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Why Therapists Shouldn’t Be Taught Business in Grad School

Curt and Katie debate whether graduate school programs for therapists should include business education. We look at the pros and cons for including business education for students, specifically identifying a mismatched developmental level, bloated curriculums, and underutilized career resources. We also look at the responsibility graduate schools have to their students to be employable or to be able to create a sustainable business.


Click here to scroll to the podcast transcript.

In this podcast episode we talk about whether clinical grad programs should include business education

We have seen marketing that highlights that business isn’t taught in grad school (and have done a lot of it ourselves). We discuss whether it actually should be included.

What is already included in grad school for therapists?

  • A large number of clinical courses required for graduation
  • Career centers and other business resources may be available, but not used

What career or business resources should therapists get through graduate school?

  • Career centers with up-to-date relevant employment resources
  • Potentially an optional class or workshop for how to run a business

Why shouldn’t business education be added to clinical programs?

“The timing of it just isn’t right. Like, yeah, these are ideas that can be introduced, but the practicalities of it, in my experience, just aren’t developmentally where a lot of grad students are… I don’t think that [teaching someone to run a business] at a developmental time when people aren’t capable for it or aren’t ready for it – or legally not allowed to put those things in place – it just ends up being so far off that it’s not a practical sort of training thing.” – Curt Widhalm

  • Accreditation bodies don’t access for employability, so programs won’t focus their attention
  • The increasing number of credits required to become a therapist
  • Developmentally inappropriate timing for what therapists are able to do when they graduate

What would business education look like if it were included in graduate programs?

“I’m not ready to let the grad schools off the hook for their responsibility to students. I feel like they are responsible to students to adequately prepare them for the job.” – Katie Vernoy

  • Potentially lackluster participation due to overwhelm
  • The importance of introducing what clinicians will actually face
  • Seminar versus a full course
  • Orientation to job options and business basics

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Resources for Modern Therapists mentioned in this Podcast Episode:

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!

Saving Psychotherapy by Dr. Ben Caldwell

Relevant Episodes of MTSG Podcast:

I Just Graduated Now What? Career Advice for New Mental Health Clinicians

The Clinical Supervision Crisis for Early Career Therapists: An Interview with Dr. Amy Parks

The Fight to Save Psychotherapy: An Interview with Dr. Ben Caldwell

Why Therapists Quit

Career Trekking with MTSG: An interview with Marissa Esquibel, LMFT

Who we are:

Picture of Curt Widhalm, LMFT, co-host of the Modern Therapist's Survival Guide podcast; a nice young man with a glorious beard.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:

Picture of Katie Vernoy, LMFT, co-host of the Modern Therapist's Survival Guide podcastKatie 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:

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 with Curt, Katie, and the whole Therapy Reimagined #TherapyMovement:


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Consultation services with Curt Widhalm or Katie Vernoy:

The Fifty-Minute Hour

Connect with the Modern Therapist Community:

Our Facebook Group – The Modern Therapists Group

Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide Creative Credits:

Voice Over by DW McCann

Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano

Transcript for this episode of the Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide podcast (Autogenerated):

Curt Widhalm 0:00
This episode of The Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide is brought to you by Thrizer.

Katie Vernoy 0:03
Thrizer is a modern billing platform for private pay therapists. Their platform automatically gets clients reimbursed by their insurance after every session. Just by billing your clients through Thrizer, you can potentially save them hundreds every month with no extra work on your end. The best part is you don’t have to give up your rates they charge a standard 3% processing fee

Curt Widhalm 0:24
Listen at the end of the episode for more information on a special offer from Thrizer.

Announcer 0:29
You’re listening to The Modern Therapist’s 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, Curt Widhalm, and Katie Vernoy.

Curt Widhalm 0:45
Welcome back modern therapists, this is The Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide. I’m Curt Widhalm, with Katie Vernoy. And this is the podcast for therapists where we talk about the things that affect our practices, our roles in the profession, the ways that we interact with clients and the systems around us. And today we are looking at a young new school year starting. We’re maybe talking a little bit about grad school things that should be in it shouldn’t be an inch. And we’re coming back to that question that we see debated a lot, put in a lot of marketing materials, even some of our own marketing materials.

