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Nicole Knowlton

Nicole Knowlton


Nice to meet you! My name is Nicole Knowlton.

Learning about my diagnosis has been life changing and I finally comfortably fit into my own skin. “Coming out” has answered so many questions and allowed me to live authentically. I’ve had friends reach out who have struggled similarly or saw signs in their daughters and we all deserve to feel comfortable and live authentically, embracing our differences. 

Please allow me to help you. I promise I will be compassionate and understanding. You deserve to experience the same healing that I have had. I look forward to hearing from you.

Life Experience

  • Nicole was in a long-term relationship where neurodiversity was present.

  • Nicole is a mother of two teenagers, one of which is neurodivergent child.

  • She has navigated the educational battles both as a parent and a legal advocate to obtain IEP and 504 plans, and understands the unique family environment needed to help families to support each other.

My Journey with Eating

Picky Nicky

Being on the spectrum has included years of picky tastes, disordered eating and an unhealthy relationship with food. My childhood nickname was “Picky Nicky.” I remember many defiant nights falling asleep at the dinner table in protest of eating the foods I loathed. I had a very specific aversion to onions.


I remember searching through the trash for any evidence that dinner had either fresh or packaged onion soup mix. I refused meatloaf, hamburgers, any casseroles with onions, and any other dish where I detected the taste or crunch of an onion. If I did I would fish them out one by one or go on a complete hunger strike if I couldn’t pick them out.



I did not enjoy a lot of foods as a child, and still find myself gravitating towards the same, predictable foods as an adult. I notice that I buy the same foods at the grocery store, eat the same dishes at the same restaurants and am very much not a “foodie”.


Body Dysmorphia

I grew up living by the beach with warm weather, peer pressure, and a focus on a perfect thin bikini body. I learned to restrict calories from my girlfriends, beginning in middle school in an effort to be more attractive and to fit in. This resonated for me because if I looked like everyone else, then my differences were not as noticeable. I was very active and played volleyball and was a cheerleader, yet still saw myself as incredibly overweight in my uniforms.


This hyperfocus on not eating, in order to be thin led to body dysmorphia that has continued throughout most of my life. I’ve tried just about every diet fad possible and have never loved my weight nor felt proud of my body. Dieting was also so hard because I only enjoy a narrow selection of food and drinks, meaning I would inevitably return back to my old habits.


Stubborn Weight

I remember joining Weight Watchers in my twenties as a size 2 to lose that “stubborn weight” for my wedding gown. I believed that dieting for a wedding was the norm to be able to look as perfectly as you could on your wedding day. I received pressure from family, friends, and my partner to be thin.


When I stood on the scale that day at Weight Watchers, the staff member gave me a scornful look and admonished me. She said “I know what you are trying to do and we don’t do that here.” It was the first time I had considered that becoming as thin as you possibly could in order to look your best might be unhealthy.


After childbirth I dieted and worked out constantly to lose the weight gain. Everyone around me flooded me with compliments once I got back down to that pre-pregnancy weight and could feel confident in a swim suit again. My body and level of attractiveness has been openly discussed by others as long as I can remember and I directly tied it to my ability to camoflauge, fit in, and appear normal.


Gain Weight = Unlovable

For years it felt as if my body and weight was my only lifeline to receive love from my partner. If I gained weight, I believed that I was unlovable, worthless, lazy and a failure. A societal outcast. With the already present neurosis about hiding my differences, having a body that didn’t reflect the ideal norms of those around me seemed unfathomable. Before the age of 30, I started a habit of cosmetic surgery, laser treatments, and fillers to preserve youth and attempt to enhance a more attractive appearance in order to feel accepted by society.


Spectrum Acceptance --> Body Acceptance

Only since 2020 with the pandemic have I been able to stop and consider just how unhealthy all of this has been. I have relaxed my obsession with my weight, my ageing process, and relationship with food. Learning about being on the spectrum has helped me connect how my need for control, acceptance by others, and sensitivities and aversions to foods, has contributed to being so disconnected from myself, my own self-love and self-acceptance.


Does any of this sound familiar to you? If so, please reach out and let’s heal those unhealthy beliefs and habits that are keeping you from embracing your own unique and lovable self.

We are perfect as we are,
and doing an amazing job of existing in
this mismatched environment around us.

Licenses and Specialties

  • Associate Marriage and Family Therapist, #122657

  • Supervised by Dr. Harry Motro, LMFT #53452

  • In addition to her couples therapy and coaching, Nicole has a mediation private practice in Irvine, California. She also facilitates Batterer’s Intervention Groups, teaches parenting and anger management groups, and helps clients and families combat addiction.

  • Nicole has worked in County Health, non-profits, the court system, and has been a clinician and advocate since 2004.


  • Undergraduate degree in Business

  • Double Master’s degree in Psychology and Alternate Dispute Resolution

  • Juris Doctorate degree

Client Focus

  • Neurodiverse women

  • Autistic, ADHD, Highly Sensitive People

  • Neurodiverse clients with eating struggles

  • Neurodiverse couples

Therapy Modalities

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