Hello! My name is Melissa Johnson, and I'm a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor. I hold a Bachelor's degree in Psychology (2002) and a Master's degree in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy (2004). I received both of my degrees from California State University, East Bay. My licenses are issued by the state of California (Marriage and Family Therapist #MFC47998- 2009; Professional Clinical Counselor #LPC1704- 2014).
During the course of my career, I have worked in many different settings. As an undergraduate I worked as a youth counselor in a residential group home for severely emotionally disturbed adolescents. During and after graduate school, I spent several years working in a community mental health agency. I also interned at Kaiser Permanente in both the adult and child psychiatry departments for a year before transitioning to private practice and earning my licenses. My breadth of experience includes individuals, couples, and families; young children, teens, adults, and older adults.
In addition to being a licensed psychotherapist, I am a certified Parent Project facilitator and have taught Parent Project classes for the Cities of Fremont and Union City. The Parent Project is an intensive curriculum designed for parents of strong-willed or out-of-control adolescents. For more information on the Parent Project, click here.
I enjoy learning about and acquiring new skillsets, and am continually updating my education and improving my skills in my field, focusing on marital therapy and infidelity issues. I am currently working on certifications in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and as a Discernment Counselor. DBT- in a nutshell- helps people learn how to regulate intense negative emotions. As you can imagine, this is something that a lot of my clients struggle with since I work mostly with infidelity issues. You can read more about DBT here.
Discernment counseling is a new branch of couples counseling focused on helping a couple decide if they want to stay together or move toward dissolution of the relationship. Discernment counseling does not involve actual marital therapy; rather the goal is to ascertain if the problems in the relationship can, in fact, be solved. As such, it is short-term, and is a distinct and separate process from marital therapy. Read more about discernment counseling.
In 2015, I received an exciting opportunity, of which I took advantage. I returned to my alma mater, Cal State University, East Bay as a member of the Educational Psychology Department faculty. I taught undergraduate courses in Careers in Counseling and Lifespan Strategies for Mental Health, as well as a graduate practicum course and Psychopharmacology. I loved teaching and being a motivating force for potential future therapists, as well as assisting students in understanding and applying the concept of lifelong wellness; however, in the Fall of 2018 I decided I wanted to return my focus to my private practice, so that I could expand my services and help as many people as possible.
One of my professional passions is helping men and women who feel trapped, misunderstood and judged- often because they are considering or have been involved in an emotional or physical affair. The deep sense of shame and guilt that most people feel in this situation is often perpetuated in the therapist’s office during couples therapy as the client admits to their transgression and is then perceived and often labeled as a “betrayer”. Sometimes my clients are guilty of simply considering leaving their relationship, and are accused of not wanting to work it out. No one should ever feel that they cannot talk to anyone without being judged. So I’ve dedicated my career to helping those people- the ones with the relationship secrets so taboo that they feel they have nowhere else to turn. My particular brand of therapy is without judgment; without pressure; without pushing for a particular outcome. The decision is yours alone- but I’m honored to be your guide.