Therapists Struggling with Darkness

Therapists Struggling with Darkness

Curt and Katie chat about how therapists are struggling during the pandemic. We looked at how client material impacts therapists. We also explored unique risk factors and protective factors. We talked about the stigma for therapists to admit that something is not okay as well as the tendency to move that conversation out of the public space (just go to therapy). We have some ideas about how we can better take care of ourselves and each other.

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:

  • How we are struggling during the pandemic
  • Sitting with client’s darkness and how that impacts therapists even before the pandemic
  • The impact client material can have on therapists
  • The stigma around therapists having mental health concerns
  • Anxiety contagion, energy drain of working with depression
  • Impacts on libido, mood, suicidality
  • Unique risk factors for therapists
  • Risk factors for suicidality
  • The heaviness and suicidality that can enter thought processes
  • The shame and the simplification when therapy is the only suggestion
  • “We deal with some heavy shit.”
  • Taking the conversation about therapists struggles out of the social space (“go to therapy”)
  • The lack of research about therapists as a workforce, the client impact on therapist, or therapists as clients
  • Therapists as human beings in both private and public ways
  • The feeling of being stuck and not being able to talk about it when you’re a therapist
  • How legal and ethical concerns play a part
  • Having a job, having people around you can be protective factors
  • Isolation and lack of social support
  • Boundary issues, vagueness to keep others at bay
  • How therapists support each other (and the importance of social support)
  • The danger of feeling trapped, especially if you’re isolated
  • Practices to incorporate to reinforce resilience
  • How we consume information and how the people around you are perceiving the news can impact you
  • Self-assessment of risk factors, identification of protective factors
  • What actually helps when someone is struggling
  • The group responsibility as well as our individual responsibilities
  • How to manage community care without overburdening yourself
  • The importance of assessing capacity to support and give to our colleagues and friends
  • Creating reinforcements and structure for regular support

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 might 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!

Our Facebook Group – The Modern Therapists Group

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Relevant Episodes:

Quarantine Self-Care for Therapists

Therapist Suicide

Suicidal Therapists

Therapists in Therapy

Toxic Work Environments

The Mental Load of Therapists

Structuring Self-Care

Connect with us!

Our Facebook Group – The Modern Therapists Group

Get Notified About Therapy Reimagined 2021

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, former 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 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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