Family Play Therapy, Family, Child-Parent Psychotherapy, Parenting, Play Therapy, Autism, ADHD, Behavioral Issues, Depression, Anxiety
BCBS, United Healthcare, UMR, Medicaid, Cigna, Ambetter, Aetna, BCBS Federal
Melissa graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 2001 from Pittsburg State University (PSU) in Pittsburg, Kansas. She worked as a case manager working with adults with developmental disabilities and dual diagnosis in mental health while working on her Masters of Science in Community Counseling at PSU. She graduated in 2003 with her M.S. and worked as a licensed counselor in Missouri. Due to a strong interest in education and teaching, she completed a Specialist in Education Degree (EdS) in Community Counseling which was completed in 2004. Melissa is certified in Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP), Filial Play Therapy, and Theraplay (Level 1) for Individuals and Groups. Melissa works with children, adolescents, adults, couples and families to address anxiety, mood disorders, phase of life issues, trauma, parenting issues, and relationship problems with all couples.
Since attaining her Ed.S, she has been the Director and Program Manager of Head Start and Early Head Start in Missouri. She worked as a School-based therapist with Community Mental Health agencies in Northwest Arkansas. She has a passion for working with families and educating children. She has worked with Bentonville schools to educate teaching assistants/aides on mental health strategies and the use of Conscious Discipline. She has also done several workshop classes with area churches on Conscious Discipline and working with children with special or developmental needs.
In taking an integrative approach towards counseling she has participated in a variety of modalities including, Individual, Family, and Couple Therapies, and actively uses a myriad of therapeutic techniques and interventions consistent with play, art, talk, sand, and cinema therapies for both children and adults. When working with clients, Melissa is very open to try different strategies to help them reach their optimal level of living and mental health. When people seek counseling for themselves and/or their loved ones, she knows that they have reached a point in their lives that things are uncomfortable and often very difficult. She does her best to be sensitive to this and do all that she can to be supportive of them. To accomplish this she strives to provide the most secure, safe, and accepting environment possible.
Melissa has a wide variety of clinical interests and specific experience in issues related to human development and lifespan. She maintains the philosophy that the counselor-client relationship is the key to any therapeutic change and so much of her emphasis is placed upon tailoring interventions to what best works for the client. If a child is interested in something that she doesn’t have in her play therapy room, you can often find her searching flea markets or garage sales in order to find what that client needs to make a stronger connection.
Melissa and her family moved to Northwest Arkansas approximately twelve years ago, when her husband and her both took jobs with Community Mental Health agencies. Melissa and her husband have been married over 20 years and have 2 beautiful adopted children. Melissa enjoys doing crafts, but she is not crafty like the remainder of her family.
Melissa and her family are big movie enthusiasts and have a large collection of movies that they enjoy. Superhero movies are their favorite and they have collections dedicated to their favorite Marvel and DC characters. Her family are huge animal lovers and have three dogs, two cats, a crested gecko, and many fish in their two ponds. When she is home, you can find her somewhere in the backyard that she calls her “Backyard Oasis,” among her flowers, plants, fish, and/or pool.