Personal Approach

“I strongly believe that it is the therapist’s job to provide the containment, the atmosphere, the ‘tea and empathy’ that can help ignite and support the client’s healing. While skills and techniques are important, they are nothing without warmth and presence. I advise every would-be client to find a therapist with whom they feel really comfortable.

Calling my practice ‘Tea and Empathy™’ is my way of putting therapy into a context that emphasizes both wellness and the normalcy of human relationship. People reach out to each other in all cultures. In mine, ‘having tea’ is a ritual that gives you a chance to stop ‘doing’, and to sit down together and connect.

Empathy is the therapist’s job. It means being present for the client at such a deep level that he or she feels truly heard. When this takes place there is a sense of comfort and safety that makes healing possible. Please pass the tea and let the therapeutic journey begin!"

Nicola Ranson, LCSW

Clinical Approach

5--perspectiveNicola Ranson comes from a wellness perspective, and uses an eclectic clinical approach while acknowledging Somatic Experiencing® (SE) as a primary theoretical model. SE is a gentle, naturalistic approach based on the nervous system. It is fundamentally empowering, helping people to access their instinctive ability to recover from overwhelming experiences.

It is Nicola's belief that the best techniques to use are the ones that will work for the individual client. She may use elements of Gestalt and Drama Therapy, as well as Systems Theory, Cognitive Behavioral methods, or Ericksonian Hypnotherapy. Plus she is enormously grateful to Carl Rogers for defining so much that is fundamental to the therapeutic relationship, and to Irving Yalom for his huge contributions to group psychotherapy, and for acknowledging the role of the heart in clinical practice.

Professional Experience

IMG_3232Nicola Ranson became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in 1997.
In California she has worked at the Veterans Administration, County Mental Health, Kaiser Permanente and TriCity Hospital Psychiatric Outpatient Clinic. She has taught Multicultural Counseling at the University of California, San Diego, Extension, and was a member of the core adjunct faculty at National University’s Marriage and Family Therapy program where she taught for 17 years. Nicola has a background in body/mind techniques, creative approaches, hypnotherapy and crisis intervention. She has experience working with a wide variety of clients. She provided clinical services Survivors of Torture International, San Diego, for 19 years. Nicola is a long-standing member of the California Society for Clinical Social Work, and spent many years as an associate member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Her experience in social service and counseling includes work in England and Canada.


Specialty_3Nicola Ranson graduated from Bristol University, England with a BA in Drama and English. Her dissertation was on Drama Therapy which was one of her first therapeutic approaches. In 1994, she received her Masters in Social Work at San Diego State University, with a focus on Children, Youth and Family. In 1990, she received her certification in Clinical Hypnosis through the Professional School of Psychological Studies, San Diego. In 2005 she became certified as a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner through the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute, Colorado.

Personal Background

ContactNicola Ranson has lived in England, Québec, British Columbia and the United States, and travels frequently to Australia, France and wherever she can. She currently lives in Leucadia, California with her husband Ron. Ron has lived and worked in Nepal and Korea, and their home is a hub for international visitors. Nicola’s hobbies are painting watercolors and attempting to grow huge sunflowers.