and I honestly think part of it is just the culture of how government even is set up that we need to be able to have cheap labor to go out and work with the people who need help the most. And so many of us, like we said, started off in community mental health in some form, or in schools, which are very underfunded just, we start off as sort of cheap labor. And it’s hard to get out of that mindset that we should always remain just cheap labor, or that what we do is not that highly valued in society where, of course, I don’t know about you, I remember, every therapist I’ve had, and I remember them dearly. And they were hugely impactful at those times in my life, and every one of your clients and everybody out there listening. It’s the exact same way, you’re hugely impactful.
Curt Widhalm 21:14
You know, as I’m listening to this, and going back to that piece by Anne Applebaum, she makes mention of The Scarlet Letter as kind of this this parallel of what’s going on with the liberal left. And the thing about this is one of that one of the major themes from the scarlet letter is the the priest who impregnates Hester, I’m forgetting his name right offhand. But he is seen as more virtuous because his sermons have so much empathy, from his own sins that there’s almost this parallel what’s going on with the groups here that we’re seeing of like, we have suffered this injustice. And therefore we’re better at what we do in relating to our clients, because we’ve done this. And especially when it comes to things like privilege and fees in this kind of stuff. It’s like, you’re, you’re not able to relate to your clients as well. Because you haven’t done this suffering, and you haven’t done this, and therefore, you must suffer in order to be able to be a better therapist.
Katie Read 22:21
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that’s so interesting, isn’t it. And so as some of that just coming down, is that just back to that therapist skills, we were talking just today, I had my meeting with my folks in my clinic coach, six figure flagship, and we were talking, there’s one therapist, she’s putting an unbelievable amount of work into an event that she’s producing just probably hundreds of hours of her labor is going into this work. It’s a passion project. She’s so excited about it. And she came to the group and she said, I’m donating all the proceeds to charity. And I was like,
Katie Vernoy 22:56
Katie Read 22:59
And so we really, we took it apart a lot, like we coach through it a lot in the group. And today in our meeting, and I was, like, you know, like part of this here is that we are also business owners. And when you put in hundreds of hours of unpaid labor on something, you actually need to retain at least the majority of your profits, so that you can reinvest them into your own business, so that you can stay afloat, have savings of money for like all the things that we need to do. But really, to me, what I was hearing was therapist skill was I don’t want it to look to anyone, like I’m trying to actually make any money. I want it to look like out of the goodness of my heart, I’m putting on this big event for all my fellow therapists to learn and grow. But God forbid someone think I might earn money from doing this. Yeah. And so it’s just it was fascinating, because I don’t think there’s any other profession, where they would even consider for a minute giving every single bit of all this labor, all this unpaid labor straight to charity, without a second thought, maybe with many second thoughts, but feeling like this is what I should do.
Katie Vernoy 24:05
Yeah, yeah, I just I think about teachers, I think about oftentimes nurses, part of it is kind of feminized professions do have this this impact where the majority of the folks in those professions are non male. And so there is an expectation, this is something we should be doing out of the goodness of our hearts. And it seems very mercenary if we would ask for money for it. You know, there are, you know, during the pandemic, these poor teachers, were finally getting recognition for what they actually do for folks’ kids. But as soon as you know, even even well into the pandemic I started to get because I work with some teachers. I was started hearing that people were complaining that the teachers weren’t doing enough and we’re paying their salaries and why aren’t they doing enough? And it’s like, whoa, you know, or if they go on strike that is just heartless. So it’s heartless. And it’s kind of like would you work for the salary that they work for? And then we’ve seen the same with the Kaiser therapists. That was one of the things that happened. We see the same with nurses.
Curt Widhalm 25:11
I mean, our episode, recently where we talked about, you know, let’s just throw more Subway sandwiches at therapists,
Katie Vernoy 25:19
workforce shortage at episode that we just put up.
Curt Widhalm 25:21
Yeah, it’s just it’s throwing more Subway sandwiches at therapists because, you know, how dare you ask for money. And part of this is as a field that our median age is higher than many other fields. And that anytime that we have a field that has rapidly changing social rules to it, it makes it to where, especially with fields that are older, like ours, the entrenchment becomes a lot more rigid. And so I think that that’s contributing to part of this, too, is that there’s, there’s this almost cultural battle that we’re facing within our field that is leading to a new identity. And if we’re honest about it, we contribute to that a lot here in the podcast, we do call out things that we don’t like, including calling out other therapists calling out other therapists. So we do encourage you to let us know your thoughts and feelings on this publicly in any of the therapist groups. But this happens, systemically it happens individually as well. And, you know, I do see this happening outside of the therapist groups, and actually it is spilling over into in real life as well. To hearing this, you know, from some of the practices, hiring people, where I think rightfully, employees entering into the workforce are asking for living wages. And it is a power balance shifts that is leading to things like some of the workforce shortages that we talked about in the other episode.
