Hello, I’m Nicola (she/her/hers). Welcome, I’m so glad that you’re here and considering therapy! Finding a safe place for healing and self-exploration is important not only for self-care, but toward building a more just, kind, and inclusive world. Taking care of yourself allows you to take care of others and self-discovery is a huge part of being an engaged and caring member of your community and the world. Here are some things that I think might be useful to know, as you’re considering working with me. Please reach out if you have any questions.
My approach: As a therapist, my approach is collaborative and client-led. The purpose of therapy is to have an accepting place to safely challenge yourself to grow in ways that are defined and determined by you, or to explore (and celebrate) aspects of yourself or your experience that you feel need attention. You are the expert on you (yes, even if you’re feeling lost or unsure). With that in mind, my style is active and engaged. I see us on a journey, together, led by you.
I work with many clients experiencing anxiety or depression, and I have several areas of specific interest and expertise. Working with clients around identity exploration is a particular passion of mine. I am also very interested in family expansion, especially among LGBTQIA2+ people. This includes not only the transition to parenthood, but also challenges including infertility and pregnancy and adoption losses. I am a Certified Trauma Professional (CTP) and many of my clients have experiences of trauma that we work to process together in therapy.
In my approach to therapy, I use an integrative approach. I carefully and thoughtfully select from several models and theories. These include components of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing, mindfulness, Existential and Internal Family Systems. My approach is always informed by intersectional feminist and multicultural perspectives. This might sound academic, but it just means that I consider how identities (such as gender, gender identity, race, sexuality, social-class, (dis)ability, religion, etc.) shape people’s experiences and understandings of the world, but also how they help us understand what wellness means to you. My work with clients often focuses on clarifying values, finding meaning and purpose, and increasing sense of belonging.
Practicing from cultural humility means that I am always learning and growing in my own awareness how to best support and align with people, especially from marginalized identities (including ones I might share). I work and am committed to being anti-racist, queer and LGBTQIA2+ affirming, and kink and ethical non-monogamy aware and affirming. As a person who immigrated to the US as a child, I also love working with people who are immigrants or identify as bicultural.
My educational background: I got my PhD in personality psychology and women’s studies at the University of Michigan, I taught and did research in personality and social psychology for over a decade, with a focus on how people understand each other and work together across difference. I left academia and pursued work in Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (EDIB) and Institutional Learning at a medical school, and then in a hospital system. I returned to school to get a Masters in Counseling at Palo Alto University, and I am now a limited license professional counselor. Counseling is where my heart lives. I love the work, and I love connecting with so many different people and learning from and with clients and colleagues. Perhaps the best part of my job is that I get to witness people work to be their most authentic and value-aligned selves. I’m inspired by this every day.