About Dr. Melissa Parks
I work as both an individual and couples therapist, providing online therapy to people struggling with a variety of different issues. I’ve worked in a broad range of clinical settings in Spain and the United States, including Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Inpatient Psychiatric Unit, the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid’s Student Counseling Center and the Usera Public Mental Health Center in Madrid. I’ve had the opportunity to work with a variety of different patient populations and pathologies, both in English and Spanish. While my area of clinical expertise is in the field of body image and eating disorders, I also treat anxiety and mood disorders, difficulties associated with cultural adaptation, as well as working with university students and young adults.
My personal experience of living, working and studying in Europe for the past eight years has shown me firsthand the difficulties associated with adapting to life in a new culture, and carrying out day-to-day life in an unfamiliar language. However, it has also helped me to become aware of the tools and techniques that can help individuals to thrive in these circumstances. Combined with my professional experience in the field of psychology, this places me in a unique position to be able to attend to the psychological needs of those individuals living outside of their home country.
You can check out my experience on LinkedIn or read through my CV below (updated May 2017):
- Individual, Couples and Group Therapist (2013-present) Private Practice
Providing individual and couples therapy to individuals around the world through CBT and mindfulness based therapies. Patients include study abroad students, English teachers, individuals in intercultural relationships, third culture kids, immigrants, ¨trailing spouses,¨ teachers in international schools, and digital nomads, among others. Topics treated in sessions include issues specific to living abroad (such as cultural adjustment, returning to your home country, homesickness, etc.) or more general mental health concerns (such as eating disorders, panic attacks, self-esteem, grief, depression, etc.)
- Visiting Researcher (Erasmus + Internship) (2016) GGZ Rivierduinen Eating Disorders Center Ursula / Leiden University Medical Center (Leiden, Netherlands)
Collaborated with the center’s research team on a variety of projects at the oldest and largest specialized treatment program for individuals with eating disorders in the Netherlands. Gained additional knowledge regarding statistical analyses, study design and the latest developments in the field of eating disorders through serving as a co-reviewer for articles submitted to the International Journal of Eating Disorders, Eating and Weight Disorders and Eating Behaviors.
- Individual, Couples and Group Therapist (2013-2016) SINEWS Multilingual Therapy Institute (Madrid, Spain)
Provided therapy (Cognitive Behavioral, Dialectical Behavioral, Acceptance and Commitment and Mindfulness therapies) to adolescents and adults in both English in Spanish. Specializing in working with patients with eating disorders and/or body image issues, as well as expats, study abroad students, English teachers, and other individuals living abroad and experiencing homesickness, culture shock, or other difficulties that go hand in hand with living in another country or returning to their home country. Also treated clients with anxiety, depression, panic disorder, self-esteem issues, personality disorders, grief, relationship crises, ADHD, victims of rape and trauma, among other concerns. In addition to individual and couples therapy, I also facilitated support groups for women living abroad and led introduction to mindfulness training courses.
- Research Assistant (2010-Present) Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (Madrid, Spain)
Administration of diagnostic interviews and relevant questionnaires for a research studies concerning eating disorders, body image and obesity. Responsible for the training of new research assistants, development of patient reports, literature reviews, assistance with writing research articles, and translation of relevant research materials.
- Individual, Family and Group Therapist (2012-2013) Usera Mental Health Center (Madrid, Spain)
Evaluation and treatment of patients with eating disorders and/or affective disorders and their families. Tasks included intake assessments and interviews, development and implementation of treatment plans and assisting with family support groups.
- Individual and Family Therapist (2012-2013) Student Counseling Center at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (Madrid, Spain).
Responsible for intake interviews, administration of questionnaires, development of treatment plans and providing therapy to patients diagnosed with an eating disorder or body image concern, as well as coordinating care with their family members.
- Teaching Assistant and Counselor (March-June 2009) Seattle Pacific University European Quarter Study Abroad Program (USA/Europe)
Provided emotional support, assistance and guidance for a group of thirteen study abroad students while traveling through Western Europe for ten weeks. Problems addressed included homesickness, culture shock, family and relationship issues, and conflict mediation.
- Pediatric Mental Health Specialist (2007-2009) Seattle Children’s Hospital Inpatient Psychiatric Unit (Seattle, WA, USA)
Implemented skill building group curriculums according to the developmental age level of participants (ages 3-21), utilized verbal de-escalation and effective communication skills to carry out individual behavior management plan, applied emotion coaching, functional analysis and problem solving skills in order to effectively manage the milieu, evaluated the effectiveness of treatment interventions through observation and documentation of patient behavior, and assisted families in implementing behavior plans.
