A Word from Melanie:
“My Professional Philosophy:
Life consists of many expected and unexpected challenges, loss, and trauma. These experiences have the potential to negatively or positively affect us mentally, emotionally, and physically. I believe there are times in our lives when we may need additional support and opportunities to learn strategies for coping with challenges such as trauma, loss, and addiction with attention to providing unbiased feedback and support. I believe that life’s greatest challenges are best met in a safe environment where you’re empowered to heal from the past and create the future you desire.
Community service is a part of my DNA. My family was and continues to be intentional about serving the community and giving back. In my community, I have served as co-leader of Griefshare, a grief support group for people in various stages of grief and loss. Loss and grief have been an unwelcome part of my life starting at a very early age. I lost a parent at the age of four due to an automobile accident.
In 2010, my only child, my daughter was unexpectedly diagnosed with Leukemia. She unexpectedly passed away four months later. There are no words to describe my loss but devastating is a start. With the love and support of family, friends, and an amazing grief therapist, I transitioned from surviving to thriving. My grief therapist was instrumental in helping me understand grief, learn healthy coping skills, and live a healthy life that included honoring my daughter and our love.
Within the same year, my mother was diagnosed with Dementia and I began “losing” her and our wonderful relationship. I believe sharing the details of my journey through grief and loss with others helps provide hope, support, and encouragement as they begin their journey.
Before beginning my master’s program, I mentored young ladies as part of my school district initiative. Mentoring young ladies is a personal assignment as well. Being a positive role model and helping young women recognize their potential, purpose, and power brings me great joy.
During graduate school, I interned at Bethany Christian Services in their Foster Care Department and Child Psychology Department. I educated and trained foster parents on effective behavior management, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, ADD/ADHD, and anxiety. I also assisted in leading a support group for foster parents.
I also intern at WMed’s Unified Clinics’ Behavioral Health Services working with Western’s Evaluation Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders. I was responsible for reviewing and analyzing children’s medical reports, family history, and, using the data to write summaries with recommendations as part of the autism evaluation and assessment process. I served as a post-evaluation support person for the families as well.
In addition to this, I monitored and led groups for men and women recently paroled from the Michigan Department of Corrections. Re-entry to the community, addictions, coping skills, effective communication, and relapse prevention were group topics.
I have dedicated 20 years of my teaching career supporting students and their families using a holistic approach that addresses their academic, social, emotional, and physical needs. This means acknowledging the possibilities of poverty and trauma being part of their narratives. During my career, I have learned the importance of building authentic, trusting relationships to support my students and their families. I have also had the opportunity to work with and provide critical support to diverse families experiencing a crisis, trauma, behavioral, and mental health challenges from a variety of demographics.“
Education & Trainings
Melanie earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a specialization in Early Childhood Education from Western Michigan University in 2000. In 2003, she also earned a Master’s degree in Teaching and Behavior Management from Marygrove College. In 2018, she earned an additional Master’s degree in Social Work.
I am continuously seeking to gain more skills and broaden my education. For instance, I hold the following certifications: Community Trauma Certificate, Ethics in Integrated Care, Gottman Level 1 Certification, Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment (SBIRT), Recovery Narratives and Approaches: Benefits of Lived Experiences, Approaching Recovery: Past, Present, and Future Training for Behavioral Health Providers, Motivational Interviewing: Understanding the Spirit and the Initial Skills Training for Behavioral Health Providers, Goal Attainment Scaling Training
I specialize in depression, anxiety, past and present trauma, grief and loss therapy. I provide personalized individual, family teen, and couples/marriage therapy. Working with clients who have a history of abuse (emotional/verbal, mental, physical, sexual), low-self esteem, anger management issues, and stress is a passion and priority of mine.
Melanie attended sixth grade in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Melanie can accept the following insurances and also offers self-pay options: