About Mel

As a therapist, I have worked in the field of sex abuse, with families, offenders, and parents of sexually abused children, and have provided mental health and addiction services to individuals, couples, families, and groups for over 26 years. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Oregon and have state and national credentials in mental health and substance addictions. I have had a private practice in Astoria, Oregon since 2007. During that time I have conducted parent custody evaluations in three coastal counties and conducted mental health, alcohol and drug, and criminal violence evaluations for individuals, courts, and attorneys. Since the late 1990's I have held management and Clinical Director positions in dual diagnosis treatment facilities. As the majority of individuals in inpatient treatment facilities have experienced childhood trauma, I have worked with trauma victims throughout that time and have trained staff and presented, both regionally and nationally, on the relationship between trauma and addiction and other self-destructive behaviors. For additional information, see my Vita/Resume.

My professional education and training includes Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Psychology and Counseling and a PhD in Health Psychology/Behavioral Medicine. Both my Master's thesis and PhD dissertation focused on research conducted with mothers of sexually abused children. I completed my thesis research in a Sex Abuse Intervention program, studying treatment effects for mothers of sexually abused children. The research for my dissertation looked for correlations between the disclosure of a child's sex abuse, symptoms of initial acute trauma, development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and health issues. Results were significant, showing that mothers experience acute trauma, that the majority of mothers studied met criteria for PTSD, and that most mothers had a higher than normal number of significant health issues that persisted for years after the disclosure. 

I believe that it is important to tell you that I am also a mother of a sexually abused child. I understand the pain and emotions experienced by mothers at and following disclosure, as well as the ongoing chronic pain of observing the effects and consequences of sex abuse in their children's lives.  

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