Katie Read 27:14
Let me ask you, Curt, because as you were talking about sort of the field being a little bit older, in terms of median age and whatnot, I wonder, and I’m curious, just either of your thoughts on this. Do you feel like so let’s say you are out there, whatever age you are, really, but you’re a therapist, you’ve kind of become acclimated to the 50k a year therapist average median income, you’ve kind of surrendered yourself to the fact that you have a very hard job that you can’t talk to anyone about, that you are bound by ethics and confidentiality, that you don’t get to come home and vent about your day, you have to keep a lot of things bottled up. And at the same time, you know, you’re probably worried every month, if you have a $400 car bill this month, it’s gonna throw you over the edge, you’re not going to have a cushion for that. And then you go into a therapist group, and you see somebody who says, I charge 200 an hour in my area, and I’m doing great and everything’s fine. Do you think part of this backlash is just that feeling of threat, that you can’t do that or that you haven’t chosen that or that you haven’t gone to do whatever it is you need to do internally, whatever that sort of money work is that you need to do to actually start charging closer to your worth as an experienced person in the field?
Curt Widhalm 28:30
Absolutely. 100% think that a lot of where we socially prescribe other therapists to be comes from our own anecdotal histories. And our inability is to deal with our own crap when it comes to our relationships to money, our relationships to our professional identities, that and, you know, this even happens in things that I see like in law ethics workshops, that I teach that it’s not even just about money thing, but just how much we distance ourselves from other people who make mistakes. You know, if somebody’s name shows up in the spider pages, the disciplinary actions, how quickly are to just like, unfriend them or take them off of our LinkedIn connections? Even if it’s something that might points closer to us, you know, you see this and things like people who admit to not being caught up on their notes and just kind of the furthering away, you know, these are ethical and legal responsibilities that we have in our profession. And as compassionate people we tend to have very little compassion for the other people in our profession. When they don’t do the same kinds of steps that we think that we should be doing or have been doing all along ourselves.
Katie Vernoy 29:52
You’re really saying jealousy, guilt and shame.
Curt Widhalm 29:54
Katie Vernoy 29:56
Because I think of like the especially I think with the environment around you, Katie, which is like the six figure flagship, it’s people outgrowing the office, it’s that kind of notion of very successful, you know, I’m going to make a lot of money, I’m going to, I’m going to live a life. And and you don’t argue that that comes easily. I saw your post on kind of hustle seasons. And so I appreciate that. But I think that there’s this notion that you can work really hard, create something that’s more sustainable and make a lot of money. And I think there’s a jealousy there, either of the energy that you personally have. I know I’m jealous of your energy. And then there’s also the success that people have, I think there’s a jealousy there. And so then it’s that kind of like, well, I didn’t want it anyway, like that. That’s wrong, because I don’t think I can get it. I’m jealous that you have it. And so I don’t really want it. And this, there’s all of these moral reasons and moralizing around why I don’t want it. I think what you’re talking about Curt is kind of this guilt and shame over, I’ve been doing things wrong. I can’t do that, because it goes against these self imposed values and morals that I’ve put around being a hard worker, that is one of the people and I am not going to I’m not in this for the money. And I’m doing this because it’s so valuable. And even thinking about money is so mercenary and wrong. And so there’s that guilt and shame of wanting more, but feeling like it goes against either the collective morals or the personal morals. And so to me, it’s like if we think about guilt, shame, and jealousy, I mean, the fact that there is so many of those emotions that come out in these public shreddings, in these social media groups or on pages or whatever, like it just it seems strange to me, that therapist would would have those in such huge, huge, impactful ways.
Katie Read 31:54
It’s interesting, too, because I was just putting together a workshop where we talked about how typically the best therapists tend to have the worst imposter syndrome. And I think imposter syndrome falls into what you’re talking about, and the fact that because we all tend to be pretty intellectual, pretty academic, you know, even those of us who are super heart led, we all still have like our little academic streak. And I think that we all walk around with this belief that if I am not the top researcher in a particular field, I have nothing to say it’s very black and white. If I am not the absolute most published person in this particular theory, I should just sit down and shut up, I know nothing, as opposed to being able to see all the gradients, being able to see all of the expertise that everyone has and that you can bring in that could benefit so many more people. If you were brave enough to kind of fight your own imposter syndrome. Stand up, talk about what you know, help even more people that way.
Katie Vernoy 32:55
Katie Read 32:56
But we get very caught in that. Because this will not win a Pulitzer, I might as well not even write it. I might as well not even try it. And I just want what’s the point? What’s
Katie Vernoy 33:06
and and how dare you, other person that is doing this? How dare you do that? Because I’ve decided, even though I may have more knowledge than you
Katie Read 33:17
Katie Vernoy 33:17
that I’m not good enough to speak on it. So how dare you!
Katie Read 33:20
How dare you? Exactly. Oh, isn’t that so true. And I do think this is what we see play out in therapists groups. And I do think it’s terribly sad, because at the end of the day, to me, I always think the lay public are the only losers here. Because when you choose to not speak out, when you choose to not share what you know, when you choose to not be open and vulnerable, and who you are, and say, I know I might not be the world renowned expert on XYZ. But let me tell you a little bit about what I do know, because you might think it’s interesting. And I think the thing a lot of therapists don’t realize because we’re sort of taught to write dissertation style for everything is that the average person doesn’t want that. They do want the little tidbit. They do want the little micro snippet that you pulled from an interesting article you read that you couldn’t get out of your mind yesterday, share that that’s what they want to because it’ll get into their head too and it’ll help them in their life just like it helps you they don’t need your full scope dissertation on anything.
