Michelle specializes in the treatment of complex trauma in adolescents and adults. Her approach to treatment involves a collaborative, relational approach as a foundation for building trust and safety in the therapeutic relationship. She has developed a mind-body focus and works with an understanding of neurobiology combined with present-focused experiential exercises to increase awareness of, connection to, and the ability to shift negatively experienced emotions and sensations. Michelle strongly believes that people are the experts of their experience and that negatively experienced symptoms are survival-based adaptations to difficult and traumatizing life circumstances. She works with people to develop a compassionate stance toward and greater sense of self and identity to increase meaningful connections within oneself as well as in relation to others.
Michelle is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and received her doctorate in Clinical Forensic Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Michelle completed a postdoctoral fellowship in outpatient and residential settings at the Justice Resource Institute, developing a specialization in complex trauma and dissociative disorders through training with experts at the Trauma Center, founded by Bessel van der Kolk, MD. During the course of her fellowship she completed a 9-month certificate in traumatic stress studies program as well as specialized trainings in the following models: Level 1 Training for the Treatment of Trauma through the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, Level 2 training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) through the Trauma Recovery EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Program, and Component-Based Psychotherapy.
Michelle has also studied internationally concerning socio-political and intergenerational transmission of trauma as well as cultural adaptations to trauma treatment. She has a special interest in chronic and complex trauma, intergenerational trauma, cultural and sociopolitical trauma, adult attachment trauma, dissociation, and the impact of gender and sexuality on identity development.