My Favorite Therapy Podcasts - UPDATED!

Caroline wiita Marriage and family therapy therapist psychotherapist graduate student masters degree doctorate phd MFT licensed prelicensed clinical social worker trainee intern associate

I spend an unreasonable amount of time in my car, so podcasts have been my saving grace. There are several great therapy podcasts I have stumbled across that have really broadened my understanding of the mental health field and introduced me to the huge variety of different paths you can take as a practitioner. Most podcasts release new episodes regularly, so I feel like they help me stay current even though my studying for school has been more focused on theoretical foundations, but I also recommend diving into the archives!

The Modern Therapist's Survival Guide, Curt Widhalm and Katie Vernoy
Medium format (25-35 minutes). One of my very favorite podcasts, especially because there are frequently new episodes. Curt and Katie are very involved in the accompanying Facebook group, which is awesome for when you've got questions about episodes or anything in general! Recommended to add to your playlist!

Psychotherapy Notes Podcast, Ben Caldwell, PhD, LMFT
Very short format (under 10 minutes). Part of how I decided to become an MFT was by reading every single thing posted by Dr. Caldwell on his excellent blog, Psychotherapy Notes. Dr. Caldwell is a passionate advocate for the profession with a clear and engaging style that's both easy and invigorating to read--he really wants the reader to understand what he's saying. He just launched his podcast, and I'm really excited to see where it goes from here.

Caroline Wiita Marriage and family therapy therapist psychotherapist graduate student masters degree doctorate phd MFT licensed prelicensed clinical social worker trainee intern associate

Psychology in Seattle (Premium)Dr. Kirk Honda
Long to extremely-long format (30 minutes - 2+ hours). I only recently became a patron at Patreon so I could access some of the full episodes that were interesting to me. Try the free podcast first and if you enjoy the format, I recommend upgrading. I have gotten my money's worth listening to the therapist development episodes--I would say this podcast has been the most relevant to my experience as a student/trainee.

Talking Therapy, RJ Thomas, MFT & John Webber, MFT
Long-format (each episode is around an hour). This is one of my favorite ones but it doesn't get updated frequently.The hosts' media/entertainment industry experience shows--it's not overly-scripted but the interviews always flow. They also aren't selling anything, so you just get a lot of great information. They cover a wide variety of topics and always have quality guests. I appreciate how the hosts are mindful of explaining terms that "future therapists of America" might not understand yet. My only complaint is that I wish there were more episodes!

Caroline Wiita Marriage and family therapy therapist psychotherapist graduate student masters degree doctorate phd MFT licensed prelicensed clinical social worker trainee intern associate

Starting a Counseling Practice, Kelly Higdon LMFT & Miranda Palmer LMFT
Medium format (25-40 minutes). These ladies are a wellspring of great information about becoming a therapist and developing a private practice. They've got episodes going back to 2015 available on iTunes, and if you've got a question, chances are they've covered it!


The Private Practice StartupDr. Kate Campbell & Katie Lemieux
Medium format (30-45 minutes). I really like the style and energy of these hosts. The pace of each episode really keeps up, so they cover a ton of information in a short amount of time. Covers a lot of great business building information.

Caroline Wiita Marriage and family therapy therapist psychotherapist graduate student masters degree doctorate phd MFT licensed prelicensed clinical social worker trainee intern associate

The Abundant Practice Podcast, Allison Puryear
Medium format (20-30 minutes). Very focused on practice-building if you're looking for the nitty-gritty. Occasionally Allison does episodes where she coaches a clinician about their specific issues and the we get to listen in--I really enjoy these episodes! Episode #67, "All About GDPR" was especially helpful.

YouTube LecturesDr. Diane Gehart, LMFT
OK this is not actually a podcast, but still I think the sooner you check these out, the better off you'll be. Dr. Gehart has several lectures posted on YouTube that cover various orientations and also more nuts-and-bolts things like APA style and BBS hour logging (for California trainees/associates). They're very popular with people studying for the licensing exam, but I found them to be an invaluable adjunct to my introductory counseling theories course in my first semester of grad school.

Hidden Brain, Shankar Vedantam
Medium format (25-50 minutes). Not strictly about psychotherapy, but it is so fascinating! And really, really well done (it comes from NPR). I can't explain it any better than they do on their website: "Hidden Brain links research from psychology and neurobiology with findings from economics, anthropology, and sociology, among other fields. The goal of Hidden Brain isn't merely to entertain, but to give you insights to apply at work, at home and throughout your life."

Invisibilia, Alix Spiegel, Hanna Rosin, & Lulu Miller
Long format (1 hour). Another NPR/not-strictly-psychotherapy podcast, but a must-listen: "We weave incredible human stories with fascinating new psychological and brain science, in the hopes that after listening, you will come to see new possibilities for how to think, behave and live."

The Radical Therapist, Chris Hoff, PhD(c), LMFT
Long format (40-60+ minutes). Admittedly, I believe I personally am leaning towards a postmodern orientation, and this podcast has a heavy dose of that. As a new graduate student, I find the "Therapist Roundtable" episodes particularly helpful (I think I've listened to episodes 28 and 38 three times each). He's also had big-time guests like Scott Miller, Ph.D. and Harlene Anderson, Ph.D.

