Gretchen L. Schmelzer, PhDProfile Photo

Gretchen L. Schmelzer, PhD

Licensed Psychologist and Author

Gretchen Schmelzer, PhD is a licensed psychologist and the author of Journey Through Trauma (Penguin Random House, 2018). She is a trauma survivor, who has worked for twenty-five years with the complex issues of trauma, integration and behavior change across every level of system from individuals, to groups, to large systems and countries, including her role as the expert consultant for documentary film The Silence which aired on April 19, 2011 on Frontline regarding priest sexual abuse in an Alaska Native Village to ensure adequate resources for viewers and for proper follow on support for trauma survivors.

She has worked with individuals and groups in large clinics, and clinics in housing projects, in residential treatment facilities, on psychiatric units and medical hospital units, and in private practice. Her work includes over a decade of working with traumatized children and adolescents in residential treatment and psychiatric units.

She completed her psychology training internship as a Harvard Medical School Fellow at the Cambridge Health Alliance, and completed her post-doctoral training with adults at UMASS Medical Center, specializing in mindfulness-based treatment completing a fellowship at the Center for Mindfulness started by Jon-Kabat Zinn. Her trauma work integrates the developmental attachment work from treating children and the mindfulness work from treating traumatic health issues. In 2001, Gretchen was featured in the Mass Psychologist for her work on Women’s Wellness—a groups that integrated treatment of mind-body-spirit across a wide range of psychiatric diagnoses.

Since 2002, Dr. Schmelzer has also been a senior consultant with Teleos Leadership Institute, an international consulting firm serving leaders of fortune 100 businesses and major not-for-profit organizations such as the United Nations. Her expertise in long term trauma was used to inform the design and delivery of a four year large scale intervention for the UN in Cambodia. She and her colleagues worked with 150 leaders each year who were survivors of the Khmer Rouge in a large scale leadership initiative to strengthen the county’s response to HIV/AIDS. The program integrated work in self-awareness and self-regulation, gender issues, communication skills, relational skills and action learning. This program was rated one of the most successful leadership development programs run through the United Nations Development Program by an independent research team.

She is a member of the American Psychological Association and Massachusetts Psychological Association and was the editor of the MassPsych Journal from 2003 – 2008; the journal of the Massachusetts Psychological Association. She has delivered Keynote speeches at the Child Maltreatment Conference in Anchorage, Alaska and National Association of Social Workers on the impact of repeated trauma. She has presented at the annual conferences of The American Group Therapy Association, Northeast Society of Group Psychotherapy, American Psychological Association, Association for Applied Sport Psychology, and University of Colorado at Boulder. She was faculty and adjunct faculty in the department of Counseling Psychology at Northeastern University from 2002 to 2007, and adjunct Faculty at the University of South Florida Medical School through their SELECT program from 2011-2015 and faculty at the Brookings Institute from 2010-2020 and is currently adjunct faculty in the Penn GSE MedEd Program.

Since October 2014 she is the founder and editor of The Trail Guide, a web-mag featured on dedicated to healing repeated trauma.