I’m Maria Mellano, an ontological psychotherapist and performance coach. I am a certified psychodramatist and trained in internal family systems, dialectical behavioral therapy and somatic trauma healing. I work with individuals from all walks of life to unearth their true expression allowing for a life in full bloom. Through personal healing and professional experience, I have created a path for health regeneration called The Bloom Way - which you're invited to learn more about below:
What is The Bloom Way?
The Bloom Way guides clients to awaken and harness their innate power for health regeneration which organically allows for a life they authentically love. Built on decades of personal growth and professional experience, the Bloom Way invites you to approach your pain as an initiation into healing your shadow which is a regenerative opportunity for restoring whole health. As an ally in your evolutionary growth, instead of the enemy, using pain as a catalyst for consciousness awakening, your suffering can lead to breakthroughs that actualize sweet fulfillment of a life in bloom.
I work with clients to find their voice, express their authenticity, and strengthen their lives from within. By clarifying and transmuting fear and the blocks those create, by bringing awareness to what needs to be known, this allows for illumination from within that is seeking to emerge. Nothing catalyzes the desire for relief like a broken heart, causing ripples of pain throughout the body. When we courageously and creatively acknowledge pain as an opportunity for whole heart healing on the deepest level we can access, what love has to teach us becomes available to us for living aligned with our heart and soul. When we apply key practices using techniques to align the nervous system with flow activating our natural healing capacities, we can heal and evolve through pain achieving resilience and true growth. This is health regeneration which allows for alchemizing our painful experiences into golden treasures of the heart.
The Bloom Way is an Eight-Stone Path that I invite you to read about below:
The Eight-Stone Path of The Bloom Way:
The Bloom Way Eight-Stone Path:
Stone One: Rooted Embodiment | transmute fear, shame, and resistance.
Embodiment, grounding, and centering in the present are where we all must start our healing journey. Frankly, not much is possible as long as we are operating disconnected from and outside of our bodies. The body is the skin-encapsulated vessel we have been granted as humans as the vehicle for our existence. It behooves us to be in it for the ride! This work of embodiment aligns us with the root chakra energy center from within, using connection through the earth element for foundational support. It also aligns with core themes of safety, survival, and existence. This is the grounding home of the I AM presence. And as we root deeply into the heart of the earth from this consciousness of presence, we activate our connection to all that’s come before us and anchor as the light of our unique vibration from this powerful place of synchronizing with Gaia’s pulse. In this and with this, we can feel safely connected and embodied.
Stone Two: Know and Be ThySelf | transmute guilt and regret.
Self-differentiation and knowing thyself is essential to living in alignment with our unique calling for purposeful living and a meaningful life. We cannot live as ourselves if we do not truly know ourselves. And, most of us going about our lives think what we think about who we are is the truth. But, in truth, the story is infused and informed by introjects and adaptations to constraints from the ego finding its way to safety in a world that feels dangerous. Getting to know oneself in the truest sense is what allows for being oneself. This is the natural next step along the path following the I AM-ness of being rooted and grounded in the earth. It is what allows for an authentic life. This is the work aligned with the element of water in the sacral chakra. And, we cannot differentiate ourselves without some separateness. This work of feeling, with the grief that can accompany truly becoming ourselves and individuating as such, is essential to blooming a life you love. It is also essential to practice awareness of what’s being felt because feeling creates our experience. Boundaries between self and others, and internally between self and parts, are essential. And transmuting feelings as they emerge and uncoupling and unwinding them from beliefs and thought patterns is necessary. Think of the sacral chakra as a kind of empathy control center. It aligns with the flow of the water element and nourishes creative potential. It needs to remain balanced, clear, and clean, with secure boundaries and inflow to be healthy.
Stone Three: Align with Light | transmute anger, rebellion, and reactivity.
Rooted in the earth and nourished by the flow of water, present, and feeling, we can attune to the light within, to ourselves and our intuition even more deeply. From within our identities’ parts and pieces, we access our will and Self-identity. We plugin and activate this energy center for action, will, and willingness. Through initiating action, we become and create our life. This chakra aligns with the element of fire located in the solar plexus area of the body - our center for passion, empowerment, and identity development.
These ground-level chakras are core, initial, and foundational stones along The Bloom Way as they lay the infrastructure for our journey. We cannot be effective in our lives if we are numb to our feelings, disconnected, pretending, out of our bodies, and shut off from our innate power flame center (our raison d’etre) within. This has always reminded me of the fire that could never stay doused within Howl’s Moving Castle in that Miyazaki film.
Stone Four: Choose True Nourishment | transmute pain, sadness, grief, and resentment.
Growing on the infrastructure of the balanced, healthy, unburdened, and unblocked lower three chakras, we ascend into heart-centered awareness and compassion-led living. Choosing consciously through alignment with the heart that is balanced with the gut and the mind, we discover true nourishment. This is the next stone in The Bloom Way path, made possible once foundational grounding, balanced empathy, and will are held in integrity. Opening the heart by embracing pain as a key ally is the hope merchant’s pitch. Choosing consciously to nourish ourselves and addressing pain for healing purposes is the essential perspective that changes everything. Instead of numbing our pain, we must name, offer compassion towards and heal our pain. Aligned with the element of air, allowing the pain to fuel growth and catalyze change, and using the lifeline of breath to support this process, we can transform. The heart chakra's work of transmuting pain into the treasure of connection and the ability to be able to experience love and connection more deeply brings true fortune - treasures of the heart - the most valuable of all.
Stone Five: Offering Light to Shadow | transmute blocks to expression.
Self-defeating patterns are part of the journey for us all as they are ever-present as functions of adapting. Most importantly, transmuting them is key. As we come into an authentic expression of heart-aligned living, it is necessary to let go of old ways of being that truly no longer serve and in fact, limit. Otherwise, we stay stuck in dungeons of doubt - lack, loneliness, limitation, and loss. Embracing who we truly are is the essential element to living an authentically happy life. Evermore deeply coming into an authentic expression of ourselves means allowing evermore light of our awareness to enter consciousness; this light is offered to shadow for creative healing expression. This juncture on the journey aligns with the throat chakra energy center and with the theme of finding and expressing our truth and voice from there. Ether is the associated transformational element. Ether can put you to sleep, fuel a fire, and/or support clarity and transmutation. An essential element for healing, Ether, in a spiritual sense, is an elemental tool for cosmic surgery.
Stone Six: Access Inner Power | transmute blocks to intuition and perception.
Continuing to build upon this phenomenal energy body infrastructure, we enter the sacred mind of the sixth chakra. From here we sit in a powerful seat of healthy detachment. With a perspective, not controlled by stale, old, and outdated conditioning, contracts, or agreements that no longer serve, we can feel a connection with our intuition and embrace true empowerment. We access our sacred mind’s power within and perceive and discern from there. True power arises in activating the brain through the sixth chakra associated with the pituitary gland. This has master healing potential. This true power comes in releasing limiting thought forms and embracing mindset work to support manifesting desired outcomes.
Stone Seven: Hold Heartful Space | transmute blocks to connection with all that is.
Heartful space comes through practicing brave boundaries both on the inside with ourselves and on the outside with others. Holding space this way requires wisdom and strength, the kind that comes from aligning with the power of our crown within - our 7th chakra, or crown chakra. This is our energy center reminding us that we are connected with all that is. It is aligned with the pineal gland: the master regulator. Activating the collaboration between the pituitary and the pineal glands and aligning collaboration with the universal Divine forces for transformation ensures that this chakra is in healthy flow and supercharges transformational and healing manifestations. This connects us to our soul’s purpose.
Stone Eight: Shine Through Wholeness | transmute blocks to oneness and wholeness.
