We had the good fortune of connecting with Michelle Melton, Psy.D. and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michelle, what matters most to you?
Wisdom. Wisdom is one of my top values. And this value of wisdom guides my day-to-day personal life and is integrated into my role as a psychologists and healer. It is central to my overall sense of self.
I have also come to realize that my understanding of this value has adjusted over time, having new iterations from my lived experience and learning. But let me first start with a definition. This is one of many definitions because wisdom means so many different things to different people, different faith practices, and different ideologies. But for me, I’ll just start with this one: wisdom is the soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application of experience, knowledge, and good judgment. Now if I were to put that in my own words, wisdom is knowing what to do, when to do it, and how much. Somehow in practice, however, I began to think that while I am making sound decisions, applying my experience, knowledge, and good judgment into formidable action, somehow, I would know the outcome. That wisdom is knowing what you’re choosing to do and how you’re choosing to behave will result in a certain (guaranteed) outcome. And, when that outcome manifested, it is evidence of wisdom. What I now know is that is not wisdom. That’s clairvoyance, a seer. And that’s not an identity or talent I claim or truly want.
Instead, what I’ve really come to understand and appreciate about living the value of wisdom, is it is not tied to a specific result or an outcome. Wisdom is not about guarantees. Wisdom is about being connected to the here and now, trusting yourself, and treating as valid your knowledge, your learning, your experience, and your purpose. Wisdom is the lived experience of humility.
Wisdom values learning and information gathering. And wisdom honors boundaries and limitations. So, in this way, wisdom to me also means liberation. Living in a grind culture, the culture of “do more, have more, be more,” liberation comes from knowing that you are enough, with gratitude and intrinsic joy about your presence in this world, what you have to offer, and what you receive from it. It is this perspective, this valuing of wisdom, that often helps me to come into any moment with openness, flexibility, kindness, compassion, and purpose.
What should our readers know about your business?
I am the owner of Melton Psychology Group, LLC. My practice philosophy is social justice informed, anti-racism committed, and intersectionALLY affirming. My focus is to support individuals’ growth into the truest sense of self, a state of consistent and balanced living that is experienced spiritually, physically and emotionally. In other words, the healing spaces I co-create with individuals adapt traditional therapeutic practices to address systematic oppression, ancestral trauma, LGTBQIA+ mental health and wellness, and the general mental, emotional, or physical plight. By adapting and applying complementary therapy approaches and techniques, I work with individuals to (1) unearth long-standing behavior patterns or negative perceptions that may be holding them back from experiencing a more fulfilling and meaningful life and (2) acknowledge and develop tools to navigate oppressive systems.
In addition to providing psychological services to individuals, I also provide wellness and DEI-related consulting services for individuals and institutions. More specifically, I develop training, offer supervision, and clinical consultation to health care professionals and organizations on mental health wellness through a multicultural lens.
It was not easy finding my niche, but well worth the journey. What helped me was connecting to what mattered most to me, what I believed our communities need. From that clarity, I was able to apply my skills and talent to create spaces for healing, transformation, and purpose.
Regarding what sets me apart, I cannot truly offer a comparison between myself and others in this profession. However, I will share why I believe I am amazing at what I do. I am a healer, a connector, and an accountability partner. I believe deeply in the power of talking, listening, and connecting. It is through this relational process that profound healing and transformation can be facilitated. I create spaces where people are truly seen and heard so that they can build resilience and move in empowerment. In so doing, people reclaim their purpose and live a valued life even when is not perfect.
I have learned so much from so many along my journey to summarize. Instead, I think about what I would tell my younger self at the start of this process. And, that would be, “Dear One, take up space. Be vulnerable. Trust the process.”
I would also leave her with the advice of Scherezade Siobhan, “Break often – not like porcelain, but like waves.” In this process, I recall moments of being deeply afraid to share what I needed help with or what I need to be held accountable for. I wrestled with thoughts about opening up and now know there is strength in choosing vulnerability. I remember that waves are one of the most powerful forces in this universe, and they break often. So, making space for me to break and be rejuvenated again.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, I’m a bit of an introvert and homebody. So, the places I would want to show my visitors are the Heard Museum, Musical Instrument Museum, and Phoenix Art Museum. I also love to read, so it is imperative that I take them to see the peacocks at the Glendale Public Library. There must be a day trip to Lost Dutchman Park and maybe a second-day trip up to Sedona. Good food is a must, so dinner one evening at Steak 44, Anhelo, or Wren and Wolfe. Come to think of it, why choose? We’ll plan all three. Depending on the season, a day at the Sanctuary Spa followed by dinner at Elements. Then, I would give them the keys if they needed to do more because, at that point, I’d be tapped out!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to recognize those who came before me – my mother, BJ ‘Chicki”, grandmother, Frances “Granny”, and aunts, Barbara Ann, D’Arcy “Dede”. They are the shoulders on which I stand. I also want to shout out to my sister, Lisa. She is a formidable woman who teaches me strength and grace every day. My life story would not be complete if I didn’t express my affection and gratitude to my chosen family – Kevin Palmer, Leo Caraballo, Louise Baca, and Greg Shrader.