low self-esteem


hope and help


the santa fe therapist


I help women who know there’s something more waiting for them

but need help with getting started, or going bigger

We don’t always know how to step into our power. How to feel safe when the world can sometimes feel like a dangerous place. So many women have internalized the messages that it’s our fault, we did something wrong, we’re not good enough.

The rhythms and cycles of a woman’s life are often misunderstood, dismissed, invalidated, sometimes even used to hurt us.

Which makes it pretty hard to manifest our full potential. Because there’s a part of us that believes all of those messages. That our ideas and dreams and visions and voices just don’t matter very much.

We know that’s not true. But these internalized stories run deep in our minds and psyches. Having a highly trained and seasoned professional walking with you every step of the way can make all the difference between success and giving up.

I know you’re not meant to be living small and scared, no matter what happened to you, or how many wrong turns you’ve taken on the way to where you are now.

For the last 25 years, I’ve been counseling and coaching women who are ready to transform impossible into I got this.

Doing the deep work of transformation requires a well-trained, seasoned professional. I earned a master’s in clinical psychology, and an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in the psychology of creativity, with a focus on the synergy of art and healing.

As part of my doctoral research, I also completed the training and initiations to receive my subtle energy Reiki Master Teacher accreditation.

I’ve been researching and practicing mindfulness and meditation for over a decade, completing two MBSR certificated training programs.

I studied Tibetan Buddhism and trained with Dr. Reginald Ray, and with Hindu spiritual teacher, Amma.

Some of my advanced clinical training as a psychotherapist includes neuroscience, CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), DBT (Dialectic Behavioral Therapy), mindful awareness, emotional resilience, narrative therapy, healing sacred wounds, and post-traumatic growth.

 Producing and hosting a popular public radio show, Living From Happiness (KSFR 101.1fm), for the last five years has given me the opportunity to go deep and get personal with thought-leaders and change-makers. Guests have included Jen Sincero (You Are a Badass bestselling series), Bill O’Hanlon (psychotherapist, creator of Solution-Oriented Therapy, speaker, author of over 40 books), Michael Gelb (celebrated international speaker and bestselling author), Jonah Paquette (happiness expert and author of the best-selling books Real Happiness, The Happiness Toolkit, and Awestruck), U.S. senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, and New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham.

And I’m the mom of a 41-year-old special person with special needs.

I’m a psychotherapist and coach, and in every cell of my body, a creative. Curiosity about how the world works, and where my place might be in the family of things, has always been my guiding light.

My deep love of the arts, a need to understand what makes us us, and passion for helping others overcome what feels impossible all culminated in my work in the world.

And while I’ve traveled all over the world, and moved from California to Aspen, and then to New York City for a while, Santa Fe has been my home for several years.

It’s where I took a recent risk, and submitted a proposal to the public radio station for a weekly talk show. Who knew? I’ve been producing and hosting Living From Happiness for five years now.

I’m big on saying yes to ridiculous dreams and crazy ideas.

That’s what took me to New York City. As I was finishing my master’s degree in clinical psychology, I saw a documentary about The Living Museum, a 40,000sf art studio/museum on the grounds of Creedmoor Psychiatric Center. I had to go see this place that seemed so magical.

The first time I visited, the taxi driver got so lost and I was so late for my appointment with the director, Dr. Janos Marton, that I only had 30 minutes before it closed for the day. Nervous, excited, cautious, frazzled … I opened one of the giant black metal doors. And knew I was home.

I went back a few months later, this time for a couple of hours. And then, again, the next time for two months. Finally, I moved to New York City, where I started my doctoral research, and spent two years as an artist-in-residence at the museum. It was while standing side-by-side with the artist/patients at the museum that

I settled into myself as a heart-based healing clinician, and fully unfolded my artist’s wings.

