Unlearning Very Bad Therapy

Unlearning Very Bad Therapy An Interview with Carrie Wiita and Ben Fineman

An interview with Carrie Wiita and Ben Fineman, MFT Trainees and the co-hosts of the Very Bad Therapy podcast. Curt and Katie interview Ben and Carrie about their experience as graduate students and mental health advocates. We look at the short-falls of the educational system as well as the mythologies that stagnate the profession. We talk about how to improve therapy and the training we receive.

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 Carrie Wiita and Ben Fineman, Marriage and Family Therapist Trainees and Co-Hosts of the Very Bad Therapy podcast

Very Bad Therapy gives voice to the stores that begin with an exasperated “You would not believe what happened with my therapist.” Weekly episodes explore real-life stories of very bad therapy experiences as hosts Caroline Wiita and Ben Fineman seek to learn from diverse guests and experts in the field who help shed light on how things could have gone better. Supported by scientific research and a mission to bring out the best in psychotherapy through discussion of its worst moments, Very Bad Therapy is a corrective emotional experience for clinicians and clients alike.

In this episode we talk about:

  • How Curt is responsible for Carrie and Ben meeting (and how proud he is of that fact)
  • What is missing in therapist education and how to look at the profession of therapy critically
  • What we are told when we enter into the field and what the reality actually is
  • How going to grad school and listening to MTSG Podcast can be super confusing
  • The research that says therapists do not get better with experience
  • The mythologies in the profession that stop us from being curious
  • The disappointment in the status quo and the failure to move into the cutting edge
  • The stagnation of the field when we have the same people talking about the same things
  • The inconsistency of the faculty and their ability/desire to teach graduate students in therapy
  • Problems with graduate programs related to the bureaucracy and misinformation
  • Ben Caldwell’s Saving Psychotherapy (of course)
  • Feedback on the Very Bad Therapy podcast (and how Carrie and Ben have taken it in)
  • The importance of research, grounding in laws, ethics, clinical excellence, when challenging the status quo
  • The willingness to make mistakes publicly and be transparent with accountability to normalize mistakes and reinforce that we are not perfect and cannot be perfect as therapists
  • The role of defensiveness in very bad therapy
  • The problem of perfectionism in the field
  • Minimizing risk and maximizing “joining” or developing the therapeutic relationship
  • How harmful the communication between therapists can be
  • The impact of bias on the work
  • How to improve your training

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 http://www.reasonsedc.com for more information, or call our admissions team at 844 572-2766.

Relevant Resources:

We’ve pulled together resources mentioned in this episode and put together some handy-dandy links. Please note that some of the links below are 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!

Very Bad Therapy podcast

Very Bad Therapy Facebook page


Dr. Ben Caldwell, LMFT: Saving Psychotherapy

NPR Podcast: Hidden Brain

Relevant Episodes:

Defining the Therapy Movement

Deliberate Practice episodes:

Be a Better Therapist

Finding Your Blindspots

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: http://www.curtwidhalm.com

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: 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/

1 reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *