Building A Private Practice

Feb 25-26, 2022: Oceanside

May 20-21, 2022: Sacramento

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 say, is a career you can counterbalance with self-care and/or numbing out.

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 than it seems. There is no secret code to crack or 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 me.

Meet Your Professor

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 though, so I just hopped in and figured it out on the fly. It wasn’t easy. 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 in a short amount of time. 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. I now direct it and see clients on the side of my regular job as a Distinguished Professor at Alliant.

A lot of my students see my successful practice and want in. I used to do free informal one-on-one coaching, but word got out so I ended up teaching a class on opening a private practice through Alliant to meet the demand. Alliant stopped offering the class but the demand kept growing, so I agreed to offer it as a CEU course through The Davis Group. The class is usually filled by current Alliant students and alumni, but sometimes there are seats available for therapists from the community as well.

Many people have taken it and gone on to establish successful practices of their own. Here’s what some of them have said:


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.
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.
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.
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 take this class and find comfort of figuring out the unknowns of 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.

Registration and Course Information:

I 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 me know and I can usually put one together. Otherwise the next scheduled course is below. I’d love to see you there!

  • Dates: February 25-26, 2022, Oceanside | May 20-22, 2022, Sacramento
  • Participants will be allowed to attend remotely via Zoom
  • Time: 9-5 on Friday, 9-12 on Saturday.
  • Locations: 2204 El Camino Real Ste 315, Oceanside, CA 92054 | Sacramento location TBD
  • Fee: $500
  • A $100 non-refundable deposit payable via Venmo or Zelle or by mailing a check to The Davis Group is needed to reserve your spot.
  • CEUs: 5 hours for mental health professionals governed by the California BBS.
  • Covid: Per state guidelines, all in-person attendees will need to submit proof of full vaccination status or a negative Covid test from the previous two days in order to be admitted to the training. Failure to do so will result in forfeiture of any payments made. Participants may attend via Zoom.
  • CEU Policies and Procedures