Melissa is outstanding! She’s an expert in a variety of coaching techniques and is especially experienced in IFS, an approach that has been life changing for me.
I feel total comfort around her and am able to open myself up without feeling any judgement or anxiety. She’s helped me gain a much deeper understanding about my life and has given me the tools to keep myself centered through the toughest of times. If you’re in a difficult place in life or simply want to go deeper, I cannot recommend her more.
— André Marques, MS, senior design engineer, entrepreneur
To say Melissa is one of the most influential people in my life almost seems like an understatement.
She is the embodiment of authenticity and empathy. IFS isn't just something she does, it is a part of who she is.
I've had the privilege of knowing Melissa for 16 years and never once has there been a challenge she could not help me overcome. Whether it was the existential crisis of my 11-year-old self grasping with the reality of a terror attack one fateful September or the first time a friend died, Melissa's tact and incredible insight always helped me find my way into the light.
Melissa is truly dedicated to helping others understand their own day-to-day journey through life and forge their own path to emotional happiness. In the truest sense of the word, she is awesome.
Harrison C. Rothman, Producer, Filmmaker • www.badforkids.tv
When Melissa first introduced me to her style of coaching, Internal Family Systems, I was a little skeptical. However, once she explained some theory and we tried working with the IFS model, it absolutely clicked for me. Her approach excels at making sense of conflicting feelings. It became so much easier to focus and solve problems once I started working with Melissa.
As many of us know it's so easy to say we want to change, yet very hard to actually change. I felt such relief to find that mental blocks (which seemed so intractable) responded positively to Melissa's respectful acknowledgment and challenge. IFS work is gentle; there is no harsh "breaking down" of a person's defenses. Yet it is one of the most powerful techniques for personal growth that I have found.
"Aha!" moments come on fast and furious when I'm working with Melissa. She kindly and firmly challenges me and I leave each session with new insight and concrete skills.
If working with complicated emotions is like exploring a dark cave, working with Melissa is like bringing an experienced guide and an extra flashlight. You can go much faster, and it's much less scary!
—Lauren Spain-bondi, LMT, parenT
I am consistently blown away by Melissa’s coaching abilities. When she is coaching she is 110% focused and determined to help you resolve your issue and move forward to where you want to be. She is not only calm, compassionate and friendly, she is also genuinely committed to helping you reach your goals, and incredibly effective. I have learned new things about myself I never thought I’d learn, and have taken my life in directions I never thought it would go, and these things would not have been possible were it not for my time with Melissa.
As an example, Melissa encouraged me to audition for the Chicago Afrobeat Project. I was insecure about my bass playing and if I could perform at the same level as the musicians in the group. Melissa convinced me that I could, but more importantly, she convinced me that I was the level of person that they would want in their band. She helped me shift my focus away from looking at what I perceived to be deficiencies, towards a stronger perspective about myself. I remember she said something like, “Antonio, you may not be the exact caliber of musician that they are looking for, but I guarantee that you definitely surpass the caliber of person that they could hope for.”
Our coaching sessions definitely helped me present myself more confidently as a musician and as a person. During the audition I wasn’t so nervous; the voice in my head was more encouraging. I thought, “Well, if I mess up a note it’s not the end of the audition.” I had more confidence in the fact that I may mess up a note, but I could still be in the running because I have these other qualities. Because she helped me shift my thinking in this way, I was more relaxed during the audition, which helped me play better. I got the job, and fulfilled my dream of playing in famous venues in Chicago, touring around the states, and doing things I never thought I’d do musically.
— Antonio Carella, MS, senior Ios developer, www.codementor.io/acarella, musician
As a life coach you could not ask for a more effective combo of someone who has dug deep into her own life to “do her work” and also someone with the gifts of intuition, insight and intelligence to assist others in their journey. I have been blessed to have Melissa as a guide. Her clear vision helps me see where I’m going, yet she never takes over the process—she lets me find my own way out of the dark.
If you could do one thing right now to move yourself forward on your path in the most “fuel efficient” way, I would recommend the action step of calling Melissa and signing on to work with her!
— Gail Clinton, MD
I have worked with Melissa extensively and she is truly a superlative star in this work. Incredibly gifted and discerning, she can work through even the most overwhelming inner knots.
Melissa is incredibly skillful, compassionate and clear; her presence, intelligence and insight support me in getting to the heart of whatever issue is at hand. This level of coaching ability is rare and anyone who works with Melissa will experience profound shifts. I've been so impressed with Melissa's authenticity and willingness to really show up even in difficult moments. I wholeheartedly recommend her as a coach.
—Michelle Gaza, filmmaker
Melissa Sandfort has been instrumental in changing my life. Prior to working with Melissa I had serious pain in my shoulders from unresolved stress and emotions, I was chronically overworking, I had trouble with decision making, and I didn’t trust myself.
I have to admit that I was rather skeptical of working with Parts. I thought it would be tedious and annoying. Instead, I have come to find that IFS has an incredible system and it really works! I now love talking about my parts and even use the lingo and process in daily life.
