Learn More About Me
Melissa Hartley (she, her) MS, NCC,
Professional Counselor Associate
I am a Professional Counselor Associate and a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC). I hold a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Portland State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, also from Portland State University. In my work as a counselor, I draw from the integrated theoretical frameworks of Person-Centered Therapy, Feminist Theory and Internal Family Systems.
In my free time, I like to engage in purposeful acts of Self-care, such as hiking, backpacking and gardening. I love dogs and trying new restaurants around Portland. I also love meeting new people and getting to know them on a deeper level, and so, I find myself so fortunate to have found this line of work!
My counseling philosophy draws on principles from Feminist Theory, Person-Centered Therapy and Internal Family Systems. I try to incorporate the first two in every aspect of the counseling experience. The Feminist perspective in counseling focuses on the importance of empowerment, and awareness of systems of oppression that impact people of all genders. What you can expect here is to be treated with respect and to have the whole person that you are, all your identities and lived experience validated and welcomed in counseling. You can expect that we can talk about the differences between our identities and lived experiences in a safe and productive way. Person-Centered Therapy shows up in counseling in the way I see you. You can expect to be treated with unconditional positive regard, meaning I will see you as inherently good and accept you without any action or behavior needed on your part. You can expect empathy from me. I will try to see things from your perspective; to understand where you are coming from. You can expect for me to show up authentically. This means that I will be real with you; that my facial expressions and words will reflect my actual felt experience in the moment with you.
Internal Family Systems (IFS) is the stuff you will hear me talk most about in counseling. IFS works from the stance that there is an inherently good, wise, and health-seeking core Self to each person. There are also parts to each person other than core Self. Our parts (protective parts and parts we have pushed out of awareness) intend to be helpful but when harmful things happen to us growing up and throughout our lifespans, our protective parts can take on unhealthy roles or “burdens”. These burdens can show up in our lives as addiction, fear of abandonment, overworking, criticizing yourself…the list goes on. Other parts, usually those associated with extreme hurt, trauma, and shame can be pushed down or “exiled” out of our awareness. When these start coming up, our protectors work hard to keep them down. Unfortunately, this stops them from getting access to your core Self, where they can be healed. Helping all your parts get access to your core Self is a big part of the work we can do in counseling. This looks like us being curious about you, mapping out which parts are doing what and finding creative ways to help the parts move toward their healthy roles.
-Individual Counseling and Group Counseling-
"Let us fill our hearts with our own compassion-towards ourselves and towards all living beings."