Melissa Dellens, MA
Get to know Melissa Dellens:
Melissa Dellens, MA is passionate about building strong, healthy communities both big and small. Melissa earned her Master of Arts in Psychology from Antioch University Los Angeles with an emphasis in Applied Community Psychology. She is trained in looking at large scale trauma from a community level lens and supporting recovery and healing from empowered and preventative approaches. Melissa has worked with The Road Om, a body positive, trauma informed yoga practice to envision a program that works to bridge some of the conflicts between Black communities and law enforcement. She has supported Jay Nolan Community Services to evaluate the inclusivity of their community facilitation program for Autistic transition age youth. With Stepping Forward LA, Melissa assessed prevention models for youth aging out of the Foster system. Melissa has developed in service training for summer camp directors in developing more inclusive, affirmative programs. Melissa is trained in the Community Narration Approach to help organizations more closely align their missions and values with the populations they serve. This work has been published in the Global Journal for Community Psychology. For the Affirmative Couch, she has brought all her training and experience to offer Affirmative Organizational Development Consulting Services to help mental health providers create safer more affirmative healing spaces for LGBTQIA+, consensually non monogamous, and kink clients. As a white, cisgender, bisexual woman with both privileged and marginalized identities, she understands the importance of creating affirmative and inclusive communities.
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 transgender, non binary, kinky, and consensually non monogamous clients.
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
Education: Master of Arts in Psychology with a specialization in Applied Community Psychology
School: Antioch University Los Angeles
Year Graduated: 2020
Registration: California Associate Marriage and Family Therapist 123991 Supervised by Margaret (Meg) Bezucha, MEd, LMFT #100194