FAQ’s

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Find Your Inner Balance

About Therapy

About The Office

About Therapy

How Do I Know When It Is Time to Get Support?

It may be time to seek out a therapist when daily chores become arduous tasks and keep you from feeling good. Experiencing chronic feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, or chronic relationship problems in either your personal or work life are all good reasons to begin therapy. Keep in mind that it is more effective to engage in therapy for prevention rather than intervention; that is, not waiting until personal issues become immediate crises. Additionally, persons who are seeking clarity and balance in their lives, those on a quest for personal growth, individuals inhibited by past hurt, and those who are at crossroads relationally, emotionally, physically, or spiritually would greatly benefit from engaging in a therapeutic relationship.

What Is a Marriage and Family Therapist?

Marriage and Family Therapists are psychotherapists and healing arts practitioners licensed by the State of California. All Marriage and Family Therapists hold either Masters or Doctoral degrees, within the fields of counseling and psychology, from state board accredited universities and are required to complete a minimum of 3500 hours of counseling experience before becoming eligible for licensure. Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) are core mental health practitioners and relationship specialists trained to assess, diagnose, and treat individuals, couples, families, and groups to achieve more fulfilling and productive personal, marital, familial, and social relationships. A Marriage and Family Therapist does not offer solutions or take sides. Instead, an MFT will assist you in working out solutions according to your own personal values and lifestyle. Seeking professional support is a sign of courage and a willingness to deal with life’s many changes.

How Long Does Therapy Last?

Each individual session lasts 50 minutes and each couple session lasts 75 minutes. Therapy can be both short- and long-term, ranging from one or two sessions to many months, depending on the complexity of the issues presented, your personal goals, and your ability to apply the skills learned in each session to your everyday life.

How Does Therapy Work?

In this safe and confidential environment, Nicole helps you look objectively at your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, while teaching you ways to deal with different situations. You will explore personal issues with someone who has unique listening skills, and is more neutral than those who are directly involved in your life. Nicole will provide you with feedback to support your emotional release and help guide you in finding your own solutions to personal problems. In addition to talk therapy, other modalities, such as mindfulness practices, breath work, somatic therapies, gentle touch work, guided imagery, and creative arts are included in the therapy process, depending on the needs of each individual client. Keep in mind that your relationship with your therapist plays a crucial role in benefiting from treatment; therefore it’s important to find a therapist who you feel heard, understood, and accepted by.

What Type of Therapy Is Offered?

Often times, Nicole will utilize a combination of the following therapies depending on the needs of each client. The effectiveness of therapy relies not on the type of therapy utilized, but rather on how various therapies are applied with each client and on the therapeutic relationship itself.

Somatic Therapies – These therapies are an integration of principles derived from yoga, mindfulness training, bioenergetics and Somatic Experiencing®. Untreated stress, tension and trauma eventually somaticizes and creates chronic, physical ailments and conditions. Somatic therapies strive to safely release the tension and trauma held in the physical body. By working with the body, both through awareness and gentle, healing touch, clients are able to access the root of emotional pain more readily and subsequently heal emotional wounding more deeply than through traditional talk therapy.  The goals of somatic therapies are to help clients integrate new insights and release old, painful patterns on a deeper, subconscious and physiological level. When this release happens clients feel more alive, are happier and experience less physical pain overall. Nicole has been a yoga and meditation practitioner for over 15 years, is a Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner and a Trauma Touch Therapist. To learn more about Somatic Experiencing®, click here.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy – CBT posits that our thoughts are quite powerful and subsequently cause our feelings and behaviors. CBT also assumes that we all hold illogical, negative thoughts that keep us from feeling good. Often times these thoughts are created in early childhood, and so they’re repeated over time and have become so automatic that we often aren’t aware that we have them. Engaging in CBT provides you with an opportunity to objectively examine your cognitions and learn tools to modify your thought patterns, so that dysfunctional emotions and behaviors get eliminated. This type of therapy provides a useful system for evaluation and resolving problems that are the result of our mistaken beliefs and patterns of thought. CBT is active, structured, and short-term and expects that clients engage in homework exercises to more readily incorporate these skills learned in therapy into their everyday life. CBT is highly effective for those clients suffering from depression, anxiety, relationship problems, phobias, food issues, feelings of rejection, and fear of failure. Nicole has been additionally trained by one of the leading experts in CBT, David Burns, MD. To learn more about Dr. Burns, his resources, and training, click here.

