Meet Dr. Nicoletta Skoufalos
As early as high school, I knew that I wanted to be a psychologist. I have always been a person who believed in hope for change; mostly because I believe in science and I believe in the creative spirit of the human being. As a psychologist, I have the privilege of being able to integrate the creative arts and science, both of which are two of my biggest passions. The scientist part of me gets to question the “whys” and “how’s” of a particular situation, all the while thinking about how to creatively make meaning of and alter the given circumstance.
In specializing in working with people who are struggling with medical concerns as well as working with women who are dealing with fertility and postpartum issues, I find it especially important to hold both creative thinking and science in mind. I have encountered much illness in my personal and professional life, including training on the medical floors at Lenox Hill Hospital. These experiences have allowed me to witness the power of the mind-body connection, and a person’s capacity to creatively adapt to the limitations that their illness has placed on them.
As a Greek-American woman from New York City, I have throughout life observed and directly experienced various expectations of and for women. These observations led to my interest in research on eating disorders, cultural differences in expectations of body image, as well as the sociocultural and familial factors that contribute to eating disorders. My master’s, predoctoral, and dissertation research studied all of these phenomena.
My personal experience of biculturalism, contributed to my interest in working with women who are trying to manage competing expectations of any kind; be it cultural or other. I began to think about women in traditionally male work environments, women who married someone from a different ethnic background, women who feel pulled between motherhood and career, among others. I also began to think about women who have different visions from their loved ones of what constitutes motherhood, which can often lead to postpartum struggles. These observations, in both my personal and professional life, is what led me to pursue training in Maternal Mental Health.
As a fully bilingual woman (English and Greek), I am privy to variations in communication styles based on cultural differences. I enjoy paying attention to the multiple factors that may contribute to problems with communication which can significantly impact the quality and success of relationships. Working in New York City, I come across couples with a variety of backgrounds and communication styles. Helping each couple find their distinctive language of love is one of the most exciting and rewarding components of my practice.
Acknowledging the unique set of characteristics, history, and challenges that each individual or couple brings into therapy is what drives me to customize my approach in order to meet each client’s needs. If you choose to work with me, your sessions will likely be very interactive and collaborative. I am passionate about creating a safe and trusting environment where difficult questions may be asked and creative meaning and solutions may be sought.
My Professional Experience and Training
I am a licensed psychologist and received my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Fordham University. I completed all of my doctoral training at various hospitals and clinics in New York City, which allowed me to work with people from all walks of life and backgrounds. While at Lenox Hill Hospital, I provided psychotherapy and worked to improve the quality of life, health, and relationships of clients suffering from mental and/or physical conditions. This included consulting with women who had just given birth and struggling with various postpartum issues. I also worked with couples who were experiencing discord and provided weekly couples counseling. At Long Island Jewish Hospital’s Eating Disorder’s Program, I counseled young girls who were battling various eating disorders and body image concerns.
After receiving my Ph.D., I pursued continuing education in working with people struggling with various health concerns, including pain, heart disease, and cancer. Later on, I wanted to learn more about fertility, loss, miscarriage, and postpartum concerns and therefore received training in Maternal Mental Health. Currently I am a candidate at New York University’s Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy where I am furthering my education in psychoanalysis.
During my time as a doctoral candidate, I received several teaching fellowships which afforded me the privilege of teaching a number of courses at Fordham University. Among these courses I taught Health Psychology multiple times. As a licensed psychologist, I have given many talks about the psychological experiences of living with chronic illness, including talks specifically on Lupus, and other Autoimmune Diseases and Invisible Illnesses. I continue to participate in and greatly enjoy such talks. I also maintain a blog about the experiences of living with chronic illness, which has readers around the globe. Additionally, I have been interviewed and quoted by various magazines on health and wellness concerns, as well as women’s issues.
While establishing my private practice, I served as a co-host and subsequently hosted a radio program called “Tell Us More” on Cosmos FM 91.5 Hellenic Public Radio. This was a radio program that integrated psychological concepts with everyday life and was meant to provide mental health information to the Greek and Greek-American population. Although the program was in English, I can provide psychotherapy sessions in Greek as well. I also worked in Athens, Greece, conducting research and providing support to survivors of domestic violence and the sex trade, prior to receiving doctoral training.
For additional information about my education and training, you may view my full profile on LinkedIn.