Melissa Dellens, MA
Position: Chief Operations Officer
Identities: white, Christian, neurodivergent, allistic, bisexual, ambiamorous, fat, genderfull femme
Language(s) Spoken: English
Courses Taught at The Affirmative Couch:
Working with Parents of Transgender Youth – (3 CEs) – October 6, 2023
WPATH Standards of Care 8- Mental Health and Adolescents – (3 CEs) – August 4, 2023
Psychodynamic Therapy with Transgender and Nonbinary Teens – (3 CEs) – available as Homestudy
Gender Minority Stress in Adolescence (6 CEs)- available as Homestudy
Autistic Affirmative Therapy for Allistic Providers (3 CEs) – available as Home study
Spiritual Resilience for Christian LGBT Clients (3 CEs)- available as Homestudy
Power Dynamics in the Facilitating Environment (6 CEs) – available as Homestudy
Get to know Melissa Dellens:
Melissa Dellens (they/she) works with teens and young adults with intersectional identities as an associate marriage and family therapist in private practice. They offer their understanding of collective trauma, community stressors, and political advocacy through publications and education. Melissa is the Chief Operations Officer at The Affirmative Couch and is adjunct faculty at Antioch University Los Angeles and Alliant International University Los Angeles. Melissa earned their Master of Arts in Psychology from Antioch University Los Angeles with an emphasis in Applied Community Psychology and fulfilled their practicum requirements at Valley Community Counseling Clinic. They completed the one year Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Certificate at the Los Angeles Institute and Society for Psychoanalytic Studies, and Level 1 of The Trauma Resilience Model. Prior to working in mental health, Melissa spent 12 years supervising a community integration program for Autistic transition age youth. When they aren’t working, Melissa enjoys trail running, reading historical fiction, and knitting.
What does affirmative psychotherapy mean to me?
Affirmative psychotherapy moves beyond the individual rapport between client and therapist. It is an empowered approach to doing business. Affirmative therapy is personal, iterative, and integrated into all the parts of a clinical practice. Affirmative psychotherapy is a constant series of actions that support gender- and sexually expansive individuals to find their own voices and power in their own healing and growth.
What populations do I work with? What is my level of expertise (friendly, knowledgeable, expert) for each of those populations?
My community work with lesbian, gay, bisexual, nonbinary, and transgender populations is expansive. In my clinical work, I have experience working with teenagers exploring expansive gender and sexuality identities.
What is my approach to healing?
My approach to healing is two pronged. Through a community psychology lens, I work from organizational empowerment and prevention models. I see members of a community as the experts in their own strengths and challenges and serve as a facilitator to help a group of people find a collective voice to begin healing the wounds of oppression and marginalization.
As a clinician, I have extensive training in object relations theory. I have an active imagination and a visual mind that can help my clients make more sense of theirs. I listen carefully to what lights someone up, as well as the origins of stress, exhaustion, and shame. An affirmative approach centers identity that are important to my clients and helps them feel more empowered to advocate for their needs.
EDUCATION & LICENSES
Master of Arts in Psychology with a specialization in Applied Community Psychology
One Year Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Program at the Los Angeles Institute and Society for Psychoanalytic Studies
Trauma Resilience Model – Level 1
School: Antioch University Los Angeles
Year Graduated: 2020
Registration: California Associate Marriage and Family Therapist 123991 Supervised by Margaret (Meg) Bezucha, MEd, LMFT #100194