Melissa has been treating individuals with co-occurring disorders since she began teaching trauma sensitive yoga over six years ago which evolved into her growth as a therapist. Melissa graduated at the top of her class at Penn State University and is actively pursuing her Masters in Counseling at Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School for Addiction Studies, which will then lead to state licensure. Melissa’s personal life’s journey and experiences have provided her with passion and purpose to help others on their paths.
Melissa believes it is essential in a process of healing and recovery to bring the body into treatment, as an awareness of one’s sensations and physical responses, also understood as “a felt sense” of one’s experience, is an integral part of psychological well-being and is crucial to authentically experiencing one’s feelings. What makes Melissa unique from many clinicians is her authenticity in being, or as the well renown Irvin D. Yalom would describe, “a fellow traveler”. She invests her time and energy wisely into each session, and interaction with her individual clients and groups. She believes the most important part of the therapeutic relationship is Safety, Compassion, Attunement and Respect. Her primary therapeutic approaches are, but not limited to, ACT, DBT, Somatic Psychology approaches such as dance, yoga, Tai Chi and Chi Going as well as Gestalt interventions such as role playing, empty chair, art therapy and creative writing. Melissa expresses, “I feel most connected to methods which bring out the client’s core values and that are experiential in nature”. Melissa displays her holistic expertise through the utilization of trauma sensitive and informed interventions that are creative and experiential coupled with traditional foundations to build safety and stability within the therapeutic alliance.
Aside from being an amazing mom, the best way to describe Melissa is to see her as: a giver and receiver of healing, a dancer, explorer and adventurer of nature and life. Her amazing gift of seeing the world as a blessing to be a part of is contagious not just for her friends and family, but also the clients she serves every day.
One of Melissa’s favorite quotes that speaks to her philosophy in her life and her work:
“I believe there is something magical that happens when we open up ourselves to be received. In the witnessing of the other – the formless becomes a shared experience of interconnection and healing.”
-Phoenix Onesong Marolda