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279 Massachusetts Ave
Arlington, MA 02474


Contact Dr. Flory

Nicole Flory, PhD

Licensed Psychologist

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Definitions

This title is reserved for mental health care professionals who have received extensive training in psychology and completed a doctorate degree (PhD). In addition to completing a program in clinical psychology, licensed psychologists have completed thousands of hours of supervised clinical work with patients (pre-, and postdoctoral). Many states in the US require psychologists to receive training in APA approved PhD programs and internships since these guarantee excellence in training. The Massachusetts Board of Professional Licensure has rigorous standards for licensure and requires psychologists to pursue continuing education.


CBT is often used as an umbrella term for evidence-based psychotherapy that has proven to be effective in clinical trials. CBT focuses on understanding the relationship between thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Thoughts, also called cognitions, typically contain assumptions, beliefs and perceptions that influence how we perceive ourselves and the environment. These cognitions are also linked to our feelings and behaviors, sometimes creating maladaptive responses. Questioning unhelpful thoughts and exploring new ways of thinking, feeling and behaving is essential in CBT. These strategies can be practiced along with relaxation, distraction, hypnosis, and, more recently, mindfulness techniques.


These are the related and interdisciplinary fields of psychology and medicine focusing on the integration of biological, psychological, and social factors. The bio-psycho-social model provides many valuable venues for treatment and promotion of health and well-being. Health psychologists typically help people to overcome common illness-related challenges (e.g. over-eating, diabetes, heart disease) and to lead a healthier way of life. Behavioral medicine typically focuses on concrete behavioral interventions that improve people’s quality of life at the present time. Some health psychologists put an emphasis on promoting mindfulness, personal growth, as well as emotional, and spiritual well-being, all with the aim of enhancing physical health.

The principles of mindfulness originated in Buddhist meditation and are typically defined as “relaxed wakefulness” or “non-judgmental, present-moment awareness”. Often mindfulness is practiced in an active and alert state by paying  attention to physical sensations, e.g., the breath (following the length of a breath, its effects on the body, etc). Mindfulness has started to become increasingly incorporated into health psychology, behavioral medicine, and therapy in general. Only recently, mindfulness has started be integrated into sex and couple therapy, where it bears some similarities to more traditional methods such as “sensate focus” or hypnotic techniques.


Sexual and relationship problems are very common in the general population; e.g., the American Medical Association has estimated that around 40% of women are affected by a sexual dysfunction. These dysfunctions include low sexual interest, difficulties with sexual arousal or orgasm, and sexual pain disorders, e.g., dyspareunia (pain during intercourse). Other issues addressed in sex and couple therapy are sexual aversions (disgust or avoidance of sexual acts), sexual orientation and identity issues. Sexual enhancement, improving communication, conflict resolution, and emotional intimacy are common goals.


Women’s health issues include common sexual (discussed earlier) and reproductive concerns such as fertility/infertility, pregnancy, labor and delivery, hypnosis for birthing, and post-partum adjustment. Pain in the pelvis (often related to Uterine Fibroids or Endometriosis) and genital area (Vulvodynia, Vestibulodynia, or Vulvar Vestibulatis Syndrome - VVS) as well as pain during sexual intercourse (Dyspareunia) are very common problems. All of these are often neglected health problems, yet they seriously impact the well-being of millions of women and their partners. In addition, women with pain problems and women, in general, tend to have a greater likelihood than men to experience anxiety and depression.


Hypnosis can be used in the treatment of psychological and physical strain, pain, anxiety, depression, habit disorders, performance enhancement and a variety of other purposes.  However, it may not be successful for all problems or for all patients / clients. It is strongly recommended that patients only seek hypnotherapy with a mental health care professional who is trained in hypnosis. Hypnosis is best used in conjunction with other treatment options to enhance the patient’s own strengths and abilities. Hypnosis has been described by the American Psychological Association (APA) has a procedure during which a psychologist suggests that a patient experience changes in perception, sensation, emotion, thought, or behavior.

When using hypnosis, the client is usually guided by the psychologist to respond to an induction process which may include suggestions for relaxation, calmness, and well-being. While procedures traditionally involve suggestions to relax, relaxation is not necessary for hypnosis and a wide variety of suggestions can be used.  Hypnotic trance is a form of an altered state of consciousness: it is NOT sleep, being unconscious, or out of control. While patients typically feel deeply relaxed, they still are conscious, alert and attentive. Patients often feel they have better access to their thoughts, feelings, memories and problem-solving abilities. Individuals can respond to hypnosis in different ways. Most describe hypnosis as a normal state of focused attention just like reading a book or watching a movie where one gets complete absorbed. Regardless of how and to what degree the individual’s responsiveness, most people describe the experience as very pleasant. Some people are very responsive to hypnosis and others are less responsive.  Contrary to some depictions of hypnosis in books, movies, or television, people who have been hypnotized do NOT lose control over their behavior.

For more information:
American Psychological Association, Society of Psychological Hypnosis
Hypnosis Informed Consent Form


The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a relatively new federal law. It provides privacy protections and patient rights with regard to the use and disclosure of Protected Health Information (PHI) used for the purpose of treatment, payment, and health care operations. HIPAA requires that patients receive a Notice of Privacy Practices (the Notice) for use and disclosure of PHI for treatment, payment and health care operations. The Notice explains HIPAA and its application to personal health information in greater detail and will be given to you once patient start psychotherapy.



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