Courtney Vezina: Incorporating Community Values Into Private Practice | Ep 117

There are many different ways in which you can instill and live out the values that you have founded your Canadian private practice on. 

For Courtney, the value of community is a driving factor that positively impacts the work that she and her colleagues do. So much so, that her private practice offers a scholarship for students doing their bachelors in social work or psychology! 

In this podcast episode, Courtney and I discuss her entry into private practice, why she decided to do her doctorate, and how she has found ways to bring the sense of community into her private practice.

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Courtney is a Registered Psychotherapist who owns a group clinic; Courtney James Counselling and Psychotherapy, with locations in Kemptville and Brockville, Ontario. Courtney is currently completing her Doctorate of Counselling and Psychotherapy and is excited to engage in the further development of this amazing field of work. In her clinical work, Courtney uses a humanistic, trauma-informed lens and specializes in relational difficulties and developmental trauma. Courtney’s clinical work and Doctoral studies are focused on her work within the foster care and adoption community.

Learn more about Courtney on the practice website, Psychology Today, and Instagram profiles. 

In This Episode

  • Why Courtney decided to become a psychotherapist 
  • Starting a doctorate 
  • Courtney’s private practice 
  • Growing the private practice 
  • Offering group sessions 
  • The mental health scholarship!
  • Moving forward 

Why Courtney decided to become a psychotherapist 

Right after high school, Courtney started her psychology studies and then went into the field to gain frontline experience after graduating.

Afterward, she shifted into the mental health field with a position in a school board. As life went on, Courtney and her husband started having children, and it was during one of her maternity leaves that she started her masters program in Counselling Psychology in 2017, and completed it in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning. 

‘I enjoy pursuing goals and I enjoy learning and I enjoy continued education, so it felt like a good fit, and something that could fit into my current lifestyle.’ – Courtney Vezina

Starting a doctorate 

Most counsellors can open a Canadian private practice with only a masters degree, but Courtney went further and is working towards completing her doctorate. 

For Courtney, the doctoral program that she’s in is not specifically research-based, and it encourages a different style of approaching this field that’s specific to psychotherapy. 

‘I’m learning things that are so applicable to psychotherapy itself, it’s like this little field within this bigger field. That field is what I am passionate about, and to think that there’s a program that I’m able to jump into and become an expert within this field, [and] I’m passionate about that, that is so motivating to me.’ – Courtney Vezina 

Additionally, Courtney is working alongside fellow classmates and colleagues that share her mindset and continual interest in continued education and learning. She’s able to take what she learns in class and apply it to her sessions, and so it adds a deeper layer to her work.

Courtney’s private practice 

While Courtney was completing her masters program, it was her intention to start a private practice. 

‘It started with just me wanting to have that space and to provide that safety and the level of comfort that can come with such a valuable physical space, so that was my intention initially.’ – Courtney Vezina 

Even though Courtney began as a solo practitioner, she quickly hired colleagues into her private practice. Her first hires were therapists that she knew prior, and then the rest were therapists from the local community. 

‘Yeah, it just kind of kept growing, which has been pretty awesome!’ – Courtney Vezina 

Growing the private practice 

Courtney was mindful of where the needs were in her community, and so she therefore decided to open a second and third location in areas of her city where she knew that the population didn’t have as much access to mental health care. 

‘There’s this gap I see and that I knew could be filled.’ – Courtney Vezina

The point is to take calculated risks for your business. You don’t have to know if something is going to work before you try it – sometimes you have to try first to gain insight, and to then take informed action moving forward.

Offering group sessions 

Courtney’s practice is creating emotional regulation groups that she brainstormed with a few of her colleagues. 

‘We wanted to collaboratively decide how these groups would be structured and how we can promote them to the community. It’s an ongoing process, because the buy-in for groups is very difficult … To have the consistency and the overall interest … There are just so many more elements that go into that as far as even the admin behind it, so it’s still something we’re actively looking to offer.’ – Courtney Vezina

Even though there is an interest in offering group therapy, Courntey and her team are working on the fine print and structural components of it before they fully provide this additional service to their clients. 

The mental health scholarship 

For students that are accepted into undergraduate programs in psychology or social work, Courntey’s practice is offering a scholarship! 

This will be the fourth year that the scholarship is being offered, and her intention behind offering it comes from the same community piece that is vital to her and is one of the foundational pillars of the practice. 

‘[I created a scholarship] to encourage kids and youth and adults to pursue this type of education that can benefit, not only our community, but wherever they choose to practice afterwards.’ – Courtney Vezina 

Moving forward

Going forward, Courtney is slowing down in the private practice. 

She is changing her focus from growing the practice just for the sake of growth to applying her attention to what matters for her at the moment; her other pursuits and her family, especially now that her practice is stable without her always being there.

Connect With Me

Resources Mentioned and Useful Links:

Ep 116: Samantha Sarty: Setting Business Boundaries to Grow Private Practice | EP 116

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Learn more about Courtney on the practice website, Psychology Today, and Instagram profiles

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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