Tell us about Dr. K ...
"If your best friend was a marriage counselor, she'd be Dr. Kathy!" - Bhavin S, London
"It's impossible to say how much better my life is because of our time with Dr. Kathy. Without her, we wouldn't have made it and my family would be broken in two. She helped us learn how to talk to each other, how to really listen, and most importantly, how to get to the bottom of our problems. If you need to get over an affair, call Dr. K today." - Chris S, Laguna Beach
"She is an excellent psychologist with a calm and reassuring demeanor. She is respected by both peers and patients. Kathy is an excellent role model, as well as a true asset to all she works with. You'll be in excellent hands with Dr. Kathy." - Dr. Bahareh Khavarian, MD
Kathy Nickerson, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist, award winning author, and nationally recognized relationship expert who has helped thousands of couples. Over the past 23 years, Dr. Kathy has presented marriage and relationship advice at more than 70 conferences, while authoring more than 85 professional articles and books. These days, you can find Kathy giving affair recovery advice and teaching couples how to heal from infidelity on social media sites, like TikTok.
Dr. Kathy's latest book, The Courage to Stay: How to Heal From an Affair and Save Your Marriage, was released to critical acclaim in October 2022 and has since won six independent book awards. Kathy is also a frequent contributor to CNBC and regularly featured in USA Today, Reader's Digest, Good Housekeeping, Bustle, Medium, UpJourney, Fatherly, Zoe Report, Bridal Guide, CNN, Forbes, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, LA Times, Newsweek and many more.
Dr. Kathy radiates a sincere, familiar warmth that makes everyone she talks to feel comforted. She captivates readers and listeners with her vibrant and humorous style of communication. Kathy’s approachable and transparent style makes her feel like an "open book," and she is beloved by her clients for intuitively understanding their ideas and feelings.
Dr. Kathy earned her Ph.D. and M.S. in psychology, following her undergraduate work at UC Irvine in Chemistry. Kathy began her career teaching and counseling at-risk youth with the Orange County Health Care Agency. Kathy then led a distinguished program for the United States Department of Justice, where she and her team trained people how to recognize and respond to domestic violence and child abuse. During these years, Kathy discovered the critical importance of healthy relationships on individuals and families.
Dr. Kathy found that strong, healthy marriages greatly influenced the mental health of everyone in a family. A happy marriage made both people feel and act better, which in turn made children and other family members feel safer and more secure. From that point on, Kathy dedicated her career exclusively to helping couples strengthen and repair their relationships.
While Kathy was helping couples reconnect, she developed a particular interest in affair recovery. So many couples were affected by infidelity and many of these couples were struggling to heal because they had been told, by other therapists or family members, that healing from an affair was impossible. Dr. Kathy found that by blending trauma therapy techniques with solid relationship repair techniques (such as those promoted by the Gottman Method, attachment theory, and family systems theory), that she could help these couples recover from betrayal trauma and recover. Since that time, her primary focus has been on helping couples heal from affairs.
Dr. Kathy has been happily married for 25 years and brings her real-life experiences to all aspects of her work. Kathy has spent thousands of hours studying relationships, writing books and articles, creating relationship repair content, and researching couples in all stages of their relationships, particularly those affected by infidelity.
When she’s away from the office, Dr. Kathy delights in being a wife, sister, auntie and daughter. She and her husband enjoy traveling together, digging for fossils, and volunteering with Southern California Bulldog Rescue. Kathy loves to read, work in her garden, experiment in the kitchen, and make handmade gifts for friends. When she wants to relax, Kathy curls up on the couch with her dogs and a great glass of wine to watch a true crime show.
Kind words from clients and colleagues...
"Dr Kathy is a psychologist with the head of a scientist and the heart of a friend. You won't find a better, more compassionate guide to help you save your marriage."
-Tom, Orange County
"Kathy, most therapists go the extra mile, you go the extra continent. Thank you."
-MCH, Orange County
"From the first conversation I had with Dr. Kathy, I knew she was different. She was real. She took time to answer my questions. She was honest, straight forward, and realistic. My wife and I went to her when I thought there was no way anyone could help us. Kathy gave both of us hope that things could be better. In just a few weeks, our relationship was better than it had been in years. I know it's because of what Kathy did and asked us to do. She has the best qualities of both a friend and a counselor - she's smart, funny, real, honest, and she cares. There's no doubt that she loves what she does and she loves the people she works with. Her dedication is amazing and I am better for knowing her."
"In six months with you we have come further than in the last 5 years! I don't know how to thank you!!!"
MO, Newport Beach
"It's impossible to say how much better my life is because of our time with Dr. Kathy. Without her, we wouldn't have made it and my family would be broken in two. She helped us learn how to talk to each other, how to really listen, and most importantly, how to get to the bottom of our problems. If you need to get over an affair, call Dr. K today."