The Psychology Podcast, Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman
Medium format (30-50 minutes). Dr. Kaufman is an acquired taste, I think--though his enthusiasm is delightful, he can sometimes seem a little pushy. That being said, I always get so much out of his podcast. He gets great guests and engages them in deep, thoughtful, yet briskly-paced dialogue.

Where Should We Begin?, Esther Perel
Medium format (35-40 minutes). As someone who's nowhere near actually being in a room with a client yet, this podcast feels a little like field observation meets television drama. I'm absolutely obsessed with it, but at this point I find it more entertaining than instructional. The focus is definitely on the couples rather than on Perel's techniques.

Selling the Couch, Melvin Varghese, Ph.D.
Medium format (30-40 minutes). One of the biggest complaints I heard when I was researching graduate programs was that no school prepares you for the business aspects of running a private practice. There are several podcasts that seek to fill this void, and honestly they do a great job. If you listen to all of them, you will start to hear the same themes surface over and over, but for me I hope that's just helping me learn it better. Melvin seems like a genuinely nice person and I enjoy his honesty/vulnerability in discussing his own struggles.

Practice of the Practice, Joe Sanok
Usually medium format (30-40 minutes) but sometimes he does a short format series (15 minutes). Joe Sank is the private practice guru. He does consulting on starting and growing a private practice, so a lot of the guests are clients of his and he does frequently pitch his services. However, it's a TON of free useful information, and he's very encouraging of private pay services.

The Therapist Experience, Perry Rosenbloom
Medium format (20-40 minutes). This podcast is produced by Brighter Vision, a therapist website company, and the guests are generally clients who have had success with their website. A lot of great nuts and bolts info on running a private practice--another one that advocates private pay. Perry, the host, is kind of hilarious because he sticks to a very structured script every episode, but it's clear that sometimes his guests aren't familiar with the format, so they get blindsided by the questions even though regular listeners are waiting for them. Makes me giggle.

Caroline Wiita Marriage and family therapy therapist psychotherapist graduate student masters degree doctorate phd MFT licensed prelicensed clinical social worker trainee intern associate

The John ClarkcastJohn Clarke
Short to medium format (5-40 minutes). Another one on building and marketing a private practice. Lot of different approaches--interviews, series focused on particular aspects of marketing, more general business systems stuff, etc. A great one to add to the playlist!

Therapist Club House, Annie Schuessler, MFT
Medium format (30-40 minutes). The host is a business coach, so as with the two previous podcasts, many guests are clients. I like how in-depth she gets with her clients' experiences--I particularly enjoyed the 12/25/17 episode with Jennie Steinberg.

Businesses in Bloom, Juliet Austin
Medium format (40-45 minutes). A former therapist, the host is now a marketing consultant for private practitioners. There's a wide variety of guests so you can become acquainted with the different options in the field, and there is a focus on marketing.

Therapist Uncensored, Dr. Ann Kelley and Sue Marriott
Long format (40-60 minutes).  More content-oriented than focused on business aspects.

Therapy Chat, Laura Reagan, LCSW-C
Long format (40-60 minutes). Another more content-oriented podcast, but she does really get into what it's like to practice from different orientations and some early episodes focus on more practical issues (#39, Designing a Website with Empathy).

Shrink Rap Radio, David Van Nuys, Ph.D.
Long format (60-75 minutes). Content-oriented and with a VERY deep archive--episodes go back to 2005, so there's lots to browse through.


Points of Interest:

The Alphabet Soup of Mental Health Professions in California

Marriage and family therapy therapist psychotherapist graduate student masters degree doctorate phd MFT licensed prelicensed clinical social worker trainee intern associate

Personally, I made the choice to pursue marriage & family therapy because, after reading about the different licenses, the MFT most strongly resonated with me in terms of philosophy and approach. Early on in my research of local programs, I came across CSUN, which seemed like a perfect fit for me, so I never did expand my search to investigate social work programs. In some corners of the internet, proponents of each license can get in some pretty brutal debates over which is "better." It seems to me now, however, that there isn't a vast difference between the two options. I'm getting a sense that, at my school at least, the social work program seems to have more scholarships available. However, I've also learned that MSW students cannot count hours earned during their graduate program towards the hours needed for licensure; MFT students can count up to 1300 hours earned during graduate school towards the 3000 hours required by the state of California to become licensed. So ultimately I think there are pros and cons of each option--which is best for YOU is  completely subjective.

This post first appeared on MFT California.

Before beginning the search for a graduate program, you need to decide what license you ultimately want to hold--and in order to do that, you need to determine what scope of practice in the mental health services field appeals to you.

Psychiatrists can both provide psychotherapy (talk therapy) and prescribe medications. As medical doctors, they are the only mental health providers qualified to prescribe medication. To become a psychiatrist, you must go to medical school, specialize in psychiatry, and ultimately be licensed by the state medical board.

Psychologists are also required to have a doctorate degree (PhD or PsyD) in order to become licensed in California. Psychologists provide psychotherapy as well as psychometric assessments; additionally, if research and academia is of interest to you, most universities require full-time faculty to have a doctorate degree.

