A passion for adolescents and her community motivates Melissa to create therapeutic relationships that are based on compassion, respect, and collaboration. Through building trust and a commitment to authentic relationships Melissa is able to engage adolescents who have been considered difficult to work with by others. In practice this means being open to meeting in alternative locations, such as walking in the park or in a coffee house; and coordinating care with other service providers: school, court, doctors, etc. Melissa utilizes a recovery model of service provision with a strength based perspective that is trauma informed and an eclectic mix of therapeutic interventions including: traditional talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, solution focused therapy, Theraplay® techniques, play therapy, and task-focused therapy. She provides services to youth, their families, and individuals in need; and clinical supervision to professionals. Based on her vision and commitment to strengthening her community, Melissa provides consultation and collaboration with community agencies to further program development and provides program evaluation.
Melissa is a seasoned clinician with fifteen plus years of experience in child welfare with a focus on services to pregnant and parenting teens; and adolescents in crisis or who have a trauma history. She earned her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from St. Olaf College; and her Masters of Social Work with a concentration in child welfare and policy from the University of Minnesota. Melissa previously worked for Hennepin County in community based locations providing clinical case management. She has participated in intra/interagency multi-disciplinary teams to provide comprehensive services to diverse communities and has experience conducting research analysis and authoring policy briefs and grants. Melissa has enjoyed teaching as an Adjunct Professor of post-secondary education in Social Work focusing on direct practice and child welfare issues. Melissa’s passion for engaging the community has led her to volunteer for many years with different youth serving agencies focusing on youth development. She is a Primary Therapist at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center providing individual therapy to residents struggling with mental health issues, eating disorders, and substance abuse; utilizing Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and 12 Step principles with trauma awareness. Throughout her years of clinical service Melissa has provided clinical supervision to undergraduate students, graduate students, and professionals in social work and related fields. She is a certified child welfare specialist and has been trained as Stephen Ministry Leader. Through the Evangelical Covenant denomination she is certified as an Advocate for Victims of Abuse (AVA) and utilizes the Mending the Soul curriculum. She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW). Melissa brings this wealth of experience to her private practice in Naperville.