Katie Vernoy 1:21
Marketing materials.

Curt Widhalm 1:23
Should business be taught in graduate school or iterations of that? Things that you weren’t taught in graduate school, and we are up for debate on should business actually be taught in grad school. So I hear this a lot, especially from those in private practice. But Katie, wondering what your thoughts are to start this episode.

Katie Vernoy 1:48
I have a lot of mixed feelings about it, I think that there are reasons to have adequate training for what the job is actually going to look like. And there’s also a lot of stuff that we already have to do in our on our typical grad school programs. So I’m, I’m curious to jump into the debate, because I know you feel a bit strongly about this. Whereas I’m feeling a little bit more ambivalent and kind of in this neutral territory. I think that there are a lot of folks who would be better off now if they came into their postgraduate career with more business acumen. And I don’t know that I really think it should be required teaching in grad school, but I think it should be available.

Curt Widhalm 2:38
Way to hedge your bets on just about every direction, just from the start of this.

Katie Vernoy 2:44
I already have said I’m ambivalent here, I’ve got I’ve got mixed feelings.

Curt Widhalm 2:49
Yeah, I’m hearing that more is like I’m gonna, I’m gonna take this, and wherever I go, I’m gonna just make sure that I’m on the right side. So…

Katie Vernoy 2:58
I see.

Curt Widhalm 2:59
I have I do have strong feelings about this. And my feelings have changed across the course of my career and the roles that I’ve played in a number of different systems, whether it’s being on the therapists association board, whether it’s doing advocacy, whether it’s being a professor. And the more experience that I have in looking at this from a number of different angles, the more that I am becoming convinced that business should not be taught in grad school. And my reasoning for this starts with: over the course of the last several decades, more and more coursework has been added to graduate programs, making the programs take longer to get through. Making them more expensive. Making it to where getting into the workforce already has enough systemic barriers. And that’s just about what happens in the room with clients. I think that adding more coursework that does not specifically help us directly work with our clients, ends up furthering that problem that makes it to where, all right, I’m looking at, I need to take out, you know, several 1000s, tens of if not hundreds of 1000s of dollars to get through school. And if there’s more classes that are required about stuff that happens much later in our practice, it’s just making it more of a problem of getting enough therapists out there to actually help the demand that we’re currently seeing in our workforce.

Katie Vernoy 4:37
I see the financial barrier and I think that making these types of courses or resources available as a benefit makes a lot of sense. Whether it’s a career center that teaches you not only how to run a business, but also how to get a job, how to set up your resume. I mean, I think there’s counseling programs that include career counseling and they get that as part of their coursework for other folks. But I think to me, if grad schools don’t have that resource available, I think it’s irresponsible. And I think as I’m saying this out loud, I think I don’t, I don’t want it to be a required course for graduation, I don’t want it to be a required course for licensure. And yet when something isn’t regulated, then people don’t do it, unless there’s some other incentive to do so. And I think, honestly, I don’t know that the grad schools would set folks up for success in this way unless they were required to.

Curt Widhalm 5:37
And all of the programs that I’ve taught in have had a career center services, it’s a resource that’s given to students. And I think in all practicalities, my experience, approximately 0% of students have taken advantage of those resources. And so, you know, there’s a lot of the chatter that we hear, you know, to us as podcast hosts of what we see in different online groups that says this should have been taught these resources should have been there. And more likely than not, those resources were there, it’s just that the, the workload that it takes to be a grad student and to be going through practicum. And everything else fills up so many hours during the week that it takes a really strong initiative or a really strong go get em idea to have the desire to start and pursued this kind of an extra education point at that point in your career. Because a lot of what I hear from therapists, and this is typically private practice therapists is I didn’t get taught how to run a business, that that’s part of what I should have been taught, you know, here’s how to file quarterly taxes. And I should have known how to, you know, file for this kind of thing, or here’s how to trademark protect my ideas, or any of this kind of stuff that let’s face it, those are independent practitioner sorts of problems. And for a lot of grad students, before they’re even registered as pre licensees in most states that this is several career steps ahead of it. And the timing of it just isn’t right. Like, yeah, these are ideas that can be introduced, but the practicalities of it, in my experience, just aren’t developmentally where a lot of grad students are. I think, in retrospect, yeah, a lot of these complaints of like, I wish that I had the skills to run a business or know how to do these things. Yeah, these are things to take a particular career path, but I don’t think that doing it at a developmental time, when people aren’t capable for it or aren’t ready for it or legally not allowed to put those things in place. It just ends up being so far off that it’s not a practical sort of training thing. It’s maybe like teaching middle schoolers how to drive. Like, yeah, more experience of being able to, you know, be familiar with a car is helpful. But if you’re not legally allowed to drive for another four or five, six years, it’s maybe a little bit too early to put some of this stuff in.

