Esther Chu & Richard Tatomir: Working as a Team to Help Canadian Therapists | Ep 107

We all know that working as a therapist can be a lonely job. When we work together, we can help one another reach higher heights in our Canadian practices, grow as professionals, and share the success with more people. 

This is what Richard and Esther have found on their journey so far. Richard hired Esther as an administrative assistant in the early months of 2020 as his solo practice was full, and together they have developed a thriving practice, and even started a Collective to help therapists do the same. 

In this podcast episode, I chat with the both of them about their journey, the work that they do, and to show the value of professional partnership and the rewards it can offer.

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Esther is a therapist and the owner of Sandigan Wellness. She also is the practice manager at Relationship Experts Vancouver (a group private practice) where she’s responsible for establishing and maintaining the community culture, operations, and seeking out opportunities for clinicians to gain experience in areas they wish to grow in. 

And Richard is a Practitioner-Instructor, Clinical Supervisor, and PhD student at Simon Fraser University. He is the President of the BC Chapter of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association; Speaker and Consultant to organizations, professionals, and the public, and founded Relationship Experts Vancouver. 

Learn more about Esther on her Psychology Today profile, her website, and the practice website 

Learn more about Richard on his LinkedIn, the practice website, and his Psychology Today profile 

In This Episode

  • How Esther and Richard came to work together 
  • The benefits of working in a team 
  • The Collective program

How Esther and Richard came to work together

‘I was in grad school and was trying to find a job at the time because it was COVID and I didn’t have a job … I literally Googled “counselling admin job”, and among the many Indeed and Google job posts, there’s one … That was short and brief … And then we met via Zoom … And a week later he was like, “Hi! You’re on board!”’ – Esther Chu 

For Richard, who was looking for help and ended up hiring Esther as an admin virtual assistant, he was working as a solo practitioner and getting full, even before COVID. 

‘Knowing that eventually I wanted to expand into some type of group practice initiative anyway, I would love to work with people that can be my friends and colleagues and do something different … We both lived in [the same] area, and so it was just the natural time for [hiring help in my practice]’. – Richard Tatomir

To hire Esther, Richard was trusting his gut and hired her also due to the fact that Esther’s interests and skill aligned with the role that he was searching for someone to fill. 

The benefits of working in a team 

For both Esther and Richard, working in a team offers both of them so many benefits. 

‘It’s definitely less lonely [to be] in a team of clinicians to consult [with] other things and also about life, and there are undergrads who are trying to figure out their way …  It’s kind of like parenting these undergrads into their roles in the future. It’s really nice.’ – Esther Chu 

Esther sees a few clients now as well and works alongside Richard. However, since Esther has taken over most of the practice management roles, Richard as the owner is now working more on the business instead of in the business. 

‘I love supervision so I want to continue providing [that] to the clinicians that are wanting and needing that … This is our third time around [supervising a practicum student] so it’s pretty cool. And, yeah, vision, leadership, supervision, and thinking about ways we can make the business work … Then I delegate and that’s something that’s been a big move for me … of trusting in my people.’ – Richard Tatomir

The Collective program 

When Richard and Esther decided to create the collective space, they wanted it to be a place where counsellors could gain access to supervision, referrals and community. Like Fearless practice, they also hope to help launch counsellors into private practice so that they don’t have to settle for a position that does not pay well. 

‘So, people that are wanting to develop their own private practices and their own brands … We have created this start-up accelerator, membership community model, where I know the cost of supervision is going to be covered, the other basic costs are going to be covered, and if they really like it … They’re inviting their friends who could also potentially become members.’ – Richard Tatomir 

Even though the collective has an open policy, they are still selective of who they invite into groups because they want to make sure that the people who are working together are properly aligned.

Connect With Me

Resources Mentioned and Useful Links:

Ep 106: A Dr. Chandra Ashton: Working in a Canadian Not-for-Profit and Enjoying It! | EP 106

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 Esther on her Psychology Today profile, her website, and the practice website 

Learn more about Richard on his LinkedIn, the practice website, and his Psychology Today 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