Meet Melyssa, Registered Mental Health Counseling Intern
Before pursuing a career as a mental health professional, Melyssa worked with numerous species as an animal trainer and gained extensive experience with the principles of behavior modification. Melyssa was lucky enough to spend 5 years in her childhood dream job, but soon came to realize her new dream was to help people improve their lives.
Melyssa entered graduate school to study Clinical Psychology where she was able to expand upon her existing knowledge of behaviorism to include the complexities of cognition and the human experience. She understands how intimidating it can be to enter a therapy session.
Her primary focus is on connecting and building a working relationship with clients and holding a safe, comfortable space to allow clients to be vulnerable.
Experience & Specialties
Melyssa incorporates a mind-body and whole-person approach to therapy by examining lifestyle behaviors to enhance quality of life. During her health psychology focused internship experience, Melyssa worked with cancer patients to help them through the mental and emotional struggles of diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship.
Along with cancer, many patients faced additional chronic conditions, including pain, insomnia, hypertension, and obesity. Melyssa worked with cancer patients experiencing adjustment disorder, depression, anxiety, self-esteem/body image issues, comorbid health issues, and grief.
- Body Dysmorphia
- Burnout/Chronic Stress
- Chronic Pain
- Increasing Resilience
- Life Transitions
- Obesity/Weight Loss
- Sleep Problems or Insomnia
- Trauma and PTSD
- Cancer Patients/Survivors
- First Responders
- Healthcare Professionals
- Veterinarians/Vet Techs
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT)
- Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT)
- Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)
- Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
- Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT)
After experiencing two stress-induced illnesses in 2015, Melyssa began practicing mindfulness to try and better manage her stress. She has become a strong advocate for building awareness of the mind-body connection to better enhance well-being and understanding the implications of chronic stress on our mental, emotional, and physical health.
She understands the power of the human-animal connection and her dog, Buddy, became certified as a therapy dog in 2016 through Pet Partners. Melyssa rescued Buddy at 10 months old, worked with him to overcome numerous behavioral problems, and was a very proud dog mom when he received his therapy dog certification!
Buddy is now 10 years old and has comforted many people over his years of “work” – Melyssa (and Buddy!) will happily offer the option of animal-assisted therapy (AAT) to clients that would like to request to have Buddy present to provide additional comfort during sessions or to incorporate him in the therapeutic process.
Melyssa graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2012 with her Bachelor’s of Science Degrees in Biology and Psychology. After taking time to pursue her childhood dream of becoming an animal trainer, Melyssa returned to the University of Central Florida in 2017 to pursue her graduate degree in Clinical Psychology and completed her practicum and internship experiences with Orlando Health’s Integrative Medicine Department and Cancer Support Community.
Melyssa recently graduated with her Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology from UCF and is currently a Registered Mental Health Counseling Intern with the State of Florida to pursue her license in mental health counseling.
She is currently studying for the board certification exam to become a Lifestyle Medicine Professional in November to better serve her patients using evidence-based, therapeutic lifestyle interventions.
Articles by Melyssa
- Living More Mindfully During COVID-19: How Mindfulness Techniques Can Get You “Unstuck” From Excessive Worry During Uncertain Times.
Please contact Melyssa today to schedule your initial appointment at 407-622-1770 or [email protected]