Katie Vernoy 8:13
I think it’s actually more like to teaching middle schoolers how to ride a bike on a public street. I think to me, I think that they there are so many pieces of this that I’m going to call you out because you’re saying in a previous episode, we’ll link to it that when someone graduates from grad school, they should go into a group practice. If they don’t have an idea of what a successful business looks like, they’re not going to choose a supervisor or a group, a group practice that actually has the strong business practices in place. And so you’re basically saying, hey, middle schooler, I’m not going to teach you how to ride a bike on public streets, I’m not going to teach you how to cross the street, but get in a car as soon as you graduate.

Curt Widhalm 8:56
No, I’m not saying that. What I’m saying is that teaching somebody how to run a business and teaching somebody how to operate within a business are are two different things. One you’re pointing out is career development sort of things how, how do I fit into responding to a supervisor? And how do I communicate about cases and how I’m working? Those things are already taught in practicum classes. So that experience is already coming up as far as practicum issues. When I’ve taught the practicum classes, a lot of discussions at some point or another in the semester talk about I’m I have this idea of how this thing is and my supervisor disagrees with it or the regulatory body that is funding therapy for these clients has a problem with the way that I see it. That that’s teaching assertive communication skills within a business. I’m talking about the Okay, here’s how I develop this sort of thing to run my own business in this episode. If it’s way too early to be teaching somebody how to run and operate a business, if that is not available to them until post licensure.

Katie Vernoy 10:11
All right, I’ll give you a portion of that. I think to me, when people are completely unaware, and having interviewed hundreds of folks right out of grad school, they were not taught assertive communication skills well, they certainly didn’t know how to interview. And they really didn’t have a sense of how to actually function within a business. I was teaching that to them along the way. And granted, that was fine. If somebody can kind of get themselves through an interview and get into a workplace that has that kind of mentorship, and guidance, they will get it. But if they don’t have it at all, which there were folks that just did not have any of it at all, you know, they were strong clinically, potentially, but they just didn’t have those skill sets on how do I fit within a business? Or how do I even think about this as a business? I mean, I certainly would have loved a lot of my clinicians to have recognized that productivity equals money, because there was so many arguments about why things were set up and properly. They didn’t feel like it was too hard. There was just no sense of how do I actually function within this business? What does all of this mean? That I really don’t think that there is sufficient business mindset that’s taught within grad school.

Curt Widhalm 11:42
Outside of business graduate programs, do you know of any other graduate programs that teach people at the graduate level these skills that you’re talking about. You know, I’m thinking, you know, physicists, like are they, they’re a portion of their their work that is, you know, alright, here’s, here’s your elective class of like, how you fit into Physics, Engineering Corporation, you know, LLC, or whatever it is. Like, I think that this is a universal sort of people skills sort of thing. And really, the purpose of grad school is teach people how to be clinicians, these other people skills of how they fit within systems falls more within industrial organizational psychology rather than the clinical psychology programs.

Katie Vernoy 12:29
I see that and I think we’re in agreement that it should not be a required class. I think it needs to be a better resource, a resource, it’s actually accessible. And a resource, it’s actually strong. I mean, you were talking about this ahead of time, and I had this experience as well, I mean, Career Centers are available. And people don’t use them, because they’re outdated. There are people that are kind of separate from this profession or separated from, you know, kind of the hands on clinical work that we all do, once we’re actually kind of out in the world practicing. I mean, I would go to some of these programs and do a small talk for an hour to three hours, whatever it was, I would talk with them about how to get a job at a community mental health organization, or even at a group private practice. And they would reach out to me for paid support. And some of them I would say, like, hey, I can help you. But have you tried your career center? You know, I think people were, we’re not getting the adequate resources. And I don’t know what the solution is. Certainly not a required class, because there are folks that come in, and this is their second career, they’ve run a business, they already have those skill sets, or they’ve, they’ve been a manager, and they know how to write a resume and do an interview. But I think to me, not having adequate resources that folks will actually access, I think, is a shortcoming of most programs.

