I utilize an integrative and holistic healing approach rooted in compassion that allows the physical, mental, cultural, emotional, and spiritual parts of self to be explored and reconnected.
I am a firm believer that we all possess the strength and ability to navigate through the journey of life, but some journeys are better taken with the guidance of someone else. I am merely a guide, leading you to powers you already have.
Who I Am
I am a therapist from Los Angeles, California and my qualifications include a BA (Honors) in Psychology and a MA in Counseling Psychology. Additionally, I worked as a research assistant for the Bijlmer Project, a research and intervention based project that focuses on the psychological and social needs of victims of human trafficking. Until 2020, I had been living in the Netherlands since 2010 (in Leiden and The Hague). Since then, I moved back to California, although I still practice in the Netherlands, as well as all over the world with online sessions. I was a licensed therapist in the Netherlands and I’m currently a member of the American Counseling Association and adhere to their ethical principles. I regularly attend psychotherapy conferences and trainings to stay up to date with advances in the field.
In The Hague I worked mainly with the expat/international community. I have had clients from well over 35 different countries and have worked with individuals in high profile jobs at the International Criminal Court, the Peace Palace, and Europol. This has greatly expanded my knowledge in more ways than I could have imagined and I am eternally grateful for those opportunities. My decision to move back to the US was not taken lightly, as I had established myself in The Hague, but I felt something was missing in my life – mainly a connection to nature. Our planet faces an undeniable crisis right now and I didn’t feel good about the way I was living and the lack of knowledge I had about trying to live in a way that works more with nature, rather than against. I currently live in an intentional community in Murphys, a small town located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. I am on a personal quest to learn how to do more things with my hands and with the earth.
In my practice, I work individually with adults. I am a feminist and I have a strong passion for women's rights and empowerment; I work from a feminist-perspective, thus I mostly work with women, but not exclusively. I'm adamant about fighting for social justice issues and helping those who are marginalized, traumatized, and victimized. I believe that women have plenty of power inside themselves already, but many need help to re-discover their strength and voices. Given this, it's important to examine the social, cultural and health issues that impact a woman throughout her lifetime. Some of these include issues surrounding pregnancy, menstruation, abortion, miscarriage, parenting, menopause, sexual assault, domestic violence, body image, discrimination, racism and harassment. I am sex-positive and specialize in sexual functioning, sexual pleasure and alternative practices in sexuality and relationships. I am an ally to the LGBTQ+ community and I am currently developing more events and resources for this community in the small town that I live in.
I practice from a trauma-informed approach. This means that I take seriously the prevalence of trauma in our societies and I operate from the mindset that most of us are not getting through life without dealing with trauma. Being trauma-informed also means that we won’t just spend time exploring and trying to modify your behaviors and beliefs, rather we will seek to understand why these were ever enacted in the first place and what purpose they may serve. I believe that we can all heal from the traumatic events we have experienced and that healing often happens in the context of a supportive, loving relationship. I find it extremely relevant to put issues a client may be facing into a greater context regarding the current state of our world. Things are changing at a rapid pace, which can leave many of us feeling fearful, anxious, and disconnected. We cannot deny that things like pandemics, climate change, social justice issues, politics, and our increasing reliance on technology and social media have a great impact on our mental and physical health. I will always help clients challenge the idea that their value is dependent on how well they fit into a society that is abnormal and unhealthy in many ways.
Therapy can be a personal opportunity to receive support and experience growth during challenging times in life. Very few of us are given the tools and information that contribute to a satisfying, peaceful life. Therapy can be an opportunity to truly get to know and understand yourself. It can help one deal with many personal topics in life such as, but not limited to:
-Anxiety & stress related issues
-Depression & mood issues
-Sexuality & relationship issues
-Loss of meaning or direction in life
-Trauma, grief, loss & injustice
-Coping with difficult emotions
-Women's empowerment and feminist issues
-Menstruation issues, PMS, & PMDD
-Coping with being highly sensitive
-Communication & boundary issues
-Coping with being a millennial in a world that often judges millennials
-Adjustment & acculturation/expat issues
It is a common misconception that those who seek therapy must be experiencing emotional distress. Therapy can also benefit those who simply wish to learn more about oneself and to grow personally, socially, or spiritually. Increased insight, self-acceptance, gratitude, and self-compassion are all potential therapy goals.
"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom."
"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them."
My aim is to help you truly know your mind, heart and body.
No two therapies will look the same, as a new therapy is developed for each and every unique individual. Humans are so very complex and we do not exist in a vacuum. We are all greatly influenced by the experiences of our past, the many unjust systems in our societies, our culture, our religion/spirituality, as well as our current relationships. Very few of us are given instruction on what to do with the pain from an unhappy or abusive childhood, how to have a loving relationship with others and self, and how to slow down and really spend time inquiring about what the self needs and wants.
