Melissa’s approach is to find empathy, respect and a connected experience for each individual she works with, with over a decade’s worth of experience in some of the most need based communities, she knows what a steady and reliable therapist represents. Melissa’s approach is to remain honest and direct as she helps everyone she works with to the more nuanced discussions. She knows how to find the keys that open the door to healing. She will work with you to actualize goals, set direction and challenge to create a solid path and help you settle into a new mindset that helps heal vs. cause further anxiety.
Melissa earned her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from the College of Saint Elizabeth and a BA in Psychology from Rowan University. She is a Certified Clinical Anxiety Treatment Professional and additionally certified in Forensic Psychology. She has over 15 years of clinical experience providing outpatient mental health services and has been a key professional at St. Clare’s Hospital’s Outpatient Behavioral Health program for over 14 years, serving hospital those with persistent mental illness. Melissa’s experience additionally reaches beyond the hospital as she works with children, adolescents and adults dealing with a broad spectrum of issues, including depression, anxiety, mood disorders, psychosis, post traumatic stress, obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders and personality disorders.
Melissa is a dedicated and supportive counselor who concentrates on the needs of the client and creates an atmosphere of hope and positivity with the ultimate goal being to improve each person’s quality of life.
Treatment Protocols Include:
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy
When people hold irrational beliefs about themselves or the world, problems can result. The goal of REBT is to help people alter illogical beliefs and negative thinking patterns in order to overcome psychological problems and mental distress.
The very first step in the process is to identify the underlying, irrational thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that lead to psychological distress. In many cases, these irrational beliefs are reflected as absolutes, as in “I must,” “I should,” or “I cannot.” Holding such unyielding beliefs makes it almost impossible to respond to activating situations in a psychologically healthy way. Possessing such rigid expectations of ourselves and others only leads to disappointment, recrimination, regret, and anxiety. Once these underlying feelings have been identified, the next step is to challenge the mistaken beliefs. While REBT uses cognitive strategies, it focuses on emotions and behaviors as well.2 In addition to identifying and disputing irrational beliefs, therapists and clients also work together to target the emotional responses that accompany problematic thoughts. Clients are encouraged to change unwanted behaviors
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a tool to help people identify and cope with stressful situations. It teaches people new ways to think and act in order to influence the way they feel. It is a proactive approach in which the therapist works together with an individual to challenge their previous, maladaptive thought patterns and increase engagement in behaviors that contribute to positive experiences.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
For individuals who feel out of control with their emotions, behaviors, and relationships, an approach informed by dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) may be appropriate. This method focuses on providing clients with specific skills and tools to help them manage their feelings and actions. Clients learn ways to communicate more effectively with others, tolerate intense emotions, regulate their moods, and remain grounded in the present moment.