You’ve spent years trying to fit in. Until now.

You might feel pressure to hide things about yourself because people around you don’t want them to be true.

I know how important fitting in can be. And how silently stressful it can be to feel out of place.

In my life I’ve moved over 25 times, and I’ve lived all over the United States - including Alaska!

Perpetually being “the new kid” meant I got really good at meeting and exceeding people’s expectations. For me, fitting in meant safety. The new kid NEVER wants to stand out!

It also meant that sometimes I would feel lost, like even though things were going “right” for me all the time I didn’t really feel like I was getting anywhere in life. I was an empathetic friend, a high-achieving student, an attentive partner, and a supportive sister and daughter. But something was missing.

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Eventually I started to figure out that realizing achievements and dreams only matters when they’re actually your dreams to start with. I had a lot of ambition and love to give, but I did some serious work to parse out my own hopes/dreams/goals, and what were just others’ expectations.

I love working with people on this very same journey.

Once we know who we are and who we want to be, it is much easier to chart a rewarding path.

Why Choose to Work With Me?

You need a place to say the things you can’t say anywhere else.

Maybe you’ve been trying to talk to people in your life, but they just don’t get it.

Maybe you didn’t know you wanted to say these things until now.

You don’t have to worry about offending me, saying the right things, or “staying on topic.” Therapy should feel like I’m adjusting to you, not the other way around.

My clients tell me this all the time:

I feel very comfortable and un-judged by you.”

“I don't feel my issues make you uncomfortable.”

“I feel more empowered as a person.”

“I like that you aren’t trying to fix me. You’re helping me fix myself.”

Here’s what I want you to know

You have choices. Obviously we don’t get to control some things around us, but that doesn’t mean these things (like our mental health or circumstances) should get to DEFINE us.

I absolutely love my job. I think my favorite thing is that I constantly get to learn from my clients: People have no idea how creative and resilient and inspiring they really are. I’m passionate about helping people learn to be their truest, most authentic selves, and I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Who are my people?

Gifted young people at a crossroads. You were a great student from an early age and things generally came easily to you. But now shit is hitting the fan and you feel like a failure at every turn. You’re supposed to be “adulting,” but feel unprepared for many of the things that seem to come easily for everyone else. This can lead to feelings of anxiety, panic, and being overwhelmed. It can also cause you to question your self-worth and feel depressed and unmotivated. How do you build your confidence and self-worth without a report card every few months? Read more about how I work with high-functioning anxiety as well as depression.

LGBTQ+ Teens and Adults. It’s not easy to talk about gender or sexuality, particularly if you haven’t been open about it for very long. You want a place to talk things through and get some clarity, without someone telling you it’s a “phase” or that you’re just trying to get attention. I have experience and training working with people across the gender and sexuality spectrums, and would be honored to walk your path with you.

The Ambitious and Authentic. It can be frustrating when you’re willing to give 110% to whatever you commit to, but other people don’t take you seriously or quietly expect you to flake. It’s nice to connect with someone who has been there, gets that you’re serious and believes in you. Read more about how I work with high-achievers here.

Misfits. I’m good at seeing our differences for what they really are: Our strengths. Unfortunately, the reality of being “different” doesn’t usually feel so optimistic, and it can be exhausting and confusing. If you feel tired from constantly trying to fit in where you don’t, or trying to stand out and be seen where you’re invisible, I want to hear from you!

Military families. As a proud Air Force brat, I’m familiar with the particular stresses that can accompany growing up on base. I welcome veterans and their families.

The ones who have it all - almost. People who feel that the life they’ve built for themselves is missing something. It’s exhausting to have to be the perfect student, a great friend, a good kid, and keep all your own insecurities bottled up. You don’t want to be a burden. You don’t want to speak up, only to then be challenged and have to “prove” yourself. Sometimes you’re just unhappy and you need someone to listen. Not question, try to solve it, or tell you to “look on the bright side.” I’m just going to say it: First-world problems are still problems.

Nicole Millikan Long Beach Therapist

 The Details

  • Registered Associate Professional Clinical Counselor #6258 under clinical supervision of Sara Stanizai, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, LMFT#98421

  • Board Certified National Certified Counselor #1138930

  • Training and experience working with teens (age 12-18), adults, and groups. Training in providing LGBTQ+ affirming care, Motivational Interviewing, Trauma-Informed Care, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT).

  • MA in Counseling, Clinical Mental Health from Indiana Wesleyan University

  • BA in Comparative Cultures and Polities from Michigan State University: James Madison College