I operate the St. Louis-based Relational Trauma Recovery Center, where I practice EMDR, somatic approaches, DBT and other evidence-based therapies 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.
Researcher. Writer. Advocate.
Michelle is a doctoral candidate in clinical mental health counseling at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where she also received a master’s degree in education in counseling. She is nationally certified psychotherapist and a trait empathy researcher whose work has been presented multiple times at the American Psychological Association.
Before becoming a psychotherapist, Michelle was an investigative journalist who covered mental health and other social justice issues. She is best known for her reporting on Oregon’s 130-year-old psychiatric hospital, the same facility where the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was filmed. Her stories exposed abuse, inhumane practices and decrepit facilities for its 800 patients and ultimately led to the facility’s closure. These stories informed and inspired her newspaper’s 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing.
Michelle was one of four principal reporters who won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News. Her work has also been recognized by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the National Mental Health Association, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
She continues to advocate on behalf of people with mental health issues. She has 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 thousands of individuals and institutions with the best, evidence-based therapies to improve the mental health of children and adolescents. Michelle also served as a Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellow at the Carter Center in Atlanta, and has remained involved in the center's mental health and social justice initiatives for the past 15 years.