Melissa B. Gould
The world is too expansive to walk through life without curiosity. I carry this notion with me as a woman, therapist and parent. Having the ability to see things objectively and subjectively is helpful - it allows me to emotionally connect with my world while also seeing what's true and realistic.
I'm married with four young boys. Expressing my creative energy is fundamentally important to me. I enjoy photography, photo-journaling, mixed media art, and engaging my sons in experiments with color, recyclables and repurposing ordinary items in the name of fun.
I took a non-traditional path to building my family. This, along with other life experiences, has shaped my understanding of human suffering and striving, and the global need for openness. Diversity-affirming is a core value of mine.
While in Tallahassee, Florida I earned a Bachelor's degree in Psychology followed by a Master's degree in Counseling Psychology. I also hold a Specialist in Education (EdS). My post-graduate internships were in private practice and youth residential treatment. I moved to California in 2011 to pursue a different social climate.
My career as a therapist has been moving in the direction of anxiety treatment both in my client's presenting needs as well as the professional trainings I've sought out. As the years have gone by, I have narrowed the scope and nature of my therapy practice as I observe the meaningful impact of anxiety and resilience skill development. The recent pandemic has crystalized the value of coping with uncertainty.
My early work as an individual therapist includes time in youth residential treatment and in-home crisis counseling. I also served as Clinical Director at a non-profit organization for youth in Georgia before relocating to California. My time as a psychometrician administering achievement and intelligence assessments to children helped me further understand the brain. I frequently incorporate this knowledge into my discussions with clients, in particular with children and teens, to impart a better understanding of how the brain is functioning especially when anxious. Since 2013 I have had a singular focus in anxiety treatment in the context of cognitive behavior therapy with a specialization in pediatric anxiety.
Along with evidence-based treatments, I infuse humor and creativity in my work with clients. This comes in handy, for example, when building a fear ladder; humor is a great diffuser for anxiety and fear. But it's not all light and casual. Exposure therapy can be emotionally and mentally challenging - and at the same time - necessary to make lasting change with your anxiety symptoms. A gradual exposure process allows for small and measured practice - it's always at your pace.
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