Sean Davis, PhD, LMFT
How do you decide, just from looking at a website, whether to invite someone into some of the most vulnerable aspects of your life? It’s hard, I get it. You’ve likely been considering getting professional help for a long time. But what if you spend all that time, money and emotional effort opening up only to find you don’t fit with the therapist? I’ve been in those shoes myself with my family, and it can be overwhelming. Therapy is a risk.
Chances are you feel more comfortable seeing me because you’ve been referred to me by a trusted friend – that’s how most people find me. But if not, or even if so and you’d still like to get a sense of me, I’m happy to talk with you before you come so you can decide if we’d be a good fit. My clients describe me as warm, kind, direct, and above all sincerely concerned for their well-being. My caseload is small – only seven people per week – so you get my undivided attention. I’d love to hear from you!Dr. Sean Davis
I received a Bachelor’s degree in Family Studies from Brigham Young University. I received a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from BYU as well before moving to Blacksburg, VA where I earned a PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy at Virginia Tech. I then completed a postdoc as a visiting faculty member at the University of Kentucky.
I enjoy doing a lot of different things – I’d go insane if I ever had to do just one thing!
Clinically, I’ve been practicing individual, couple and family therapy continuously for 20 years at university clinics and agencies in Utah, Virginia, Kentucky and then in private practice in California.
I’ve spent my career as an academic. I started as a visiting professor in the University of Kentucky’s MFT program, then was honored to accept a position as Assistant professor helping start Alliant International University’s Sacramento MFT program, the only COAMFTE accredited (the highest level of MFT accreditation in the United States) MFT training program in Northern California. I’ve remained there since, working my way up to tenure and Full Professor status.
I also enjoy writing. I’ve co-authored seven books, including two of my field’s most widely-used theory textbooks and the first textbook on common factors, a now-popular area of study in my field. It is humbling to know my books are on the shelves of therapists around the world. I’ve also published a lot of peer-reviewed academic articles, several of which have won national awards. You can check them out below in my CV if you’d like.
I enjoy clinical consulting and presenting. I’ve traveled all over the world giving presentations on my clinical approach, both to professional and lay audiences.
I also host international immersion programs for therapists seeking to expand their clinical expertise. The same for writing retreats for authors wanting to get their writing projects out of their head and out the door. I typically spend a month or two out of the country on these trips each year.
Oh, and last but definitely not least, I run The Davis Group Counseling and Wellness Services! I really love this group – I’ve given it a lot of my heart and soul. It is really important to me that there’s a place in the community where people can find quality mental health care, and it is incredibly rewarding to have created such a place.
Though I have helped people with most challenges over the years, lately my practice has focused on:
- Helping couples rebuild trust and intimacy after an affair or other betrayal
- Helping busy professionals, entrepreneurs and high-profile people find balance and meaning in their life
As you probably gathered, I’m a bit of a workaholic. I’m also a big believer in the “work hard, play hard” mantra, so my family and I are always off on some adventure. And about two decades ago I made a commitment to never work on the weekend or other than 9-5, so I spend a lot of time with my family. My wife and I have been married since 1998, and have four beautiful children that are growing up way too fast! I love traveling with them; we’ve been all over the place together.
I was raised in a beautiful rural corner of Utah, so I enjoy anything outdoors – hiking, camping, cycling, rafting, snowboarding, etc. I’ve also been obsessed with cars since I was a little boy, so I’m always scheming ways to own fun cars (I’m very lucky in that regard to have a supportive wife!) I’m a big fan of European motorsport; my bucket list includes attending the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France. I’ll let you know how it goes!
- 916.844.4615 (Call or Text)
Availability & Rates
- Wednesday 9-5
- $200 per 50-minute hour
Please complete the online intake paperwork before your first session. It takes a while to complete – plan on about 30 minutes – but having this information prior to your arrival helps me make the most of our time together. If the person seeking treatment is a child or adolescent, please fill out the “child/adolescent” paperwork. Otherwise please complete the “adult” paperwork. I will provide you with the password.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Publications
Davis, S. D., & Hsieh, A. (2019) What does it mean to be a common factors informed family therapist? Family Process, 1-12. Doi: 10.1111/famp.12477
Maxwell, M, Davis, S. D., Miller, M. and Woolley, S. R. (2018). Covenant attachment: A constructivist grounded theory of Christian couples and God. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy
Laszloffy, T. A., & Davis, S. D. (2018). Nurturing nature: Exploring ecological self-of-the-therapist issues. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy.
Grady, J., Banford Witting, A., Kim, A., & Davis, S. (2018). Differences in Unit Cohesion and Combat-Related Mental Health Problems Based on Attachment Styles in US Military Veterans. Contemporary Family Therapy.
Wilson, K. L., Glebova, T., Davis, S. D., & Seshadri, G. (2017). Adolescent mothers in foster care: Relational ethics, depressive symptoms and health problems through a contextual therapy lens. Contemporary Family Therapy, 39, 150-161. Doi: 10.1007/s10591-017-9417-y
**Karam, E., Blow, A., Sprenkle, D. H. , & Davis, S. D. (2015). Strengthening the Systemic Ties that Bind: Integrating Common Factors into MFT Curricula. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 41, 136-149. Doi: 10.1111/jmft.12096.
