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My Approach

I identify, first and foremost, as a trauma therapist. 
 

Since I first started my graduate training in Marriage and Family Therapy, I have been drawn to understanding the impact of trauma on the human psyche and how it can be healed. As a trauma survivor myself, and as someone who has experienced good (and not-so-good) trauma therapy, I made a commitment to my future clients to do everything I could to be a therapist they could trust and rely on. 


Trauma therapy takes guts. 


I know the emotional toll it takes to face the past and choose to heal from it. The way I see it, if I’m going to be asking my clients to be that brave and vulnerable with me, I need to do my part to earn that privilege. Frankly, I need to be sure I know my shit.

 

As your therapist, I am your guide and I am committed to your emotional well-being, especially as we face traumatic experiences together. 


I have always taken my responsibility as a steward of healing very seriously. I honor my commitment to my clients by continuing to take on additional opportunities to learn about the science of traumatization and the art of healing from it. There is always more to learn! In between my sessions with clients, I am often reading books, listening to podcast interviews, and attending workshops led by trauma experts.

 

As a result of all this self-led learning, I have currently settled on a therapeutic approach that integrates humanistic talk therapy, “parts work” therapy inspired by IFS (Internal Family Systems), and EMDR (Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). 

About Melissa

If you would have told me when I first left Mormonism at age 17 where I would end up now, I wouldn’t have believed you. 


Born and raised in the LDS Church, I was, unfortunately, dissuaded from pursuing my own academic and professional aspirations. I was indoctrinated to view myself through the lens of a patriarchal system that primarily saw my worth through my reproductive potential. And, as a girl who had undiagnosed ADHD through the majority of my schooling years, I thought I had concrete evidence of my inability to succeed using my mind. 


Thankfully, leaving Mormonism opened the door to experiences, relationships, and opportunities that allowed me to see myself in new ways and made me brave enough to risk believing that my dreams were worth pursuing. 


In the immediate aftermath of leaving the LDS church, I felt completely adrift. But I knew one thing for sure: I wanted to be a therapist. So, I threw myself into that goal. Choosing to have faith in myself, even though I had no idea how it was all going to work out. I’m so glad I did.


Now I consider it the honor of my lifetime to give back to others who have left the church (or any toxic, abusive situation) to deconstruct their indoctrination and learn to believe in themselves too. 

Melissa Hannan, LMFT is an Ex Mormon therapist in Colorado and California

Education and Training.

Research consistently shows that the most important healing factor in therapy is the quality of the relationship between you and your therapist. With that being said, you might be interested to know my formal qualifications as a therapist before deciding to work together. Below I've listed my educational background, additional training, and a sampling of the workshops I've attended to gain advanced knowledge on topics that especially interest me.

Education

2018-2020

Masters in Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy

California State University, Northridge

I had the honor and privilege to learn the art of therapy at Mitchell Family Counseling Clinic, a low-fee, on-campus therapy site that served both students and local community members struggling with diverse issues.

 

In addition, I also volunteered to provide therapy at Sarah's House, a safe house for pregnant women who were fleeing domestic violence and sex trafficking. These experiences confirmed my desire to specialize in trauma therapy.

For my academic culminating experience, I completed a Master's Project titled, "Thriving After Mormonism: Finding and Embracing Your True Self" in which I conducted an original literature review that specifically addressed the unique challenges of post-LDS adjustment. I then applied that research to develop a group therapy curriculum designed to facilitate healing from religious trauma and rebuilding one's identity in the aftermath of the Mormon Faith Crisis.

2016-2018

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

UCLA

My time at UCLA gave me a profound respect for the science of psychology and the rigor of academic research. I volunteered both as a research assistant for a program designed to improve family functioning for military families post-deployment, and as a peer mentor to facilitate a smooth transition for new community college transfer students. These experiences solidified my decision to pursue a career as a therapist.

2013-2016

Associates of Arts in Social Sciences

Pierce College

I will always be a proud community college transfer student. As someone who struggled immensely in the public school system, there was no way I could have gotten into a university without community college as my stepping stone.

Fragile Pampas

Additional Training

Formal training opportunities I have chosen to advance my skills and specializations.

EMDR

The EMDR Institute

I received my certification of completion in basic training for EMDR through the (EMDRIA-approved) EMDR Institute in 2022.

 

In addition to this basic training, I am informed by Attachment Focused EMDR, created by Laurel Parnell.

Complex Trauma

ISSTD Professional Development Program

I am currently engaged in a comprehensive training program through the International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation (ISSTD) that is designed to provide a thorough understanding of the complexities of traumatization and healing along the entire spectrum of clinical presentations (PTSD, CPTSD, OSDD, DID).

Emotionally Focused Therapy

International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy

EFT is a couple's therapy technique that is rooted in attachment theory. Using EFT, I help couples to understand how their attachment styles are playing out in a dynamic that is bigger than either partner's individual behavior. Then I assist the couple in creating a secure attachment that lasts long after our final session together. I completed the Externship in Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFCT) in 2020.

Workshops Attended

Trauma, Dissociation and the Body: A Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Approach

with Pat Ogden

EMDR & Parts Work for Treating Complex Trauma

with Arielle Schwartz

Working with the Neurobiological Legacy of Trauma

with Janina Fisher

DID Part II: Treating Ritual Abuse

with Cristina Mardirossian

Working with Dissociative Identity Disorder

with Cristina Mardirossian

Understanding and Working with Cultic Trauma

with Kristen Muché

Working with Adult Child Sexual Abuse Survivors from a Structural Dissociation Perspective

with Cristina Mardirossian

Trauma healing starts now.

Your first step is a consultation.

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