MCouns (Australia), Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT300)
MCouns (Australia), Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT300)
Areas of expertise
- Children, adolescents, and their families
- Anxiety, fear, perfectionism, stress, anger, resilience, regulation, and sense of self
- Interpersonal communication and relational patterns
- Supporting neurodivergence in self or family (ASD, ADHD, Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia)
- Grief, loss, and life transitions
“I connect with clients where they’re at and encourage them to be curious and compassionate while exploring the nature of being human and finding a more integrated way of being.”
Melissa Shadforth is a person-centered practitioner who integrates theories of modern psychology with scientific mind-body practices and life experience. Melissa collaborates with other IMI practitioners to support healing of the whole person through an integrative approach, including biological, psychological, social, and spiritual elements; with the therapeutic relationship being core to creating a safe space for present moment awareness, reflection, and exploration of a more integrated way of being.
How can Melissa help you or your child? While cultivating trust, confidence and encouraging curiosity and feedback as the interactive process unfolds, Melissa supports clients to connect with their inner wisdom and develop insight, compassion, connection, regulation, resilience, and inner trust to respond to life rather than react – and ultimately become their own advisor.
The client engages with Melissa through purposeful communication with the intention of understanding or resolving a specific challenge, life transition, health concern, or other imbalance through the process of acceptance or solution identification, application, and growth. Further, through the integration of psychotherapy modalities, the client can develop insight on their way of being. This can help the client adapt and adjust to align their thoughts, words, and actions with their true self and break unhelpful cycles to allow new patterns of relating to emerge through the security of the therapeutic relationship. Essentially, to find a more peaceful state of equilibrium from within as we make sense of our story.
“We can learn about our internal world through our relationships and in the words of Carl Jung, everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves”, shares Melissa. “Being curious about these irritations can deliver opportunities for self reflection and growth, or, we can choose to react, suppress, or run. Fortunately, if we avoid the lesson we will have another chance when it appears in a different time and place! Receiving professional support can be like finding a cloth to polish the mirror so we can see the irritations with greater clarity and accept or overcome them with more ease and less running.”
As a Certified Integral Yoga Teacher RYT300 and Accessible Yoga Ambassador, Melissa shares the teachings with all ages in nature, schools, community organisations, prison, with foreign domestic workers, refugees, and through the counselling process with individuals and groups. Melissa is also a School Counsellor, Certified Child and Adolescent Trauma Professional (CATP) with the International Association of Trauma Professionals and a member of The Psychotherapy Society of Hong Kong, Asian Academy of Family Therapy, Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia, and the Australian Association for Bush Adventure Therapy.
On her way to finding this purpose, Melissa worked in professional and financial services as a Chartered Accountant for 20 years in Australia, the United States, and Hong Kong. Through this experience, Melissa observed the influence of disconnected ways of being and unresolved childhood trauma at the personal, professional, organisational, and societal level. This motivated Melissa to deepen her professional knowledge of the nature of being human and create opportunities for all ages to receive support and connect with compassion to self, others, and nature. Through this work we can become more aware of our interconnectedness on the journey toward personal and collective transformation.
Melissa loves being in nature and as the founder of The Collective Journey, she creates and supports nature-based therapy and mentorship experiences for young people and their families, inspired by her three children and the village collective who mentors them.
Melissa’s methods: Integrative Counselling, Psychotherapy, Ontological Coaching, Integral Yoga, Feedback Informed Treatment
Melissa’s top articles and interviews:
Postnatal depression: it can strike at any time, but sharing experiences allows women to help each other – an article featured in South China Morning Post
Mindfulness helps Hong Kong children overcome anxiety and school pressures through yoga and hiking – an article featured in South China Morning Post
“Attending counselling with Melissa was the best decision I have ever made. Since our first session, Melissa’s genuine and caring nature has made me feel a total sense of safety and support. Naturally an empathetic listener, she takes as much time as needed, so I can talk through my experience. Her expertise in counselling (and mental health) literature has been a wealth of knowledge to me. It is so rare to find someone who is not only intuitive, radiant with positive energy, but also highly professional and can offer actionable suggestions and functional resources.
Melissa has a way of changing my perspective, in the most gentle and supportive way, so that I can see life’s possibilities and regain the strength and inner peace to keep going. In a few months, she has made a significant impact in many areas of my life, e.g. self-love, parenting a child with special needs, marital challenges, dealing with past traumas.
I find Melissa’s perspective on children especially insightful. Her nonjudgmental view, coupled with her knowledge of neurodevelopmental differences and mental health makes her uniquely valuable to children and parents alike.”
“When people meet my eldest child, they often marvel at her maturity, confidence and resilience. Little do they know behind-the-scenes, her fears, insecurities and anxiousness are so overwhelming, she’s prone to extreme emotional outbursts.
Two years ago, I felt alone and afraid. I feared for my daughter’s long-term mental and emotional wellbeing and I berated myself for not knowing how best to support her.
I don’t recall how we met Melissa Shadforth but I vividly recall how she turned our lives around. Through a series of workshops and hiking groups, she gave my daughter and girls her age their ‘tribe’. In the most natural settings, through creativity and fun, the girls naturally released their fears and concerns; they shared their tween secrets; they embraced their unique selves and celebrated the differences in others.
Collectively and with compassion, Melissa equipped my daughter with the tools to tap into her inner strength and self-regulate. The best listener and full of wisdom and insight, she became the village I needed as she gentle guided me to better understand my daughter’s wellbeing needs. As my daughter is now navigating hormonal changes and the intense emotions that come with it, we continue to turn to Melissa for counselling and mentorship.
I will forever be grateful for all that Melissa has done and continues to do for my daughter and our family. In my line of work, I’ve met numerous counsellors, coaches, and mentors. Melissa is in a league of her own.”
“Since I started working with Melissa, I have taken on more challenges and life has continued to throw me curveballs, but I feel empowered and confident that I can tackle each one in its due course. And that’s all thanks to Melissa. I have learned so much in our time together. I trust my intuition a lot more these days, answers come to me faster, self-discoveries become clearer and life becomes more of a dance than a struggle. I feel grateful every day.”
“We love the programs Melissa offers and the work she does with children. Our daughter had the opportunity to be with Melissa for several terms and absolutely loved it. Typically reserved and less willing to participate in group activities, she came home each day happy, confident, energetic and sharing about friendship and health. Melissa has a unique and wonderful way of listening, empowering the children’s choices and enabling them to problem solve independently.”