- Founder and Facilitator of “What is Normal?” (2005-2009) Seattle Pacific University (Seattle, WA, USA)
Assisted with the creation of the curriculum of a program designed to increase knowledge concerning balanced eating, exercise and body image amongst college women, facilitated program presentations and group discussions on college campus and trained new program facilitators.
- Eating Disorders Helpline Volunteer, Intern and Supervisor (2004-2009) National Eating Disorders Association (Seattle, WA, USA)
Provided education, resources, referrals and support to callers from around the country, assisted with the development and implementation of training materials for new Helpline volunteers, updated and Managed NEDA’s Nationwide Support Group Database and “Ask an Expert” resource, created educational handouts distributed on NEDA’s website, assisted with the coordination of the National Awareness Week and coordinated and led training for new Helpline volunteers
- Lead Research Assistant for the study entitled “Randomized Control Trial of Individualized Yoga for the Treatment of Eating Disorders” (2004-2008) Seattle Children’s Hospital (Seattle, WA, USA)
Administered and coded the Eating Disorder Examination (EDE), supervised and trained new research assistants, assisted with literature reviews, creation of consent and assent forms, administered participant questionnaires and completed charting for individual participants, and management and entry of study related data,
- Residential Counselor for Children and Adolescents (2004-2005) Ruth Dykeman Children’s Home (Seattle, WA, USA)
Provided direct care and supervision of children with emotional and behavioral problems, collaborated with fellow staff members to creatively develop and implement treatment plans and utilized de-escalation techniques to intervene in crises.
May 2013-May 2017 PhD in Clinical and Health Psychology. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain. Doctoral Thesis (Dissertation): Coping, family functioning and the experience of caring for an adolescent with an eating disorder: A comparative study.
September 2013-June 2014: Undergraduate Degree Recognition-Spain (Homologación del Titulo). Universidad Autónoma de Madrid/Spanish Minstry of Education. One year of additional coursework and exams in order to have my undergraduate degree recognized in Spain and be eligible for licensure (Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos).
September 2011-June 2013: Master´s Degree in Clinical and Health Psychology. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain. Master’s Thesis: The uniqueness of male body image: Validation of an instrument to measure body dissatisfaction among Spanish adolescent males.
September 2002-June 2006: Bachelor´s Degree in Psychology, Minor in Sociology. Seattle Pacific Unviersity, Seattle, Washington, USA. Merits: Summa cum laude, Alpha Kappa Sigma honor society, Psi Chi, Dean’s List, Faculty of the Year Award, and Young Alumni Award for making a difference in the community.
- 11/2016: XII Conference of the Hispano Latino Americano Eating Disorders Conference, Barcelona, Spain.
- 06/2016-12/2016: Visiting researcher internship at GGZ Rivierduinen Eating Disorders Center Ursula / Leiden University Medical Center (Leiden, Netherlands)
- 05/2016: Academy of Eating Disorder´s 2016 International Conference on Eating Disorders, San Francisco, USA.
- 05/2015: X Conference of the Spanish Association for the Study of Eating Disorders, Madrid, Spain.
- 01-03/2014: Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain.
- 11/2014: Wisdom at Work workshop: Mindfulness in the Workplace, Madrid, Spain.
- 02/2014: XVI Conference on Advances in the Treatment of Eating Disorders and Obesity: Niño Jesus Children´s Hospital, Madrid, Spain
- 06/2013: IX Conference of the Spanish Association for the Study of Eating Disorders: Badajoz, Spain.
- 11/2012: Conference on Clinical Psychology in Primary Care: A Necessity and a Right: Mutua Madrileño Foundation, Madrid, Spain
- 09/2012-06/2013: Trained to facilitate support groups based on the Maudsley Approach: Family Based Therapy for Eating Disorders: Usera Mental Health Center, Madrid, Spain.
- 01/2012: Separation Anxiety Seminar provided by Dr. Xavier Mendez: Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
- 11/2011: Seminar on Schizophrenia provided by Dr. Juan Godoy: Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
- 11/2001-03/2012: Training in the Kiddie Sads Diagnostic Interview: Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain
- 09/2011: Eating Disorders Conference: Mutua Madrileño, Madrid, Spain
- 09/2008: Break the Silence: Tools for Help, Hope and Healing: National Eating Disorders Association Annual Conference, Austin, Texas, USA
- 10/2007: It Takes a Team: National Eating Disorders Association Annual Conference, San Diego, California, USA
- 10/2006-03/2007: Training in administration of the Eating Disorders Examination (EDE) diagnostic interview: Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle, WA, USA
- 10/2006: A Body to Die For: Advanced Training in the Treatment of Eating Disorders and Body-Image Disturbances in Women, The Renfew Foundation, Seattle, Washington, USA.
