Smarter than SMART: How therapists can improve goal-setting with clients


Katie Vernoy, LMFT and Curt Widhalm, LMFT | 1 CE hour | Podcourse

Many therapists learn SMART Goals and objectives as the primary tools for creating treatment plans. Oftentimes, goal setting can be a check box for insurance or a frustrating activity that doesn’t seem to support clinical progress. We dig deeper into how to make SMART goals better (SMARTer goals?), and we will uncover and address the limitations of SMART goals. The current research on how to move past SMART goals to more effective and strategic planning for change also helps to make our clients dig deeper into the process of achieving their goals. We also explore additional goal-setting models to inform and create a more robust goal setting strategy…and we do it all with a demonstration on how to put it into action!

At the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify 3 benefits of goal setting activities
  2. Differentiate goal setting from behavior design
  3. Implement a robust structure for setting goals and creating treatment plans with clients

Our Presenters

Katie Vernoy, LMFT

Katie Vernoy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, with a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from California State University, Fullerton and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Theater from Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. Katie’s experience spans many leadership and management roles in the mental health field since getting her license in 2005: program coordinator, director, clinical supervisor, hiring manager, recruiter, and former President of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Learn more at:


Curt Widhalm, LMFT

Curt Widhalm is in private practice in the Los Angeles area. He is a member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) ethics committee, an Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University, lecturer in Counseling Laws and Ethics at California State University Northridge, a former Law & Ethics Subject Matter Expert for the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, and former CFO of CAMFT. Learn more at:


CAMFT CEPA Therapy Reimagined is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LPCCs, LCSWs, and LEPs (CAMFT CEPA provider #132270). Therapy Reimagined maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Courses meet the qualifications for the listed hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. We are working on additional provider approvals, but solely are able to provide CAMFT CEs at this time. Please check with your licensing body to ensure that they will accept this as an equivalent learning credit.