You Can't Trust Your Gut

You Can’t Trust Your Gut

Curt and Katie talk about the ins and outs of intuition. We look at when you can trust your gut feelings and when you cannot. We sort through how to actually develop and use clinical intuition as well as the problems that can come into play when you do not follow the appropriate steps.

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:

  • Definitions of the 4 types of intuition: mystical, spurious, inferential, wholistic
  • Confirmatory bias – how it can be known, but go unrecognized
  • How operant conditioning might be supporting your feeling of being able to trust your gut
  • Discounting affect (ignoring when your assumptions were wrong)
  • Whether or not we should pay attention to Mercury in Retrograde
  • The challenge of looking for evidence that both supports and challenges your assumptions
  • The different individual characteristics that get in the way of evaluating things appropriately
  • The importance of deliberate practice
  • The two different thinking processes described by Daniel Kahneman in Thinking Fast and Slow
  • The need to test our assumptions, even though it is potentially laborious or threatening
  • Using the scientific method
  • The problem with “mindbugs” like the availability heuristic and the misinformation effect in trying to actively improve our ability to assess data
  • Deductive intuition versus inductive intuition
  • Conditions required to use clinical intuition: regularity, practice, immediate feedback
  • Looking for things that prove you wrong, hearing and sorting through both positive and negative feedback
  • A danger of specialization where you fit every client into your area of focus
  • The left brain/right brain fallacy
  • When case examples or individual stories don’t honor all of the times that clinicians are wrong
  • Unexamined bias is a constant challenge in trying to make sure you are evaluating the actual data and not what you are expecting to see

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 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!

Glyn Brokensha – Clinical Intuition: more than rational?

Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Awakening Intuition by Terry Marks-Tarlow

Therapy Reimagined 2020 Call for Speakers

Therapy Reimagined 2020 Call for Sponsors

Relevant Episodes and Blog Posts:

Saying “Trust Your Gut” Is Bad Advice

Deliberate Practice episodes:

Be a Better Therapist

Finding Your Blindspots

Connect with us!

Our Facebook Group – The Modern Therapists Group

Get Notified About Therapy Reimagined 2020 (and TR2019 Virtual Conference)

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, 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:

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:

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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