About Melissa

My career journey as coach, teacher, and practitioner of somatic methods began in 1999.  I was pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Acting. The voice and movement classes challenged me. I struggle to understand, and integrate, a new way of experiencing how I relate in the world. I decided to lean into that struggle and, as a result, I now know many effective techniques to transform struggle into an empowering journey towards success.

I began this work to understand anxiety attacks I was experiencing. Luckily, it was recommended that I talk to a therapist. Every exercise she gave me was precisely what I was learning in Voice and Movement class. She explained that people have anxiety attacks because they forget to breathe. And that began my process of learning about developmental trauma and how it gets stored and stuck in the body. I worked on opening my breath, reconnecting to my body, regaining presence and authenticity. I began to be able to trust the flow of life again.

Maybe you can relate? I used to be very good at looking like everything was fine when it was anything but. I, like many, had learned to survive in this world. I learned not to speak my truth for fear of being abandoned or ridiculed. I was often told I had a “good voice”. I appeared confident. Luckily, I’ve had the best teachers and I didn’t fool them. I was masking my real experience and my body was taking a toll. (Or maybe you experience the opposite – feeling withdrawn and disconnected as a default mode.)

In any case I got by, and I got by well. So why change? Because, eventually, I started receiving clear signs that “getting by” was becoming detrimental to my physical, mental, and emotional health. I wanted a better life for myself. And I saw a path towards achieving that life.

If this sounds familiar, or resonates in any way, I want you to know you aren’t alone. I’ve worked with master teachers, gone back to graduate school to become licensed as a therapist, taught in universities, become certified in mindfulness based and somatic modalities, worked with top professionals and actors, with cancer survivors and patients, neurodivergent clients, domestic abuse survivors, veterans, people experiencing total loss of vocal use, and more.

My work has two basic approaches – one I call “active” and the other “passive”. In the active approach I work with you to give you exercises and strategies to achieve your goals. In the passive approach you lie on a table while you receive an energy work/sound therapy session. (Find out more about what services I offer or book an initial consultation by clicking here.)

In both approaches, I aid people who are in the midst of transformation. Whether looking for help in professional or personal development working with me will help. We work the techniques of grounding, finding and expressing the truth of the moment, becoming clear and feeling present, connected, and empowered during communication. All to allow you success towards your goal.

I’m also skilled in Knight-Thompson Speechwork and have worked in TV and film, most notably as the Dialect Coach for the AMC series The Son, starring Pierce Brosnan, The Chosen (Hulu), and Prey (Showtime).

While we work we address each of the physical, mental, and emotional components of the human experience. I get specific with physiology behind WHY exercises work. I do that because it is my goal to have the work be yours forever. Empowerment is my aim and that means you need to understand why something works the way it does. I help people remember their potential and then put it into practice.

Some history – I’ve taught Voice, Movement, and Speech (accents) at Texas State University – San Marcos and at the University of Texas – Austin. I began private coaching in the summer of 2012 and resigned from my tenured university position in 2016.

I’m not only a teacher of the work, I continually practice it. Training is an ongoing pursuit; a lifelong endeavor. I was certified as an Associate Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework in August of 2004, have taken workshop intensives in Knight-Thompson Speechwork, and have trained in Body-Mind Centering since the summer of 2012. I am near completion for my certification as a Somatic Movement Educator. I am a certified Yoga Instructor (200 hr), Meditation Instructor (300 hr), Reiki Master Teacher, Advanced Pranic Healing Practitioner, and Sound Therapist. I am pursuing my Masters degree as an LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor) at Naropa University (2024). I study meditation, spirituality, and Eastern and Western Philosophy.

I’ve been teaching in the Austin area since 2002, have held workshops in Peru, Dallas, Mexico City, Utah, Colorado, Florida, and many other states in the United States. At the foundation of all of my classes, sessions, and workshops is the goal of getting the body and voice to be one.

One client, during an initial consultation, said “You’re like a one-stop shop!” My curiosity around the esoteric and practical elements of living a balanced life have led me down many paths. My slant is holistic. I look for what is underneath the issue – where the seed of the “problem” begins. And that is where we start our work.

I use techniques of voice, sound, somatic movement, mindfulness, breath management and freedom, yoga, creative visualization, and applied physiology. As a therapist I utilize somatic mindfulness based theories to help clients heal. If you are looking for a compassionate, and knowledgeable, guide to assist you in achieving your goals of showing up in this world authentically, then let’s chat. This is precisely my passion and I am looking forward to beginning work with you!

Some notable teachers include: Catherine Fitzmaurice, Bonnie Bainbridge-Cohen, Phil Thompson, Dudley Knight, Patsy Rodenburg, Nina Martin, Ralf Jaroschinski, Alicia Grayson, Margery Segal, Saul Kotzubei, Donna Snow, Lynne Innerst, David Howey, Joan Melton, Master Steven Co, and many more.

I have been a member of VASTA (Voice and Speech Trainer’s Association) since 2002 and am a former Secretary of the organization.