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Kris La Fave Smith Built a Thriving Wellness Center for the Whole Family

Kris La Fave Smith Built a Thriving Wellness Center for the Whole Family

Mar 26, 2024

Can you create a wellness center that helps the entire family? You sure can! In this episode, I talk with Kris La Fave Smith, the owner of Village Wellness Center in Orange County, California. Kris is a licensed marriage and family therapist who has built a group practice with a team of seven clinicians, each specializing in different areas of mental health and wellness.

Kris first discovered her passion for therapy at the young age of 15, but it took her about 15 years to finally pursue her master's degree and become a licensed clinician. She started her career working in trauma and maternal mental health, before expanding her practice to serve the whole family. During the pandemic, Kris hired her first associate and learned valuable lessons about creating a collaborative, supportive team culture.

During our conversation, Kris discusses how Village Wellness Center has evolved to offer a wide range of services, from EMDR therapy for trauma to faith-based counseling. Her goal is to provide comprehensive, wraparound care for clients, with clinicians who specialize in different areas. While Kris still sees clients herself, she has found a better work-life balance by running her own practice versus working in a clinic setting.

"This wasn't about me, it was about this more internal drive or need for me to help somebody else in a position that I was once in and know the struggle of. And bringing on somebody as less of an employee, but more as a partner."

This episode is a must-listen for therapists who dream of building their own wellness center. Kris shares inspiring insights with me on creating a thriving team, adapting to growth, and putting family first as a business owner. Listeners will walk away feeling motivated to take the leap and pursue their own vision of an integrated, holistic practice.

To learn more about Kris La Fave Smith and Village Wellness Center, visit their website at Kris is also offering a 10% discount on out-of-pocket fees for new clients, to make therapy more accessible. Connect with Kris at [email protected].

Thanks for tuning in to this episode of the Wellness Center Creators podcast. Stay tuned for more awesome conversations with wellness industry experts and entrepreneurs. Until next time!


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About Kris La Fave Smith

Kris La Fave Smith is a California Licensed Marriage & Family Psychotherapist and founder of a group practice, Village Wellness Center, located in San Juan Capistrano. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology from Sacramento State University and a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from the American School of Professional Psychology. In her clinical work, she specializes in maternal mental health, depression, anxiety, relationship challenges, and life transitions for women & moms. Kris uses an eclectic treatment approach that is individually tailored to meet the needs of her clients. 

Kris has worked in the mental health field for more than 25 years. She started her career working in residential care for at-risk youth, and progressed through the years to create and direct the clinical programs for outpatient and court mandated facilities For the last 20 years, Kris has also focused her attention on raising her family and being a productive member of the Dana Point/San Juan Capistrano communities.

Kris is a dedicated advocate and warrior for all moms and started her first private practice, Mother Warrior Counseling, as a solo practitioner. After finding her footing working on her own, Kris made the choice to begin mentoring pre-licensed therapists as a way to help more people while also growing the next generation of practitioners. It was only after bringing on two Associates that she broadened her treatment focus to include the whole family and re-branded Mother Warrior Counseling to Village Wellness Center. Now Kris employs six pre-licensed and licensed therapists and has her sights set on growing her team and expanding into additional states.

Kris's Website/Links

About Kendall Hagensen

Kendall is a Somatic Mental Health Therapist, Multidisciplinary Clinic Owner and Business Coach. She specializes in, and is passionate about, working with healthcare professionals to create the businesses of their dreams. Big goals always have a psychological component beneath the surface, so Kendall uses her background in Somatic Psychotherapy and EMDR Therapy mixed with Business Coaching tools to help clients develop a healthy relationship with their business and their strength as a leader. 

As someone who lives with a chronic illness herself, Kendall feels that health happens best within community, which is why she takes a holistic, integrative, and collaborative wellness approach to her personal and professional life.

Kendall’s Web/Social Links