Ashley Schofield-McEachern: Transitioning From Nursing Into Therapy | Ep 105

Many of the skills that you learn from all your experience throughout  your mental health career can be brought into the session room with a client – when done ethically and when asked for! 

Ashley worked as a nurse for many years in public health before deciding to return to university to get her masters, and move into Canadian private practice. She now uses both psychotherapy and nursing skills in private practice, and can bill insurance companies for both! 

In this podcast episode, Ashley and I discuss her journey into Canadian private practice, as well as how she works with clients, offering walk and talk therapy, and how she brings in all her expertise in a way that allows her to do her best work with her clients.

Jane is an all-in-one health and wellness practice management platform designed to be helpful to you, no matter how or where you practice. Available online and on any device, Jane offers branded online booking, beautiful scheduling, insurance management, customizable charting, online intake forms, patient reminders, integrated payment processing, online appointments (telehealth) and more! Use the code FEARLESS at signup to receive your first month completely free!


Ashley is a Registered Nurse and Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) in Ontario, Canada, and Certified Perinatal Mental Health Professional. She owns a private practice, Whispering Pines Counselling & Wellness, dedicated to women’s health and wellness; offering individual virtual and walk & talk sessions, workshops and groups. Ashley’s mission is to help women feel empowered to prioritize their wellbeing, know their worth, and live unapologetically. During her free time, you’ll find her spending time with her Schnoodle, Max, or expressing her creativity through decorating, crafting, and browsing for vintage and antique finds.

Learn more about Ashley on her practice website, Instagram, or LinkTree page.

In This Episode

  • From nursing to therapy 
  • Going into private practice 
  • Dual licenses 
  • Offering walk and talk therapy 
  • Ashley’s advice to listeners

From nursing to therapy 

Ashley had worked as a nurse in public health, and during the last five years, she started doing home visits with clients, which encouraged her to return to university to learn how to become a therapist. 

‘That’s really what sparked my interest to go back to school to get deeper into being able to help people in a different way.’ – Ashley Schofield-McEachern

As Ashley explains, in nursing school they are taught a baseline of counselling skills in all areas to prepare them. But to help people more professionally and effectively, Ashley knew that she needed – and wanted – to get a further education. 

Going into private practice 

Although Ashley left public health in 2021, she had already started working on her masters degree in 2020. 

‘I’d been thinking about it for a couple of years and that was the date that I set … it was a saving grace because it took my mind off of COVID and I could focus on something completely different.’ – Ashley Schofield-McEachern

At the end of 2022, Ashley completed her masters, and started in private practice in April of that year. She recently signed up with a local university to be a part-time clinical instructor.

Dual licenses 

Because Ashley is a licensed nurse and psychotherapist, she can draw on both professions and experiences to help clients. 

For her clients, they charge their insurance for her psychotherapy and then add in elements of nursing, if any was given or was applicable. 

‘Like a medication review or going through infant feeding or things like that, that come up as they relate to mental health, which is kind of neat because we know that mom’s mental health has a huge impact on all of those things, and how they’re caring for their baby … So it still fits within psychotherapy, it’s just doing some deeper diving into areas that a traditional psychotherapist wouldn’t be able to do.’ – Ashley Schofield-McEachern

During sessions, Ashley will inform her clients that she’s “putting on her nurse hat” when wanting to discuss certain questions that the client has for her so that they know under which umbrella her advice and knowledge is coming from. 

Offering walk and talk therapy 

From June 2023, Ashley started offering walk and talk therapy services to her clients, and it’s been successful so far! It naturally dropped off a bit during winter, but most of the clients are happiest to opt for this service during spring and summer. 

The trails that they take are often more private, so they know that the sessions can be conducted without much interference from others. 

For timing, Ashley times the walks to turn back halfway if there aren’t many hour-long loops in the trails to take. 

‘I try to keep it to no more than two [walk and talk sessions a day] and ideally like in the morning part of my day, and the evening part of my day, not back-to-back. I would say that the majority of my clients are still virtual.’ – Ashley Schofield-McEachern

Ashley has structured her online booking with Jane App so that her clients can easily contact her and mention for which service they would like to see her through, whether that’s virtual or for a walk and talk session.

Her official office space opens up in early January so that she can begin seeing clients in-person. To save on expenses, Ashley is sharing the office space with a massage therapist, so that they can share the space together while seeing clients – and as an early referral connection as well! 

Ashley’s advice to listeners 

Listen to your heart and your gut, because sometimes your head can turn you into a different direction due to fear or nervousness. The whole point of private practice is doing what you want to do, and making it work for you! Don’t feel like doing what others are to “keep up”, since success is personal.

Connect With Me

Resources Mentioned and Useful Links:

Ep 104: Angela Bishop: Build Your Career in Canadian Private Practice | EP 104

Learn more about the tools and deals that I love and use for my Canadian private practice

Sign up for my free e-course on How to Start an Online Canadian Private Practice

Jane App (use code FEARLESS for one month free)

Learn more about Ashley on her practice website, Instagram, or LinkTree page

Rate, review, and subscribe to this podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, SpotifyAmazon, and TuneIn 

About Julia

Julia Smith, MEd, RCT, CCC is a registered Counselling Therapist who owns a group private practice in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is also the owner of Fearless Practice Consulting and hosts the Fearless Practice podcast. Through the Fearless Practice podcast, she provides invaluable insights and practical advice on starting and growing a successful Canadian private practice. Julia’s wealth of knowledge also extends beyond the podcast, as she provides personalized one-on-one consulting to therapists who are feeling burnt out and overwhelmed with their solo or group private practices. With Julia’s expertise, therapists can confidently navigate the complexities of owning a private practice and find work life – balance. 

Julia also has written articles for the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy association. You can learn more at