Psychology Grad Nicholas Moran is a Psychotherapist and Anti-Oppression and LGBTQIA+ Consultant Alumni Profile
Meet Nicholas Moran '15
- Job Title & Employer
- Licensed Psychotherapist, Clinical Supervisor & Anti-Oppression/LGBTQIA+ Consultant, Self-employed
- May 2015
- College Activities
- Honors Program, Honors Student Organization, United Student Government, Confluence Psychology Alliance, Green & Gold Society, Impulse Dance Team
- Presidential Scholarship
- Hanover, Pa.
- High School
- Spring Grove Area Senior High School
- Now Living In
- New York, N.Y.
- Hobbies & Interests
- Singing and dancing
"Point Park’s psychology department had a heavy emphasis on humanistic psychological perspectives, which continues to shape the way in which I approach my clinical work. I believe that my clients are the experts, and I am a helpful resource to assist with the co-construction of their fully actualized self. Point Park gave me necessary experience in conducting psychological research, presenting at conferences and improving my academic writing skills. I seek to provide an inclusive and brave space for my clients to explore all aspects of themselves and the intersections of their identities and presenting mental health concerns. Point Park helped me to see the client first as opposed to focusing on diagnosis."
How did you find out about Point Park?
I applied to Point Park University for the Conservatory of Performing Arts, with the intention of completing a degree in musical theatre and minoring in dance. However, the main reason why Point Park was appealing to me was that, as a first generation college student and coming from poverty, the financial aid package that Point Park offered to me was something I could not refuse. I was also attracted to the idea of moving to Pittsburgh. As a Pennsylvania native, I had actually never been to Pittsburgh until I came for college because Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New York City and Baltimore were the places that my school's tours typically visited.
What drew you to psychology as a profession?
My brother grew up with mental health and medical conditions, so I grew up going with him to many appointments with his psychiatrist. However, I felt that no one was really listening to him. Throughout my life, I have always been the person that people naturally confided in for advice or support. I took PSYCH 150 as a required class and then took another course with the same professor, Christina Frasher, truly for the purpose of improving my character development as a performer. My professor's approach to psychology was mystifying and captivating, so much so that I switched my major to psychology. I have always found fulfillment in helping others as it also nourishes and empowers me.
How would you describe Point Park's psychology program?
The psychology department is a hidden gem of Point Park, or at least it was while I was at Point Park from 2011-2015. Since I have graduated, the graduate program has expanded to offer a doctoral degree. The humanistic psychological perspectives that many of the psychology faculty and staff have expertise in was very appealing to me as it did not focus on diagnosis. Instead, the focus was on the individual human as the expert of their own lived experience. Point Park’s psychology program is academically challenging as we are expected to complete a comprehensive individual research project as a part of graduation requirements. While I was at Point Park, my professors pushed me as a student, clinician and researcher, which led to my graduate enrollment at Columbia University for my dual masters degree (M.A. in Psychological Counseling and Ed.M. in Mental Health Counseling).
What were your favorite Point Park experiences?
My freshman year, I was Dr. Frank N. Furter in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," put on by the SAEM Club. I was blessed to dance with Impulse at various basketball games and also on the annual freshman boat rides. I enjoyed studying at Point State Park and splashing about in the water steps on the North Side. I used to enjoy shows at the Pittsburgh Playhouse in Oakland and trips to the Strip District, Waterfront and South Side. I miss going to the Milkshake Factory, having Pittsburgh Popcorn and eating at Moe’s Southwest Grill or Primanti Brothers in Market Square. I loved going ice skating at the Rink at PPG each winter with Point Park friends. But truly, I loved being involved in various student organizations because it was there that I was able to make lifelong friendships.
What do you seek to provide your clients, and how did Point Park help shape your goals and approach as a therapist?
Point Park’s psychology department had a heavy emphasis on humanistic psychological perspectives, which continues to shape the way in which I approach my clinical work. I believe that my clients are the experts, and I am a helpful resource to assist with the co-construction of their fully actualized self. Point Park gave me necessary experience in conducting psychological research, presenting at conferences and improving my academic writing skills. I seek to provide an inclusive and brave space for my clients to explore all aspects of themselves and the intersections of their identities and presenting mental health concerns. Point Park helped me to see the client first as opposed to focusing on diagnosis.
What topics and issues are most important to you in your work?
Diversity, equity, inclusion, belongingness, accountability and allyship are all important topics and issues that I explore with clients in the therapeutic space. Additionally, I work with clients to reframe their relationship to trauma, discrimination, microaggressions and harm. I have a passion for aiding clients who are exploring their gender or sexual identities. Processing shame, internalized inferiority and/or superiority, imposter syndrome, perfectionism, life transitions, interpersonal conflicts and general mental health concerns are also topics with which I assist my clients.
In addition to working as a psychotherapist, you're an anti-oppression and LGBTQIA+ consultant. What does that work entail?
As a consultant, I work with agencies and organizations to review policies, procedures and job descriptions to ensure that they use inclusive and gender-affirming language. I assist with creating wellness and culture surveys to identify the needs of the organization, as well as interviewing both internal and external stakeholders. Through this process, I am able to create a living strategic plan to address systemic oppression that is present in the organization. I also collaborate with the organization to create a process of accountability with a centralized focus on restorative justice. This role also leads to me presenting workshops on a variety of topics, including but not limited to burn-out, microaggressions, implicit bias, racial identity development, effects of oppression, gender affirming practices, LGBTQIA+ terminology, etc.
What do you find fulfilling or rewarding in your career?
One of the most fulfilling aspects of my career is that I am able to constantly bear witness to the resiliency of people. I find it so rewarding and humbling to be a collaborator with others on their journey of becoming, healing and embracing their most authentic self. I also love that I am able to work with individuals, couples, groups and organizations to enact and effect change.
What advice do you have for current students?
Choose you! You are the single most important figure in your life because without you there would be no life. It is 100% worth it to pursue your passions because one of the most wonderful gifts that life has to offer is waking up each day feeling nourished, empowered and having a deep love for yourself and all that is a part of your life.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
“We must use words to uplift and include. We can use our words to fight back against oppression and hate. But we must also channel our words into action.” –Stacey Abrams
Nicholas Moran's pronouns are they/them/theirs.