Building A Private Practice

Apr 12-13 & Oct 11-12, 2024

You Can Be A Therapist And Live Your Dream Life

You’ve heard it countless times: “Oh, you’re a therapist, you’ll (live a life of poverty and selfless sacrifice, get burned out, develop some weird tic, etc. etc.).”

The story varies, but so many people – especially therapists – tell you that this job begins with noble intentions, gets doused with poverty, self-sacrifice, hostile work environments and schedules and clients not of your choosing, then ends with you as a quivering lump of vicarious trauma trying to eke some joy out of gardening or yoga or something.

The best you can hope for, they imply, is a career you can counterbalance with self-care and/or numbing out. But at least you’ll be noble!

But at the same time, you see a few therapists who seem to be really happy.

They love their work
Their clients get better
They make good money
They work when and how often they want
They’re always doing cool stuff

Their practice accentuates their life. It accentuates their client’s lives. Their career isn’t something they balance with self-care – it is a valued part of a life that is self care.

The thing is, building that type of a life as a therapist is easier, less expensive, and more morally congruent than it seems. There is no secret code to crack or pricey club to join. You will need to build a thriving fee-for-service private practice, but that’s easier than it sounds once you master a few basic business management principles.

Which is where this class comes in. But first a little about us.

Meet Your Professors


Sean Davis, PhD

Founder & CEO, The Davis Group Counseling & Wellness Services

When I moved to California in 2006 I was broke. 

We’d just finished my postdoc, and my wife and I were expecting our fourth child. I was excited to start my job as an Assistant Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy at Alliant International University, but the starting salary was shamefully low, especially for California. If we were going to make it, I’d need a pretty major side hustle.

Survival was the goal. Thriving wasn’t even on the radar.

I didn’t know anything about running a business, so I just hopped in and figured it out on the fly. It wasn’t easy. I had no money. I felt way in over my head for years. There was a lot of trial and error along the way, and endless hours of meeting with marketing professionals, accountants, lawyers, and successful colleagues.

And slowly but surely, it started to work! Our situation improved dramatically, and my practice went from being something I had to do to something I wanted to do. Today it is amazing – I work with clients I enjoy on a schedule that fits my life. And while life is by no means perfect, my practice has given me a life far better than I could have dreamed of all those years ago!

These days, those trial and error years are a distant memory. I know how to reach people that I’m best able to help, and I know how to help others do the same quickly and on a budget. I’m fortunate enough to have grown my small practice into The Davis Group Counseling and Wellness Services, one of Northern California’s most respected clinical groups.

Now that I’m established, I enjoy giving back. This class is a labor of love – a way to pay forward all the mentoring I received over the years. For this reason I keep the cost of the course low, give you everything you need to succeed in a day and a half, and nothing you don’t. There’s no signing you up for my down line, convincing you to buy some random nonsense you don’t need, or any of the other annoying practices so common these days.

Kelsey Thompson, MA

Chief Operations Officer, The Davis Group Counseling & Wellness Services

I initially joined The Davis Group as a young therapist, bringing years of diverse experience from working at an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), non-profit, and for a private practice therapist . As destiny would have it, I assumed the role of Chief Operations Officer at The Davis Group, a position I’ve held with dedication for the past couple of years.

Despite my graduate training in working with clients, therapeutic theories, and laws and ethics, the absence of formal education on running a business intrigued me. Witnessing the struggles of colleagues, friends and family members attempting to establish successful small businesses sparked my passion to learn more about the business side of therapy. I have been able to help others get their small businesses off the ground from all I have learned as the COO of the Davis Group. My passion for demystifying the challenges associated with launching and maintaining a private or group practice drew me to teach The Davis Group’s private practice course. 

I take pride in my role at The Davis Group to not only contribute to its success but also extend a helping hand to aspiring therapists looking to navigate the complexities of starting and running a thriving practice. I am looking forward to helping you build your dream private practice!

Class Structure

Section 1: Envision

If you build a practice without clarifying why you want one and what you want it to look like you’ll end up with a well-running machine that drains you. Once you get in touch with why you want a practice, everything flows from there.

Section 2: Build

This is the part where most therapists freeze. From rental contracts, corporate structures and accounting to office location, fee setting and paperwork, a lot goes into building a practice. You’ll leave with a clear picture of what is needed and the confidence that you can do it.

Section 3: Market

Most therapists build a website, hand out lots of cards, and then…silence. The problem is they focused on their marketing methods before they clarified their marketing message. You’ll get a clear picture of what you want to say, then learn how to deliver that to the people you’re best suited to help.

Section 4: Maintain

A lot goes into the day-to-day running of a business. Coping with these surprises require a certain mindset. We’ll go over this mindset as well as a lot of the overlooked “in-between the lines” details that characterize a successful private practice.

Section 5: Enjoy!

It is easy to do everything right up to this point and yet have your practice own you rather than vice-versa. You’ll learn crucial steps of scaling, systematization and outsourcing that ensure your practice gives you flexibility and freedom.

Guest Lecturers

You’ll enjoy recorded presentations from marketing professionals, an accountant, a leading private practice law and ethics expert, plus hear stories of people at different points in the private practice journey.

What Others Are Saying

Building a successful practice is not hard. We’ll show you how.

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This course is so helpful in consolidating and simplifying such dense and important information needed to build your own private practice. I came in feeling ready, but overwhelmed, and now feel much more clear and have a good sense of direction with where to go to build my practice. Dr. Davis was wonderful and a valuable resource.
Simran Jaglan, PsyD
Clinical Psychologist
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If you are finishing your hours and are unsure what lies ahead, this is the perfect launching step towards brainstorming your next move! You will be inspired as well as gain practical tools and skills in order to create a thriving, enjoyable practice. I can see myself in a few years from now calling Dr. Davis and thanking him for all he taught me and how it lead me to create a practice I love and live a lifestyle I enjoy.
Aliza Ostrosky, MA
Marriage and Family Therapist
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This class was very helpful and motivating because it provided the necessary information I was looking for the create a private practice. It was clear and concise and helped me view creating a private practice not only doable but exciting and worthwhile.
Emma Crissman, MA
MFT Associate
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Dr. Davis exudes such genuine energy and interest in helping others start their private practice. I truly enjoyed taking this class and it has been such a refreshing way of looking at private practice versus feeling overwhelmed by the to-do list. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, please do take this class and find comfort of figuring out the unknowns of private practice.
Valerie Uy, MA
Marriage and Family Therapist

Registration & Course Information

We don’t teach this course very often – usually just once a year, sometimes less. Sometimes more if people start getting restless. So if a big enough group of you are interested, let us know and we can usually put one together. Otherwise the next scheduled course is below. We’d love to see you there!

  • 2024: April 12-13 | October 11-12
  • Location: In-person in Roseville or via Zoom
  • Time: 9-5 Friday, 9-12 Saturday
  • Instructors: April (Dr. Davis) | October (Kelsey)
  • Fee: $600
  • Deposit: $100 non-refundable deposit due at registration
  • CEUs: 5 hours for mental health professionals governed by the BBS
  • CEU Policies and Procedures