Meet Dr. Nicole Biondoletti, who will be joining Wellness Psychological Services full time in August. We are very excited to be adding Dr. Biondoletti to our team of psychologists. She brings a wealth of specialized experience in treating Anxiety Disorders, Trauma and PTSD.
What inspired you to pursue a career as a therapist?
To be honest, I’m not quite sure. There isn’t one “lightbulb” moment where I knew this would be my path. I’d say it was more of a combination of life experiences, curiosity, luck, toil, and randomness. My mother has been in the field of nursing my whole life. Her work ethic and skill absolutely inspired me, and because of that I always felt the drive to emulate that somewhere in the realm of public service. I took a psychology course in high school and I enjoyed it, so I decided to study it in college. In college, as I learned more about psychology and human behavior, I realized that in order to help people in the way I wanted I would need a doctorate, so off to grad school I went. I can say this though, although I never quite had my end game all mapped out, I never doubted or questioned the path I was on; it’s always felt right. The never-ending challenges and rewards have kept me going.
What is your favorite thing about being a therapist?
I’m pretty sure I have one of the coolest jobs out there. I get to listen, to hear people’s stories, to bear witness to their deepest struggles and their triumphs. This doesn’t get to happen, though, without trust. That is the daily challenge I enjoy tremendously about this work. Most do not walk into my office blindly granting me their trust, I have to earn it. That brief moment when I can feel the initial subtle shift in someone who is rightfully skeptical, unsure, and afraid, to a moment of hope, openness, and connectedness. That’s pretty cool.
What are your specialties and what drew you to them?
Most of my training and experience has involved the assessment and treatment of trauma and anxiety-related disorders. I first came into contact with veterans in a mental health treatment setting when I was an undergrad at UCF (go Knights!). Their Anxiety Disorders Clinic was conducting research on using virtual reality to treat Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. I was totally captivated by all of it. The journeys and struggles of these individuals, and the amazing treatments that helped them get their lives back. I’ve never looked back. Since then, my understanding of how trauma impacts people and what helps or hinders recovery has vastly broadened. To me, there is nothing more rewarding than being able to help facilitate someone’s recovery from trauma. I have a similar interest in anxiety-related disorders, particularly Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. PTSD and OCD can be incredibly debilitating and complex. Interestingly, they very often co-occur, which most people don’t know. These disorders never quite look the same across individuals, which keeps me on my toes and keeps me curious.
What makes you unique as a therapist?
I believe I strike a good balance of empathy and compassion with directness and candor. I often “think out loud” in session, as I want my patients to be included in my thought processes. In doing so, I hope to demystify the process of therapy and equalize any power imbalance there may be in the room. I also strongly believe in being authentic in the therapy room. I try to remain true to myself, which I hope serves as an invitation for whomever I am with to do the same. Facades, when left unchecked, only stall therapeutic growth.
How would you describe your therapeutic approach?
My philosophy is that our past, particularly our upbringing, shapes who we are. However, that is not always the focus of my work with people. I also believe that everyday we make choices and those choices shape our future. Overall, I would say my style is eclectic and holistic. Most of the time I listen, interspersed with moments of teaching, modeling, challenging, and coaching. I use techniques from a variety of approaches to help foster holistic health and integration, meaning mind, brain, and body are all on the same page. I also recognize that vocalized words are not the only way to express one’s experiences, so I like to incorporate creative avenues of expression, such as writing, music, or artwork.
What is your favorite quote?
Whenever I’m looking to add a new quote to my wall, Deepak Chopra and Albus Dumbledore are my go-to’s. Here are 2 of my favorites:
“All great changes are proceeded by chaos.” – Chopra. I think this speaks to all aspects of life. If we aren’t pushed, moved, or uncomfortable we will remain stagnant.
“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” – Dumbledore. This is a reminder that even at our lowest points when we feel completely hopeless, we always have power in the choices we make.
What is one thing that is important for anyone to know?
Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.
What's most important to you?
Living as balanced of a life as I can. In doing so, I hope I can be a model for others. I love to work; in fact, I haven’t really stopped since high school. Spoiler alert: almost everyone who goes through graduate school has some degree of neurotic work ethic. But I also love to not work. I love to do nothing. I love to spend time with loved ones and my dog. Sometimes I like to recharge by being alone. Having a number of different adaptive activities to balance out life’s stressors is one of the most important things, I believe, to longevity. This is actually something I have prided myself on for a long time, being able to find a balance that works for me in any given moment in time. This is how I am able to show up, for myself, those I care about, and those I work with.
What is your take on a current social issue?
At the risk of sounding totally predictable, mental health stigma and access to mental healthcare are very problematic in our country. Great strides have been made in reducing stigma, that’s for sure, and there is more work to be done. I think this starts with early conversations and more tolerance. Our culture perpetuates the “pursuit of happiness,” which conveys that if you are not happy all of the time then there is something wrong with you that needs to be fixed. We have an intolerance for the uncomfortable aspects of being a human: sadness, anxiety, pain, anger, etc. Which seems a little strange, given that the vast majority of people experience things like depression and anxiety at some point in their lives. Maybe the problem is our attitude towards these internal experiences, rather than the emotions themselves.
If you are interested in scheduling an appointment or doing a brief phone consult with Dr. Biondoletti please Contact us.