Many of you have seen Dr. Jeremy Nicholson posting comments and have been asking about him. My answer has been, “Ask him.”
In this interview, I ask him what he’s doing here and what he loves and doesn’t love about psychology.
I like Dr. Jeremy because he is insightful and relatable. I don’t like people who present a false image of perfection. Dr. Jeremy is working on himself just like the rest of us.
He is also very good at connecting dots. Although I didn’t seek out his help, our conversations have actually been very useful and helped me determine the direction for my life and for Danger & Play.
I recently had the chance to chat with Dr. Jeremy for a while. I like what he has to say and think you will, too.
If you have any questions or comments for him, be sure to post a comment below.
Social and Organizational Psychologist: Interview with Dr. Jeremy Nicholson
Mike: Who are you? Tell us about yourself, your educational background, and why you chose psychology as a field.
Dr. Jeremy: In some ways, I’m almost a cliché. I was a smart and empathetic kid, who had a somewhat difficult childhood with being overweight, picked on, dealing with divorce, etc. When I grew up, I picked psychology because I wanted to use my intelligence to figure people out. I wanted to help myself and others get past some of the negative things I had experienced as a child. I also wanted to learn how to build better relationships in the future.
As I learned about psychology and grew as a person, my focus changed within the discipline over time. Initially, I was interested in becoming a therapist and obtained a Master’s in Social Work, after a Bachelor’s in Psychology. I appreciated what I learned, but felt frustrated that I could only help one person at a time – many of whom were not willing or able to change at that time either. So, I moved on to get a Doctorate in Social/Personality Psychology, figuring that I could have a bigger impact through teaching and research.
Just before I transitioned into my doctoral program, I began working with a consulting firm that created psychological programs for end-of-life care. As a result, I ended up blending my clinical skills with my research skills, designing and testing those programs. As time went on, I also began managing some of the training for that company – getting a Master’s in Industrial/Organizational psychology too.
Almost ten years later, after completing all of those degrees, the company folded. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed combining all of my education to create psychological models, train people, and solve real-world problems. So, I decided to continue that work in different areas, which were of more interest to me than end-of-life care. I got a “day job” creating courses and teaching doctoral students Social Psychology and Behavioral Economics concepts to solve business problems. Thus, I could help myself and others with business, marketing, finance, and organizational management. I also began blogging on Psychology Today as The Attraction Doctor – applying my education to solving dating and relationship issues. This application helped myself and others to get a satisfying love life.
Mike: Have you ever worked with clients? Do you enjoy seeing therapy clients or do you prefer other aspects of your profession?
Dr. Jeremy: I have worked with clients in a one-on-one capacity at a couple of different points in my career. I worked as an actual therapist during my Clinical Social Work education at a couple of locations. I have also offered various types of online and face-to-face relationship coaching in the past.
For the time being now, I do not provide that type of service. I prefer to reach more people through my writing and blogging. I believe I do a good job helping that way. People can read what interests them. They can apply what they are motivated to do. I even welcome questions and feedback, which helps to direct me toward other issues to be solved. Given that, I’m currently concentrating on writing a couple of different books to reach even more people too.
Having said that, I have not completely closed the door to personal coaching in the future. Although, I would never again simply “hang out my sign” and take all comers. There would definitely be a screening process where I only agreed to work with a limited number of thoughtful and motivated clients, willing to really work to solve their issues. Otherwise, it would be a waste of my time (and theirs) to pay me hundreds of dollars to just listen to their problems, validate them, and not result in any change. Beyond that, if I branched out to more direct services, it would most likely be some sort of larger executive coaching, consulting, lectures, or group training to solve general self-improvement, relationship, or business issues as well.
Mike: How did you find Danger & Play and why did you decide to start participating in the community?
Dr. Jeremy: To properly answer that question, I need to share a few more details about my life… Like many guys on here, I have been on this seduction, masculine awareness, entrepreneur, and self-improvement journey for a long time, drawing from different bases of knowledge as I go. My efforts in that direction dramatically increased, as I went through a divorce in early 2005, at the ripe young age of 27. After that, I went looking for answers in earnest, particularly about women, dating, and relationships.
Rather than falling completely into what was then the Seduction Community like most guys, however, I was already in grad school for Psychology. So, although I did tangentially research things like pick-up techniques, game, and some PUAs, I primarily modeled my personal development from the science I was learning in school. In the long run, that has seemed to work out for me personally…and has also given me a different perspective to share with others as a dating/relationship expert, business consultant, and in self-improvement too.
Even though I was doing my own thing though, I did have a group of seduction/manosphere type blogs I read occasionally. I remember following a link from one of them to Danger and Play right after it began in 2011. At that time, the site seemed primarily short-term relationship and game oriented to me. In contrast, my love life focus was more toward satisfying longer-term relationships with women (personally, I’d rather be a Hugh Hefner than a Casanova). So, I appreciated what you were about and what D&P was offering then, but it was a different path than my own journey at the time.
More recently, I ended up becoming very sick from an infection that was poorly medically managed. As a result, I was doing a lot of research on ways to rehab my body, improve my endocrine function, and the benefits of testosterone replacement. I ended up “rediscovering” D&P during that search, as the site began covering those topics too. It seemed that our life experiences and paths finally crossed, as we both grew and evolved.
