Thinking about our lives in different ways entails being aware of our present experiences, including our emotions and perceptions and appreciating how the present is impacted by the events from the past. – Dan Siegal


Research has shown us the exciting findings that parents who themselves did not have “good enough parents” or even who had traumatic childhoods can make sense of their lives and have healthy relationships as adults. We also know our histories impact how we parent our children and we may be vulnerable to passing on to our children unhealthy patterns from the past.

The opportunity to change and grow continues to be available to us throughout our lives. My commitment is to compassionately assist you as you develop and bring clarity and meaning to your life’s journey.

Meet Dianne Nicholas, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

I was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and raised in Kenya, East Africa. I am a licensed marriage family therapist and for the past 12 years I have practiced in California (MFC 48364.) I hold a M.S. degree in Counseling Psychology from California State University, Northridge. I am a Senior Trainer for Theraplay based in Chicago and train clinical professionals nationally and internationally. I am part-time Adjunct Professor at UC San Diego Extension Play Therapy Department.
My approach as a psychotherapist has evolved, through my extensive clinical experience and active continued professional development, into an integrated approach drawing on a range of theories and modalities.

Training & Certifications

Theraplay – Senior Trainer, Supervisor & Certified Clinician

What is Theraplay? A proactive, intensive, relationship focused parent-child treatment model. Modeled on the natural patterns of healthy interaction between parents and child : the kind of interaction that leads to secure attachment and lifelong mental health. Theraplay is appropriate for children of all ages, including babies, and when combined with other techniques, it is great therapy for teenagers too.

  • Shy, withdrawn or clingy behaviors
  • Acting out angry or disruptive behaviors
  • Defiant, oppositional or controlling behaviors
  • Behavioral problems at school or with peers
  • Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hypervigilant disorder

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  • History of trauma or abuse and neglect
  • Attachment disorder due to adoption or multiples changes in living arrangements
  • A history of social deprivation due to living in an institution
  • Psychological trauma due to medical or serious illness.

EMDR Practitioner – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

EMDR therapy is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporate elements from many different treatment approaches.

What kind of problems can EMDR treat?

Scientific research has established EMDR as effective for PTSD. However clinicians also have reported success using EMDR in treatment of the following conditions:

  • Panic Attacks
  • Complicated Grief
  • Dissociative Disorders
  • Disturbing memories
  • Phobias

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  • Performance Anxiety
  • Sexual and/or Physical Abuse
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder
  • Personality Disorder

Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP)

A family based intervention focused on facilitating a child’s ability to establish a secure attachment with his/her caregiver.  DDP is a treatment for families with adopted or fostered children who have experienced neglect and/or abuse in their birth families and suffered from significant developmental trauma.

DBT Practitioner – Dialectical Behavior Therapy

DBT has been supported in numerous research studies to be effective when treating significant depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, addictions and dual diagnosis difficulties.. It is effective when treating both youth and adult clients. It is a strength based model that fosters healthy development, increased life satisfaction and optimal level of functioning.

Dianne Nicholas MFT is member of California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists. Learn more at