Melissa White is a PhD candidate at Brigham Young University’s APA accredited Clinical Psychology program, and is expected to receive her PhD in December 2018. Melissa received her Master’s degree in Psychology from Brigham Young University and her Bachelor’s Degree in both Experimental Psychology and Theology and Religious Studies from St. Mary’s College of California.
Melissa returns to Utah after completing her pre-doctoral internship at Applewood Centers, Inc. in Cleveland, OH. Throughout her clinical internship, she worked with children, teens and families at this large Community Health Outpatient facility. As a clinical intern and over the course of her graduate training, she completed individual therapy treating several presenting problems. Melissa treated children and teens who had been sexually and/or physically abused, neglected or abandoned. She has also effectively treated children and adolescents with oppositional, emotional dysregulation, and attention difficulties (e.g., Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, and ADHD) and individuals with anxiety, depression and mood disorders. (e.g., Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Separation Anxiety, Selective Mutism, Social Phobia, Major Depressive Disorder, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder). Due to Melissa’s extensive sports background, she also enjoys working with competitive/elite athletes struggling with emotional concerns and performance difficulties.
Over the course of her training, Melissa also conducted a variety of psychological assessments for children and teens who presented with a variety of concerns such as, autism spectrum disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional disorder, and conduct disorder.
Furthermore, Melissa has been exposed to a variety of treatment modalities which help provide the most empirically supported therapy approaches (e.g., TF-CBT, [Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy], and PCIT [Parent-Child Interactive Therapy). These treatments have helped provide Melissa with the ability to treat individuals with a traumatic past along with helping enhance the parent child relationship. Such approaches are also effective in treating children and adolescents struggling with a variety of other difficulties.
While completing her first four years of graduate training, Melissa spent time conducting individual and group therapy and/or psychological assessments at BYU’s Comprehensive Clinic, a residential facility for teenage girls, an inpatient psychiatric hospital, Utah’s Department of Corrections and an outpatient community health center.
As a clinician, Melissa wants caregivers, children, teens and young adults to leave her office believing they have the ability to be resilient and thrive in whatever their circumstance may be. As one of the challenges of mental illness is being burdened with the belief that things will never get better, Melissa believes therapy can help an individual feel more in control of their lives as well as feel confident approaching uncomfortable situations and focus on hope instead of fear.
In the academic realm, Melissa is interested in individuals who do poorly in therapy. For her Master’s Thesis, Melissa completed a study that focused on understanding factors that contribute to client’s leaving treatment worse off. Melissa’s dissertation is a study that included measuring the effectiveness of implementing a clinical support tool during treatment. This tool was designed to help clinicians reduce the rate of clients leaving treatment worse off. In the mental health world, it is hard to admit some clients do not progress. However, by focusing on this group of individuals, Melissa has a strong commitment to helping those who step into her office achieve their goals, specifically when things are not going smoothly in the home or have not gone well with past treatments.
Before Melissa’s life as a therapist, a large part of her identity involved being an athlete. After being involved in the USA pipeline, with a professional career on the horizon, she was permanently sidelined due to an injury. Her experience as an athlete, combined with her experience in clinical psychology, has led to an expertise in helping athletes with unique mental health concerns. These include helping athletes negotiate performance pressures, stresses of social media, the difficulties of unexpected injuries, anxiety and depression, utilizing coping skills, and knowing where to turn for support.
When Melissa is not in the therapy room, she enjoys spending time or traveling with her friends and family who are scattered around the country. As a result of her loved ones living in a variety of places, she is a great partner on a cross country road trip. Additionally, Melissa played D1 volleyball, and has a genuine love for sports, athletes and those in the sporting community. You will commonly find Melissa at a sporting event or watching a game on TV, whether it’s golf, soccer, baseball or basketball.