Kirk Honda, PsyD, LMFT, is chair of the Couple and Family Therapy Program at Antioch University Seattle and has been practicing as a family therapist in Seattle since 1996. He also hosts the Psychology in Seattle podcast and the Couple and Family Therapy podcast. Michele Loewy, MS, LMFTA, interviewed Mr. Honda about his popular podcast: Psychology in Seattle.
Michele Loewy: Why did you create the podcast?
Kirk Honda: In the summer of 2008, I was listening to various podcasts (e.g., This American Life), and during lunch one day, I told a therapist friend, “I’m thinking about starting my own podcast about therapy.” He said, “Go for it.” So I went for it.
I don’t know why I have persisted making episodes year after year, especially since the podcast doesn’t provide much benefit to my career. I guess it’s just fun for me.
ML: Is there an overarching theme?
KH: The overarching theme is psychotherapy. This provides a never-ending supply of presentations, conversations, and rants. As with all aspects of my career, I want to make a positive difference in the world by providing useful information, dispelling destructive myths, advocating for marginalized groups, and helping people feel loved. I don’t know if I’m successful, but I sleep better at night knowing I tried.
ML: How do you select topics?
KH: I select topics in various ways: perhaps I’ll discover a relevant topic during a conversation with a student or supervisee, or an expert will ask to be interviewed on the podcast, or I’ll read something in the news and I’ll want to rant about it, or I’ll experience something with a client, or something will happen in my personal life.
Also, listeners suggest topics. For example, a listener recently emailed me and told me that her older male therapist was lying on the couch with her and putting his arms and legs around her (without consent) while telling her he was sexually attracted to her. To verify her story, she provided his progress notes and other documentation. (It should be noted that he is a licensed, doctoral-level family therapist.) After reviewing all the documentation and the prevailing literature, I told her that he was clearly practicing outside the standard of care and that she had every right to complain. I made two episodes about her story with the hope of empowering her and other victimized clients to voice their experience and take action against other abusive therapists. This prompted her to make a formal complaint with the licensing board and to file a civil suit against him.
ML: How would someone benefit from listening to your podcasts?
KH: A listener emailed us this morning and wrote that she likes the podcast because “it’s a good mix of entertaining, educating, and advocating.” Many listeners are therapists who are looking for information and inspiration for their work. Some listeners are clients who use the podcast as an addition to their ongoing therapy. Some listeners are instructors who use some episodes as extra credit. And some listeners are laypersons who are interested in psychology and psychotherapy.
ML: What are some things you’ve learned that have been clinically valuable from doing the podcasts?
KH: I have learned so much from the podcast. We’ve made 350+ episodes, and before each episode, I spend hours researching each topic. For instance, in preparation for the three-hour Bowen episode, I spent four weeks reading everything I could about Murray Bowen and his theory. I’ve also learned immensely from the guests who have presented on topics such as internal family systems, art therapy, dance/movement therapy, improv therapy, drama therapy, music therapy, Dungeons and Dragons therapy, sandplay therapy, Minecraft therapy, Jungian psychology, video game addiction, polyamory, infidelity, marijuana etiquette, psychopharmacology, and many other topics.
ML: What overarching message do you want listeners to come away with?
KH: Ultimately, I want listeners to care for others and know that they deserve compassion too. In each episode, no matter what we talk about, I try to get that point across.
Kirk Honda can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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