ABOUT THE THERAPIST

Melissa Leonhardt, MA LPC NCC

I live in North Carolina, USA. I received my Baccalaureate degree in psychology and sociology in 1992. I worked on a psychiatric unit of a local hospital as a social worker during my college years. I also worked with Willie M. children (very violent children) as an independent living skills caseworker. In 1993 I was hired at a local Department of Social Services in North Carolina as a Child Protection Abuse and Neglect Investigator. I gained experience and training and worked as a Social Worker III complete with court experience. During this time I developed my interest in counseling and received training in grief therapy and working with attachment disorder youth and their parents. I also received extensive training in crisis debriefing and intervention, working with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and conduct disordered youth. In 1997 I worked as a social worker with children who have severe behavioral and emotional problems. I have experience with individual and group counseling and mediation. It was during that time that I gained further counseling skills whilst working with adolescents with gender identity issues and sexual orientation issues. I worked with adolescents' in face-to-face individual therapy and also jointly, on occasions, with their parents. In 2000 I received my Masters degree in counseling. At this time I also took a job as a school counselor within a middle school, again my work was with adolescents. During that time I worked with numerous teens regarding gender identity problems. I received my National Counseling Certification during 2004. I received my Licensed Professional Counselor license in 2006. I have also been actively engaged in online (e-therapy) for some time. In addition to online therapy I also teach online classes to graduate students in Psychology.

I believe e-therapy to be a beneficial way to conduct therapy for many people and it allows me to reach a larger population of people, especially those suffering from shyness, having a wish for anonymity or simply living in isolated areas.

I have been involved in the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender community through my work, volunteer work, and locally. I feel that I am a resource that people will feel comfortable with to talk about the issues they face or will inevitably face in regards to gender identity and their preparation for Hormones and SRS.