Dr. Venus Nicolino, AKA Dr. V, took an unorthodox hero’s journey toward becoming a Doctor of Psychology. Some envision those well-versed in human behavior wearing stiff smoking jackets and having come from a long line of Ivy Leaguers. Nicolino’s big heart and ability to relate to average Joe’s and Flo’s is a welcome change that began in a cramped home in Philadelphia.
The daughter of a mechanic father and a mom who skipped high school, Dr. V saw problems up close in her neighborhood. “Ladies would lean on each other, discussing their marital nightmares, daily worries, and financial fiascos. As a kid, I’d listen intently, waiting for someone to speak up with solutions for these constant problems. It never happened, so I set my mind to figure out how to become that person,” Dr. V said.
Another stereotype is mental health experts being confident they’re each the smartest person in the room. Nicolino says part of her drive to get a Master’s in Counseling Psychology and a Master’s and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology came from feeling like she wasn’t good enough as a young woman. Proving herself wrong with an impressive education took her a step closer to being capable of helping those she’d witnessed in dire straits.
Armed with enough degrees to line an XL smoking jacket, Dr. V began her media career and became a vibrant personality on shows such as Steve TV, Access Hollywood, and The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Word spread quickly about this fearless doctor with a fresh playbook on how to be human, so reality series Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars came calling to ask her to host the show. L.A. Shrinks also lured Nicolino’s witty style and sharp mind onto their set.
With fame and success, Dr. V touched more people in need of mental health guidance, popping up on TV, radio, and podcasts everywhere. She also joined UCP Wheels for Humanity, which refurbishes donated wheelchairs and hand-fits them to children and adults with disabilities in developing nations. Nicolino sits on the board of this organization that has improved the lives of over 50,000 people in more than 68 nations through increased mobility and dignity. Dr. V says, “Mobility means hope and opportunity. Wheelchairs are luxury rides in nations where disabled people are often forced to crawl or be carried by family.”
Another problem this mother of three is fighting is bad advice. Her best-selling book, Bad Advice: How to Survive and Thrive in an Age of B.S., takes on self-help that’s ineffective, delusional, and quite pungent. The New York Post included her book in their “Five books that will change your life without making you feel like crap” list. Her words, left unspoken on the steps of her neighbors’ row house porches, now benefit millions with her real-world wisdom and professional insights.
Dr. V’s latest venture is a popular podcast that turns conversations into sessions that help the audience see celebrities as humans. The Tea With Dr. V is music to the ears of those who finally have a voice that doesn’t expect them to “fix” themselves with magic mental cures. This podcast host has the heart to truly hear, plus the snappy wit to entertain the masses while in their heads.
Forget what you know about stuffy doctors and no-help self-help. Dr. V is lighting ancient therapeutic styles on fire as she delivers solutions that were desperately needed years ago in Philly and even more so today.