Karam, E., Davis, S. D., & Sprenkle, D. H. (2015). Targeting Threats to the Therapeutic Alliance: A Primer for MFT Training. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 41, 389-400. Doi: 10.1111/jmft.12097.
Dattilio, F. M., Piercy, F. P., & Davis, S. D. (2014). The divide between “evidence-based” approaches and practitioners of traditional theories of family therapy. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 40, 5-16. Doi: 10.111/jmft.12032.
**Fife, S. T., Whiting, J. B., Bradford, K., & Davis, S. D. (2014). The therapeutic pyramid: A common factors synthesis of techniques, alliance, and way of being. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 40, 20-33. Doi: 10.1111/jmft.12041.
Davis, S. D., Lebow, J., & Sprenkle, D. H. (2012). Common factors of change in couple therapy. Behavior Therapy, 43, 36-48.
Blow, A. J., Davis, S. D., & Sprenkle, D. H. (2012). Therapist-worldview matching: Not as important as matching to clients. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 38, 13-17.
Woolley, S. R., Wampler, K. S., & Davis, S. D. (2012). Enactments in couple therapy: Identifying therapist interventions associated with positive change. Journal of Family Therapy, 34, 284-305.
Butler, M. H., Davis, S. D., & Seedal, R. (2008). Common pitfalls of beginning therapists utilizing enactments. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 34, 269-286.
*Davis, S. D. & Piercy, F. P. (2007). What clients of MFT model developers and their former students say about change, Part I: Model dependent common factors across three models. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 33, 318-343.
*Davis, S. D. & Piercy, F. P. (2007). What clients of MFT model developers and their former students say about change, Part II: Model independent common factors and an integrative framework. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 33, 344-363.
*Blow, A. J., Sprenkle, D. S., & Davis, S. D. (2007). Is who delivers the treatment more important than the treatment itself?: The role of the therapist in common factors. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 33, 298-317.
Davis, S.D. (2005). Beyond technique: An autoethnographic exploration of how I learned to show love towards my father. The Qualitative Report, 10, 532-541.
Huebner, A. J., Shettler, L., Matheson, J. L., Meszaros, P. S., Piercy, F. P., & Davis, S. D. (2005). Examining ethnic differences in predictors of female adolescent smoking in rural Virginia. Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse, 15, 27-61.
Davis, S. D., & Butler, M. H. (2004). Enacting relationships in Marriage and Family Therapy: A conceptual and operational definition of an enactment. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 30, 319-334.
Davis, S. D., Piercy, F. P., Meszaros, P. S., Huebner, A. J., Shetler, L., & Matheson, J. L. (2004). Female adolescent smoking: A Delphi study on best prevention practices. Journal of Drug Education, 34, 295-311.
Huebner, A. J., Shettler, L., Matheson, J. L., Meszaros, P. S., Piercy, F. P., & Davis, S. D. (2004). Factors associated with former smokers among female adolescents in rural Virginia. Addictive Behaviors, 30, 167-173.
*Three of the five most cited journal articles of all articles published in the top-ranked Journal of Marital and Family Therapy between 2005-2008.
**Awarded the 2014 and 2015 Journal of Marital and Family Therapy article of the year award.
Lebow, J., Chambers, A., & Breunlin, D. C (Eds). Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy, New York: Springer. (I was an associate editor for this project, in charge of editing approximately 75 chapters)
Davis, S. D. (2018). Sprenkle, Douglas. In Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy.
Davis, S. D., Gonzalez, V. & Sahabzadi, S. (2018). Therapeutic alliance in couple and family therapy. In Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy. New York: Springer.
Lou-Barton, G. & Davis, S. D. (2018). Systems theory. In Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy. New York: Springer.
Davis, S. D. (2017). Common factors in couple and family therapy. In Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy. New York: Springer. Doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-15877-8_515-1
Davis, S. D. (2017). Piercy, Fred. In Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy. New York: Springer. Doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-15877-8_790-1
Davis, S. D. (2016). Enactments in five developmental stages. In Weeks, G., Fife, S., & Peterson, C. (Eds.) Techniques for the Couples Therapist: Essential Interventions. New York: Routledge.
Davis, S. D. & Espinoza, S. A. (2016). Enactments. In Weeks, G., Fife, S., & Peterson, C. (Eds.) Techniques for the Couples Therapist: Essential Interventions. New York: Routledge.
Davis, S. D., Dattilio, F. M., & Gonzalez, A. (2014). Family Therapy. In Cautin, R., & Lilienfeld, S. (Eds), Encyclopedia of Clinical Psychology, New York: Wiley-Blackwell.
Davis, S. D., & Gonzalez, A. (2014). A new experience with the family of origin. In Bean, R. A., Davis, S. D., & Davey, M. P. (Eds), Clinical Supervision Activities for Increasing Competence and Self-Awareness, New York: Wiley-Blackwell.
Piercy, F. P., Soekandar, A., Limansubroto, C., & Davis, S. D. (2005). Family therapy with Indonesians. In M. McGoldrick, J. Pearce, & J. Giordano (Eds.), Ethnicity and family therapy (3rd ed. pp. 332-338). New York: Guilford.
Benningfield, A. B. & Davis, S. D. (2005). Family business consultation: Opportunities for MFTs. In S. M Harris, D. C. Ivey, & R. A. Bean (Eds.), A practice that works: Strategies to supplement your stand alone therapy practice (pp. 211-223). New York: Taylor & Francis.