- 09/2005: Partners in Progress, National Eating Disorders Association Annual Conference, Denver, Colorado, USA
- 07/2005: Advanced Tools in the Treatment of Eating Disorders: Remuda Ranch Eating Disorders Center, Seattle, Washington, USA,
- 09/2004: Human Subjects Research Training (Pediatrics): Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle, Washington, USA
- Academy of Eating Disorders
- Spanish Association for the Study of Eating Disorders (Asociacion Española para el Estudio de los Trastornos de la Conducta Alimentaria)
- National Eating Disorders Association
- Madrid Psychological Association (Colegio Oficial de Psicologos de Madrid, #M-29447)
- English: Native language
- Spanish: Bilingual
Anastasiadou, D., Parks, M., Brugnera, A., Sepulveda, A., & Graell, M. (2017). Psychiatric comorbidity and maternal distress among adolescent eating disorder patients: A comparison with substance use disorder patients. Eating Behaviors, 24, 74-80.
Anastasiadou, D., Sepúlveda, A.R., Sánchez, J.R., Parks, M., Álvarez, T., & Graell, M. (2016). Family functioning and quality of life among families in eating disorders: A comparison with substance-related disorders and healthy controls. European Eating Disorders Review, 24(4), 294-303.
Anastasiadou, D., Cuellar-Flores, I., Sepúlveda, A.R., Parks, M., & Graell, M. (2016). The relationship between dysfunctional family patterns and symptom severity among adolescent patients with eating disorders: A gender-specific approach. Women & Health, 56(6), 1-8.
Sepulveda A.R., Anastasiadou, D., de Pellegrin, Y., Parks, M., Blanco, M., Garcia, P., & Bustos, C. (2016). Confirmatory factor analysis of the Male Body Attitudes Scale (MBAS) among Spanish adolescent males. Men and Masculinities, 1, 1-19.
Sepulveda A.R., Parks, M., de Pellegrin, Y., Anastasiadou, D., & Blanco, M. (2016). Validation of the Spanish version of the Drive for Muscularity Scale (DMS) among males: Confirmatory factor analysis. Eating Behaviors, 21, 116-122.
Gutiérrez Álvarez, E., Sepulveda, A. R., Anastasiadou, D., & Parks, M. (2013). Families and eating disorders: Advances in evaluation and design and psychoeducational intervention. (Trastornos del Comportamiento Alimentario: Avances en Evaluación y Diseño e Intervención Psicoeducativa), Clinica, 4(2), 107-117
Blanco, M., Parks, M., Sepulveda, A.R., Real, B., Cano, M., & Hernandez, M.A. (2013). The incidence of bullying and psychological factors in child obesity. In R. Quevedo-Blasco & V.J. Quevedo-Blasco (Ed.), Advances in Clinical Psychology. Santiago de Compostela: Spanish Association of Behavioural Psychology (AEPC). . ISBN978-84-695-6987-0
Anastasiadou, D., Sepulveda, A.R., Parks, M., Blanco, M., Garcia P., & Garcia-Bordallo, C. (2013). Predictors of body dissatisfaction in males by age. In R. Quevedo-Blasco & V.J. Quevedo-Blasco (Ed.), Advances in Clinical Psychology. Santiago de Compostela: Spanish Association of Behavioural Psychology (AEPC). . ISBN978-84-695-6987-0
Blanco, M., Sepúlveda, A.R., Parks, M., Anastasiadou, D., García, P. & Bustos, C. (2012). Preliminary results regarding the psychological correlates of childhood obesity (ANOBAS study). In R. Quevedo-Blasco & V.J. Quevedo-Blasco. (Ed.), Advances in Clinical Psychology (pp.89-92). Santander: Spanish Association of Behavioural Psychology (AEPC) . ISBN978-84-695-3599-8
Anastasiadou, D., Sepúlveda, A.R., Parks, M., Garcia, P. & Izquierdo, P. (2012). Psychological correlates of body dissatisfaction in male students. [Correlatos psicológicos en la insatisfacción corporal en estudiantes varones]. In R. Quevedo-Blasco & V.J. Quevedo-Blasco. (Eds.), Advances in Clinical Psychology (pp.67-71). Santander: Spanish Association of Behavioural Psychology (AEPC) . ISBN978-84-695-3599-8