SHANA MELNYSYN, PHD
Anthropologist, Historian, Writer, Evolving Somatic Guide & Healer
Accessible, sliding-scale services in Peer Support, Somatic Awareness, and Psychedelic Integration.
Come grow with me as I develop my offerings!
WHAT I DO
I offer peer support on a sliding scale from $45-85/hour. We'll start with a free 15-minute video call so we can discuss your goals, get acquainted, and decide if it feels like a fit. Different than a licensed psychotherapist, I offer a more intimate, casual container for somatically-informed, compassionate, engaged, active listening. I can help you develop tools to gently quiet the stories swirling around in your mind. By reconnecting you with the felt sense of being in your body, you can master nervous system regulation and take control of your emotional reactivity. You can develop the capacity to self-regulate during moments of overwhelm or distress.
My training as an anthropologist allows me to listen with deep attunement to the nuances of the stories you share with me. Ethnography, the main methodology used by cultural anthropologists, is the art of engaged listening and empathic connection to people as they share their thoughts, beliefs, and stories with you. Anthropology as a way of knowing the world also grants a deep and nuanced understanding of the systemic cultural and economic forces that create the conditions of human existence on planet earth today.
In this late capitalist landscape, an increasing number of us feel the pressures of environmental catastrophe, and we all suffer in unseen ways from the collective disconnection from nature. The pervasive cultural values of hyper-individualism, excessive screen time, mounting economic inequality, persistent racism, white supremacy, and patriarchal ideology bog us down as we try to move through the world. Many of us have lost our connection to ritual, dance, cooperation, food production, artistic expression–all the raw, earthly things that defined our human condition for millennia.
A crucial outgrowth of these conditions is a profound sense of disconnection from our bodies. Cultural norms emphasizing intellect, analysis, and language-based forms of expression have meant that talk therapy is generally the most accepted approach to healing mental and emotional distress. But I want to help you connect to your deep cultural knowledge, which resides in all of us, and remembers the wisdom of the body. Through gentle prompts, somatic modalities can help us approach our emotions through the lens of the sensations in the body. We often spin narratives that keep us stuck in undesirable cycles. Beyond these stories, lasting relief can be found on the level of the very cells in your body. You have the power to bring healing to those wordless places of tenderness and tightness, and it would be my honor to help guide you there.
Curious? Have questions about whether these offerings might be right for you? Book a free 15-minute Intro Session!
My education and trainings:
PhD in Anthropology and History (University of Michigan)
MA in Social Sciences (University of Chicago)
Somatic Attachment Therapy Certificate (The Embody Lab) - Feb-June 2023
200 hours intensive somatic & psychedelic training (Center for Consciousness Medicine)
The Guiding Presence (online training program for working with expanded states of consciousness)
Workshop with Dr. Peter Levine: Mind, Brain, and Body in the Transformation of Trauma
Reiki Level 1 certification
WHO I AM
Welcome! I am following the call to cultivate and share what I have to offer the world. I've tried to ignore it for too long. I've been through the ringer of academia and have a PhD in anthropology and history from the University of Michigan and MA in social sciences from University of Chicago. My dissertation research in Angola, which explored the micro-level social dynamics of an anti-colonial uprising, was funded by a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship. I worked in a hybrid admin/academic position for almost four years before leaving in July 2021 to pursue a path that's more aligned with my values, because despite my academic success, I no longer felt at home in a university context.
I decided the feeling in my bones was screaming out to me. The world feels too fragile and too precarious to go along with the relentless and often mindless push for normative "productivity" any longer. It's time for us to help each other, and to liberate ourselves and in the process. Capitalism, rooted in the hateful and destructive logics of colonialism and white supremacy, has driven us to the brink of societal collapse. I want everything I do with my time on this earth to reflect the preciousness and sacredness of the human experience, and to help people find more balance within their daily lives.
I am ready to bring my unique combination of experiences and gifts (and abundant love!) to the world through my own unique form of care work. I want to reimagine what support, therapy, wisdom and guidance can look like in a world that desperately needs reimagining. I have worked as a nanny, a team leader, a teacher, an administrator, and a researcher in Brazil, Angola, Portugal, and Mozambique. I'm fluent in Portuguese, proficient in Spanish, and adept at cross-cultural connection and understanding. Healing, writing, teaching, and facilitating are my gifts—I work hard to make others feel seen and heard. I don't plan to stop learning and growing for as long as I live.
From April-December 2021, I trained in somatic therapy and guidance for clients working with expanded states of consciousness, including psychedelics. On an ongoing basis, I am reading, learning, listening, and developing the tools to hold a powerful healing container, and will be engaging in various trainings to enhance my offerings. I am developing the skills to offer psychedelic integration. The Guiding Presence is one of many training resources I incorporate into my work with clients. I am also certified in Reiki Level 1, and have a deeply intuitive sense of people's energy. I'm building my knowledge of astrology and tarot and can bring elements of these knowledge frameworks into our sessions. I believe in the power of sound healing, and have two crystal singing bowls I can play for you. I am learning elements of Slavic witchcraft and traditional magic as I connect more deeply to my Ukrainian roots. I have also been practicing vinyasa yoga for over 12 years. Yoga was the beginning of my somatic journey, though I only realized it years later!
I ABSOLUTELY LIVE to witness, hold, and support diverse people in all their precious beauty, complexity, and suffering. Sometimes all we need is for someone to see us. I make it my mission to see you in your fullness, your vulnerability, and your power as a human being.
INTEGRITY AND EMPATHY
You can trust me to keep my word and act in alignment with my intuition. I believe presence and witness are the most valuable things we can offer other humans. My innate ability to deeply attune and "feel with" with others is a gift in these times where so many people feel alone. I am choosing to lead with it and accept it as my soul's purpose.
JUSTICE AND CURIOSITY
I am committed to the ongoing development of the ethics which guide all of my work, and believe that enacting kind and just treatment in interpersonal relations can be a political act in the service of a broader collective growth. I try to approach everything with a spirit of humility and willingness to learn and have my mind changed by new perspectives.
JOY AND REST
Capitalism depends upon our constant distraction and disconnection from ourselves and each other. I believe that stepping back, slowing down, and resting are radical acts in this society at this moment. Witnessing and holding each other in our human fragility and vulnerability are essential to our individual and collective healing.