So, I started participating in the D&P community directly when I felt that I had something to both gain from and give back to the discussion here. Personally, watching this whole social process unfold for almost ten years now, I think many other men are on this same self-improvement journey too. Our paths just cross at different times, based on what we are improving about ourselves in the moment and what we can give to others.
Beyond that, I particularly like D&P because it is growth-oriented and positive. You do an excellent job of learning, staying open to new ideas, and evolving (as anyone reading through the D&P archives can see). On some other sites, in my opinion, aspects of this masculine evolution have become stuck, narrowly-focused, or negative. Personally, I prefer to keep a more constructive perspective in my own life and my professional advice. I welcome discussion and disagreement. I even empathize with frustration and hardship. However, I draw the line at willful ignorance, hate, and nihilism. So, it is nice to find a community of brothers who share that outlook.
Mike: What is your biggest challenge right now?
Dr. Jeremy: My recent illness has set me back a bit, both physically and financially. So, my challenges right now are to rehabilitate myself physically and reestablish my financial independence. That way, I can get back to the things I enjoy like practicing martial arts, connecting with interesting people, working on more projects, and providing for myself and those I care about.
Toward that end, a lot of my current thinking is centered on things like self-regulation, goal setting, and hormones – as it relates to both physical functioning and entrepreneurship. I have also been happy to discuss such topics already here on D&P in our two conversations on testosterone and goal-setting. I look forward to more as well.
I do have to say, the experience with being sick has taught me a lot about balance and moderation. I have learned that things like health, wealth, and social relationships are all very interdependent. It pays to keep an overall self-improvement and development focus in multiple areas. Otherwise, attending to one area and letting others slide can bring the whole thing crashing down. With that perspective, I believe that these current challenges will make me a stronger and better man in the end.
Mike: Do you have any advice for men considering going into psychology? Pros and cons?
Dr. Jeremy: Definitely. Most men that I have met, who are considering psychology, seem to have similar motivations to my own – they want to understand people and help. Those are worthwhile motivations that I completely support. With effort and perseverance, I believe a psychological education can provide the tools to understand and help, both yourself and others.
Having said that, getting a degree (or degrees) in psychology is not cheap. Many will also not lead to high-paying jobs, like a STEM or business degree would. So, it is also important to think about the practical costs and benefits of such education.
As a personal example, I received an undergraduate education in Psychology/Philosophy from a good private university. I hustled for scholarships, it was the late 90’s, and I still had $30,000+ in loans. After graduation, I was just qualified for a job working with youth offenders in residential treatment. In reality, that means I got beat up and spit on by delinquents for barely more than minimum wage. At that point, “helping people” kind of lost a bit of luster.
Similarly, if I had just gone directly for a Ph.D. in Social/Personality Psychology, the money would not be there either. Yes, being a doctor/professor has prestige, a number of perks, and the emotional benefits of teaching others. However, it also takes a ton more education, more loans, fighting for limited jobs, and a starting professor salary of about $45,000 per year. In comparison, I could make thousands more than that amount with my 2-year Master’s in Industrial/Organizational Psychology alone.
Given that, I would advise men interested in psychology to have something practical to complement their psychology education. That may mean double-majoring in some STEM or business major, along with psychology, at the college level. Or, it may mean committing to graduate education, most likely a Master’s in an “applied” area of psychology (e.g. business, counseling, school, etc.). Either way, part of the focus for such a decision should be on what kind of jobs can actually be secured with that education – and what they realistically pay. Otherwise, if you are hungry and cannot pay your bills, thinking deep thoughts and helping people is not going to be so motivating.
Mike: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? That sounds like a corny job interview question. What I really am looking for is, “What is your vision for your future?”
Dr. Jeremy: My vision for the future is to continue writing, educating, training, and consulting others in psychological and social dynamics, to solve a number of personal, relationship, and business problems. In my eclectic efforts thus far, I’m beginning to see a core set of governing principles among seemingly diverse areas anyway. For example, on a fundamental psychological level, there are a lot of similarities between dating to find a lover and hiring/training a new business employee. Eventually, I will probably settle on some sort of meta-model, connecting it all together, and applying it in various ways.
As part of that overall vision, I have a special focus on men’s empowerment, self-improvement, and evolution (including my own). I believe we are sitting at the forefront of masculine social change that has been building for a decade or more. Individually, and as a group, we men have choices and decisions to make – particularly whether we are going to choose to try and rise above the current cultural limitations, or fall victim to them. I would like to do my part to focus that future change in a positive, growth-oriented, and mutually-beneficial direction, at least for and with men who feel similarly inclined. Eventually, I would like to see men being confident and assertive in their love lives, while also being sovereign, benevolent leaders in the larger world too.
I am unsure as to the exact structure all this will take. Most likely, it will be some sort of entrepreneurial blogging, self-publishing, and independent consulting. That way, I will not have to censor my advice and I can still pay the bills. Beyond that, I’m just networking with likeminded people, sharing, and staying open to possibilities. I’m also working on getting healthy again, so I can maximize opportunities already knocking and take part in more in the future. In one way or another though, people will see much more from me as time goes on.