Psychotherapist BSW MSW MACSW (Clinical) AMHSW (Accred) PG FT & Counselling & Med
Melissa brings an open and curious mind to understanding your perspective and unique situation. As a psychotherapist with over 20 years experience she has advanced skills in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT), Schema Therapy, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) and Mindfulness.
Melissa completed her initial undergraduate and post graduate training in Social Work. Her passion for working with people of all ages to facilitate change at both an individual and systemic level, has directed her down a path of working extensively in clinical and management/clinical supervision roles within mental health. Her thirst for expanding her knowledge and skills and her commitment to giving her clients the highest quality service that she may offer, has ensured that she has pursued a variety of roles with clients across all ages in both the public and private sector, including running her own private practice overseas. This level of flexibility to move across the age ranges, from therapy to coaching, from individual to couple and family therapy and to working in dispute resolution and mediation provides clients with a breadth of knowledge and skill that is rare in a practitioner.
Her skills in working with mental health include but are not limited to, working with personality disorders, trauma, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, phobia’s, stress with demonstrated results. These broad therapeutic skills mean that she is comfortable with both short and longer term deeper therapeutic work. As an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker, Melissa’s advanced clinical skills have been recognised by the Australian Society of Social Workers and Medicare.
She has managed a State-Wide Rehabilitation Service and also provided ATAPs services to GP’s in the Adelaide region. Melissa has also worked and managed offender rehabilitation and can provide counselling for forensic clients. She has well developed knowledge of assessment and treatment of both victims and perpetrators. She is familiar with group treatment processes offered in South Australian Prisons and Correctional Services.
Melissa also has extensive skills in working with couples, children, adolescents and families. She has post-graduate qualifications in Family Therapy and Family Mediation. These additional skills allow Melissa to carefully work with relationship dynamics and patterns of communication and behaviour that affect mental health of multiple people in a family. She believes that these ways of working are capable of shifting the stuckness that may present within a family system and are a useful way of reaching multiple outcomes beyond an individual’s mental health.
She has previously worked for a Family Relationship Centre, as a conflict coach, dispute resolution practitioner and family advisor. She has also completed extensive training in child-centred play therapy. Melissa has a strong belief that play assists children to communicate their inner experiences and create understanding in their lives. Approaches used include Circle of Security Parenting Intervention and Attachment Focused Family Therapy.
Melissa works full time in private practice and from December will be working Mondays, Tuesdays and Saturdays at North Adelaide and Wednesdays and Thursdays at Glenelg offering both business hours and after hours appointments including Saturdays.
Contact Us 08 8361 7008
Areas of Experience
- Stress Management
- Panic Attacks
- Anger Management
- Obsessions and Compulsions
- Post-Natal Depression
- Issues with Communication Skills
- Assertiveness Issues
- Shame & Guilt
- Difficulty with Emotional Regulation
- Problem Solving
- Substance Abuse
- Self-harm -Suicide risk
- Personality disorders
- Grief and Loss
- Problem solving
- Work life Balance
- Self-esteem and Self Confidence
- Family Relationships
- Intimacy Issues
- Issues with co-parenting
- Pre-marriage counselling
- Step Family Concerns
- Family Conflict
- Separation & Divorce
- Domestic Violence
- Adolescence Issues
- Working with children
- Issues with Transitional Life Changes
- Workplace Issues – previous EAP experience
- Child Sexual abuse
- Forensic Rehabilitation
Qualifications and Professional Membership
- Bachelor of Social Work
- Master of Social Work
- Graduate Certificate in Mediation: Family Relations
- Vocational Diploma in Dispute Resolution
- Graduate Certificate in Family Therapy & Counselling
- Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) Member No: 206117
- Clinical Social Worker –AASW
- Accredited Mental Health Social Worker –AASW
Melissa believes in developing a positive therapeutic connection. Often her clients say ‘you’re so normal’ and ‘I don’t feel like you’re counselling me’. She believes it is essential that change can occur when there is a safe and positive connection and you can relate well.
Melissa also places a lot of emphasis on a well-developed mind – body connection. She has competed as an elite athlete in the past and understands the power of the mind and good nutrition in both performance and mental wellbeing. This focus informs her counselling process.
Melissa’s Therapeutic Approach
Melissa works from a strengths perspective basing her treatment approaches around the positive and effective elements in her client’s lives. She has a strong interest in working with her clients to assist them with the resources to manage their situation.
She also has a strong interest in her client’s core beliefs and patterns of learned behaviour from childhood and the potential influence they may have on their adult lives. Equally she works with children using an early intervention approach. Melissa applies schema therapy in her practice after completing extensive training with the Schema Therapy Academy of Australia.
Melissa is also passionate about the benefits of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and has trained with well renowned therapist Russ Harris. Sometimes in life it is difficult to change the way you feel about a particular issue, however with ACT the way you react to stresses in your life can make a big difference. Melissa refers to this as ‘toward moves’ and can explore this taking into account your unique situation and your values.
Previously Melissa has run a regular group called ‘Depressive Illness the Curse of the Strong’. The catch phrase used was ‘Come and learn how to turn off your anxiety response in as little as 10 seconds’. Everyone was surprised to know about this simple concept. This and many other skills are taught in counselling sessions. Melissa believes knowledge is power and gaining knowledge has assisted many of her clients in positively influencing the challenges in their lives.