Therapists and mental health professionals have a lot on their plates. From meeting clients' needs, to keeping up with current research and trends, to finding a work-life balance, it's tough to keep all the balls in the air.
That's why we've compiled a list of the best therapy podcasts in 2021. Carving out time to listen to a podcast is a little easier than sitting down to read the latest medical journal. These podcasts will inspire, entertain, and educate, allowing you to best serve your clients while practicing a little self-care, too.
The Therapy Experts
With so many podcasts related to the mental health space, it's hard to sift through them all. So we went right to the people who know what therapists need and want in a podcast. We asked a national pool of therapists to identify their favorite podcasts and have included their recommendations in our list.
- Aleta Storch of Wise Heart Nutrition and Wellness
- Billy Roberts of Focused Mind ADHD Counseling
- Susanna Guarino of Good Earth Counseling
- Lydia Nichols of Grow Therapy
- Helen Dempsey-Henofer, who practices in Virginia and the Carolinas
- Susannah Saunders, who offers teletherapy sessions from the UK
- Alisha Sweyd of Code 3 Counseling
- Host: Dr. David Van Nuys
- Listen On: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | TuneIn
- What It's About: Informative, entertaining and honest, Dr. Dave interviews a range of guests on topics related to psychology. From dreams to developmental psychology to big data psychiatry to Jungian psychotherapy to social issues and spirituality, you're sure to find a topic that pertains to your area of practice.
- Why You'll Love It: First, the playful name is fun and the host is engaging. Second, with more than 750 episodes, there's plenty of content. You'll never run out of shows. Not sure where to start? Check out the "best of" list that's divided by topics. Third, you can earn CEUs for listening to some of the podcast interviews. It's a win-win!
- Host: Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft
- Listen On: Apple Podcasts | Spotify
- What It's About: “Happier” has been heralded far and wide as among the best podcasts out there. It was listed among iTunes’ “Best Podcasts of 2015,” as well as the Academy of Podcasters’ “Best Podcasts of 2016.” It also received a 2020 Webby Award for “Best of the Internet.” The show offers an interesting mix of useful life hacks, interviews with experts, self-care tips and discussions about what truly makes us happy. For example, in one of the mini-episodes (dubbed "A Little Happier"), the hosts explore how we make ourselves happier by making others happier.
- Why You'll Love It: Host Gretchen Rubin conveys complex ideas using humor. Her approach makes tough subjects approachable and relatable. The content is uplifting, easy to absorb, and positive. The tips and tools are perfect for therapists to use in their own lives, as well as to share with clients.
3. Food Psych
- Host: Christy Harrison
- Listen On: Apple Podcasts | Google | Stitcher
- What It's About: In production since 2013, “Food Psych” discusses the connection between the brain and food. Host Christy Harrison is a dietician who wants to help listeners make peace with food. She challenges diet culture and encourages body positivity. It offers non-triggering support for listeners in recovery from eating disorders, weight stigma, and body shame. It's a great tool for therapists who want to help clients identify body-confident strategies.
- Why You'll Love It: “Food Psych” is an extremely popular podcast and one of Apple’s top 100 Health podcasts. Tens of thousands listen weekly. Storch says the podcast has contributed to her growth as a therapist and her ability to offer weight-inclusive, justice-informed care to clients. "It is a MUST-listen for any and all healthcare providers who want to practice through an anti-oppression lens," she says.
- Host: Dr. Kirk Honda
- Listen On: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Patreon
- What It's About: The podcast with a simple title describes itself in an even more nondescript tagline: “Entertaining and educational.” Hosted by Dr. Kirk Honda, the podcast covers a vast array of topics that many podcasts won't touch. The podcast is set up as a Q&A format with occasional deep dives into topics outside the mainstream, such as narcissistic personality disorder or attachment theory.
- Why You'll Love It: Roberts says the podcast is the best he has found for therapists who want to expand their horizons. "(Honda) has an unmatched wealth of knowledge, particularly for modern applications of psychodynamic theory," Roberts says. And if Dungeons and Dragons is your thing, you can follow Honda and friends' campaign that serves as an example of a social skills group for adolescents.
- Host: Dr. Bridget Nash
- Listen On: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Stitcher
- What It's About: Even experienced therapists will learn something by listening to “The Therapy Show.” The podcast offers therapists the opportunity to expand their knowledge of specialized treatment areas through interviews with subject matter experts working in the field. Host Dr. Bridget Nash covers an amazing breadth of topics. Her guests are highly credentialed and focus on evidence-based methodologies. She interviews Dr. Judith Beck, Dr. Richard Schwarz, Dr. Elizabeth Nielson, Dr. Sue Johnson, and many others. After listening, you can take a deeper dive by signing up for a new training, reading a book, or learning more about the modality.
- Why You'll Love It: Guarino says she's listened to every episode and found each to be informative and applicable to her clinical work. "I've learned new information about ethics, evidence-based treatments, cutting-edge research, and areas of the field that are less familiar to me, such as mobile crisis counseling and psilocybin-assisted therapy," she says.