 But visual art wasn’t my first love. Music was. Music opened the door to the most wonderful gig, in pr and marketing at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. That’s where I learned how to eat in elegant restaurants, and drink wine at lunch, and talk to famous, fancy people like Sir Simon Rattle and Michael Tilson Thomas and Dizzy Gillespie. I mean, I knew nothing. But I learned.

We then moved to Aspen. Where I began feeling uncomfortable, restless, unhappy. Finally, I was so miserable that I sort-of hated everything, especially myself.

The dark side of my childhood had finally caught up with me. I’d been sexually abused by an adult family member, and traumatized by several strangers. I powered through life for a very long time, desperately maintaining the facade that I was fine and everything was OK.


In order to move into my future, I first had to stop. I had to learn how to stop lying to myself. To stop running from the beasties under the bed. I had to stop abusing alcohol. I got to start learning how to be a grown-up, strong as Wonder Woman, and vulnerable as a newborn fawn hiding in the forest.

A very messy couple of years later, I earned my bachelor’s degree and then went on to earn a master’s degree in clinical psychology.

The first risk I can remember ever taking was when I signed up to learn a musical instrument and

play in an orchestra when I was 10 years old.

I don’t come from much of a musical family. My mother, who was pulled out of school in the 9th grade, played piano at church. My father left school in the 8th grade; he was a welder at the Long Beach Naval Shipyards his whole life. After he retired, he spent years as a crossing guard. No music.

No one had a college degree, let alone a passport. So why would an excited, terrified little girl volunteer to do something she’d never heard of?

The truth is, I don’t know why.

But what’s also true is that having done so changed my life. Taking the great and dangerous risk of raising my hand allowed me to taste the possibilities of what life could offer. Those early experiences with music showed me how it feels to be enfolded by the ineffable, the numinous. The world that exists right here, all the time.

The one we forget about. All the time.

Guess what? Adventure and magic are calling you
and when it’s quiet, you can hear the whispers

Here’s the thing … we need you.

We need you to be in a powerful relationship with yourself and the soul of the world, the anima mundi.

We need you to come outside and be messy and brave and terrified … right alongside the rest of us.

These are transformational times, my friend. We’re being called to step into our power, put on our superhero capes and fab protective bracelets and sequined gold evening gowns or old, faded jeans covered in paint and a t-shirt with no bra … we’re it.

There’s no more important journey to travel right now that the one of personal transformation. We’re leading the way for our daughters and sons and all the ones who are to come.

I’ll help. Let’s go.

Hugs all around,

Melanie, The Happiness Doc

P. S. I get it, that bad things happen. And I really get it that the magic and adventure of living a rich, full life never disappears.

I’d love to hear what’s happening in your world. send me an email …

… email me at melanie@thesantafetherapist.com, and

answer these three questions.

  • What do you want?
  • When do you want it?
  • How do you hope I can help you get there?

I’ll send you a short video with more specifics about how I work with clients. Then, if you’re interested, we’ll schedule a complimentary call together so we can explore creating a custom Conscious Transformation coaching package for you.

We’re a great fit if you’re:

  • tired of playing small and scared;
  • ready to invest in your future by getting to work today;
  • know it’s time to break free of what’s holding you back;
  • eager to activate your heart and mind, and begin.


success stories

“I’ve worked with a lot of therapists and coaches. No one has ever given me as much as you have!

I’m learning great tools for dealing with life, and I’m happy, and excited to be moving ahead.

You go above and beyond what anyone else has ever done for me. Thank you for your compassion.”

The tools and resources Melanie shared with me facilitated profound emotional awareness and healing. Each day I find myself awakening to the woman I want to be and to create the life I want to have. 

During our work together, Melanie was a blessing in helping me deal with an unexpected and devastating trauma. Thank you for everything, Melanie!”

“I’m doing really well. I can breathe again. My anxiety is down and I am much more at peace – at ease with myself.

No more panic attacks! I’m writing and making art.

Thank you for all your help and launching me into the stratosphere!!! In gratitude.”

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