However, if you want to focus on the clinical practice of psychotherapy--that is, if you're mainly interested in interacting directly with clients--you may be most interested in the LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist), LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker), and LPCC (Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor) licenses. In California, these licenses are administered by the Board of Behavioral Sciences (the BBS). According to the BBSmarriage and family therapy is a "service performed with individuals, couples, or groups wherein interpersonal relationships are examined for the purpose of achieving more adequate, satisfying, and productive marriage and family adjustments." Clinical social work is defined as "a service in which a special knowledge of social resources, human capabilities, and the part that unconscious motivation plays in determining behavior, is directed at helping people to achieve more adequate, satisfying, and productive social adjustments." Finally, professional clinical counseling is the "application of counseling interventions and psychotherapeutic techniques to identify and remediate cognitive, mental, and emotional issues, including personal growth, adjustment to disability, crisis intervention, and psychosocial and environmental problems."  Many MFT master's programs in California also qualify graduates to sit for the LPCC licensing exam, either with no modifications to the curriculum or as a specialization that includes some coursework beyond what is required for the master's in marriage and family therapy. To become an LCSW, however, you must attend a program at an accredited school of social work. You can qualify for these licenses with a doctorate degree, but only a master's-level degree is required.

If you are interested in working with children in school, you may want to consider the LEP (Licensed Educational Psychologist) license and/or the PPS (Pupil Personnel Services) credential. Both of these designations require a master's degree only, even though an individual licensed as an LEP is called an educational psychologist. LEP's work "in an educational setting to provide testing, counseling, and intervention to promote academic learning," while the PPS credential is "is required for those who work in public schools in California and is offered in the following four sub-specialties: School Counseling, School Psychology, School Social Work, and School child welfare/attendance services." Some MFT master's programs in California offer the ability to earn the PPS credential as well as a master's degree in marriage and family therapy. The LEP is administered by the BBS, while the PPS credential is administered by the  Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

Which license to pursue is a highly personal decision and depends on future career goals, interest in the curriculum, and intended location of practice. We strongly encourage you to browse the resources we've assembled below to educate yourself on the differences between the licenses and the pros and cons of each.

If you are just beginning your research, I recommend reading "Pathways to the Helping Professions: A Guide to Graduate Study," provided by Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. Intended for psychology students in the bachelor's degree program, it both elucidates the field of mental health services and offers guidance for self-reflection on what path you may find the most fulfilling.

Professons and Licenses 

Definitions of Possible Degrees and Licenses, provided by California State University, Fullerton
Careers in the Helping Professions, provided by UCLA
Overview of Licensed Mental Health Professions in California, by Dr. Denise Gretchen-Doorly, PhD.
"So You Want to Be a Counselor/Therapist? Let Me Tell You the Different Ways," by Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz
"Knowing is Half the Battle, Part 1," by Laura E. Buffardi Ph.D. for
"Knowing is Half the Battle, Part 2,"by Laura E. Buffardi Ph.D. for

Difference Between Master's and Doctorate Level Degrees

"Masters vs. Doctorate in Clinical Psychology," by Jonathan Golding, Ph.D. and Anne Lippert, PhD for
"About Graduate Study in Psychology," by Heidi R. Riggio for California State University, Los Angeles
"Masters versus PhD: Which Should You Apply For?", by Laura E. Buffardi Ph.D. for

Marriage and Family Therapy

"Who Are LMFTs?", provided by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
"The MFT Career Spectrum," provided by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy
"Where People with MFT Degrees Work," provided by

Social Work

Accredited Schools of Social Work in California, provided by the BBS
"Pathway to Social Work Licensure in California," provided by the University of Southern California
"Careers in Social Work," provided by
"How to Become a Clinical Social Worker," provided by
"What does a clinical social worker do? An insider's look at a day in the life," provided by the College of St. Scholastica

Difference Between LMFT, LCSW, LPCC

Master of Marriage and Family Therapy vs. Master of Social Work Comparison Table, provided by University of Southern California
"What’s the difference between an MFT, an LPC (or LPCC), and an LCSW?," by Dr. Benjamin E. Caldwell, PsyD
What are the Differences MFT vs MSW (LCSW) Degree, provided by
"Therapist, Counselor or Social Worker?", by David Joel Miller
"Social Work Vs Counseling: Which Degree Is Right For You?", by Brian Childs
"Understanding the Differences between LPCC vs. MFT Fields," by Gabe Duverge for Touro University Worldwide

Dual Licensure

"LPCC & LMFT: The Guide to Dual Licensure," provided by the Chicago School of Professional Psychology
"LPCC vs. LMFT: The Benefits of Dual Licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist and Professional Clinical Counselor," provided by Argosy University

School-Centered Mental Health Services

Becoming a School Counselor, provided by the California Association of School Counselors
Licensed Educational Psychologist (LEP) Requirements, provided by the BBS
Requirements for the PPS Credential, provided by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing
"What’s Right for Me? Clinical Counseling Versus School Counseling," by Gabriela Acosta for
"Who Are School Psychologists," provided by the National Association of School Psychologists


Points of Interest:

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