Dr. Mario Nicolas

Psychologist

About Me

Hi, I’m Dr. Mario Nicolas. I am a Ph.D. (Penn State, 2002) trained Clinical Psychologist, with extensive experience in military mental health (Maj [Ret. – 2014]; USAF), clinical neuropsychology (fellowship trained; Univ. of Virginia Medical School [2005-07]), and Primary Care Behavioral Health (PCBH; past-USAF program consultant [2015-20]). If you want to learn more, check me out on LinkedIn. I provide individual therapy to adults and am available on weekday evenings, some early weekday early-mornings, and weekend mornings. I consider myself a cognitive-behavioral therapist, strongly influenced by Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT). My style of interaction is patient-centered & culturally sensitive; and I consider hearing (not just listening to) my patient’s situation (your “story”) to be my most important task. I incorporate motivational interviewing, and the science of behavior-change, into everything that I do.

At our initial visit we will go through what I describe as my "Game Plan" for working together. The "Game Plan" is a metaphor that many of my clients have found helpful for working with me -- in that it provides a "shared story" that we can use to navigate our work together.

Here is the "Game Plan..."

1. We use the metaphor of a journey that you're on; and I am ONE OF your guides (friends, family members, mentors, etc. are also guides).

2. Help you understand the direction you're heading on this journey... This is your “North Star” or "Guiding Light..." essentially your “purpose” or your “values” -- the type of person you want to be in your life. NOTE: Your Values are different from your goals. The metaphor for the difference between the two is that Goals are like "destinations" (you can accomplish it) and Values are like "directions" (You don't ever get there... you just focus on moving forward and/or towards it).

3. Understand the concept of a “psychological toolbox” that is made up of certain tools. Our focus is on adding as many tools to your toolbox as we can. IMPORTANT: Our focus is not necessarily on finding tools that work... just ADDING TOOLS TO THE TOOLBOX. Important things to know about the "toolbox" are that: a) it is limitless and can never get too full, and b) the more tools you have in your toolbox the better you will feel about life.

4. Understand the the two main tools in the toolbox:

A. INSIDE THE HEAD (ITH) tools: thoughts, images, sayings/mantras, memes, memories, the focus of your thoughts (past/present/future), your perspective

B. OUTSIDE THE HEAD (OTH) tools: behaviors, reactions, hobbies/interests, body posture, facial expressions, things you do more/less, things you do/don’t do

5. Help you understand and recognize the tools that you use and, IMPORTANTLY, the tools that have become habits for you and/or have become "automatic.". The best way to recognize tools that have become automatic, is to pay attention to how you THINK, ACT, and/or FEEL. If you are THINKING/ACTING/FEELING in ways that just "don't feel right" that's a sign that you are using automatic tools that do NOT work for you. On the other hand, if you feel positive and healthy, that's a sign that you are using tools that DO work for you.

6. Once you recognize the tools that you’re using, you will learn how to ask yourself “Is this tool helpful or not helpful?” (based on how well it moves you TOWARDS or AWAY FROM your “North Star”)

7, If the tools work, we will help you to continue using them, and/or to strengthen your use of them. If they do not work , we will help you try out different ones and/or develop new ones. NOTE: Just because a tool does not work in one situation; it does not mean that it will not work in another situation. Therefore, you don't necessarily have to get rid of tools that aren't working. Also, even if you cannot get rid of, or change, a particular tool that is not helpful; you can learn to develop other types of tools that you can use to limit its impact (e.g., "watering down the liquor").

Don't worry if this "Game Plan" does not make too much sense for you; we will discuss it more during our first session.

Likewise, if this "Game Plan" does not work for you, we will discuss addressing your therapy in a different way.

I look forward to working with you!


Specialties

  • Stress, Anxiety
  • Trauma and abuse
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Career difficulties
  • Depression
Also experienced in:
Addictions , Relationship issues , Family conflicts , Grief , Intimacy-related issues , Eating disorders , Parenting issues , Anger management , Self esteem , Bipolar disorder , Coping with life changes , Coaching , Compassion fatigue , Read more...