Curt Widhalm 13:56
My experience as an educator is unless something’s required, the vast majority of students are not going to do it.

Katie Vernoy 14:04
But so it’s not worth the money to to actually have a good resource for that for the students who would access it.

Curt Widhalm 14:10
I don’t run universities at the level of the extra support sort of things. But what I can say from my experience being an educator is that if something is not required 99.9% of students don’t do it. If there is a suggested text, you know, a free online resource, here’s a extra journal article. Some students might read it, they might make reference to it. But the vast majority of students are so overwhelmed with work. Are so overwhelmed with the steep step into the extra coursework. The move from undergraduate classes were a lot of what class lectures are going to be is overlapping what the reading material is for the student and making that deeper. Where the step into graduate school is, you’re expected to do the reading and the lecture adds to what the reading is. So there is a an extra requirement as far as the time investment to work. And then especially once people are figuring out like, how, how do I go and sit in a room? Now that I’ve got a semester or two semesters of like, learning theory and that kind of stuff. Now I’m sitting in front of clients and like, I have forgotten two years of education, because I’m just so overwhelmed with being like, there’s just a developmental presence that making things optional, is, from a systemic standpoint, from a lot of educational institutions, I’m imagining, like, yeah, those resources are there, and they’re not utilized very well. And the investment into them, because of the use of them is probably lackluster, because not many people are there. So the only way that I can see this from kind of a systemic standpoint is you could make an optional class, and some people might take it. But once again, it’s still so far away from being practically able to be applied that it’s just kind of like these are advanced things that you’re going to have to learn at a different point in your life, because we’re trying to get you graduated. So that way you can go out and do the job, you getting the job, that’s probably another skill set that you’re going to have to build on.

Katie Vernoy 16:36
I think for me, the reason I am not completely on board with it being absolutely not involved in grad school, is because if I spend the money to get this license, if I am unemployable, or if I’m unable to be successful in what the job actually is, which includes either being an employee or being a business owner, it is something where to me if if I am unemployable, that is a whole bunch of money wasted.

Curt Widhalm 17:11
Yes, agreed.

Katie Vernoy 17:12
And so figuring out how to make someone, someone employable and or able to run a business feels like it’s part of the job of grad schools. I can’t speak to what other professions do. But to me, I mean, there’s, there’s opportunity, I guess, through practicum, through a lot of things, but it feels like there’s a kind of this is up to you, that a lot of folks, I mean, some people aren’t even given assistance and getting practicums, it’s kind of like come in, give us your money. And we will teach you how to be a therapist, we guess. But otherwise, you’re on your own, and we don’t care if you ever get a job.

Curt Widhalm 17:51
And that’s where spaces like award winning podcasts end up filling the role.

Katie Vernoy 17:58
It’s funny that you keep saying we’re award winning.

Curt Widhalm 18:02
But I think this is where there’s not a lot of times where I get Katie to actually do a spit take. But I think that this is the space where there are lots of people who recognize that this is a systemic issue. But I don’t think that there’s a lot of people who understand why this systemic issue is there. And I’m going to point towards the accreditation bodies of these graduate programs, and the requirements that these programs have to meet in order to keep these accreditations. The accreditations that I’m aware of, so I’m going to talk about COAMFTE here a little bit. But the things that they’re concerned about is graduation rates and number of students that move into the first professional level of licensure, which is getting registered as a pre licensed therapist. That’s what COAMFTE lays out for grad programs as some of some of their reporting requirements. And there are plenty of people who are way more familiar on this than I am. But that puts the pressure on the programs to get people graduated and get people registered.

Katie Vernoy 19:23
Yes, which has nothing to do with someone getting a job.

Curt Widhalm 19:25
Exactly. And so what ends up happening as far as these discussions of should business be put into this is that is outside the scope of what these accreditation bodies are requiring these programs to do and there are plenty of extra classes that continue to get added into especially master’s programs at this point. You know, when one of our favorite books we haven’t referenced this book in a while.

