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Melanie Marklein, PhD

Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Clinical Director

Writing about my theoretical approach as a therapist is always a stupefying endeavor. Therapy is an experience that is very hard to put into words. I find that it is often more of an art than a science! I suppose it is safe to say that I am integrative in my approach. I incorporate interventions informed by Internal Family Systems, Gestalt theory, emotion-focused therapy, body-oriented and mindfulness-based approaches, and psychodynamic and attachment theories. I think the “how” is more important than the “what” when it comes to describing myself as a therapist. As a feminist-relational practitioner, I believe how I am in the room with a client is the most important factor, more important than what I do or say. The experience of being seen and feeling “felt” is what makes therapy beneficial.


Most, if not all, clients come to therapy with a history of relationships in which they have felt controlled, disrespected, judged, neglected, manipulated, abandoned, or devalued. It is therefore an incredibly healing experience for clients to be in a relationship with an attuned therapist who is curious, reflective, nonjudgmental, and respectful of their expertise and boundaries. My role as a therapist is to create a safe container that can hold all parts of a person with curiosity, compassion, non-judgment, and unconditional positive regard. My presence is warm, genuine, and attuned. I listen deeply to what is said and what is not said, verbally and nonverbally. In this safe space, clients can bring every aspect of themselves, even the “unwanted” parts that have been suppressed, out into the light to be explored, understood, respected, and even cherished for the wisdom they hold.

Areas of Expertise and Services Offered
  • Complex PTSD

  • Eating Disorders

  • Group Therapy

  • Equine-Facilitated Psychotherapy and Learning

Education, Training, and Advocacy
  • BS in Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

  • PhD in Counseling Psychology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

  • Licensed Clinical Psychologist

  • Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA) certified Sexual Assault Crisis Counselor

  • Certified in the Eponaquest Approach™ to Equine-Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP)

How We Might Work Together

I work with adults who are coping with the effects of difficult and/or traumatic relational experiences in their lives. Some people who seek therapy are already aware that their problems are connected to earlier experiences of abuse and/or neglect, and they come in with the goal of recovering from such trauma. Oftentimes, however, people come to therapy for help with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, relationship problems, life dissatisfaction, or difficulty regulating their emotions, and only in the process of therapy begin to discover how these symptoms are connected to earlier experiences that had never been resolved or even recognized as traumatic. Related issues that I often help clients explore are self-worth, sense of belonging, spiritual/existential discovery, shame, and perfectionism.


I enjoy working with people who are curious about the deeper, hidden aspects of themselves. I believe therapy is more than just getting rid of symptoms. People who are open to exploring the deeper meaning behind their symptoms would be a good fit for my therapeutic approach. I enjoy working with people who are experiencing what Eckhart Tolle refers to as “the dark night of the soul” – a term used to describe moments in life when everything you thought you knew no longer holds true and your perceived sense of meaning in life collapses. This is a time that is naturally scary, confusing, and distressing for people. I believe it is also a time for transformation and discovery. In the process of healing from trauma and going through a “dark night of the soul,” people begin to hear their authentic voice more clearly than before, sometimes for the first time ever, and dismantle the False Self. I wholeheartedly embrace this sentiment shared by Eckhart Tolle: “You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level.” It is a joy to accompany people on such a journey. I am endlessly moved and humbled by the lives I am invited to witness in my role as a therapist.

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