Clinical approaches:
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing

Years of Experience: 30

Services Offered


  • Messaging

  • Live Chat

  • Phone

  • Video

Licensing

Psychologist #37499 (Expires: 2023-08-31)


Reviews

These quotes represent just a few of the many positive reviews that we have received for Dr. Mario Nicolas. We don’t pay anyone to provide their review and they are all made voluntarily. Some people's experience receiving therapy with BetterHelp might be different.

Written by S.H. on Aug 04, 2022 after therapy with Mario for 2 weeks on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, addictions, family conflicts, trauma and abuse, grief, sleeping disorders, self esteem, anger management, and adhd

I have a very bad tendency to bottle up when speaking with doctors/authorities of any kind. Dr. Nicolas is extremely easy to talk to; he let’s me talk freely and doesn’t make me feel like I’m not worth the time. I like his approach on how to address what’s going on in my life because it is more a “my choice” rather than “you must”…I’ve never really responded well to being told what to do so this is perfect for me!

Written by S.H. on Jun 13, 2022 after therapy with Mario for 1 month on issues concerning stress, anxiety, relationship issues, family conflicts, parenting issues, self esteem, anger management, and compassion fatigue

Excellent!

Written by Y.O. on May 29, 2022 after therapy with Mario for 2 weeks on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, relationship issues, family conflicts, trauma and abuse, intimacy-related issues, self esteem, anger management, and adhd

We have only had two sessions so it’s hard to give a detailed review but from what I have experienced he is a great therapist, very kind and patient. I feel very comfortable talking to him, and when I express things he understands what I am saying without me having to over explain myself.

Written by K.I. on Apr 09, 2022 after therapy with Mario for 4 months on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, relationship issues, and eating disorders

- listens well
- uses research-based methods
- is patient and funny

Written by E.M. on Apr 08, 2022 after therapy with Mario for 3 months on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, addictions, self esteem, anger management, coping with life changes, and coaching

He’s great!

Written by J.U. on Apr 02, 2022 after therapy with Mario for 2 weeks on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, addictions, relationship issues, family conflicts, trauma and abuse, anger management, and adhd

Dr. Nicolas is great!

Written by T.A. on Dec 07, 2021 after therapy with Mario for 2 weeks on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, addictions, relationship issues, family conflicts, self esteem, and adhd

This is all new to me. I didn’t have many expectations. However, I must say working with Dr. Nicolas has been more beneficial than I would have ever thought. Even to just be listened to and not just heard is profound to me. I love it here!

Written by A.N. on Nov 25, 2021 after therapy with Mario for 2 weeks on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, family conflicts, trauma and abuse, and adhd

Dr. Nicolas is amazing. I would recommend him to anyone. Very professional.

Written by K.H. on Oct 21, 2021 after therapy with Mario for 2 weeks on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, grief, eating disorders, sleeping disorders, self esteem, career difficulties, and coping with life changes

Dr. Nicolas has been wonderful since the beginning even before the meeting her is very attentive and he made mt visits much more easy I was very nervous and scared and he made it a breeze can't wait to continue our meetings.

Written by L.I. on Oct 21, 2021 after therapy with Mario for 2 weeks on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, relationship issues, family conflicts, trauma and abuse, grief, intimacy-related issues, eating disorders, sleeping disorders, self esteem, anger management, career difficulties, bipolar disorder, and coping with life changes

I am new to therapy and I was not sure how I felt about it. So far, I have had one real time conversation with Dr. Nicolas, but after that conversation I felt very hopeful. I strongly believe in Dr. Nicolas’ ability to guide me and help me have a healthier, happier outlook on my life. He listened to me and did not make me feel like I was just a number. He seemed like he genuinely wants to help me become a better me. I am looking forward to working with him.

Written by B.E. on Oct 19, 2021 after therapy with Mario for 2 weeks on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, self esteem, bipolar disorder, and adhd

I've only worked with Dr. Nicholas for a short time, but am seeing improvements and general hope already. I can say that his choice of therapeutic method is great. He responds in a timely manner and makes expectations very clear.

Work with me!