Meet Dr. Nicholson
Dr. Casey Nicholson is an ordained Cumberland Presbyterian minister and a pastoral counselor based in Greeneville, Tennessee. Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Dr. Nicholson meets with clients via a virtual-based online video chat format. The virtual format allows Dr. Nicholson to meet with clients from across the state of Tennessee and the surrounding region.
Pastoral counseling is a movement that dates back to the mid-20th Century when ministers and pastors realized that there was much to be learned from the emerging field of psychology and behavioral science. As a pastoral counselor, Dr. Nicholson takes an approach that blends traditional Christian ministry with contributions from the behavioral sciences, clinical psychology, sociology, family systems theory, and various strategies and techniques used by counselors in the wider field of talk therapy. This approach creates a therapeutic process that promotes spiritual and emotional health alongside mental and psychological well-being.
Dr. Nicholson holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Memphis Theological Seminary where he specialized in pastoral counseling. His doctoral dissertation focused on the integration of secular, science based counseling theory, and pastoral counseling.
He is a trained professional counselor who is familiar with diagnoses from clinical psychology and the DSM-5, as well as a seminary trained minister who is familiar with theology, Christian beliefs, and the practices of most faith backgrounds. He also holds a Master of Divinity degree from Memphis Theological Seminary, and a Master of Arts degree from The University of Tennessee. The M.Div. degree is the standard graduate degree that many Christian denominations require for ordination. Dr. Nicholson's M.A. degree is in philosophy, and while at U.T. he focused on the history of philosophy, ethics, political philosophy, and theories of knowledge.
Dr. Nicholson is currently pursuing licensure as a Licensed Clinical Pastoral Therapist (LCPT) in the State of Tennessee. The LCPT license is offered to clergy and other religious professionals who have background and training in both theology and pastoral care and who go on for advanced training in counseling. While pursuing the LCPT license, Dr. Nicholson practices under supervision of a licensed therapist, Dr. Heather Gow, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist based in Greeneville, Tennessee. Dr. Nicholson has previously completed 120 hours of supervision under another practitioner, and is now over halfway through the supervision hours required for licensure. Dr. Nicholson is a Student Member of the Tennessee Association of Pastoral Therapists (TNAPT), and a Practitioner Member of the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE), a national professional association that sets educational standards for both pastoral counselors and hospital chaplains. He is in good standing with his denomination's regional governing body, the Presbytery of East Tennessee, where he serves as Chair of that body's Board of Missions--a regional committee that helps congregations function effectively, along with playing a support role to churches who are going through times of struggle or transition.
While Dr. Nicholson's background is in Christian ministry, he meets with people of all faiths as well as people of no faith background. You do not have to be a Christian to meet with Dr. Nicholson, and he does not force religion on anyone. All clients are free to discuss whatever they would like in a counseling session, including but not limited to matters of faith. Dr. Nicholson tries to meet people where they are in regard to religion. He sees his work in counseling as a ministry--an opportunity to help people who are in need. Whether or not someone takes up religion as a result of meeting with him is up to the person and their own personal journey on the road of life.
Dr. Nicholson meets with people facing a variety of struggles, and in that regard he is a general practitioner and not a specialist. He will meet with anyone in an effort to find out if he is the right person to help. While he does his best to always help everyone who comes to see him, there are some times when he will refer clients out to other practitioners based on the client's specific needs. For example, if it becomes clear that a client could benefit from trying a psychiatric medication, Dr. Nicholson will refer the client to a medical professional such as a psychiatrist. In certain situations he may refer people out to other trained specialty counselors if their problems seem outside his scope of practice. Still, he goes out of his way to provide good care to anyone who schedules an appointment, and he thinks of himself as a "first line of defense" for those who are looking to tackle whatever problems they may be facing.