Developing a Personal Brand: Legal, Ethical, and Clinical Implications

Developing a Personal Brand: Legal, Ethical, and Clinical Implications

Presented by Curt Widhalm, LMFT and Katie Vernoy, LMFT on 01-28-2019 at 9 a.m. Pacific (noon Eastern) to 10:30 a.m. Pacific (1:30 p.m. Eastern)

Modern therapists face a challenge totally new to many of them: the internet – and more specifically, the way many people have integrated social media into every aspect of their lives. In earlier decades, clinicians used to hang up a shingle, have clients come into their offices, and maintain a blank screen presence during treatment. That is not the norm anymore. Clients are searching for therapists online. They are exploring online therapist profiles and examining the content therapists put on the internet. 

How clinicians present themselves online is becoming more and more important to the success not only of their therapy business, but also in their clinical work. Therapists have to develop a personal brand to effectively market their practices and navigate today's very plugged-in existence. Many therapists initially feel uncomfortable with the idea of a personal brand or the amount of self-disclosure that seems required to have a “strong marketing plan.” It may make clinicians feel vulnerable and like they have to walk a scary tightrope in order to maintain appropriate legal, ethical, and clinical boundaries. 

In this 90-minute marketing webinar, Curt Widhalm, LMFT and Katie Vernoy, LMFT will discuss the legal, ethical, and clinical boundaries of developing a personal brand and its impact on clinical outcomes. The workshop will explore the potential influence of a clinician’s branding on the therapeutic alliance. This will include recent research on how the impression clients have about the therapist (i.e., pretreatment role expectations about the therapist’s expertise and ability to help the client solve their problems) are impacted by learning publicly available information about the therapist prior to initial contact. 

Curt and Katie will also explore the necessities of developing a practice niche and the pitfalls of overstepping flexible boundaries. They will incorporate experiential and self-reflective activities in this course to help therapists navigate complex issues. This course is designed to educate master's level therapists on marketing in a legal and ethical manner to identify a target market, incorporate use-of-self techniques, and maintain ethical boundaries within therapeutic relationships in an online world. 

This introductory instructional level web conference is designed to help clinicians: 

  1. Describe the professional-public-private continuum for self-disclosure and distinguish what to disclose as clinicians when developing their personal brand.
  2. List four factors that influence therapeutic alliance.
  3. Assess three ways that self-disclosure in marketing can impact therapeutic relationships. 
  4. Summarize four laws and ethical guidelines related to advertising a personal brand. 
  5. Create a living therapy brand that speaks to the ideal client and begins to develop the therapeutic alliance before they come in for their first session. 

If you have questions about this course, please contact us here.

How the Web Conference Works

Before the scheduled event, all registered attendees will be sent a reminder email from GoodTherapy with specific instructions on how to log in to the web conference center, as well as links to optional handout materials if applicable.

To attend the event, registered attendees will log in to the web conference center using a computer or device (smartphone or tablet with internet access) and calling into the teleconference line on a phone. Attendees will be able to ask live audio questions via phone and/or submit text chat questions via their computer or device. Attendees who are logged in to the event center will be able to see the live streaming video and/or document sharing. Alternatively, attendees may dial into the teleconference line only, though attendees dialing in by phone only will be unable to ask questions.

At the conclusion of this event, participants will receive an email with information about how to request a CE certificate in the GoodTherapy Member's Area. To confirm attendance, participants must enter the start and end codes announced at the beginning and end of the live presentation. Participants will also be prompted to complete an online survey evaluating the event. Participants will need to complete this online survey within six days after the event. Once completed, participants will be able to download a copy of their CE certificate instantly.

For additional information about this event or our CE grievance procedures, please contact us here

Continuing Education (CE) Information

1.5 CE contact hours will be provided by GoodTherapy for attending this web conference in its entirety.

GoodTherapy is an Approved Education Provider by NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals (provider #135463). Of the eight counselor skill groups ascribed to by NAADAC, this course is classified within Counseling Services.

Registration Information

GoodTherapy includes access to this web conference at no cost. Not yet a Premium Member? Mental health professionals can attend this live web conference for $29.95 or access the home study recording for $14.95.

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Meet the Presenters

Curt Widhalm, LMFT

Curt Widhalm, LMFT

Katie Vernoy, LMFT

Katie Vernoy, LMFT

Curt Widhalm and Katie Vernoy are both Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists in the Los Angeles area and co-hosts of The Modern Therapist's Survival Guide Podcast. They are also the creators of the Therapy Reimagined Conference - bringing together #moderntherapists to talk about how to build practices that welcome diversity, integrate technology and business systems, engage in advocacy for the profession, and how to grow yourself as a clinician by incorporating deliberate practice and self-care.

Both Katie and Curt have created successful private practices and are actively involved in the profession in many ways. Curt is a Subject Matter Expert for the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, and they are both Directors for the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.

Curt and Katie provide training and consultation to therapists who are entering the profession, starting and growing a therapy practice, and who are ready to step into leadership, all while navigating #moderntherapistproblems. You can learn more about their work at

Continuing Education Provider Approvals

  • Logo This course has been approved by, as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for educational credits. NAADAC Provider #135463. is responsible for all aspects of their programming.

550 CE hours and counting!

All are available to GoodTherapy Premium Members at no additional cost.