Melissa Kroonenberg, M.Sc.
Registered Psychotherapist, Registered Marriage & Family Therapist, & Clinic Co-owner
Availability: Waiting list for new clients. If you would like to be added to Melissa's waiting list, please click here to fill out the form. For existing clients, please contact the office for information on Melissa's appointment availability.
Education, Training, & Professional Development
As a graduate of the University of Guelph, I have my Master's of Science in Couple and Family Therapy, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Honors Psychology with a Minor in Sociology from Trent University. I have had experience working with clients presenting with a wide range of concerns, including anxiety/depression, parenting/couple issues, trauma/violence/abuse (e.g., emotional, sexual, physical), etc. I have also worked with clients from a diverse population.
For over ten years, I have worked in mental health through various settings including:
- Frontenac Youth Services in residential treatment with youth
- Durham Mental Health Services in residential treatment with adults
- The Jean Tweed Centre in Etobicoke, where I provided workshops on healthy relationships and counselling/group support for the families of women struggling with addiction.
- University of Guelph Couple and Family Therapy Centre
- Catholic Community Services of York Region.
- Ontario Early Years Centre, where I provide talks for moms on attachment, separation anxiety and managing stress.
At present, I teach at Durham College in their addictions and mental health program in addition to my clinical work at New Roots Therapy.
My education in Couple and Family Therapy provided clinical training in five post-modern approaches to therapy, including: Emotion-Focused Therapy, Solution-focused Therapy, Dialogic Therapy, Narrative Therapy, and Response-based practice. Given my client-centered approach to therapy, it is my hope to tailor the approach used to a client's specific needs. In February 2017, I will complete the training for EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) which is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma (PTSD), and many other mental health problems.
My Style & Approach to Therapy
My passion is to help others live lives that feel safe and fulfilling. I hope to provide a non-judgmental space where people can engage in a process of self-reflection and self-examination, and ultimately make sense of their experiences. I consider myself to be a spiritual person in that I believe we are all connected and profoundly affected by each other, but would also consider myself to be a "non-partisan humanist", as I appreciate people of all backgrounds, orientations, and belief systems.
My approach is grounded in an understanding of power and privilege, and the ways that these concepts shape and influence human interaction and personal development. I also believe that people can find themselves in patterns of interaction or patterns of thought/behavior that are unsatisfying to them. As such, my approach reflects an awareness of these concepts and generally invites people to explore the role of these concepts in their lives. My hope is to invite people of all circumstances into therapy conversations such that they might become better able to make sense of their troubles and feel more empowered to overcome them.
In general, I prefer to tailor the pace and approach of therapy according to the needs of my client. I am fairly dynamic in that I can shift between more reflective approaches (such as Dialogic) to briefer approaches (such as Solution-Oriented). I am less inclined to "prescribe" an approach, or way of engaging in the therapy process, and more inclined to develop a plan for therapy that is reflective of my client's desires and needs.
In situations related to trauma and violence, I believe in helping people overcome even the most devastating of circumstances in a way that invites both compassion and accountability, without sacrificing understanding and validation. It is important that my clients understand that their comfort and sense of safety are of utmost importance to me. While I do practice from a position of accountability and responsibility for those who have engaged in hurtful behavior, I also have a profound sense of respect and appreciation for how complex some situations can be.
I love to spend time outdoors, especially with my family. I am the mother of two young boys and I love watching them explore the world. Having grown up in the restaurant industry, I have a passion for food and cooking, including international cuisine. I am regularly engaged in cross fit training (to work off all that cuisine;), and a fan of NFL Sundays. Above all else, I find joy in having a sense of humor about myself and the complexities of life! :)