Melanie Saldana, LMFT

Pronouns: She/her/hers

Phonetic pronunciation of name: "MEL-AH-KNEE"

Role at Evergreen: Clinician

When something traumatic happens, life as you know it feels forever changed. When the people we trust to care, protect, and love us fall short or end up harming us, there is an even deeper sense of loss and impact that can be hard to name while it infiltrates every part of our being. When societal systems and oppressive beliefs cause harm and threaten safety in existing, living in survival mode can feel like the only option. It’s normal to feel as though the body is at war with the mind and you’re feeling stuck in the perpetual conflict. As a therapist, I am here to help make the unknown known and help people navigate the impact of the past, sometimes the present, on your current well-being. I believe good and supportive trauma-work includes honoring your pace and all the facets of your lived experiences, teaching skills to help deal with the difficult emotions and dissociation, and utilizing techniques that support your body in knowing the trauma is over, or navigating it from a conscious and empowered space. Through a combination of attachment-focused, somatic-based, parts work and EMDR, it is possible to find greater harmony and ease within. It is possible to deconstruct old beliefs, disrupt past patterns, and rewire your nervous system to seek safety and belonging over chaos and familiarity. I would be honored to walk with you while you do it. Please know I’m LGBTQIA+ affirming and a trans ally.

Clinical modalities used with clients

Therapy services location

Telehealth only

Clinical Style

Intuitive, compassionate and passionate, open, directive and guiding, experiential, and client-centered.

License

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist #99396

Degrees

California State University, Fullerton | Master's of Science in Counseling | 2013

California State University, Long Beach | Bachelor's of Art: Child Development and Family Studies | 2010

Advanced Trainings

Soul of Dissociation Training | Institute of Creative Mindfulness | Dec 2023

Men and Trauma | Rick Goodwin, Men and Healing | March 2023

Sacred Wounds: Trauma Healing on the Spiritual Path | Peter Levine and Efu Nyaki, Science and Nonduality | May 2021

Wisdom of Trauma: Reclaiming Wholeness | Gabor Mate, Science and Nonduality | March 2021

Why I do this work

The Rumi quote "Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise so I'm changing myself." elucidates clearly my calling to this work. We teach what we need to learn and I'm continually grateful for the process of therapy - as a seeker and provider - for the humbling and harrowing paths I've walked with other seekers and alone on my own path. I know how significantly us humans need each other to heal. Your healing is my healing, and our family's healing, and the healing of communities/generations to come. Almost 12 years of experience has led me to amazing opportunities for learning and working in domestic violence and youth shelters, inpatient and in-home treatment, community-based mental health for BIPOC and migrant communities, and private practice. Along the way, I have understood how often the need for belonging can come at the expense of safety and why a trauma-competent and integrative approach is needed to support the healing of complex, relational, and cultural traumas. I love to mix the spiritual with the experiential, balance the somatic/physiological with the intellectual. I am deeply curious about and continually learning the ways our nervous systems interact with various parts of ourselves and the power of dissociation in trauma work. I enjoy utilizing EMDR to connect the past to the present and am continuously in awe of what I've witnessed others achieve through this modality. I am passionate about helping clients uncover and remember their internal power and capacities for healing.

The best part of my job

There's so many! I absolutely love seeing someone's body soften into safety, sometimes after years of not knowing it. The magical and beautiful experience of watching someone's beliefs about themselves or what happened transform into truth and empowerment for themselves. Helping people understand how intuitive and intelligent their body and mind are, especially in the midst of trauma. What we often think of as frustrating behaviors to change, were once powerful protective tools. Watching people learn how to trust and honor themselves, especially after harmful relationships. How often witnessing healing within others, heals a part within me too.

How I spend my free time

Cuddling with pets, biking and hiking, planning my next travel adventure, floral arranging, financial wellness, lazy mornings with a book and a latte, dancing, and finding my next training

Favorite quote

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” Carl Rogers

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Rumi

Top personal growth resources

  • The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.
  • Transforming the Living Legacy of Trauma Workbook by Janina Fisher
  • Somatic Psychology Toolbox by Manuela Mischke-Reeds
  • Set Boundaries, Find Peaceby Nedra Glover Tawwab
  • What My Bones Know (memoir) by Stephanie Foo
  • Drama of the Gifted Child by Alice Miller Fierce
  • Self-Compassion by Kristen Neff
  • The Dance of Anger by Harriet Lerner
  • Healing Rage by Ruth King
  • I am Diosa by Christine Gutierrez
  • Scattered Minds, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, When the Body Says No by Gabor
  • Mate Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach
  • Insight Timer App
  • SAND
  • 1 in 6
  • Dr. Jennifer Mullan

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