Shierry Weber Nicholsen, Ph.D., L.M.H.C.
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Shierry Weber Nicholsen, M.A., L.M.H.C., F.I.P.A.

Practice of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy

1103 E. Republican St. #1

Seattle, WA 98102

206 328 8437

If you are interested in exploring the possibility of working with me, please call to schedule an initial interview, for which there is no charge. The initial interview lasts 50 minutes and gives us a chance to meet one another and for me to hear the concerns that bring you to want psychotherapy or psychoanalysis and to see if I think I can help you with your concerns. At the end of the interview we can talk about whether we want to meet further and about matters of fees and schedules.

Please read the statement below before coming to the interview. The statement provides information about my credentials and training, the nature of my practice, and my policies regarding payment and other matters regarding treatment. It is current as of December 2012. If you have questions regarding anything in the statement, I can answer them when we meet in person.

Please note: The phone number above takes messages 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I do not use email in my practice, as I don't check it often enough, but if you want to make the initial contact by email you may. My email address is snicholsen@earthlink.net

My training, credentials and professional activities: I am trained both as a psychotherapist and as a psychoanalyst. I trained as a psychoanalyst at the Northwestern Psychoanalytic Society in Seattle, graduating in 2008, and am a certified psychoanalyst, fellow of the International Psychoanalytic Association and on the faculties of both the Northwestern Psychoanalytic Society and the Seattle Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. My original training was as a psychotherapist. I earned an M.A. degree in counseling from the California State University at Northridge in 1974 and was licensed as a Marriage Family and Child Counselor in California in 1976. I maintained a private psychotherapy practice in Los Angeles for many years. I have been in private practice in Seattle since 1999 and am licensed as a Mental Health Counselor in the state of Washington.

My current approach to the practice of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis is grounded in my interest in British Object Relations theory, which informed my psychoanalytic training. At the same time, I have broad interests in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, and am familiar with a wide variety of approaches. I find all these perspectives useful in my work with patients. I am active in Seattle's professional community, participating in a number of professional organizations and study groups, and served for many years on the Board of the Northwest Alliance for Psychoanalytic Study. I was the first chair of the Alliance's Committee on the Arts & Psychoanalysis.

Please note: I hold a Ph.D. from Cornell University in literature and philosophy. This degree was not part of my qualifications for licensure or certification as a psychotherapist or psychoanalyst, but I find it extremely helpful in understanding and working with my patients.

The nature of my practice: I think of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis as a cooperative effort between therapist and patient to know and understand the patient in depth and thereby strengthen and develop the patient's capacities for self-awareness and self-regulation, intimacy, responsibility, and creativity. The therapist's or analyst's capacity to provide a safe emotional place for the patient through effective empathy is crucial to the process. Dreams often play an important role in the work.

Generally people seek therapy or analysis for help in understanding and handling common forms of emotional pain or difficulties in the course of ordinary life. The list of such concerns is very broad. It includes such things as painful feelings of anxiety or worry, depression, resentment, or emptiness; low self-esteem or self-hatred; unresolved grief or the aftereffects of trauma or abuse; concerns regarding sexuality; difficulties in relationships or concerns about family matters; difficulties at work or with career and profession, and concerns regarding artistic creativity or performance. I do not specialize in any particular issue but rather work with the concerns of the patient as an individual. Often the focus of the treatment changes as the work proceeds. I work with adults of all ages, adolescents, and couples and have been fortunate to have had experience working with patients from a wide variety of backgrounds, including cultural backgrounds, ethnicities and sexual orientations.

Frequency and length of sessions and duration of the treatment: I consider it important to establish regular sessions at the same time each week , at least once weekly. Many patients benefit from sessions two or more times weekly. Sessions are 50 minutes long. The duration of the treatment is an individual matter, although generally at least a year is required for reliable improvements and often treatments last for a number of years. The patient can end the treatment at any time and for any reason, although generally the advisability and timing of ending treatment is discussed between patient and therapist before any decision is made.

About psychoanalysis: Patients in psychoanalytic treatment come for sessions three or more times per week, and the treatment generally extends for a number of years. This allows for a deeper, broader and more thorough exploration of the patient's mental and emotional life, relation to self, and current and past experience than is generally possible in a more limited psychotherapeutic treatment. At the same time, psychoanalytic treatment involves a commitment of time, money and focus that is not possible for everyone. For some patients, I may recommend psychoanalysis as the treatment of choice. It may also emerge as a possibility to be discussed after a period of psychotherapeutic work.

Fees, payment arrangements, and policy on cancellations and missed sessions: We will discuss fees during the initial session. In certain cases we may agree on a reduced fee, with certain conditions to be discussed at the time the fee is set. I ask that patients pay me at the final session of each week, preferably by check, or in cash. I do not work directly with insurance companies, but if your policy provides for some reimbursement for work with out-of-network providers, I will be happy to provide you with the required documentation.

Responsible attendance at regularly scheduled appointments is an important factor in the treatment. Occasionally, of course, it is necessary to miss or reschedule a session. Once we set a regular time for our sessions, I have what is called a "no cancellation" policy. This means that you are responsible for all regularly scheduled sessions, although I am happy to try to reschedule when necessary if you can give me at least twenty-four hours notice prior to the session you need to miss. In addition, you may miss up to four times the number of your weekly sessions without penalty, and sessions during the week between Christmas and New Year's day are optional.

Consultation and supervision: In accordance with standard professional practice, I may at times present case material for discussion with colleagues in a consultation or supervision situation. In such instances, the case material is presented in such a manner that the identity of the patient is not recognizable, and confidentiality is maintained within the consultation or supervision situation.

Referrals, testing , medication, and provision of information to third parties: If for any reason you do not choose to work with me, or if I do not feel I am able to help you, I will be happy to provide you with referrals to other qualified mental health professionals. I am not qualified to conduct psychological testing or to prescribe or recommend medication. Where appropriate, I can refer you to qualified professionals for those services. Often consultation with other professionals involved in your treatment is helpful, and I may ask for your consent for release of information for that purpose. Otherwise, in order to protect the privacy and safety of the treatment, I am not willing to provide information to third parties except as required by law. The only exceptions are provision of information on statements as described above under payment arrangements, and consultation with parents of adolescents within certain limits to be discussed at the beginning of treatment.

Activities in Writing, Teaching, and the Arts

In addition to my clinical work and my work in the analytic community in Seattle, I have many years of experience teaching in colleges and universities, most recently in the Environment & Community program at Antioch University Seattle, a program I designed. My early training in literature and philosophy led me to work in the Frankfurt School of Critical Social Theory. I studied with Theodor Adorno, the eminent philosopher and social theorist, in Frankfurt, and translated a number of his books, as well as books by Juergen Habermas and other members of the Frankfurt School. I have given many papers on Adorno's work, and my book Exact Imagination, Late Work: On Adorno's Aesthetics, was published by MIT Press in 1997. My second book The Love of Nature and the End of the World: the unspoken dimensions of environmental concern, was published by MIT Press in 2002.

Aesthetics, the arts, and creativity have long been a central concern of mine. In addition to my writings in the area of the arts and psychoanalysis, I am a stone sculptor and am learning to play the cello. Some of my short writings in the arts and psychoanalysis are available below.

Writings on the arts and psychoanalysis

(click on any of the following files to view or download)

Adrian Stokes and Stone-Carving

Creating Aliveness--On Christopher Alexander

Killing Off Beauty

Three Versions of Oedipal Shame

Shierry Weber Nicholsen, Ph.D., L.M.H.C.                           
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