Katie Vernoy 19:56
Hi, Ben!

Curt Widhalm 19:57
Hi, Ben!

Katie Vernoy 20:01
We actually have to say the title.

Curt Widhalm 20:03
saving, saving, like Saving Psychotherapy is…

Katie Vernoy 20:08
By Dr. Ben Caldwell.

Curt Widhalm 20:09
By a friend of the show, Dr. Ben Caldwell did a lot of the research that, you know, back in the 80s, at least in California, and probably most of the rest of the country master’s programs were about 30 or so credits. When you and I went in the late 90s, early 2000s, I think our programs were about 45 semester units. Now they’re creeping up into mid 60s and 70s numbers of credits.

Katie Vernoy 20:37
Oh, my god.

Curt Widhalm 20:37
And this is despite all evidence that they don’t actually make better clinicians upon graduation. And so we’re getting this education creep and all of these wonderful ideas of, oh, this thing needs to be added into grad school, and there have been enough legislatures and licensing bodies that have agreed, like, okay, yeah, we need to add this requirement in. Because this does seem to be an emerging or missing piece of curriculum, that still isn’t making the clinical work that we do any better. And so to add this out into kind of career development sort of things, with a student population that has repeatedly shown time and time, again, we’re getting more overwhelmed, we’re getting more confused, it’s taking longer to get through school. 30 units is like a year and a half, 18 months of classes. Now programs are at two and a half, three years to get a master’s degree. You know, when I was growing up, the idea was that a doctoral program would take four years, our master’s programs are now taking nearly as long to get through as doctoral programs are. And so this is just kind of from a systemic end of things one of the things that yeah, it’s unfortunate that some people who want to go in and run their businesses are going to have to get that particular piece of education outside of the grad program. Because let’s face it, there are a lot of people who go and work in agencies that don’t need to know how to, you know, file, here’s my quarterly taxes, because, you know, I’m a self employed employee.

Katie Vernoy 22:18
I mean, the argument is not that it wouldn’t be worthwhile in this last argument, it’s that there already is too much. And to me, I think that’s, that’s limited. I think it’s practical, it’s real. And I agree with you, I don’t think we should add to an already huge, bloated curriculum. And yet, to me this solution of well, then we’ll just leave people on their own, and they have to get it elsewhere. That’s still a cost. It’s still like your adding to…

Curt Widhalm 22:49
I mean, it’s still, it’s still a cost for tuition. I mean, it’s…

Katie Vernoy 22:52

Curt Widhalm 22:53
Why not let students pay that money out of their pocket at the right developmental time in their life…

Katie Vernoy 22:59
Sure, but you’re saying basically, don’t do it because there’s already too much. And so it’s like, because it’s already messed up, we shouldn’t add to it, even if it’s worthy.

Curt Widhalm 23:11
I don’t think that it’s worthy enough at that point in somebody’s career, that as a student, it’s not the right time for it.

Katie Vernoy 23:21
Okay. I guess the other question I have is what actually would it look like were business actually taught in grad school?

Curt Widhalm 23:30
So I used to teach a class called Careers and Advocacy. And part of my role in this class was attempting to teach graduate students some of the business stuff that they may run into with their careers. And I would invite very wonderful speakers like Katie Vernoy, and Dr. Ben Caldwell to come and speak to my class about getting jobs and, and about being able to, you know, within the career and all this practice sort of stuff. And what I found from these students is, this doesn’t help me with my clients. Yeah, I know that there’s career center services, I have a resume already. But I don’t know what I don’t know yet, and for me to start forming this idea, I don’t really have the ability to see why I need to problem solve for problems that I haven’t run into yet. And so from my experience, and very practical experience from a class that was designed and tried to implement this, over the course of multiple years, this isn’t like a I did it once in gave up sort of thing. But realistically, what most people were concerned about was, how am I going to graduate? How am I going to get my hours? And kind of vaguely deal with my graduate student loans? And while there is a indirect line of like, well, you go and work. And then that money that you earn from that work goes and pays for your graduate loans. There’s just so much emphasis on, okay, you’ve been in practicum, and you’re working for free that there’s just kind of this idea of like, okay, here’s the way that things should be, but didn’t really have the grasp of like, okay, here’s what I’m actually facing. And that’s something that in workforce development sort of things, you can teach people about some of these, you know, theories and about some of these ideas of what it takes to get them practically in but that’s a seminar, not a course. Because putting that out in a course with people who can’t actually start having the practical due experience of it. And that’s where learning really happens is being able to do it is just, it’s at the wrong point in therapist development.

