Dr. Melissa Foynes


i invite you to heal and transform with me: the science & soul of resilient living

The early roots

How the Science & Soul of Living Well℠  Began

Born into the world as an emotionally sensitive being, I felt the weight of the pain in the world very deeply, very early in life. I also knew that some people experienced more stress, adverse life experiences, and injustice than others, and that some people had more resources and support to cope with their pain. While these inequities are relevant to people of all gender identities, I was particularly struck by the effects on women. I noticed countless incredible and inspiring women who had become so understandably overwhelmed by life’s pain that they were truly suffering ~ haunted by feeling broken, anxious, worthless, incapable, and alone, and continually bombarded by gender stereotypes and impossible societal expectations like:

You’re too much and not enough

Be nice and don’t express your feelings and needs

Your worth depends on how well you care for & please others 

many were not only coping with the effects of various forms of mistreatment and trauma that disproportionately affect women, but also blaming themselves. All of these experiences fueled the fears, self-doubt, and inner critics that plagued them. It seemed like an epidemic in need of a comprehensive solution and I felt compelled to be a part of it.
At the same time, I also was heartened and inspired to witness so many women live through hardship, and somehow find empowerment, build resilience, and feel fulfilled. Even with immense pain and sorrow, living life with purpose and meaning was still possible. Experiencing joy, awe, and gratitude that was shaped by life’s pain but not controlled or dominated by it, was also possible. Recognizing pain as a part of our shared humanity, as an opportunity for reconnection with ourselves and others, was also possible

On top of it all, 

I wanted to understand how women could experience similar forms of life pain and end up on different trajectories with different outcomes. I wanted to know how to experience extraordinary pain without extraordinary suffering.

My Path to Psychology

I came to realize that suffering was OPTIONAL even though pain was not.

I was drawn to the study of psychology because I wanted to be a part of the force in the world that helped women meet life’s inevitable hardships and pain without the suffering.

I wanted to partner with women in realizing their innate capacity for resilience.

Since I believed (and still do) that everyone has this capacity, regardless of who they are or what they have been through, I wanted to be able to understand the core ingredients of healing and resilience so that I could share that information with others. 

Over the course of several decades, through a combination of reflecting on observations from my personal and professional experiences, deepening my knowledge of scientific research, and learning complementary and alternative healing methods, answering this question of how to cultivate resilience seemed to boil down to a key nugget:

Our relationship to life’s pain is what creates suffering, not the pain itself. 

It may sound simple, but responding to life’s pain in ways that don’t create suffering can be really challenging, because as women, it often involves breaking free from learning and conditioning that has been instilled in us throughout our lifespans. We continue to receive harmful messages from society, our families of origin, friends and other loved ones that can be hard to resist when we don’t have a solid sense of ourselves and what we need and want in life. And even when we do have a clear sense of our purpose, passions, and what matters to us most, we can struggle to know how to live a life guided by our desires and values and to believe we deserve this alignment. Often, we need various circles of support to lean on to facilitate our healing process and concrete, actionable guidance regarding the kinds of tools and approaches that are most likely to help.

Moving Forward...

Expanding Beyond Psychology

Psychology and therapy can offer a powerful combination of support and change that facilitates profound healing. I am deeply grateful for my education and training as a psychologist because there are many evidence-based tools I not only share with others, but also use in my own life. However, I don’t think this traditional paradigm is always sufficient. When it is used in isolation, many women can feel disappointed by the results and see themselves as the problem, rather than the approach. They may believe that the habits and thought patterns that don’t serve them are too ingrained and hard-wired to be changed. They may think that deeper change is not possible and resign themselves to living their lives as they currently are. 

My mission and approach were born out of my desire to communicate to women that with the right combination of support, tools, and commitment to taking steps toward change, growth and transformation are always possible.

To complement and enhance what I could offer women from the perspective of psychological science, I sought out (and continue to seek out) advanced trainings in a diverse range of Eastern and Western healing modalities like Ayurveda, yoga, and meditation. I wanted to be able to offer a truly holistic and integrative approach to change. Since every tool has its strengths and limitations, I have found that they can have a powerfully synergistic effect when used together. 

Beyond Psychology

My Approach

I believe that change takes time and is not linear. I believe there are more approaches to healing than there are human beings in the world. I also believe that deeper transformation can occur when someone is walking alongside us and meeting us with attunement, empathy, acceptance and compassion. It is often through this partnership that we can access and live out our capacities for resilience, because we weren’t meant to walk this journey alone. I want women to be active participants in this partnership and to feel empowered to choose strategies that resonate with them so that they can cultivate personalized plans for change that honor their values and the realities of their lives. 
With these values at its core, I created an approach that blends science-informed knowledge from psychology with wisdom from holistic and integrative healing.

powerful beyond measure

Women are 

but more often than not have been discouraged from and punished for accessing their true power and vitality. By taking steps toward growth and healing, we are actively repatterning what we have been taught to believe about ourselves as women. We are flipping the script that self-care is selfish and indulgent, asserting ourselves is aggressive, and hurting other people’s feelings should be avoided at all costs.

Being the truest and fullest version of yourself is an act of self-love, self-liberation, and self-validation that not only enhances your life, but also shows other women what is possible and gives them permission to do the same.  

There is no one approach that is right for everyone, and mine is no exception. If me, my mission, or approach do speak to you, I would love to continue this journey together through my IG account, podcast, or 1:1 coaching program

My Credentials 

➞ PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Oregon
➞ Predoctoral Fellowship at Yale University School of Medicine 
➞ Postdoctoral Fellowship at the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
➞ Author of over 60 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters, and educational products
➞ International Educator for thousands of professionals via presentations, workshops, & trainings
➞ Prior medical school appointments at Harvard University & Boston University 
➞ 200-hour registered yoga teacher
➞ Advanced trainings & certifications in: Ayurveda, yoga psychology, trauma-informed yoga, mindfulness & meditation 
➞ Founder of holistic therapy practice focusing on stress, trauma, grief and loss