- Host: Melvin Varghese
- Listen On: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher
- What It's About: Varghese helps budding therapists learn to set up their own practice and grow referrals. By interviewing successful practitioners, as well as marketing, productivity, and social media experts, he ensures listeners get the information they need to be successful. He also shares his wisdom for creating profitable side hustles.
- Why You'll Love It: You don't get lots of theory or pie-in-the-sky ideas with “Selling the Couch.” Varghese offers simple, actionable tips to guide your journey into private practice. In interviews, Varghese asks guests to share daily habits that help them be productive, as well as mistakes they've made along the way.
- Host: Esther Perel
- Listen On: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify
- What It's About: If you've ever wanted to be a fly on the wall in a therapist's office, this is your chance. Perel counsels couples who are battling complicated, deeply personal issues. She's not afraid to tackle delicate dynamics like racism within extended families, coming out in a religious family, chronic infidelity, and more. Clinical therapists are not the intended audience, but there's a lot to learn from Perel's approach.
- Why You'll Love It: Recommended by Nichols, the podcast provides a framework for therapists who may be tackling some of these issues for the first time. She provides insight that others might miss. The podcast is also akin to shadowing another provider, giving therapists the opportunity to learn from peers. And it's just fun to hear what other therapists' and clients' experiences are like!
- Hosts: Dr. Christian Jarrett, Ginny Smith, Ella Rhodes, Emily Reynolds, Dr. Matthew Warren
- Listen On: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Spotify
- What It's About: Research is great, but sometimes it's hard to determine how to apply it to your practice and life. “PsychCrunch” attempts to show you how to put theory into practice by applying research to real-life scenarios. The podcast is produced by the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest and features a rotating slate of hosts.
- Why You'll Love It: The episodes are short, about 10 minutes each. That means it's easy to listen without having to carve out an hour of your day. Topics are fun, too. In "How to Win an Argument," learn why convincing people of your point of view is so difficult.
- Hosts: Alison Gomez and Nikki Hafner
- Listen On: Spotify
- What It's About: Dempsey-Henofer says “Rebel Revolution” is the call-to-action therapists need. The podcast discusses deeply embedded biases through lenses of white supremacy, patriarchal society, ableism, and more. The hosts have timely conversations on social power in America.
- Why You'll Love It: Nothing is held back in “Rebel Revolution.” If four-letter words are a problem, this probably isn't a podcast for you. And expect to feel uncomfortable. The hosts ask questions required for therapists to get accountable and be anti-oppressive. Dempsey-Henofer says therapists need this in order to stay accountable to do the work.
- Host: Guy McPherson
- Listen On: Apple Podcasts | Spotify
- What It's About: To put it simply, the “Trauma Therapist Podcast” features "interviews about what it means to sit with those who have been impacted by trauma.” Host McPherson talks with trauma therapists to share their work and insights into the practice. As the research on the impact of trauma has advanced in recent years, best treatment practices have advanced rapidly. The podcast helps shed light on research and topics therapists need to know to help clients heal.
- Why You'll Love It: McPherson has a standard interview style. In each episode, he asks guests various things, like their favorite inspirational quotes, to identify a mistake they made early on, to offer advice for new therapists, or books they recommend. The exchanges are always friendly, engaging, and filled with useful information.
11. Unlocking Us
- Host: Brene Brown
- Listen On: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify
- What It’s About: Launched in 2020, this podcast discusses the human experience so we can better understand what makes each other tick. From making love last to discussions of race in America to coping with grief, Brown doesn't shy away from any topic. She also talks with entertainers, authors, politicians, and musicians, seeking insights into pop culture's role in our common experience.
- Why You’ll Love It: Saunders says the podcast is a fantastic blend of down-to-earth honesty, personal anecdotes, and influential research around the workings of the human mind. Brown's warmth and humor draw listeners in to really think about hard-hitting topics. "As a therapist, I've gained important insights on how and why we all react so differently and what we can do to help our clients experience healing in a way that reflects their unique internal processes," Saunders says.
- Host: Whitney Owens
- Listen On: Apple Podcasts | Audible
- What It's About: Designed to help faith-based counselors create and grow practices, “Faith in Practice” focuses more on what goes on behind the scenes. Host Whitney Owens shares a wealth of knowledge about how to start or grow a practice while keeping your faith as a grounding value.
- Why You'll Love It: The podcast is a great resource that can help your business thrive. Owens teaches things not learned in grad school. As Sweyd puts it, "From a faith-based counselor perspective, she is incredible at helping to understand how to run a business without feeling like I am taking advantage of people and not serving the way many Christian folks believe we should." With guidance from the podcast, Sweyd has increased her rates, hired help, and started her own podcast.
The podcast realm is vast, and there are many more shows out there that cater to therapists. While our list is by no means exhaustive, these podcasts stand as some of the best available for therapists and mental health pros. Start with one of these great shows and explore further on your own to discover even more useful and engaging content for therapists!