Sue Cook: How to Build a Successful Canadian Group Private Practice | EP 18

Many Canadian therapists feel overwhelmed  by the business side of running a group  private practice. It takes a practice owner with initiative and a collaborative nature to support their counsellors  in providing the best therapy that they can as well as focusing on growing the group practice.

In this episode, I speak with Sue Cook about how she created a supportive framework that helps clinicians in her Ontario group private practice provide their best therapy.

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Sue Cook is the owner and operator of Family TLC. She started working in this profession in the early 1980’s and has had the opportunity and privilege of assisting thousands of people reach their mental health and wellness goals. In 2000 her passion for making lives better came to fruition as she began running her own practice and in 2012, this expanded as she began to invite others to join her business. Sue’s business goals, and big vision have guided her as she has built some leading edge components to Family TLC, making it into the multi-location growing therapy business it is today.

Learn more about Sue Cook on her practice’s website.

In This Episode

  • The drive to build a Canadian group private practice
  • Providing training to new therapists
  • Hiring clinicians that best fit the practice

The drive to build a Canadian group private practice

Many clinicians have to learn how to run their businesses alongside providing therapy for their clients. This can be difficult without a business consultant.

For Sue, her drive to build a group private practice in Ontario comes from:

  • Wanting to help counsellors with their businesses so that they can focus on helping their clients.

‘If I can teach other people how to do this over and above what they learn in their Master’s program, then we’re going to make a bigger difference.’ (Sue Cook)

  • Being curious to learn how to create a practice that serves both her and her clients well.

‘If your client is paying you $100 an hour … you’re actually making $40 an hour because you are doing all of these other things outside of that client time.’ (Sue Cook)

Sue recognized therapists’ need for business support. So, she created helpful scaffolding and business services that save her counsellors time, and money, and supports them while they focus on providing therapy for their clients.

‘I was like, “can I build something where it is making the life better for the therapist, and allowing the therapist to just do what they do best? And not worry about the rest.”’ (Sue Cook)

Providing training to new therapists 

When Sue hires new counsellors, she trains them in the Family TLC way. This methodology helps the new therapists to follow the guidelines of the practice while also using any therapeutic method with their clients.

‘I feel like it is the business’s responsibility to set people up for success. As I mentioned earlier, we’ve grown and learned with some hiccups along the way … and when that happens, I’m going, “what can we do better?” As a result of that, we have focused on the Family TLC method.’ (Sue Cook)

Sue’s staff are taught a 12-week checklist. The training includes:

  • How to use the software system
  • Receiving admin support
  • Clinical supervision

Hiring Canadian counsellors that best fit the practice 

Sue’s approach to hiring therapists is collaborative and honest.

Her hiring process involves:

  • Honing in on the characteristics and core personality values that are the best fit for the practice
  • Writing up an advertisement that accurately represents these values
  • Interviewing and screening applicants
  • Discussing the culture at Family TLC

‘They’re interviewing us as much as we’re interviewing them. It’s not us saying, “yes, we want you to join us”, it’s us coming to a collaborative [decision] that this feels like a good fit.’ (Sue Cook)

Connect With Me

Resources Mentioned and Useful Links:

Ep 17: Blogging: Why It Is Important For Your Canadian Private Practice and How To Do It use the promo code FEARLESS for one month’s grace period

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

Sue Cooks’ LinkedIn profile

Family TLC’s website

Family TLC’s Instagram

Family TLC’s Facebook

Check out Family TLC’s podcast

Rate, review, and subscribe to this podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon, 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