Dr. Merriman offers psychotherapy for adults
who wish to suffer less.
As Haruki Murakami wrote,
"Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional."
DR. LESLIE MERRIMAN
PHD, MS, MS
Dr. Merriman takes a humanistic and contemplative approach to therapy, drawing from other traditions when helpful.
She aims to help you help yourself, by holding a therapeutic space that supports you
in cultivating insight, acceptance, responsibility, and compassion for self and others.
When we face ourselves and our challenges authentically in this way, truth is easier to discern,
and real and lasting change is possible.
Whatever brings you to therapy, Dr. Merriman's goal remains the same:
to help reduce suffering, and by doing so, help to create a more peaceful, moral, joyful world for all beings -
starting with ourselves.
See below for more information about Dr. Merriman's background and approach,
and a link to inquire further or schedule a free 15-minute consult.
WHAT ARE YOUR CREDENTIALS?
Dr. Leslie Merriman is a licensed psychologist. She holds a doctorate and master's in Counseling Psychology from Colorado State University (fully accredited by the American Psychological Association). She graduated summa cum laude, receiving distinction for both her dissertation work on the subject of compassion, and her performance on the ethics oral comprehensive exam.
She has been providing psychotherapy for over 10 years. Additionally, she has worked as an adjunct professor providing graduate clinical supervision for counseling psychology PhD students, facilitated compassion training workshops and wellness groups for adolescents on the autism spectrum, been a member of several research labs, and worked for various clinical entities: community health clinics, residential centers, hospitals, university counseling centers, and a group private practice specializing in neurospychological assessment.
Dr. Merriman completed two years of pre- and post-doctoral training in Clinical Psychology at the VHA (Veterans Health Administration) in Albuquerque (also fully accredited by the APA), where she worked in outpatient, inpatient, and residential units associated with the VA and Indian Health Services hospitals.
She holds an additional master’s degree in Evolutionary and Developmental Psychology from the University of New Mexico, and a B.A. degree in English (with honors; minor in psychology) from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
WHY IS IT CALLED "METTAWELL"?
Dr. Merriman is drawn to meta-perspectives on psychology. She is curious about what’s beyond any one particular stance, method, or narrative within psychology, and seeks to look at things from different angles, noticing different dimensions.
She has been trained in Western-and-European, science-and-evidence-based, Clinical and Counseling psychology, but has abiding interests in several other traditions for understanding human health, emotion, behavior, spirit, and mind, including: Zen Buddhism, Ayurveda, Curanderismo, Traditional Chinese Medicine, neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, and transpersonal psychology.
Dr. Merriman is humbled by the diversity of thought and scholarship about human flourishing, and works to view things through a lens that is both “meta” (above and beyond; aware of itself) and “metta” (loving and kind). From an open-minded, open-hearted stance, therapy is a way to dip into the well of our human experience, which provides plenty of grist for the mill of our awakening into better versions of ourselves. The name “MettaWell” reflects these values and the mission of Dr. Merriman’s practice.
WHAT IS YOUR SPECIALTY?
Dr. Merriman is a generalist. She works with adults from all walks of life, facing various challenges. At this time she offers one on one therapy with adults, via teletherapy (video chat, from your home or office, to mine). You will need a working internet connection and a device capable of video technology (like a laptop, tablet, or smartphone).
Dr. Merriman also has expertise in providing comprehensive psychological assessment and neuropsychological testing for children and adults. She is qualified and experienced in providing integrative psychological evaluations, which can provide diagnostic clarity and treatment recommendations for issues such as mood disorders, learning disorders, developmental disorders (including autism spectrum disorder), PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), personality disorders, etc. However, she generally avoids working within a medical model that sometimes pathologizes the scope of normal human behavior. If you have a diagnostic or assessment related concern, questions can be addressed and discussed within the context of therapy. Dr. Merriman is not offering formal assessment services at this time.
I’VE NEVER DONE THERAPY BEFORE. WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT?
Engaging in psychotherapy is to engage in the art of learning how to address our suffering in the present moment, by taking into account the context of our internal and external worlds.
If you have clear goals for psychotherapy, great— we’ll explore them and collaborate to help you manifest wellness. If you are feeling lost or uncertain about why you are seeking therapy or what it can do for you— also great— sometimes our path is obscured, and therapy can help to clarify the way. Therapy is not a “one size fits all” endeavor, and looks different for different folks, at different moments.
Dr. Merriman takes a humanistic, compassion-based, integrative approach. She views her role as a facilitator and strives to create an environment in therapy that is attentive, relaxed, personal, direct, and unpretentious. Therapy usually begins in an exploratory way. An arc of therapy is sometimes eclectic, or at other times more narrowly focused or structured; sometimes short-term, other times longer. It all depends on your own needs and how we connect.
Dr. Merriman is happy to discuss her process with you so that you can empower yourself as a consumer of therapy. If it turns out you may benefit from a specific form of therapy that she is not well-versed in, she will try to provide you with an appropriate referral.
WHAT IS A “HUMANISTIC AND CONTEMPLATIVE APPROACH”?
Dr. Merriman’s brand of humanistic psychology draws from transpersonal, existential, and evolutionary perspectives about human behavior. This is a holistic approach that honors the realities of human experience, as well as the potentials for the human spirit. She takes inspiration from psychologists, scientists, philosophers, and spiritual teachers including: William James, Charles Darwin, Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., Carl Rogers, Victor Frankl, Rollo May, Marshall Rosenberg, Ram Dass, Indigenous leaders, and Buddhist teachers.
A contemplative approach incorporates Eastern and Buddhist perspectives into psychotherapy. Dr. Merriman is a lay practitioner of Zen Buddhism. She has studied compassion and empathy from Eastern and Western viewpoints, and lived a monastic lifestyle in community with other practioners of the Rinzai and Soto Zen dharma traditions. She is currently a resident at Maitreya Abbey, studying and practicing Zen Buddhism at the Great Mountain Zen Center. Dr. Merriman can provide guidance and education about mindfulness and meditation, and enjoys integrating spiritual and existential problems into psychotherapy.
OTHER PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES
Leslie is the Co-Director of a non-profit organization called Church of Beethoven- NoCo. We present a non-religious, 1-hour performance of classical music and spoken word art, modeled after a Sunday church service (originally held in an abandoned gas station, sustained via donations from a hat passed around). The Church of Beethoven seeks to nurture spirituality and community through the cultural gifts of classical music, poetry, and a 2-minute celebration of silence. Leslie became involved with this non-profit around the time of its inception in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 2008. You can learn more about this project at the following link: www.churchofbeethoven-noco.com
Leslie is a yoga teacher and organizer. Previously, METTAWELL hosted a “Wellness + Wine” program to support the combination of mindful movement and community connections in the setting of a vineyard and winery.
Dr. Merriman occasionally facilitates compassion training workshops. These are based upon her dissertation research, which sought to explore the true nature of compassion and empathy, and methods for caretakers to avoid the experience of vicarious trauma and burnout. Workshops blend evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, and art with contemplative, Buddhist approaches to understanding compassion. They are offered for anyone wishing to bring more compassion to their interactions.
Currently, Dr. Merriman is in the midst of a 2-year apprenticeship with a curandera in southern New Mexico, learning about the history, art and science of Curanderismo. Via an oral shamanic tradition, she is supplementing her knowledge of holistic health and wellness to include healing practices from the Maya of Mexico, Naga Maya of India, and pre-Inca people of Peru. This includes the study of Ayurveda, plant-based medicines, Indigenous approaches to working with grief such as via Dia de los Muertos celebrations, and more.