Melanie Griffis Jones, MA, LPC, ACCTH
TraceSuccessful and Griffis/Jones & Associates
Free Health & Fitness Speaker in Chicago
TOPIC CATEGORY: Miscellaneous
I have been working as a therapist with individuals with Gender Identity issues for close to 15 years. When I started most of my clients were mature adults who suffered from fear, shame and guilt. They kept this part of their lives as a deep secret, sometimes not even telling those closest to them about their gender issue. Today, with celebrities going public with their gender changes and TV shows and movies featuring trans individuals, I am seeing more and more teenagers "coming out" as transgender. It is almost becoming "in" to be trans among younger people. MORE >Years ago when I first started talking to groups about gender identity, there would be uncomfortable murmurs in the audience. Then I stated that everyone in the room knew someone one was transgender but just didn't know that about them. Today, almost everyone does personally knows someone who identifies as trans; either in their own family, at work, or via a friend talking about someone else in their life.
While I am thankful having a gender identity issue isn't the terrible secret or shame it was 15 years ago, a new concern has surfaced. Having doubts or confusion about gender identity doesn't always mean a person should change from male to female or female to male. Rushing into hormones and surgeries without due process is now causing as many suicides as did identifying as trans 10 years ago. Truly getting to know oneself and how to identify as male, female, non or bi, gender fluid or whatever the newest key word is for those who see themselves as neither male or female, regardless of genital organs.
My other concern is with those who want to change immediately and unethical doctors willing to go along with that. There are guidelines to follow, there is extensive counseling to work through, and resolving other issues first all need to be part of the process of coming to a healthy place with one's gender, one's body and one's mind. I welcome helping individuals work through all of this and the general population to better understand all the components of gender identity.
TOPIC CATEGORY: Health & Fitness
Every time I am someplace with a new group of people and am asked what I do for a living, my response usually gets all the attention. All I have to do is say I am a clinical hypnotherapist and the room goes quiet. Then, when I hear someone say they can't be hypnotized, I simply smile. The truth is no one can be unless they are willing. The opposite is true too. Everyone can be hypnotized because hypnosis is actually self hypnosis. Also, you won't "cluck like a chicken" unless you really want to do that. On the other hand, you can release unwanted weight, stop smoking, eliminate your fear of flying, or improve your athletic abilities with just a few sessions of clinical hypnosis. MORE >About eight years ago, I took a six day intensive hypnotherapy training as a creative way to get the continuing education credits I needed to keep my professional licensure. I was intent on "just doing the 6-day and not any of the additional long term training that was offered." That was until the 5th day when I saw first hand how very powerful this was. The instructor said you can see greater results in five sessions of hypnotherapy than you can in 90 sessions of talk therapy. By day five, I was a believer. I went on for a two year internship and another five years of advanced training.
I also started to assistant teach the process. Clinical hypnotherapy is nothing like stage hypnosis. It can help people deal with PTSD, anxiety, abuse issues from childhood and even change the way we deal with grief. Did I mention past lives and how we can explore who we were or why we keep doing some things we don't want to do anymore? Even if all you want to do is learn how to relax, I can share easy tools for calming yourself when stressed. And if you want to bark like a dog or cluck like a chicken, go to a stage show and the hypnotist there can make it happen for you.
TOPIC CATEGORY: Miscellaneous
I am a certified mental health professional professionally trained as a Divorce Mediator. Using my services rather than two attorneys can cut the cost of getting a divorce dramatically. That is why some divorce attorneys don't like people to know about me or my peers. MORE >Since over 50% of all marriages end in divorce (and the rate is even higher for 2nd or 3rd marriages) I want to share information about how couples can secure a divorce without spending thousands of dollars on attorney fees and can avoid much of the anger and bitterness that too often results from the disagreements they have.
It is only in the past few years mental health professionals, rather than lawyers, have been trained in all facets of divorce mediation. I can explain why therapists make better mediators than attorneys. Our listening skills, calm behavior, non-judgmental attitude all are better suited to deal with sensitive issues. Compassion and empathy usually aren't adjectives used to describe lawyers yet they are necessary traits for a therapist.
Key words like "Free and Equitable" make each divorce different in the eyes of the court. I know the "How and Why" 100% of all issues need to be resolved before filing divorce documents and when it is possible to use one attorney for a nominal fee rather than two - spending far too much of either parties earnings.
Trained as both a divorce mediator and a mental health professional, I serve as a non-biased, neutral facilitator eager to help resolve areas of disagreement and prepare the Memorandum of Understanding needed to expedite a simple divorce document and secure an Uncontested Divorce. We all have first or second hand knowledge of bitter and expensive divorces. Letting the world know there is a better option is my motivation to speak to your group.