CS, Laguna Beach
"Dear Dr. K., I just wanted to tell you again how invaluable your insight, guidance and support are to me. I haven't felt this good in a long time. Your concern, counsel, wisdom & loving friendship mean more to me than I could possibly convey. Thank you so very much for everything - most of all for your compassionate understanding."
LM, Dana Point
"Thank you again for all you do & for being so great to us - but most of all for who you are - a force of nature who will go where angels fear to tread. I wonder if you have any idea how many tragic endings you've averted for couples on the edge. What a truly noble way to have spent your time and your life - what else could you have done that would have been anywhere near as important?"
HW, San Clemente
"Thank you. You are a godsend. Yesterday was a huge breakthrough for us. It is you that is impressive. You obviously care deeply about your clients & helping them heal their relationships. I completely trust you already or I wouldn't have been able to express myself deeply. I could never do what you do - go to work in a combat zone every day and help people navigate these troubling issues. I admire your talent, training and compassion so much."
LM, Laguna Beach
"I spent 10 years in therapy with someone else, after 6 months with you, my life has completely changed."
"I cannot speak highly enough about Dr. Nickerson; I truly feel blessed to have had counseling with her. She has a very warm and caring personality and from our initial session made me feel comfortable sharing my concerns with her. Her approach, while direct, is that of a very sympathtic person. She was quickly able to help me identify areas that were adversely affecting me and gave me tools to jump-start the healing process. I directly attribute her kind manner and caring attitude to helping me achieve my goals."
JB, Aliso Viejo
"I wish you could get in my head and heart. You are a gifted, insightful therapist. I am a better person today because of the influence you have in my life. I mean that. Thank you."
CW, Laguna Niguel
"If you are looking for someone to understand you, provide empathy and support, but also needing someone to be honest and able to offer solutions to your situation, Dr. Nickerson is this person. She is warm and engaging and able to be candid about sensitive issues. I have known her for the past 5 years and she is professional and ethical and being a counselor myself would not hesitate to refer clients, friends or family members to her. She is wonderful!"
SM, San Juan Capistrano
"I always thought that people who were in therapy were in it for years and years. After speaking with Dr. Nickerson I knew that wouldn't happen because I immediately felt better. She understood my issues right off the bat and explained some techniques I could experiment with when I got home after my first visit. All in all, I spent six months in therapy with Dr. Nickerson and the experience was invaluable. It's great to know that if I need to go back, I can. She's there to help."
"I hesitated entering therapy. I saw it as resigning myself to the fact that I had lost control of my life. It was upon my wife's insistence that I saw Dr. Nickerson, and it was one of the best decisions I've made. I was tremendously relieved when Dr. Nickerson told me, "We're going to fix this, you just need some new tools so you can change your response." That in itself started our relationship off on the right foot. She made me feel like I'm the same as anyone else, and everyone needs help once in a while. By helping me see that there was nothing "wrong" with me, Dr. Nickerson reinforced habits in me that were already "right" and re-structured the way I communicated."
KS, Newport Beach
"Dr. Kathy truly listens and feels what I'm feeling. I have tried therapy before, and have never felt like they truly got to know me or cared about my problems. From the moment we met, I could sense that Dr. Kathy genuinely wanted me to feel better, not just vent without any progress in sight. I think that it's her realness that kept me working on myself - not some talking head with a clipboard. You want to trust the person you're telling certain things to, and she always made me feel comfortable."
RW, Huntington Beach
"She is an excellent psychologist with a calm and reassuring demeanor. She is respected by both peers and patients. Kathy is an excellent role model, as well as a true asset to all she works with. You'll be in excellent hands with Dr. Kathy."
Dr. Bahareh Khavarian, MD
"This really is her passion and it shows. Kathy is a tremendously skilled and caring couples therapist."
Dr. Gloria Sklansky, PhD
"I have known Kathleen for over fifteen years, and know her to be honest, intelligent and very responsible. In my twenty years as a practicing clinical psychologist I have rarely known an individual I can so enthusiastically endorse as a colleague."
Dr. Gloria Sklansky, PhD
"I have known Dr. Kathleen Nickerson for about ten years. What makes her a truly valuable psychologist is that she combines her impeccable psychological skills with an intuition that allows her to relate to and empathize with her patients, regardless of age or problem. I honestly feel that Dr. Nickerson would be as comfortable in dealing with a depressed older individual as with a troubled adolescent."
Dr. Regina Velarde, MD
"She can relate to patients of all ages and is a caring compassionate individual. I would not hesitate to refer any of my patients to her."
Dr. Piotr Biegun, MD
"As a person, Kathy is one of the most compassionate, competent, knowledgeable, empathetic, and motivated individuals I know. Her broad experience and skills will provide you with an accomplished therapist."
Dr. Jerry Weichman, PhD
"During the past two years, I have grown to know Dr. Nickerson on both a personal and professional level. She is an excellent psychologist with a calm and reassuring demeanor. She is respected by her peers and patients and I feel she's an excellent role model, as well as a true asset to all she works with."
Dr. Bahareh Khavarian, MD