Director of Family Growth Program Presents at National Conference


We are pleased to announce Melissa Boege, Director of the Family Growth Program of Monmouth and Ocean counties, presented a workshop today at the National Children’s Alliance Annual Leadership Conference: The Future of Possible.

Boege’s innovative presentation, Made of Marble: The Intersection of Media & #MeToo in Adolescent Trauma Therapy, explores the impact of the #MeToo movement on media, specifically on fictional female characters. Boege looks at superheroes, ordinary people, and everyone in between, and examines how their trauma and resilience reflect the experiences of real-world survivors. Boege explains how these concepts can be woven into trauma therapy to aid teen survivors, particularly adolescent females.

Learning about Strong Female Characters in Counseling

“Teens today are inspired by so many characters and various forms of social media,” said Boege. “Thanks to the internet, social media platforms and streaming services, there are characters to appeal to people who have different backgrounds and interests.” Boege notes that while the wealth of representation is a good thing for the diverse populations she serves, it can be challenging for clinicians to keep up with the different roles and story lines. And that’s not a bad thing. “This also gives us an opportunity to allow our teen clients to share their important media, characters and stories with us and connect it to the work that we’re doing in therapy. In some ways it allows for clinicians to be learners rather than simply teachers or guides and that can be really helpful from a therapeutic standpoint,” she said.

“I also was really inspired by Marvel Studio’s 2021 release ‘Black Widow,’ and was pleased by the many articles and reactions in the media that highlighted the idea that this was Marvel’s ‘#MeToo’ movie,” said Boege. The film, said Boege, gave Natasha Romanoff the backstory, depth, and sendoff that she deserved.

Specialized Trauma Counseling for Children

The Family Growth Program is a specialized clinical service for survivors of childhood abuse and trauma and their families and operates a satellite office at the Monmouth County Child Advocacy Center (CAC). Boege is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a National Certified Counselor. She is certified in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and trained in Problematic Sexual Behavioral Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for School Age Children and Preschool PTSD. Boege provides animal-assisted therapy to her clients, including those at the Monmouth County CAC, with facility dog Surf, a yellow lab trained and provided by Canine Companions.

The National Children’s Alliance is the national association and accrediting body for a CACs. The organization provides support, advocacy, quality assurance, and national leadership for CACs and works to eradicate abuse.

Click here for more information about the Family Growth Program.

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