Meet Dr. Nicholas Flower

Dr. Nicholas (Nick) Flower–psychologist and colleague of mine –recently sat down for an interview with me regarding his new Private Practice in Brentwood, TN (Cool Springs).   I want to share this information with everyone in case you are in search of individual therapy in 2013 or “just in case” you get asked if you know of  a good therapist.

So Nick, tell me where you’re from and what brought you to Nashville?

I’m from Smithton, PA a small cozy town about 45 minutes southeast of Pittsburgh, PA. I got married to my lovely wife on May 12, 2012. She graduated medical school two weeks later, we went on a honeymoon to St. Maarten, and then we packed it all up to move here to Nashville so she could start her residency in Emergency Medicine at Vanderbilt July 1st, 2012.  It was a very busy time but we’re very happy with how things have turned out and have found Nashville to be a really great place. We’re really excited to be here.

That’s great. We’re glad to have you here. Where did you go to school?

I went to graduate school at Xavier University in Cincinnati OH where I earned my doctorate (Psy.D.) in clinical psychology. Many people ask me what a “Psy.D” is and how it compares to a Ph.D. To summarize, typically, Psy.D. training involves more hands-on clinical training where Ph.D. students learn mostly from doing research. My program had a good mix of both and I also had to do a full-on doctoral dissertation with my own original research. I also had a variety of practicum experiences where I got to treat varying populations from prisoners in a county jail, to school children, to college students in a counseling center.

Did you like working with children?

I really enjoyed working with children on my dissertation and in some of the other practicum experiences but overall, I find that I enjoy working with adults. That’s ultimately why I went into psychology in the first place.

What are your current areas of interest?

I spent 4 years working with adults in community mental health and really enjoyed the opportunity to work with a broad variety of issues and clients. I think that really helped me become a much better psychologist than it would if I hadn’t worked there. Right now, I remain interested in working with substance abuse issues and mood disorders like depression and anxiety. I’ve also become increasingly interested in working with the mental health components of medical disorders like stress management for hypertension, exercise and nutrition behavioral management for diabetes, cancer, and other physical illnesses, smoking cessation, and others.

What about adults in major life transitions? Issues like divorce, moving, having a new baby, grief & loss, blended families, etc?

Absolutely. While I don’t specifically work with couples together, I would work with an individual regarding relationship or family issues, anger management, impulse control, communication skills, and other issues that might prompt someone to enter therapy.

How would you describe your overall approach with clients who come to see you?

That’s a great question and one that we psychologists give a lot of thought. Overall, I would say that I conceptualize from a cognitive-behavioral perspective which means that I believe “the way we think about things” ultimately determines how we feel and behave. That said, as a therapist my perspective is to let the client be my guide. My approach is a collaborative one where we both come up with treatment goals and work towards them. I’ve also become really interested in something called Motivational Interviewing, which works to help clients who seem to be “stuck” regarding a particular change they might want to make. This approach has broad appeal in a variety of settings and I like it quite a bit.

Say someone wants to start exercising, lose weight, cut back or stop drinking, or stop smoking? What would you advise?

So first you would want to assess their motivation to change. If they are just thinking about changing then we call that ambivalence. Some people, and many therapists, see this ambivalence as resistance…but I see it as just ambivalence but this is great! It means that they are thinking about it! They are looking at the pros and cons of making a change. A lot of the work I do is to help the clients notice the discrepancy between the ideal self and the real self….where they are and where they want to be. It’s our work as the therapist to shine a light on the ambivalence….look at the difference and work with the “change talk” that the client might bring to the table. This Motivational Interviewing approach is not to force but to guide the conversation toward the change talk, to walk beside the client rather than to try to oppose them or judge them or “teach” them how to be. Empathy is a huge factor in this approach, as it is in any therapy, but particularly effective with Motivational Interviewing.

So, since we met at work at a maximum security prison and we each keep a Private Practice on the side,  tell me….how do you enjoy working in Correctional Mental Health in addition to having a Private Outpatient Practice?

Great question Susan. It is an interesting story how we met!  I really enjoy working with challenging populations in addition to my Williamson County practice. My work at both places allows me a broad scope– In corrections, that’s a tough population and many of the current inmates may be our future neighbors when they rejoin society. Mental health is one of their greatest needs–often a mental health issue &/or addiction has landed them in prison– and if we don’t address these needs, they are so much more likely to reoffend. I really enjoy knowing that you and I can make a difference in this population. My private practice, on the other hand,  allows me to treat a different population…clients that come to my office independently…and this creates a whole different dynamic. I love that my job allows me to work with such varied populations.

Me too! What do you like to do in your free time?

Well, my wife and I just got a new dog which takes up a good chunk of my free time. She’s a rescue puppy and our best guess is that she’s a lab-Rhodesian Ridgeback mix. My wife works a LOT as a new doctor so I take the dog on lots of walks. Another thing I do for fun is watch football…the Pittsburgh Steelers of course. I play guitar a little which seems to be popular down here. I also am a very amateur photographer and have thought about selling some of my prints on Etsy, at the urging of my wife. We’ll see.

Here is Dr. Nick Flower’s information.   Let him know you heard about him on No Mommy’s Perfect!

Office :  1616 Westgate Circle Brentwood, TN  in the Chesapeake Center

 

Hours:  Tuesday and Thursday nights from 5pm-9pm,  Friday  8am – 5pm, Saturday 9am-12pm

Phone:  (615) 852-8318    Email:  drnickflower@gmail.com

www.nicholasflower.com

Dr. Flower suggests the following sites which moms or anyone with mental health questions may find helpful: 

Substance Abuse and Mental Health

Substance Abuse and Mental Health – Children

National Alliance on Mental Illness

National Institute of Mental Health

MentalHelp.net-offers info on a variety of mental health issues

Children’s Mental Health Matters