Michelle Roberts


I am the founder and clinical director of the Relational Trauma Recovery Center, with offices in St. Louis, Mo., and Portland, Ore. I practice EMDR, attachment-focused therapy, and other evidence-based models designed to take advantage of neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections in order to adapt and adjust to new situations, experiences, and environments.


Clients have mentioned that I am nonjudgmental, warm, and supportive. The technical term for mutual empathy is limbic resonance. When we experience limbic resonance, we feel emotionally attuned with another person. We feel seen, known, heard, and understood. I believe this exchange is the foundation for all trusting relationships, including good therapy.

I pursued master-level training in EMDR following my own deeply meaningful experience with it as a client. Now, as an empathic expert guiding my clients through EMDR-driving healing, I can truly say that witnessing the positive shifts in others' lives as a result of EMDR is, without a doubt, one of the greatest joys in my life.


Trauma Therapist.
Researcher. Writer. Advocate.

I have a PhD in education with an emphasis in clinical mental health counseling from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where I also received a master’s degree in education in counseling. In addition to advanced training in EMDR, I am a nationally certified counselor licensed in Missouri and Oregon and a researcher whose work has been presented multiple times at the American Psychological Association. I believe in clinical excellence, always.


I first became an advocate for mental health while working as an investigative journalist covering mental health for large daily newspapers in Chicago and the West Coast. In Oregon, my reporting on Oregon’s 130-year-old psychiatric hospital, the same facility where the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was filmed, exposed abuse, inhumane practices and decrepit facilities for its 800 patients and ultimately led to the facility’s closure. These stories informed and inspired my newspaper’s 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing.


The following year, I was one of four principal reporters who won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News. My work has also been recognized by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the National Mental Health Association, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

To this day, I treasure the connections I made with people and their families during my time writing about mental health and other national news stories in which trauma was a major component. The relationships I formed with people who had been through so much — as well as my own personal experiences with trauma — inspired me to pursue a career in psychotherapy with an emphasis on trauma and empathy research, including explorations into the psychological impact of narcissistic abuse.


I continue to advocate on behalf of people with mental health issues. I served as a member of the board of the REACH Institute in New York, N.Y., dedicated to improving the mental health of the 14 million American youth with emotional and behavioral challenges. Led by national leaders in child psychiatry, psychology and pediatrics, REACH arms primary care providers with the best, evidence-based therapies to improve the mental health of children and adolescents. I also served as a Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellow at the Carter Center in Atlanta, and have remained involved in the center's mental health and social justice initiatives for the past 16 years. 



  • Ph.D., University of Missouri-St. Louis - Clinical Mental Health Counseling​​​
  • MEd, University of Missouri-St. Louis - Clinical Mental Health Counseling​​​
  • MSJ, Northwestern University - Journalism
  • BA, Arizona State University - Journalism

Licensure and Certifications

  • Licensed Professional Counselor — Oregon and Missouri
  • National Certified Counselor

Professional Trainings and Affiliations

  • Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Level 1 and 2 Certification
  • Advanced EMDR Clinical Course: Healing the Wounds of Attachment and Rebuilding Self by Deany Laliotis, LICSW
  • EMDR Treatment of Addictive and Compulsive Behaviors
  • EMDRIA Certification Pending
  • Trauma Recovery and Empowerment Model Trained Clinician
  • Somatic Experiencing — Level 1
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy — Advanced Training
  • American Psychological Association Member; Trauma Division Member
  • Psychology and Counseling Psychology Division Member
  • American Counseling Association, Member
  • Anthropedia Institute training in medicine, nutrition, psychiatry, psychology, and public health to assist clients with a sustainable approach to well-being.​

Teaching Experience and Lecture Topics

  • Counseling Women Toward Empowerment
  • Psychopathology and Diagnosis
  • Narcissistic and Psychopathic Abuse Clinician Workshops
  • Health Literacy and Mental Health
  • Trauma-Informed Care

Research Interests

  • Trait Empathy
  • Super Empathizers
  • Empathy mismatch in relationships
  • Low empathy disorders and psychopathy
  • Post-traumatic growth
  • Clinical Interventions for Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome
  • Relational Trauma
  • Attachment Trauma
  • Complex Trauma