Imago Relationship Therapy – Imago was founded by Harville Hendrix, PhD and Helen LaKelly Hunt, PhD. Imago integrates proven clinical methodologies into a powerful and effective system of interventions, based on principles from Freud to Neuroscience. The foundation of Imago sessions are in the Imago dialogues – a simple, respectful and effective way to talk with your partner about the things that really matter. In Imago, there’s no blame, shame or criticism. Instead, a stronger connection comes through attentive hearing and being deeply heard in an emotionally safe environment. Through Imago, couples are able to access the core of their relationship issues and acquire tools to heal emotional wounds and deepen the love between. Imago Couples Therapy has effectively revitalized the connection amongst thousands of committed partnerships. Nicole is a certified Imago Relationship Therapist and is grateful that Imago has been the strong foundation of her own successful marriage. To learn more about Imago, click here.

Humanistic Therapy – This therapy emphasizes the uniqueness and inherent ability of each of us to achieve greatness. It focuses on current behaviors and encourages individuals to take responsibility for their own thoughts, feelings, and actions. The goals of humanistic therapies are to increase personal awareness, to increase sense of personal responsibility for one’s actions and destiny, and to help clients live in the moment and become more present in their daily life. Humanistic therapies are woven into all sessions with clients as their tools are necessary for a caring and respectful relationship between client and therapist.

Psychodynamic Therapy – Psychodynamic therapy strives to heighten your level of self-awareness for improved emotional health. It uses the basic assumption that everyone stores in his or her subconscious mind thoughts and feelings that are often too painful to be faced. Thus we come up with defenses, such as denial, to protect us from knowing about these painful feelings. Psychodynamic therapy helps people to acknowledge and process the difficult feelings that often cause them to engage in unhealthy and detrimental patterns of relating to themselves and others. The goal of this therapy is to provide clients with a level of acceptance as well as a clearing for the future to ensure healthier and more fulfilling life choices. Psychodynamic therapy is generally longer-term than CBT as family dynamics and interpersonal relationships are explored in more detail.

Expressive Arts Therapy – Expressive arts therapy is the intentional use of the creative arts as a form of therapy. Unlike traditional art expression, the process of creation is emphasized rather than the final aesthetic product. Expressive therapy works under the assumption that through use of imagination and the various forms of creative expression, people can heal. The expressive arts include art, dance, music, drama, and poetry. Although Nicole is not a certified Expressive Arts therapist, her training in the field has provided her with tools to effectively use some of these modalities with clients. The expressive arts are especially beneficial for those suffering from intense emotional hurt, which may be difficult to identify and verbalize. Nicole has received formal training in Expressive Arts Therapy and has been a dancer for the past 30 years.

About The Office

How Do I Get More Information or Schedule an Appointment?

Call (858) 442-5548, Monday – Friday, 9am – 7pm, or contact me by email.

Where Is Your Office Located?

The Crosby Center
7734 Herschel Avenue, Suite 0
La Jolla, California 92037
(858) 442-5548 (P)

My office is located in the village of La Jolla. The space itself has a cottage-like feel with a serene lotus pond, only a few walking blocks distance from La Jolla Cove and the beach. I continue to collaborate with holistic healthcare providers offering clients a wide range of alternative medicines to ensure that clients receive comprehensive care. As I am an avid believer in natural medicine, referrals are made to naturopathic and homeopathic doctors, acupuncturists, nutritionists, chiropracters, or clinical aromatherapists when necessary.

What Is Your Fee?

Please contact me about my current fee. I do offer limited sliding-scale appointments based on income and ability to pay. If you need a reduced fee, I encourage you to let me know. If I cannot accommodate your financial situation, I will do my best to aid you in finding appropriate referrals.

Will My Insurance Cover Therapy?

Many health insurance plans pay for a certain number of mental health visits, but they may only pay for services provided by in-network providers. Nicole is an out-of-network provider for all insurance carriers. She will not bill your insurance company for you, but she will provide a super bill at the end of each session for you to send to your insurance company for reimbursement. Nicole chooses to remain out-of-network for three primary reasons: 1. When billing insurance, therapists are required to give a mental disorder diagnosis. Many clients do not have mental disorders, but rather are only in need of support. Insurance carriers will only pay for those with a diagnosis. This may stigmatize clients and potentially impact future opportunities. 2. Because insurance is footing the bill, they get to decide when therapy is over, based on therapist progress reports. However, client progress does not necessarily indicate that therapy should terminate. This decision should be left up to you and Nicole. 3. Client confidentiality is compromised as anywhere from 1-10 insurance workers are given access to client information in order to process the claim.

Nicole provides counseling and therapy to individuals, adults, teens, couples and families. She treats issues including depression, anxiety, grief, loss, healing trauma, addiction recovery, eliminating overeating, weight management, stress management, life transitions, personal growth, self-esteem, relationships, premarital counseling, improving communication and chronic pain. Nicole serves the greater San Diego area including La Jolla, University City, Clairemont, Kearny Mesa, Mira Mesa, UTC, Sorrento Valley, Carmel Valley, Del Mar, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, and Point Loma.