One aspect that I particularly love about Melissa is her willingness to hear feedback. She will adjust to meet my needs as a regular course of action, or on a session-to-session basis. I can tell her that I don’t like something, or interrupt her because something is happening in my internal process.
The biggest skill that I have learned with Melissa’s help and guidance, is that everything happening internally, all my feelings, thoughts, desires, (all my Parts!) they are all there for a reason. They all have the same goal, of helping me live life. It’s just that some of these feelings, thoughts, and desires may not have useful skills for adult life, or the Parts may be in conflict with one another.
Melissa is a true expert at IFS technique. She eats, breathes and lives in this model of internal work. Because of her dedication and passion for this art form, she excels at holding space while I work internally. She is compassionate for every part I bring forward. She is unperturbed by anything I say or yell or whisper or cry out. She allows my process to unfold organically, and we have the most amazing sessions because of her brilliance and her ability to trust my instincts, even when I don’t trust myself. She offers theory and insight only when needed and otherwise lets me do the work. This quality alone, in my estimation, is a true gift for the soul of any seeker looking for self improvement.
My only quibble with the IFS process is that sometimes it can feel slow. However, the upside to this is that the transformative process is never shocking to the system. One only does as much as one can handle in a session so that no parts are left feeling abused or shocked by fast transformation. So really, my quibble is not a quibble after all. That is simply one part that doesn’t like to be patient.
Since working with Melissa, I now feel much more grounded, there is space and compassion and understanding for my parts, and I trust myself so much more. My sessions with Melissa are always a highlight in my week and I can’t recommend her highly enough!
—Marta lettofsky, mM, Performance and Creativity Coach • www.InnerArtistry.space
I met Melissa at a training and was immediately drawn by her warmth and playfulness. Months later, when some very rigid and controlling protectors came up I knew I needed help. Melissa quickly came to mind and we were quickly able to schedule a session using FaceTime.
The result of that single session was remarkable. We went in gently, quickly and deeply and I experienced remarkable healing. Protectors were able to disarm, an exile threw off her burden and was escorted to a safe place. It is some of the deepest healing I have ever experienced.
As a result of that single session I was able to return to the training program with Self-possession, an entirely different experience than when my internal protectors were active. I have never felt such freedom as a trainer.
Give it a try! Our new technology makes long distance healing a real possibility, and Melissa is truly gifted at this work.
—Sara Wright, LCSW, M.Div., ED.M, Psychotherapist • Sarawrightpsychotherapist.com
I have collaborated intensively with Melissa Sandfort for the better part of a year. She is consistently wise, hard working, on time, and insightful. Ms. Sandfort often sees problems with a refreshing creativity and unique perspective that is inspirational. Above all, she is devoted to seeing and telling the truth and helping her clients do the same.
—Charles Silberstein, MD
Rigorous and muscular intelligence, enormous clarity, efficiency and efficacy, crazy thorough with great follow through, clear and creative vision, kind and, in the service of growth and healing, ruthless. These are some of the descriptors that come to mind when I think of Melissa Sandfort.
In addition, Melissa is the rare person whose ferocious spirit has navigated and continues to navigate her dark places, who has culled and culls these dark places for hidden treasure, transmutes her suffering into glorious wisdom energy. She is willing and able to go with you wherever you wish or need to go.
If you are looking for a coach or healer, look no further.
Remember the ten thousand hour rule? Some years ago, Ms. Sandfort set out to become a master of the Internal Family System process and practice. She has immersed herself in the study and practice of IFS with the furious and inexorable force of a powerful river carving a path through the side of a mountain. If she has not already completed ten thousand hours of training, she is well on her way. I view IFS as a mode of being and thinking that fills an essential gap in the lineage of great wisdom and healing traditions. Ms. Sandfort’s years of study and practice means that she is a native in this precious and powerful place of healing and being.
In addition, she has been co-developing and co-exploring a beautiful IFS process and practice of using small puppets to externalize parts of self so that she, and her clients can, more efficiently and effectively, transform their relationship with their internal system. The outcome of working this way is a beautifully rich and rewarding inner community of parts, energies, flavors of the divine. With this kind of relationship with our inner community, our life is guided by our own rich inner wisdom and we can live a life that is deeply ecological, inside and out. We can live the life we have been given to live.
Anyone would count themself lucky to have Ms. Sandfort as a coach, healer, friend.
—David J. Stern, Psy.D
At age 57, my work with Melissa disproves the colloquialism that “people never change.” She has proven to me that people DO change. Every time I work with Melissa I cultivate a bit more compassion. This compassion fuels change within myself and my relationships with others, which enables me to change and continue to grow. She also helps me achieve greater clarity and lightness.
Melissa is a role model, mentor, educator, and inspirational guide.
Melissa has had a transformational impact that years of working with traditional downtown psychotherapists failed to achieve.
Melissa creates a safe atmosphere with her warm and open-hearted presence. Her wisdom and years of experience are a gift to anyone who works with her. Add her fun loving personality to the mix and you will want to return to her over and over again.
I've really grown so much in working with you. You've helped me develop a parts detector like nobody else. You also gave me a lot of inspiration and hope with this model.