Vulnerability, The News, and You
An interview with Dr. Abigail Weissman, a psychologist and self-proclaimed “super queer.” Curt and Katie talk with Abi about how she decides which aspects of her identity (Jewish, queer, lesbian, trans-esque) she discloses with her clients and with the public. We also dig into Abi’s reactions to current events and how she gets the support she needs, while holding hope for her clients.
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 Dr. Abigail Weissman
Abigail (“Abi”) Weissman is a California clinical psychologist, earning her doctorate in Clinical Psychology (PSY 27497) with a dissertation on helping psychologists to be supporting, respectful, and effective with their transgender Jewish clients. She holds a Master of Arts in Human Sexuality studies that focused on femme lesbian identity and completed a Certificate in Sex Education. She serves as a Member At Large – Professional Practice, of the Board of Directors of the San Diego Psychological Association. She is also the Chair of the LGBT Committee for the San Diego Psychological Association. A self-proclaimed “super queer” she loves to empower others, especially those who wish they could be their full queer, transgender, religious, liberal, activist, polyamorous, and/or kink selves, but hold themselves back because they are scared they will be unloved, unemployed, and rejected by their loved ones and communities. Abi provides individual and group therapy for LGBTQIQAP-identified clients as well as training for other professionals on how to be more LGBTQIQAP-affirming in clinical practice and in business. Her pronouns are she, her hers. You can learn more about Abi and her group practice Waves, A Psychological Corporation, at http://www.wavespsych.com.
In this episode we talk about:
- Vulnerability during the recent events as a member of impacted, marginalized communities
- Abi’s comfort level with talking about being Jewish, queer, lesbian, trans (or “trans-esque” in her parlance)
- How she decides how to present herself, how she tells her story, her level of safety
- How Abi “leans in” whenever she feels unsafe – how sharing who she is first, makes her feel safer
- Civil and social justice advocacy as a therapist
- Her hesitation to talk about LGBTQ as a single community and the problem with “lumping” them all together. The importance of hearing all the different, unique perspectives.
- Sitting as a leader in your therapy room and feeling vulnerable as the events in society impact you personally
- Holding hope for therapy clients as well as for society, and grieving for her own losses and feeling her own fears and her own despair
- Reflecting on the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue shooting as well as reactions to the memo seeking to make gender binary – both how Abi is reacting personally and what she is hearing (and not hearing) from her clients
- Where Abi is finding her hope, healing, and getting her support
- The ways that antisemitism still shows up in daily life (even in small ways)
- Having to choose how she shows up as an activist with these intersectional needs that aren’t respected
- How thoughtful she is about where she lives and what she stands up and does for her community
- What therapists often get wrong related to LGBTQ
- The frequent problem of othering people within the therapist community who happen to be LGBTQ
- The problem with putting people as far away – and the need to bring all people closer to understand and show compassion for them (rather than fearing them)
- The importance of believing trans people
- How allies can do better in supporting LGBTQ people
- The conversations that can happen between allies and LGBTQ people
- Addressing bias with humility and connection
- The importance of paying for consultation
We’ve pulled together any resources mentioned in this episode and put together some handy-dandy links.
Waves, A Psychological Corporation: http://www.wavespsych.com
Abi’s availability for consultation: https://www.wavespsych.com/contact
The book Abi was talking about related to bringing ancestors into the room: Native American Postcolonial Psychology By Eduardo Duran, Bonnie Duran
Our Generous Sponsor:
Thanks again to our sponsor, SimplePractice!
SimplePractice is an all in one platform where you can schedule appointments, use paperless intakes, file insurance claims, and meet with clients remotely using our integrated Telehealth system.
Because running your practice should be Simple, so you can do the work that really matters.
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 about Curt at http://www.curtwidhalm.com.
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 about Katie 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/