Katie Vernoy 26:00
So the thing that struck me when you were talking is that you also have all of the experience and very current experience running a practice. And you were teaching this class, I spoke for your class but I also spoke for a lot of other classes for folks who were more administrators within the school system, basically. And I had folks lined up for hours after the class asking me questions, why aren’t we taught this? This is so important. And I think the thing that the difference is that if it’s not integrated at all into the, into any of the curriculums, and this was a career class too, I don’t think it was the same exact one. But it was something where they were learning about career. And they were asking so many questions about what are my options? What kind of job should I ge now? What are the things I can do? What does a private practice look like? There was even just a seminar on career options. And so folks know what they’re actually getting into versus this idea of, I want to help people and I want to become a therapist. It’s like, when you teach folks this stuff at the end of their grad school program, they’re like, oh, my gosh, I had no idea this is what I was signing up for. And I think that’s problematic, too. I think being able to have some, maybe it’s an entry level course, or not even an entry level course. I agree. I don’t think it needs to be a whole class. But a seminar or something a day or two hours, whatever it is to really talk through what the job looks like. I think it’s important. I think people need to opt in and they think they need to know what’s going to be expected of them. I had folks sitting after grad school, they were sitting they were pre licensed, but the they were doing hours, but I had people sitting in a supervision class, ask or supervision group meeting, asking me about private practice, because they were dreaming of when they could leave the agency. And as I told them, I literally had someone say, that sounds like a business. And I’m like, it is. They had no idea. And so I think, even some sort of orientation, on what this actually is. And I think you could do a summit, you could do a full day seminar and probably teach the basics. I think you could do a couple of hours and have an overview. But I think there’s there’s not really a push, it seems like to me in a lot of programs, because they get into the ivory tower mentality of this is how you become a good clinician, not recognizing that if you can’t be a good employee, or you can’t run a business, that you can’t be present for your clients anyway. And so to me, I think just saying, well, it shouldn’t be taught in grad school, I think is obviously very provocative. And that’ll be the title of our episode. But I think it’s something where being able to have something that gives folks a better idea, and really giving them the opportunity to dig in and understand what this job actually looks like, I think is important.

Curt Widhalm 29:00
Part of what I’m hearing is, the question is, why isn’t this taught in grad school?

Katie Vernoy 29:08

Curt Widhalm 29:09
And I’ve explained that in this episode, and you’re still making a very compassionate like, but it shouldn’t be. No, I’ve I’ve answered why it’s not. And I think that that’s, that’s a very big piece of where our education is, and where a lot of the conversation is in our field is that we don’t like the answer to why it’s not. And there are plenty of good educational accreditation sort of answers for why it’s not. And there are plenty of really poor explanations for why extra classes on being a good clinician don’t pay off. But at the heart of this is a lot of people enter into this field with that ivory tower mentality of I’m going to help somebody or I want to run a practice someday and they don’t know what they don’t know. And I think that if a lot more people read Saving Psychotherapy before they apply to graduate schools, they would go in with a better appreciation and a better understanding of, okay, parts of the system are really messed up. And the goal should be to get through graduate school as quickly and cheaply as possible in a decent enough school because most of our education and most of what makes us good practitioners and understanding how the business interplays with our clients and how fees impact some people or how to talk with parents, when you’re working individually with their kids are skills that you just don’t really learn until you’re actually faced with them. And so there’s a lot of well intentioned, yeah, these things should be taught. But the bloated aspects of where higher education creep and graduate education creep goes, this is something where, all right, you’re going to face this developmentally later, you know, we’re going to lay out, you know, Piaget’s or Erickson’s stages, like you can talk to, you know, hey, 18 year old, here’s a big career developmental thing that you’re going to consider and they’re gonna go, Okay, I understand practically, that that’s what a 35 year old is going to face when you know, they’re stuck in 12 years of a job, because you know, they it has good health insurance, but the commutes an hour and a half each way. And they’ve got two kids that they never see. Like, these are things where it’s like, conceptually, yeah, I can learn about what that’s like. But until I’m kind of faced with that, that’s when it’s like, oh, this is this is me facing this decision at this point.

