Hi. My Name is Nicki. I am educated and trained as a Mental Health Counselor, having earned my bachelor’s degree with a major in psychology from the University of Rochester in 2011 and my Master of Science degree in Community Mental Health Counseling from the Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development at the University of Rochester in 2014. I am Licensed in the state of New York. Though it took me well into adulthood to get my degrees, I knew that I wanted to be a therapist since I was in the 6th grade (although I did not know what the profession was called; I just knew that I wanted to "do what Syble's doctor did" in the movie and I wanted to talk to people who were really struggling. I was determined that listening to what was on someone's mind and communicating that it mattered to me that they were hurting was healing even at the age of 12). After some road blocks and detours in my education and in life in general, I made my way back to my calling and I am glad for those detours; they helped me gain valuable experience to enable me to connect with my clients on so many levels.
I take an "Organismic" and Humanistic approach to therapy. I put "organismic" in quotes because it isn't a true type of therapeutic approach but what I mean is that I remind myself often that every organism, be it an amoeba or a human, will instinctively move toward life-sustaining circumstances (homeostasis) and I should remember this when it seems that my clients might be avoiding something in session. They are working toward homeostasis and I should trust in their process and in their defenses rather than try to break them down. As a Humanistic therapist, I believe that everyone is inherently good and has the innate ability to realize his/her full potential. To realize our full potential, we must accept ourselves wholly in mind, body, and spirit, connect genuinely, and live authentically.
I firmly believe that my role as your therapist is not to give you advice or to "fix" you! For one, you are not broken! Two, my roles are to gain your trust, work to understand you as fully as possible, help you identify your strengths, assist you in determining what is in your best interest based on your personal needs, wants, and hopes, and to facilitate working towards those goals. It is also my role to challenge and even frustrate you at times; to help you recognize where you stand in your own way by adhering to rigid and dysfunctional thought patterns and behaving in ways that do not align with your values and goals. You can expect me to be honest, direct, warm, compassionate, non-judgmental, down-to-earth, genuine, caring, challenging, and straight-forward.
Some fun facts about me: I once did competitive body building, I am a quasi-artist. If it were up to me, I would own just about every animal on the planet (except for eels) and could probably find a way to get most of them to let me kiss them but would hire someone to train and take care of them. I once bred mice for pets and tamed all the babies before giving them to Doolittles Pet Shop so they could sell them.