Faculty and Staff Directory
Providing an excellent multifaceted education for people committed to transforming themselves, others, and the world
Nicolle Zapien received her BA in psychology with a minor in mathematics from the University of Oregon. She holds an EdM in teaching and curriculum from Harvard Graduate School of Education, an MA in clinical psychology from the Professional School of Psychology and a PhD in psychology from Saybrook University. Dr. Zapien also is a licensed and practicing MFT with a private clinical psychotherapy practice in San Francisco through which she serves a variety of clients, the majority of whom are adults and couples. She is a existential/humanistically-oriented clinician who offers an eclectic approach including techniques borrowed from: psychodynamic, CBT/DBT, mindfulness-based psychotherapy, Gestalt, narrative, systems, and client centered approaches. She also is a certified sex therapist through AASECT and has completed a coaching certificate through CTI.
Dr. Zapien spent over a decade as the VP of a marketing research company and later as the president of her own consulting and research firm, designing, managing teams and conducting research studies and program evaluations for Fortune 500 businesses, start-ups and non profit clients. Some of these projects included higher education strategy development studies and evaluations of early online and hybrid teaching models prior to becoming a therapist and professor. These studies in total included more than 200 custom designed, qualitative, quantitative and mixed methodology projects. Dr. Zapien's first career, in K12 education, included spending five years in public urban education teaching in the Mission district of San Francisco prior to the dotcom boom, developing curriculum, assessments and evaluation programs for preliterate and prenumerate youth. It is this blend of research, pedagogy, and clinical expertise that informs her work at CIIS.
Dr. Zapien's love for existential/humanistic philosophy, phenomenology and her appreciation of psychoanalysis coupled with her desire to explore psychologically meaningful and difficult to study questions resulted in a phenomenological investigation of extra-marital affairs against the backdrop of participants' stated intentions to remain monogamous. This particular piece of work will be used as the basis for a book which develops existential/humanistic guidelines for treatment of infidelity. Dr. Zapien's research coupled with her applied sex therapy practice and flexibility with research methods informs her service to the human sexuality doctoral program. In addition, Dr. Zapien is interested in: sampling bias in research on sexual behavior; phenomenology as a means to understand complex situated experiences; best practices in the integration of sex therapy and psychotherapy; passion, intimacy and the self; the relationship between attachment, aggression and intimacy; and further exploration of ethics and infidelity issues. She is also interested in technoethics and youth in particular as this relates to relationality and sexuality and hopes to partner with some of the local technology professionals to explore further. Dr. Zapien serves on CIIS' IRB (the HRRC) committee and the research committee.