Katie Vernoy 31:45
I will, I will concur that the traditional grad school programs should not have business in them. I think that there should be an awareness, I think there probably should be more professors like you who have a practical awareness of what the job is, and so that can be infused within it. But to me, I’m not ready to let the grad schools off the hook for their responsibility to students. I feel like they are responsible to students to adequately prepare them for the job. And to me, maybe that’s short sighted. And it certainly is something where should we be taught this in grad school is very broad. And you’re going to a very concrete definition of should this be taught in grad school versus more of a philosophical, what is the responsibility that grad schools have to students on their employability, on their ability to have a sustainable career? And for me, I think maybe this is, again, my ambivalence. And you know, we can talk further on this in another episode as we’re running out of time, but I think there’s this element of saying, well, let’s just deal with the system as it is and get through it, versus how do we actually make these programs better? And to me, I don’t think it’s a it’s a battleground, that we’re prepared to go on as far as all of these additional courses and these bloated curriculums. But to me, there is a responsibility that grad schools, especially ones that charge so much that people are in huge amounts of debt, that they then can’t actually pay off because they can’t, they don’t have the skills to do the job to get paid for it. And so I don’t know the answer. And I certainly don’t feel like we need to add a required course, which is a very concrete understanding about grad schools teaching business. But I think there is a responsibility they’re falling down on.

Curt Widhalm 33:39
And I think from a licensing board sort of viewpoint from an accrediting body sort of viewpoint is they are teaching people the tasks to do a job. They are not teaching necessarily, nor feel the need that people need to be taught the career aspects of it. And I agree making some of these things available as an extra thing is what separates good supportive programs from those that don’t offer it. But really, in dealing with this as a particular systemic issue, you and I both know that legislative and licensing body sort of things are slow to move. And educational systems are even slower to move than that. And so, you know, this is kind of that practicality of like, what it should be is a philosophical debate. But in the meantime, the advice is, get through what you need to get through and deal with the things that you need to deal with at the times that you need to deal with them.

Katie Vernoy 34:48
And find a grad program that has good career services and keep in touch with their alums. I think there are, I think to your point, I think if if grad programs actually had some of these seminars available to alums at reasonable cost, there’s, there’s a real likelihood if they were good programs that they might be able to hit at the developmental stage and have a and hold to this responsibility a bit better to make sure that they’re actually helping their alums to sustain careers.

Curt Widhalm 35:21
We would love to hear your thoughts on how all of this fits in. You can follow us on our social media, you can become a patron and get some extra cool things, but you can also find our show notes over at And until next time, I’m Curt Widhalm, with Katie Vernoy.

Katie Vernoy 35:42
Thanks again to our sponsor, Thrizer.

Curt Widhalm 35:45
Thrizer is a new billing platform for therapists that was built on the belief that therapy should be accessible and clinician should earn what they are worth. Every time you bill a client through Thrizer an insurance claim is automatically generated and sent directly to the clients insurance. From there Thrizer provides concierge support to ensure clients get their reimbursement quickly and directly into their bank account. By eliminating reimbursement by cheque, confusion around benefits and obscurity with reimbursement status they allow your clients to focus on what actually matters rather than worrying about their money. It is very quick and easy to get set up and it works great with EHR systems.

Katie Vernoy 36:26
Their team is super helpful and responsive and the founder is actually a longtime therapy client who grew frustrated with his reimbursement times. Thrizer lets you become more accessible while remaining in complete control of your practice. Better experience for your clients during therapy means higher retention. Money won’t be the reason they quit on therapy. Sign up using and use the code ‘moderntherapists’ if you want to test Thrizer completely risk free. You will get one month of no payment processing fees meaning you earn 100% of your cash rate during that time.

Curt Widhalm 37:00
Once again, sign up at and use the code ‘moderntherapists’ if you want to test Thrizer completely risk free.

Announcer 37:10
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