Celissa Vipond & Melissa Lindstrom: From Friendship to Successful Practice | Ep 126

Celissa and Melissa noticed the clear need for mental health services in Ontario over the pandemic, and decided to team up to put their expertise and skills to use to serve the community. 

As a team, Celissa and Melissa were able to balance starting a practice between the two of them while continuing their social work positions that they love. Their Canadian private practice has now grown into a successful group private practice where they have the benefits of running their own practice while still working jobs that they cherish. 

In this podcast episode, I chat with the two of them about their progress, their ups and downs, and what they recommend to you for your Canadian private practice career!

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!


Celissa and Melissa are the owners of Virtual CBT, a private psychotherapy practice specializing in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for clients in Ontario that are struggling with symptoms of depression, anxiety, phobias, OCD, and trauma.

Learn more about Celissa and Melissa on their practice website and Instagram profile.

In This Episode

  • How Celissa and Melissa found their niche
  • Working as a team 
  • Using Jane App 
  • The future of Virtual CBT
  • Melissa and Celissa’s advice to listeners

How Celissa and Melissa found their niche

Both Celissa and Melissa are social workers. Between the two of them, they had dabbled in different sectors trying to find what suited them both best before specializing further. 

‘For me, I had known for a long time that I wanted to be a social worker. Originally, I thought I wanted to work in child protection but that quickly changed by the time I finished university … So I dabbled in different sectors … I was burning out, and I needed to try something different, so I started working in a not-for-profit CBT program … in the beginning of 2019 … And I started to see how beneficial it was for clients.’ – Melissa Lindstrom 

Melissa thoroughly enjoyed working within CBT and she found it effective and helpful for both her services as a therapist and for her client’s needs. 

For Celissa, the path was a little different in that she only knew that she wanted to become a social worker after she graduated. 

‘I kind of fell into the field, however I am glad that I did because I do love it!’ – Celissa Vipond

Celissa’s expertise has become more narrow as the years have passed, from CBT and DBT to specialized CBT and others.

Working as a team 

Over the pandemic, both Celissa and Melissa were working for a not-for-profit organization when the public mental health system was being flooded with referrals. 

‘We saw that there were huge waitlists, really an overwhelming need for more mental health services … So we actually both started working for an insurance company, doing casual work. It was rewarding … but we weren’t really able to use our skills to the extent that we thought we could use them, and help people in the way that we wanted to.’ – Melissa Lindstrom 

Also, over the pandemic they went from working completely in person to completely virtual almost overnight. 

‘What we found was that people continued to get better regardless of if it was online or in person and this was where we started to learn that online and virtual therapy was just as effective as in person, and I found that really inspiring!’ – Celissa Vipond

One day, a doctor connected with Celissa asking if she had a private practice, and she ended up texting Melissa to see what she thought about it. They decided to work together to launch their own private practice since they could see that the need was there. 

Using Jane App 

‘Jane has been huge! Just having the accessibility of clients being able to book their own appointment [has] been a massive change … It’s just so easy to use. It’s also easy for us, for scheduling, having the calendar system … We also definitely saw an increase in referrals when we got the Jane system.’ – Melissa Lindstrom

Melissa recommends to all practice owners that Jane App is a great investment to commit to early on in your private practice journey since it streamlines so many processes in a way that they complement one another, helping you to stay organized and helping your clients to easily book appointments. 

Jane’s intuitive and automatic systems that you can customize to your needs allows it to help you with what you want help with. 

The future of Virtual CBT

‘I think we’re going to sit back a little bit for the summer and work on self-care … But we do have some ideas for the future.’ – Celissa Vipond 

Since September 2023 their practice has grown so much, which is why they have decided to take a step back and rest a bit before continuing to expand their practice together. 

‘We do plan on taking on another psychologist in the fall which we haven’t announced anywhere yet, really excited about that! … We’re looking forward to being able to expand our capacity to do psychological assessments or treatments.’ – Melissa Lindstrom  

Diversifying your practice is also a good idea to consider because it can take away some of the stress and allows for the owners and staff to engage with clients and modalities in new and innovative ways. 

‘You can diversify and do lots of different things that reward you in different ways, that is success too! … It doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing.’ – Julia Smith 

Melissa and Celissa’s advice to listeners

Be willing to invest in your business, whether it is finances or time and effort, if you want to have a strong foundation and a successful practice. Be patient with the process as well!

Connect With Me

Resources Mentioned and Useful Links:

Ep 125: Kelly Hoskin: Trusting the Process for Success in Canadian Private Practice | EP 125 

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 Celissa and Melissa on their practice website and Instagram profile 

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 www.ccpa-accp.ca/blog/.