Nikki Winchester, Cincinnati DBT therapist, sits and poses for the camera

Nikki Winchester, Psy.D., ABPP (she/her)

Founder & CEO of Cincinnati Center for DBT

DBT-Linehan Board of Certification, Certified Clinician™

Board Certified in Behavioral & Cognitive Psychology

Treats adults 18 and up
Specialties: DBT, borderline personality disorder (BPD), self-harm and suicidal behaviors, substance use, and PTSD

A lot of people ask, “Why did you decide to become a psychologist?” Growing up, I always wanted to be there for people. I’d always be there to listen to my friends and talk them through their struggles. I kept my cell phone on and next to my bed throughout the night in case someone needed me. I’m very passionate about helping people when they are struggling with emotions and life’s problems. I love to build real, vulnerable relationships with people; that is what brought me to this profession.

Growing up, I didn't know how to deal with emotions. I felt my emotions in a big way and had absolutely no clue how to deal with them. I knew for a while that I wanted to be a psychologist, but I didn't realize what I wanted to specialize in until someone told me about all the coping skills in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). So, naturally, I decided I wanted to be a DBT therapist. I was fortunate to find a DBT expert and former student of Marsha Linehan, the developer of DBT, who provided clinical training in DBT at Xavier University.

My Background and Credentials

I received my doctorate in clinical psychology from Xavier University. I trained as a generalist, am well-versed in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and received very specialized training in DBT. I am forever grateful to my mentor and Xavier, because I received very thorough and rigorous DBT training that most students and clinicians do not have access to.

I am a DBT-Linehan Board of Certification, Certified Clinician™. As of this writing, there are only six DBT-LBC certified clinicians in the state of Ohio and a few more than 350 of us globally. For me, this certification represents my commitment to providing DBT adherently and as it was designed by the treatment developer. Click this link to learn more about the importance of working with a DBT-LBC certified clinician. I am also board-certified in Behavioral & Cognitive Psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP).

My Clinical Experience

I have worked in a variety of settings outside of private practice, including community mental health, a forensic state psychiatric hospital, and the Cincinnati VA Medical Center. I started my career at Cincinnati VA as an intern and worked there for over six years. While at the VA, I received excellent training in the treatment of alcohol and drug addiction and PTSD. I learned Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) from a well-respected ACT trainer and have provider status in Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) for PTSD and Motivational Interviewing (MI). I worked in a residential program for homeless Veterans with substance use and/or mental health problems for 3.5 years and worked in the outpatient substance use disorders clinic for two years. I also provided nationwide training and consultation in DBT program implementation.

Nikki Winchester, Marsha Linehan (creator of DBT), and Nick Salsman in front of Nikki's DBT dissertation research
Marsha Linehan, Nick Salsman, and I in front of my dissertation research.

My Approach

When you work with me, you get a real relationship between equals. There are two experts in the room: you, because you know yourself better than I ever will, and me, because I received excellent training in order to help you. I will not judge you. I will validate your experience. I will accept you as you are. I will help you change what needs to be changed and learn to accept the rest.

We are a team and we are in this together. We both have to give 100%. My goal is to teach you to be your own best therapist so that you don't need me anymore.

I am a very determined person and fiercely passionate about my clients. I will put my determination to work for you to get you to where you want to go in life, but you gotta put everything you’ve got into this, too! My clients have told me that they appreciate my genuineness, nonjudgmentalness, passion, and persistence.

Nikki Winchester, Cincinnati DBT therapist, writes in a notebook on the back of a couch

My Outcomes

I've worked with people from many walks and stages of life. I have been successful in helping clients stop or decrease suicide attempts, self-harm, hospitalizations, alcohol and drug use, depression, anxiety, avoidance and PTSD symptoms, and self-hate. I have helped clients learn new ways to deal with emotions and life, improve relationships, and increase their comfort in their own skin.

These are some of the accomplishments my clients have achieved during or following their work with me: getting a master's degree; becoming a chaplain; getting/keeping a job; having a baby; making beautiful art; staying sober; getting a home; going to college; becoming a manager; getting married... Talk about building a life worth living. I believe these things are possible for you, too.

I get you. What you're feeling makes sense. And I want to help you. Are you ready to build a life worth living? Let me show you how.  

 One day, years after our work together has ended, you'll look back and realize how far you've come, and this person so overwhelmed by emotional pain will be a distant memory.

Dr. Nikki Winchester, DBT Therapist, types on her laptop with a handout of the DBT Wise Mind skill next to her.

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