Melanie Popiolek

Life is like being on a trail, and finding on the trail that there are difficult spots and easy spots.. It

is up to you to determine how far you walk during the day, and where to camp for the night.

However, with strange trails and no maps, a guide is needed to help you find your way. This is

the role of the counselor, and this is what I do. Together, we can find the right path for life’s

challenges, and achieve goals that promote growth and overall wellness, along with finding your

true self.

I have unique and alternative qualifications with therapy and counseling. My approach to

therapy is integrating many different theories concerning depression, anxiety, post-traumatic

stress, grief and loss, geriatric, life transitions, life coaching, career counseling, and many other

issues. My focus is with Adults who need guidance through the path of life, Veterans. Elders,

and Special Needs Population.

Clover is Grace Counseling’s Therapy Dog, and is my co-therapist. He is an Australian Shepherd

who can help guide you through life’s trailblocks with his empathic and sassy attitude. When we

are not at Grace, we are either in our garden, hiking the trails, or on our ministry work. Clover

and I have been called to ministry work where we share our love to assisted living facilities. In

the future, with additional credentials, we are being called to assist in hospice work and end of

life facilities.

I am very passionate about alternative forms of therapy that allows the whole of a person to

experience Nature, who is a tremendous healer. Horticultural therapy is a connection to nature by

facilitating the sensory experience through the power of the garden. Forest therapy is absorbing

and grounding with the animals and trees while exploring our purpose in life. Both horticultural

therapy and forest therapy teaches mindfulness and helps minimize trauma by connecting with

the natural healing of plants with the healing process of therapy work. Animal therapy is a

hands-on approach where clients are given the space to project and analyze their situations, make

connections, and find their solutions that are personally experienced in conjunction with

intellectual understanding with animals.

I am also very passionate about Career Counseling. Career Counseling develops individuals for

an understanding of the world of work in order to make career, educational, and life decisions at

any stage of life.  

I believe that everyone strives to become successful and to grow. I believe that changing

negative thoughts to more appropriate feelings help increase the quality of life and the ability to

make choices that result in healthy, positive lives. I believe that people are self-determining and

have control over their behavior and choices. I believe that all people have goodness and, given

the right environment, strive towards self-actualization. I believe that all people have the will and

the ability to change their lives and actions by finding meaning and value.

I have experience in Outdoor Education with a Field Biology and Forest Work emphasis, and

hold a Master’s Degree in Outdoor Education. I also hold a Special Education Master’s degree

specializing in Learning Disability focusing on the biological factors of the Special Needs

population along with trauma and crisis work of special needs students. This experience extends

to the psychological needs of the military, both in the transition to civilian life and active duty.

Clover holds his AKC STAR Puppy and his AKC Canine Good Citizen certification.


  • Adults
  • Young adults
  • Elders
  • Veterans
  • Special Needs


  • Individual
  • In-Person
  • Outdoors
  • Online
  • Group

Common Issues Treated

  • PTSC
  • Veteran-Related Issues
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Career Counseling
  • Life Coaching
  • Video Game Addictions
  • Life Transitions
  • Trauma
  • Self-Esteem
  • Grief and Loss
  • Pet Loss
  • School Related Issues
  • Stress
  • Coping Skills
  • Peer Relationships
  • Special Needs Issues
  • Behavior Issues

Types of Therapy

  • Forest Therapy
  • Animal Assisted Therapy
  • Horticulture Therapy
  • Adlerian Therapy
  • Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy
  • Choice Therapy
  • Person Centered Therapy
  • Existentialism
  • Gestalt Therapy
  • Solution Focused Brief Therapy
  • Mindfulness Based Therapy
  • Humanistic Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Trauma Focused Therapy
  • Play Therapy
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
  • Positive Psychology
  • Cognitive Processing Therapy
  • Grief Therapy