Our Mental Health Christian Counselor
Melissa Strickland-Hanks, MS, LPC, CSAC is Living Water Counseling Ministry Owner-Christian Counselor and provides Mental Health counseling services from a Christian and Biblical perspective.
She has earned a Master of Science in Counselor Education: Community Counseling from Radford University and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Melissa is licensed by the State of Virginia as a Licensed Professional Counselor and she is licensed by the State of North Carolina as a Licensed Professional Counselor. She is also certified by the State of Virginia as a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor. Melissa has approximately 10 years of experience providing counseling services. She has approximately 5 years of experience doing counseling in a private practice. Melissa has over 2 years experience working in the substance abuse counseling field with adults 18 years and older and approximately 4 years experience working in the general counseling field while in undergraduate and graduate school with adults 18 years and up (volunteering with a crisis hotline, counseling college aged students with behavioral issues, and advising college students regarding academic concerns).
Melissa uses an eclectic approach to counseling, which means she attempts to choose the best theoretical approach based on your personal situation and needs. She derives counseling techniques from reality therapy which includes techniques such as discussing what the client wants to happen, what the client is currently doing to make that happen, evaluating if the current plan is working, and then creating a new plan to work towards the client’s goals. She also uses motivational enhancement therapy with techniques such as using open ended questions, affirmations, reflective listening, rolling with resistance, and reframing. Melissa derives counseling techniques from narrative therapy involving techniques such as honoring the person’s existence, externalizing the problem, exploring relative influence, and developing a new story. She practices cognitive behavioral therapy using techniques such as examining the client’s negative thought patterns and helping them to develop a more healthy way of thinking, being very goal oriented, being educational, and having the client take an active role in their treatment. Melissa also uses techniques from person centered therapy such as being warm, genuine, understanding, viewing the client and therapist as equals in the therapeutic relationship, increasing the client’s feelings of self-worth, being congruent with the client, having unconditional positive regard, and being empathetic. Although other treatment approaches are used depending on the person or condition.
Melissa provides counseling from a Christian and Biblical perspective using the Holy Bible (Old and New Testaments) readings and references, the use of Biblical and Religious imagery, the use of books and readings related to Christianity, assistance with spiritual formation and discipline, prayer for and with clients, and other common forms of Christian practice.