Dr. Nicole Colon-Quintana, PhD

About Me

I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. I obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from The Pennsylvania State University. I was originally interested in becoming an investigative journalist, but I soon discovered that my passion for investigation and for telling people’s stories went beyond reporting. I was drawn to understanding patterns of human behavior and also found immense joy in working with youth; something I had channeled for years through volunteer work aimed at promoting children’s healthy development. After deliberate consideration, I decided to become a clinical child psychologist. I chose to train at the Child Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at DePaul University because of the institution’s historical efforts to promote social justice, to serve the poor and marginalized, and to advance a service-based education mission. I received my Master of Arts Degree in Clinical Psychology from DePaul University in 2017 and my Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Child Clinical Psychology from the same institution in 2020.


Clinical Psychology

As a psychologist, I use a variety of approaches in treatment according to the needs of the client and their family. I tend to use cognitive-behavioral techniques the most; but these are complemented by client-centered, attachment, and psychodynamic principles of psychotherapy. I am dedicated to providing quality, individualized care to families of all backgrounds. I typically begin by making the therapeutic setting one of acceptance, understanding, and hope; and by paying special attention to the individual and environmental forces shaping the client’s self-identified problem. I develop a collaborative relationship with the client and their family by identifying goals for treatment. I also spend initial sessions helping families develop a better understanding the situation and providing education as needed.


Areas of Clinical Focus


Child and Adolescent Mental Health

I specialize in working with children, adolescents, and their families. I have trained in both outpatient and partial hospitalization settings, developing expertise in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for mood disorders, Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy (ERP) for anxiety disorders, and Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) for behavior concerns. As a researcher, I have worked with low-income minority adolescents at risk for depression and conducted group therapy sessions in Chicago public schools. I am also bilingual in English and Spanish and can offer treatment in both languages.



Depression in children and adolescents is real and can look very differently from depression in adults. (see more here https://adaa.org/learn-from-us/from-the-experts/blog-posts/consumer/childhood-depression). My general approach to treating depression among youth is to create a space for non-judgmental conversation; to help them understand how their symptoms relate to their circumstances, behaviors, and ways of thinking; and to equip them with tools to either act on the problems they can change or adapt to those they cannot change. I draw treatment tools from CBT, Interpersonal Therapy, and other evidence-based treatments.


OCD and other Anxiety Disorders

Excessive worries in childhood and adolescence can be triggered by many reasons and can become debilitating for both the child and the family (see https://adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/children/childhood-anxiety-disorders). When treating OCD and anxiety, I use CBT and ERP to help the client and their family develop practical tools for managing symptoms.


Behavioral Concerns

I have specialized training in behavior management of preschool aged children with emotional and behavioral disturbances through PCIT (more about PCIT http://www.pcit.org/what-is-pcit.html). I integrate both PCIT and other parent training techniques in assisting families with managing behavioral concerns with school-aged children. My approach is to help the family identify areas of strength and increase positive interactions, while supporting the parents in establishing behavior management techniques that adapt to their needs. I have also collaborated with teachers and counselors in elementary schools to provide individual care to students with behavioral concerns.


Family Therapy

A fundamental part of my work with children and adolescents is to discover how family dynamics contribute to their identified problem and to provide a space for addressing these dynamics in session. Working alongside family members typically helps in opening communication, fostering understanding, and enhancing relationships. All of these can lead to reduction in symptoms among children and adolescents. I am always happy to accommodate family sessions within individual treatment as often as needed.


Integration of Faith in Treatment

I completed my pre-doctoral internship with the Chicago Area Christian Training Consortium and feel comfortable integrating Christian faith in treatment, per the client’s request.