Katie Vernoy 34:19
Curt Widhalm 34:20
So is the answer and stop hanging out with other therapists?
Katie Read 34:29
I don’t know let’s vote should we go around and vote? I you know it’s interesting though, you I definitely think it’s something that we talk about in our group is that we talked about how when you even when I when I first started doing the most basic stuff, offering like copywriting for therapists offering basic marketing for therapists in this tiny little way like putting a post on Facebook Hey, need help with your copywriting? You know, these tiny little ways? I had rude people I had predicted people I know going well that’s never gonna go anywhere. What are you even doing? Why are you doing that? And so I just want all my students like any time, you are going against the grain a little bit breaking the mold a little bit of what it means to be a helping professional, because what I believe at the end of the day is what you call it doesn’t matter as much as what you’re actually doing. Are you out there helping people in some form? Is your internal calling to be out there helping people in some form? Great, are you doing it? If you are, and if you feel good and authentic, and you know that you are living out your calling that you are truly helping people in some form? Does it matter if you call it therapy today, and maybe tomorrow, it’s consulting, and you have consulting clients, and maybe the next day you build an online course where you help people and maybe you go speak at a school the next day, doesn’t matter what form it’s in, that you’re helping people as long as you are authentically helping people what you were called to do, does the name matter? So you can hang out with a therapist like that. Kurt,
Katie Vernoy 36:00
I hear you saying that hanging out with therapists who have that broader perspective that aren’t so tied into the Puritan culture is probably helpful for folks that are really coming, that are pushing against the grain in some way. And and I really resonate with that, because I think that’s, that’s why we found each other and
Katie Read 36:18
That’s what you’ve done
Katie Vernoy 36:22
We’ve been trying, you know, we don’t we don’t avoid the purity culture, we just try to push back against it. But I think it’s, it’s something where when you’re really trying to step out and help people in a bigger way, it is, it is important that you find the right people to spend time with because you can get tamped down by purity culture,
Katie Read 36:40
You can. Well, and I should say this, like for a lot of us, I know for me, when I was I think it is important for therapists to do money work on ourselves, go read the self help books, go, you know, sign up with Tiffany…
Curt Widhalm 36:53
GO DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH!
Katie Read 36:58
I think it’s important to do that. And I think it’s important to hang out with people who get it and have done it. And I think for all of us to, there is a way that you can feel good about what you charge and feel good about what you give back. And that that is going to be different for everyone, whether it’s that you do a couple free or cheap sessions every single week, or you give a certain amount to charity every year, like whatever that looks like for you. You can still set this up in a way where you’re not going to feel like a greedy bastard, for earning a good living where you still know that you are I mean, for me, when I started outgrowing the office, honestly, my entire motivation was security. My husband worked at a large multinational corporation that was doing layoffs, rolling layoffs every single month. And every single month, it felt like we were going to be any minute we were going to be homeless because he was going to get laid off. And that was the bread and butter of the family. And what then and all I really wanted was some security. And so that drove me and I was like I said we had moved states. And so I didn’t have a license in my new state. I couldn’t just go open a therapy office, it drove me to get creative and do something else. But I think when your motivation comes from that, like there’s, I don’t know, a lot of therapists who are like, I’m gonna go get rich so that I can have seven maaser body it’s like, it’s just not who we are, you know, like, that’s just not what we’re doing here.
Katie Vernoy 38:16
Well, we do have to end here, but but I think we also if there is a therapist that wants to get ready to get seven Montserrado for months, seven months. Go for it do. So before we close up, where can people find you?
Katie Read 38:30
Six Figure flagship.com is the main program that we run right now it’s an application only program for mental health therapists who do want to outgrow the office, that is the best place to find me. And otherwise, I’ll just be kind of hanging out with you guys.
Katie Vernoy 38:44
I love it. Always again, it
Curt Widhalm 38:47
We will include a link to Katie’s websites in our show notes. You can find those over at MTS g podcast.com. And follow us on our social media join our Facebook groups modern therapists group and
Katie Read 39:01
Or we will shame you.
Curt Widhalm 39:03
we actually have a really good group that seems to
Katie Read 39:08
No I said we will shame them for not joining it, we find them.
Curt Widhalm 39:14
Some we will post those links and until next time, I’m Curt Widhalm with Katie Vernoy And Katie Read.
Katie Vernoy 39:20
Thanks again to our sponsor, Trauma Therapist Network.
Curt Widhalm 39:24
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Katie Vernoy 40:01
Join the growing community of trauma therapists and get 20% off your first month using the promo code MTSG20. At trauma therapist network.com Once again that’s capital MTSG, the number 20 at Trauma therapist network.com
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