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Dave Nichols, LCSW has joined the La Europa team as Clinical Director. He started out in the mental health field volunteering as a teacher’s aid in an elementary school working with kids with mental health, behavioral and emotional disturbance. He spent 4 yrs volunteering for the Big Brother Big Sister organization and Safety Net Mentoring program which fueled his interest to work in the field of social work. 

He obtained a Bachelor's degree with an emphasis in Sociology from Brigham Young University, and started working as a direct care staff in a female group home for girls with a history of sexual abuse/trauma and who had developed sexually maladaptive behaviors. He began working with both males and female adolescents in Proctor Care and independent living and eventually decided to obtain a graduate degree in Social Work from the University of Utah.

After obtaining his Master's degree, he spent the next 7 yrs working in an inpatient psychiatric setting treating adults and adolescents with a wide variety of mental health and substance abuse concerns. He has extensive experience working with depression and self-harming behaviors, anxiety, OCD, PTSD/Trauma (particularly surrounding sexual abuse), high functioning autism, psychosis, as well as sexual and substance use addictions. Dave has strengths working with some of the more undercontrolled students (ADHD, substance abuse, personality disorders, bipolar, and attachment), as well as high functioning autism/lower functioning kids. Dave also has a great deal of experience working with chronic depression and some overcontrolled kids. Dave builds rapport quickly, holds good boundaries using humor and creativity. Dave likes to think outside the box and occasionally step outside a traditional talk-therapy session, whether that means going for a walk, using music or art to express themselves or some experiential activity based on their learning style. 

Dave spent several years as a crisis worker completing assessments for adolescents and adults in crisis who were a danger to themselves and/or others and assisting them to get the services they needed. Dave has also worked for years in Private Practice with individuals, couples, and families and has been an in-home therapist working primarily with youth who have been adopted with attachment disorders.

Dave comes with vast experience having been a Clinical Director for the past 4 years. Dave was the Director of Clinical Services at Highland Ridge Hospital where he greatly contributed to their success and growth as he expanded adolescent clinical services. Dave has a broad understanding of the entire continuum of care from Intensive Outpatient to Residential Treatment. He brings with him the knowledge to expand our overall vision of clinical services. As a Clinical Director, Dave has always maintained a clinical caseload taking on the more challenging students and he will continue to do this at La Europa Academy.

Dave’s interests include playing sports, hiking, camping, and spending time with his beautiful wife and two hilarious kids. His most defining characteristics include his low-key approach with youth and the use of humor, empathy, and positivity in therapy to quickly build rapport and trust. He also thoroughly enjoys music, singing, drawing, and theater. His interest and experience in the Arts contribute to La Europa’s overall vision and focus.  
Get to know Dave better by watching a webinar he hosted titled Understanding Suicide and Self-Harming Behaviors