I believe good therapy should ignite a sense of curiosity in one's self which can lead to more awareness and understanding of who you are - to really know your heart, mind, and body intimately. In working from this perspective, I find it useful to emphasize self compassion and self acceptance practices, as societies have conditioned many of us to feel badly about ourselves. Being at war with ourselves is one of the most debilitating things a human experiences. I find that when we are able to treat ourselves with compassion, we can move through difficult times much faster and effectively. Therapy can also provide an opportunity to become more aware and thus more free to consciously choose our way instead of relying on automatic, conditioned patterns or getting caught up in judgments about ourselves.
My goal is to meet you exactly where you are and to collaborate in finding ways that are most helpful for you. I help people make sense of their symptoms from a trauma-informed lens, while utilizing a mind-body approach. In doing so, I work in an integrative and holistic way and will use different approaches in my work. I am most inspired by somatic therapies, Buddhist and existential psychology. Those I draw upon most in my work are Tara Brach, Jack Kornfield, Irvin Yalom, Bessel van der Kolk, Peter Levine, Harriet Lerner, Sue Johnson, Gabor Maté, Dan Siegel, Esther Perel, Richard Schwartz, Carl Rogers, bell hooks, Gloria Steinem and many other feminist writers.
Unfortunately, the Western world has often neglected the connection between mind and body. Many of us live from our neck up (meaning: we're in our heads a lot!) and we often do not consider the great amount of insight and wisdom the body has. We also tend to forget that our minds secrete thousands of thoughts a day! Many of which do not deserve our attention, yet we tend to give thoughts a lot of power and we're usually unaware of how these thoughts register in our bodies. I will help you to reconnect with your instincts and give space to explore not only your mind, but what your heart and gut are trying to communicate, as well.
I often incorporate mindfulness and meditation practices in sessions, as these have been proven to help individuals gain more awareness and connection with the body and mind. I believe that when one goes on the journey of discovery, that we must also find and allow lightness, creativity and laughter to enter the realm of healing. I enjoy including all of this and whatever else my clients find most useful in our work together.
Above all, the quality of the client-therapist relationship is most important for achieving goals in therapy. A willingness to collaborate and be authentic with each other will maximize the outcomes of therapy. Therapy works best when you feel at ease, able to trust and fully disclose to your therapist. My job is to provide a compassionate, safe and non-judgmental space for you to discuss whatever thoughts or concerns you may have. I do not ever take lightly the courage it takes for another to sit in front of someone they don’t know and bare their soul. I have immense respect and gratitude for my clients that they allow me inside their inner worlds and trust me to hold their stories. I encourage those seeking a therapist to “shop” around for a person that they feel most comfortable and secure with. With that in mind, I am more than willing to answer any questions or concerns via email or telephone before we decide to schedule a session.
*I only take on a maximum of 10 clients a week. I find that this way of working suits me quite well. I love this work, but it’s hard work and I invest all of myself in it. I take my job very seriously and spend a great deal of time reading, learning, and thinking about ways in which I can help my clients. I also spend a lot of time on my own personal growth by journaling, meditating, being in nature, and engaging in my own therapy, as well as consulting groups with colleagues. I also recently discovered that I am a highly sensitive person -maybe you are, too? Because of this, I believe I am able to create a very warm, compassionate and strong bond with my clients.
"Feeling compassion for ourselves in no way releases us from responsibility for our actions. Rather, it releases us from the self-hatred that prevents us from responding to our life with clarity and balance.”
"To be enlightened is to no longer have anxiety about imperfection."
I tend to make use of the full hour and sometimes longer per session. The first few sessions will focus on the concerns that have brought you to therapy as well as your past. This is to get an understanding of how past events could be influencing your present circumstance. The intake procedure will help me to get to know you better and provide you an opportunity to feel what it is like to work with me. After the intake, we can discuss your areas of strength, improvement and goals for therapy.
Clients are always responsible for payment directly to me, however, you may be eligible for reimbursement through your health insurance. International health insurances will sometimes cover the costs of therapy. I highly recommend that you contact your health insurance provider directly for more information and to determine your coverage. I am more than willing to help provide you with any information I know regarding this matter.
I am willing to be flexible with my fee in relation to your financial situation. I typically work with a sliding scale, as I feel that everyone should be able to access mental health services. If you have any questions about my fees or anything else, please contact me.
My cancellation policy is that sessions will be charged in full if I am not given 24 hours notice.
I am often available to schedule sessions in the evenings.
©2020 by Nicole Rand Counseling & Therapy