Harmonizing into wholeness, being, and living your unique brilliance - this would be the destination if there were one. But, there isn’t. We are always growing, whether simply becoming older and oblivious to the ways of the soul, or older (and wiser) awakening to the wisdom and seasoning that is possible with consciousness-raising work. Once the gut, heart, and mind are aligned with the ego and soul collaborating, I imagine them all holding hands in alliance for the greatest good of the whole Self. Through Higher Self leadership, one can live alive and wholesome, luminously, and harmoniously. This is where the sweet nectar of the journey is found.
Learn about my practice here:
Welcome to learning more about my practice.
I'm an experiential somatic psychotherapist and transformational life coach with decades of professional experience. I'm licensed in Massachusetts as an LICSW (Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker). I received my MSW at Smith College in '99 and trained at Harvard teaching hospitals: Cambridge Health Alliance and Massachusetts General Hospital, among other institutions and agencies. I have worked in all levels of care in the Boston, MA area with individuals, couples, and families with major mental illness, eating disorders, and addiction. I am also a certified psychodrama practitioner.
I work with clients of all walks of life, but mainly who have a history of trauma, disordered eating and body experiences who are committed to their recovery path. I am collaborative as a firm believer in the saying, "it takes a village." In recovery, it truly does. No one can do this alone.
I did most of my training for psychodrama at the Hudson Valley Psychodrama Institute and Omega Theater. I'm internal family systems (IFS) Level II trained and passionate about integrating psychodrama with IFS, both extremely powerful modalities for transformation. I'm also trained in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) which is extremely useful for skills acquisition and application. The foundation for my work is informed by polyvagal, attachment and somatic theory and practices.
I utilize these approaches and modalities to help clients identify patterns that are self-defeating and undermining success. In our work, we move toward meaningful, sustainable change to realize your desired outcomes for actualizing a fulfilling life you authentically love. I also incorporate elements of life coaching to help clients attain tangible results for progressing in their everyday lives. As a certified psychodramatist, I can implement this powerful expressive arts modality - even online this method is extremely effective. This approach may be particularly helpful for clients who are struggling to reach a breakthrough with traditional talk therapy. Psychodrama brings a power to the work that can expedite breakthroughs like nothing else.
What is psychodrama?
Psychodrama is an expressive arts therapy that translates as bringing the soul into action, psyche meaning soul and drama meaning action. It was originated by Dr. JL Moreno and further developed by his wife Zerka. Psychodrama brings to life what otherwise might remain unconscious through powerful experiential techniques.
What is IFS?
Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy was innovated by Dr. Richard Schwartz. It's a method of therapy that honors multiplicity of Self including core, essential or infinite Self that is assumed to be present in all of us. IFS honors that we all have parts that serve purposeful roles. Some parts developed with burdens through constraints and conditioning that can block Self-leadership. The intent of IFS is to harmonize the system by unburdening wounded and burdened parts so they may heal and be free to live spontaneously and harmoniously as they are meant. IFS is an experiential and attachment based method that allows for deep healing and living mindfully in the present moment.
What is a typical session like?
A typical session is about 50\55 minutes. We begin by settling into the present moment often with a short moment for pausing, breathing and calling in Self energy. This is done with attention towards getting a sense of what you want to focus on. What’s most present for you is the priority as you and your priorities guide the work. I hold space for whatever is needed, moment to moment. Sometimes what's needed is deeper healing of a part. Sometimes what's needed is coaching and skills building to address a difficult situation. Most of the time focus on boundaries, self-expression, emotional processing and communication is needed. I also hold space for accountability from session to session for desired outcomes, goals and intentions. My style is active, warm and down to earth. My intent is to bring awareness to honoring your deepest needs, cultivating conscious living and a lifestyle based on true nourishment for living a fulfilling life of impact.
Who are your clients?
Though I work with people of all genders and all age ranges from all walks of life, I have worked mostly with adult women, individuals though have extensive group, family, and couple's experience.
Where is your practice based? And, how do we meet?
My practice is based at 100 Summer Street, Suite 1600, Boston, MA, 02110. My license: #111055. Currently, all my sessions are conducted remotely using Zoom.