“I love to problem-solve to help teach others to effectively manage the challenges that can occur in their lives. I strive to teach self-determination and ownership of who we are and who we want to become.”
Melinda Hermanson, LICSW strives to support her clients in the precise moments that they need help, and to create a safe and welcoming environment where they can express their thoughts and feelings without reservation or fear of being judged.
As someone who knows that life can be extremely challenging- when faced with emotional burdens, loss, trauma, addiction, mental health conditions, and difficult life transitions- Melinda feels immeasurably grateful to help people uncover their resilience and overcome life’s challenges.
She describes the therapy process as an authentic conversation of getting to know the client at a real level. She brings compassion, curiosity, humor, and kindness to her work.
Melinda’s efforts to make the client feel seen and supported reflect her in-depth understanding of the human experience, and her passion to help ease emotional burdens and empower the client to achieve a healthier wellbeing. She takes a goal oriented and solutions-focused approach to counseling.
We sat down with Melinda to learn more about her background in social work and clinical mental health counseling, as well as her approach to working with clients online throughout the state of Massachusetts:
What drew you to the field of mental health counseling?
My first experience as a social worker was in the sixth grade. My best friend was deaf and we grew up playing softball together. I was on the team but our town’s Parks and Recreation Department wouldn’t let her play because she was deaf.
I strongly felt that she had every right to play, so I encouraged my mom to drive us to the Parks and Recreation Department. There, I told the director that my best friend was more than capable of playing on the team; she was better than me and it was safe for her to play.
Long story short, my best friend ended up being the first deaf child to play on a softball team and earned most valuable player of the year.
I’ll never forget how empowering it felt to stand up for something that I believe in.
My mother and grandmother were instrumental in teaching me the importance of compassion and empathy for others. They were school teachers and role models with an unwavering faith in making the world a better place.
As time went on, I felt more drawn to social work. I started volunteering at a women’s shelter and forming relationships with survivors of domestic violence, and those struggling with trauma, addition, and various mental health conditions. I received a message in those experiences, confirming an answer some part of me already knew; I was meant to be a social worker.
I went on to earn my bachelors degree in human development, and later earned a Master of Social Work degree from University of Connecticut.
I’ve worked in various settings as a social worker, counselor, and therapist for over thirty years. I’ve provided psychotherapy to groups and individuals, ages 6 to 96. I’ve specialized in treating dually diagnosed individuals and trauma survivors. I’m a firm believer in human rights and I’ve worked closely with the LGBTQ+ community.
How would you describe your therapeutic approach?
My approach to therapy is person-centered, goal oriented, and solutions-focused.
First and foremost, I create a safe space for the client to fully express, understand, and explore their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in the here and now.
I believe that being a person-centered therapist involves listening to what the client says and observing their body language with compassion and without judgment. I like to take myself out of the expert role, while maintaining ethics and professional boundaries, to help clients feel more in control of their own experiences, values, and reactions. I’m sort of like a shadow, safely supporting the client through their lived experience.
I also like to bring humor into sessions to connect with clients on a more personal level.
What clinical modalities and evidence-based treatments do you offer?
My work is grounded in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), solutions-focused therapy, and strengths-based therapy. I’m also trauma-informed.
What life challenges and mental health conditions do you offer treatment for?
I’ll help individuals work through the following life challenges:
What do you like most about being a therapist?
Being a therapist is much more than a job- it reflects an inner part of me that loves connecting with and understanding people at a deep level. I’ve always been curious about what people think and feel, and how they cope with the challenges that are part of the human experience.
I feel honored to help people connect their past to their present circumstances, and guide people to the answers that are hidden in their hearts.
To me, therapy empowers people to make connections, insights, and positive changes in their lives, through authentic conversations in an ever-moving world.
What’s your favorite part about working with HBH?
As a therapist, helping guide people through personal challenges and empowering them to create positive changes in their lives, it’s necessary to feel supported and valued by the practice you work for.
As an employee of HBH, I feel thoroughly respected and supported in my work and as a person.
I have autonomy over my schedule and case-load, and I love the ability to work independently with access to a highly skilled group of clinical supervisors. HBH supports my decision to work with clients who I feel comfortable and confident in providing effective treatment for.
I’m immeasurably grateful to work with a diverse group of skilled and ethical clinicians who strive to make the world a better place.
How do you care for your health and wellbeing outside of work?
Walking is a form of mindfulness meditation because I can create space to shut off my thoughts and focus on my breath.
When I’m in motion, I can choose to process my thoughts or watch them disappear. I might end up at an entirely different place with repetitive thoughts or feelings that I’m stuck on.
I love being close to the water, and looking at the vast ocean with its incredible depth.
I keep my friendships and supportive relationships close to my heart.
I make a conscious effort to meditate on source energy, or higher self, which moves me closer to a place of peace and fulfillment.
I also play and write music on the guitar.
Schedule an appointment with Melinda today:
Melinda Hermanson, LICSW understands that life can be challenging. At times, it can feel difficult to get unstuck from patterns of thought, emotions, and behaviors that are no longer serving us.
Fortunately, we don’t have to move through life alone. Melinda is here to safely support you through the process of understanding, connecting, healing, and moving forward in your life.
If you’re interested in working with Melinda, please contact us today at (413) 343-4357.