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!
Additional areas of focus: 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, ADHD, Abandonment, Aging and Geriatric Issues, Attachment Issues, Body Image, Caregiver Issues and Stress, Chronic Pain Illness and Disability, Communication Problems, Control Issues, Coping with Natural or Human-Caused Disaster, Divorce and Separation, Drug and Alcohol Addiction, Eating and Food-Related Issues, Emptiness, Family of Origin Issues, Family Problems, Fatherhood Issues, First Responder Issues, Forgiveness, Guilt and Shame, Hospice and End of Life Counseling, Infidelity, Isolation / Loneliness, Jealousy, Life Purpose, Men's Issues, Midlife Crisis, Military and Veterans Issues, Money and Financial Issues, Mood Disorders, Multicultural Concerns, Panic Disorder and Panic Attacks, Phobias, Polyamory / Nonmonogamous Relationships, Postpartum Depression, Post-traumatic Stress, Prejudice and Discrimination, Process addiction (porn, exercise, gambling), Self-Love, Sex Addiction, Sexual Assault and Abuse, Sexual Dysfunction, Sexuality, Smoking/Vaping Cessation, Social Anxiety and Phobia, Somatization, Traumatic Brain Injury, Workplace Issues
Clinical approaches: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing
TX Psychologist 37499
CA Psychologist 33948
DR.Nicolas is a great therapist! Always friendly and always willing to listen!
Written on Sep 23, 2023 after therapy with Mario for 10 months on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, relationship issues, family conflicts, intimacy-related issues, self esteem, anger management, career difficulties, and adhd
Best counselor ever!!
Written on Feb 09, 2023 after therapy with Mario for 1 year and 2 months on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, relationship issues, self esteem, anger management, coping with life changes, and adhd
So far so good
Written on Dec 01, 2022 after therapy with Mario for 3 weeks on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, addictions, relationship issues, trauma and abuse, intimacy-related issues, sleeping disorders, parenting issues, self esteem, coping with life changes, 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 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
Written 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
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 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