Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Interview with Melissa Gendreau, Christian Mental Health Therapist

With great pleasure and excitement, I share a recent interview exchange between myself, and Christian blogger sister, Melissa Gendreau, who also happens to be a professional mental health therapist who has recently launched a WONDERFUL RESOURCE:

Melissa, I have been a huge fan of your blog, every since I found you!  There is no one better for my readers to hear from ABOUT YOU, than you!  Please tell my readers who you are, and about your blog.

Professionally, I'm a mental health therapist.

I started my journey working with children who had severe cognitive and physical impairments when I was a junior in high school.  I had always wanted to do something worthwhile.  It was an eye-opening and heartbreaking job that helped to shape me.

That led to a bachelor's degree in family services from the University of Northern Iowa.  From there I moved to Omaha, Nebraska.  I worked at Boy's Town as an assistant family teacher for three years.  I had a heart for the kids but saw that they were missing out on healing.

So I got my master's degree in community counseling from the University of Nebraska- Omaha.  While there I worked at the Boys Town National Hospital working overnights.  (I got a lot of studying done!)  I also had the opportunity to intern at Offutt Air Force base working with our service men and women along with their families.  It was an honor for me to help.

Following grad school, I moved (with family in tow) to Northern Wisconsin where I worked as a child and family therapist.  The program was a 30- day assessment center where the child remained for that time.  My job, along with a neuropsychologist and a psychiatrist was to figure out what was going on and what would be the best course of therapy for the child and the family.  The assessment center introduced me to the pain and trauma so many children have to endure.  I worked there for six years until I realized I needed to be more a part of the healing process instead of just explaining to people what was going on.

In May 2016 I moved the family again to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to be able to work as a Christian mental health therapist.  God had been waiting to bring me to this position until I had gathered the previous experiences.  Now I see children on up to adults and married couples.  While the client's reasons vary, I have a large population of clients who have suffered from significant childhood abuse and trauma.

August 2017 I started Humble Faith Family Wellness.  I wanted to be able to share my therapy experience and practical tips to more people.  And from a Christian perspective.  Something I feel is lacking in the mental health world.

Personally, I'm a Christian, a wife, and a mommy of two!

I've been a Christian since I was 17. Since then there have been some seasons where I was close in my relationship with God and other times I have allowed life to get in the way.  Crying out to God from my laundry room floor when we were living in Northern Wisconsin was a time of coming back home.  God then led me to my current Christian therapy position and to start my blog.  He's not done using me and I'm so excited!!

My husband and I will celebrate 11 years of marriage this May and 4th of July will be 16 years since our first date.  Talk about getting fireworks, right?! Everyday I thank God for my husband.  He is my growing old partner and best friend.  I love doing life with him!

We have two children- our son age 8 and our daughter age 5.  They have such great personalities and a love for God.  The lessons God teaches me through them is never ending.  And my husband homeschools our kids.  (I told you he was amazing)

Now you are launching a wonderful workbook, that I am privileged to be working through right now (Feb. 1018) !  Thank you for allowing me to be a part of the launch team.  Please tell my readers what this workbook is and how you envision it being used.

As a therapist I enjoy practical tips.  My clients and I work through their goals and areas of healing through processing their thoughts and feelings about the topic.  I am continually asking questions and challenging my clients to find the evidence and replace past hurt with TRUTH.  God's TRUTH.

The Living in the Word- Workbook is a 300 page journey to guide you through all aspects of your life to help you align yourself with God's word.

My hope is that the people choosing to take the journey will take their time. I envision them working on each area one at a time and really allowing their thoughts to take root.

The workbook addresses the areas of:

     * Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control

Personal Development-
     * Spiritual Growth, Internal Growth, Self-Care, Health and Wellness and Finances

     * Marriage, Family, Relatives, Connections, Tolerance, Accountability, Mentoring Others, Empathy, Accepting Feedback and Forgiveness

Career Development-
     * Education, Talents, Contribution, Co-Worker Connections, Leadership, Motivation and Time Management

     * Hospitality, Generosity and Civic Duty

When my children and my marriage were young, I read books by Dr. James Dobson, Gary Smalley, and others to learn what I could, to help me grow as a parent and marriage partner, and traveled some really hard roads.  I am very grateful that you are using your education to help the clients that walk through your office doors, but you are also now, through publications sharing your knowledge and insight with the broader public!!   Please share info, and social media links that may be of interest to my readers.

You can find me on social media at:

I also contribute for:

As a mentor and educator, having been involved with some children who suffered from neglect or abuse and who bore attachment issues, I REALLY appreciate that you can not only speak to common issues, but also issues that may be unique to injured or traumatized children.  You actually shed light on feelings behind behaviors and help us find logical desirable solutions to help children heal from painful and traumatic pasts.  I am very grateful for your work!

What last thoughts would you like to share?  What are your plans or expectations for the future?

My word for 2018 is "growth," and that is something I am wanting to focus on in all aspects of my life.  With growth generally means change and trials.  But with my eyes on God I'm excited for the journey and to look back on the eve of 2019 to where I've come.

I have lofty goals and big plans for the future that I will let God lead.  The next project will be on creating a course for people struggling with anxiety.  God also has placed some book topics on my heart. (One of which will be about attachment disorders).

Melissa, thank you for availing yourself for this interview, and to the world, through your blog and publications to help people heal, and find peace, joy, and increased productivity.  YOU are a precious jewel and I am so glad that I found you.

My readers:  Thank you for letting me share.

@ Grandma Mary Martha

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