Session 169: How to Build a Private Practice While Dealing With Grief, Mourning, And Loss with Nikki Sewell, LCSW

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Grief, mourning, and loss—they aren’t topics we usually enjoy discussing, but whether we like it or not, they are processes that we all have to go through at some point in life. For a therapist, how do you build your private practice while dealing with these intense feelings, and what would prompt you to find your niche within this realm? Today’s guest answers these questions and more as we delve into this topic to begin a new season of STC.

Nikki Sewell, LCSW, has tackled building a private practice through the loss of a loved one. She and her husband, Andrew, built a private practice together with his psychiatry work and her social work. Shortly after establishing the practice, he had complications following an extensive surgery and passed away unexpectedly. Nikki was only 30 years old when she became a widow and had to endure grief, loss, and the practical steps involved in moving forward. In today’s conversation, Nikki shares candidly about what inspired them to form a joint practice, how she felt the strength and resolve to keep going, and how her vision for the practice has changed. She also shares how her personal experiences with grief and loss have factored into the niche she has chosen for her practice.

What We’ll Learn

  • How Nikki and her husband were inspired to start their unique private practice to plan ahead for a family and eliminate the crazy schedules they were working
  • The initial vision for the practice, with her working three days each week with counseling patients and him handling prescribed medications
  • The two-month process of setting up the practice
  • How Nikki dealt with the complete fog of her new reality when her husband passed away unexpectedly and she ran on autopilot for awhile
  • Why Nikki continued with a few patients in the short-term and then took 1-½ years off from private practice
  • Building a niche in grief and loss: why Nikki wanted to create a safe space for those who grieve losses when no one else seemed to “get it”
  • Nikki’s niche: those who are dealing with the death of a parent, survivors of suicide, and young widows/widowers
  • How Nikki knew she was healed enough to do the work in private practive and continue working part-time in the ER
  • Why she finds the work uplifting and considers grief work an honor
  • The timely quotes on Nikki’s website that apply to each of her three niche spaces and how they resonate deeply with others
  • The shared sentiments of young widows/widowers with this very different kind of loss
  • Top ways Nikki markets this special niche: funeral homes, hospice, and assisted living communities
  • Nikki’s advice for those considering this private practice focused on grief and loss: “Know that grief is not a neat and tidy process. The human experience of grief is not sequential and sometimes doesn’t ever reach a resolution.”
  • One helpful training that Nikki recommends: A weekend conference of ADEC, the Association of Death Education and Counseling



Nikki Sewell, LCSW

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Thank You for Listening

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