Nicole Pickering, Psy.D. (PSY26487)
A Born Listener With A Desire To Help Others
Even before I knew I wanted to be a psychologist, I was always the person that people would automatically open up to. On airplanes, for example, I am sure to hear the life story of the person sitting next to me. Perhaps it’s due to my inquisitive nature or my ability to actively listen, but I’m someone who inevitably walks off the plane with a new “friend”.
I consider this ability to be my superpower. It has proven to be an invaluable asset in my career as a psychologist that I depend upon in every session with my clients.
I find it incredibly rewarding to gain a client’s trust by allowing them to be vulnerable without judgment and assure them I am someone who will listen to their concerns. I know that when I build a foundation of trust and communication with my clients, it can lead to insights and breakthroughs in their treatment that will profoundly impact their lives.
My desire to help others started close to home. Throughout my life, a member of my immediate family has suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Growing up, I witnessed how their condition impacted daily life and made their world so small and limited. It pained me to see how stuck they were.
The reason I was initially drawn to psychology was that I knew I wanted to help those who suffered from OCD find a pathway toward meaningful healing and growth. Psychology has also been the perfect gateway to pursue my lifelong passion for teaching. In addition to the teaching I do with my clients, I have also had the opportunity to teach other therapists as well as become a speaker on the subject of OCD, Trichotillomania, and Anxiety disorders.
My Background And Specialties
The therapeutic approach I provide my clients is informed by years of research and experience. After working at Harbor UCLA-Medical Center and UC Davis Medical Center, I had the honor of working on a seminal Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) study with DBT founder, Marsha Linehan. These experiences led me to work with children and adults alike to overcome their problems and help them lead healthier, happier lives.
I discovered early on that working with children is so rewarding and fulfilling because they are so quick and eager to grasp the concepts I teach them. When kids and parents invest equally in doing the work, the cessation of symptoms can happen quickly.
While I appreciate opportunities to help children, my work with adults is also something that I value highly. The feedback I often receive from my adult clients is that my explanations of what is happening to them when they experience anxiety are really understandable. I strive to use metaphors that help put things into perspective and will ultimately result in living a life based on empowerment rather than being held hostage by anxiety.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Exposure Response Prevention (ERP), And Habit-Reversal Training (HRT)
CBT and, more specifically ERP and HRT, are the pillars of my practice for treating OCD, Tourettes Disorder, Trichotillomania, and other Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs). ERP offers children the single most effective treatment for OCD, as well as other mental health challenges they may be facing. By providing your child with a helpful framework, ERP can help them overcome their obsessive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. In addition, I utilize HRT, another specific form of CBT, that is also effective in the treatment of BFRBs and Tourettes Disorder.
In addition, I utilize a Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions (SPACE) and Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) to help support the parents of children with OCD. These specialized treatments will teach parents a concrete set of skills that can be effective in improving their relationship with their child and setting consistent limits while reducing anxiety.
Working with parents to increase their tools is as important as working with the children themselves. As a parent, you are with your children daily—the more you can support them through the use of these skills, the more your children can move toward health.
I founded the CBT Treatment Center to specialize in treating anxiety disorders in children, adolescents, and adults —specifically OCD and Trichotillomania. Knowing firsthand how hard OCD is on a family has drawn me to the work of helping clients manage their OCD so it no longer controls them.
Because I work with children, I realize the importance of building rapport with them from the moment they meet me. I aim to put them at ease by forging a genuine connection—we might end up talking about a shared interest, such as Marvels or Star Wars, to break the ice. Throughout our work together I want to make sure they realize that I care about their welfare and will help them in any way I can.
Additionally, the relationships I establish with parents is a critical piece of the puzzle. My goals is to support parents so they in turn will be able to support their child through OCD.
I always strive to live life authentically—I value transparency, connection, and living in the moment. Each of these values lines up nicely with how I practice, especially with how I foster trust with my clients so the work can happen. Because I’m coming from an authentic place, they realize that I would never ask them to do something I wouldn’t do. In that way, we can work to collaborate on solutions together.
Nicole Pickering is the founder and director of CBT Treatment Center which opened in 2014 and has been helping people find wellness through therapy since 2007.
Dr. Pickering is also a well-respected teacher and speaker, helping other therapists acquire skills they can apply to their practice. She is a www.bfrb.org certified provider for Trichotillomania, and an active member of the Los Angeles County Psychological Association (LACPA), San Gabriel Valley Psychological Association (SGVPA), the Tourettes Foundation (www.tourette.org), and the International OCD Foundation (www.iocdf.org). She is also a certified provider in Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics in Schools (CBITS).