Progressive Psychotherapy

Our Team

Debra Franklin, LCSW

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Debra Franklin, LCSW, created Progressive Psychotherapy™ She developed the Heart Path Therapy™ approach and offers training in Heart Path Therapy to therapists in Connecticut and NY. She provides psychotherapy to individuals, couples, and families in Ellenville, NY and distance therapy and coaching online and by phone for other locations. She travels to Connecticut and Golden Drum, Brooklyn (see to facilitate Spiritual Empowerment and Family Constellations, and other healingmworkshops, as well as individual healing sessions.

Debra has 30 years of psychotherapeutic experience with adults, families, children, groups, and couples since receiving her MSW from Smith College. She trains and supervises therapists under Progressive Psychotherapy. She and other Progressive Psychotherapy therapists are inspiring a growing community in Hartford County and the Golden Drum in Ellenville, NY. Her work and personal and spiritual development is inspired by the guidance of her spiritual teacher, Maestro Manuel Rufino who created the Golden Drum community.

Credentials & Education:
Licensed Clinical Social Worker, MSW, Smith College School for Social Work
Post Graduate Certificate in Child Treatment, Boston University
Certificate in Totem Pole Imagery Process, Institute for Visualization Research
Certificate of Training in Family Constellations
Training in PSYCH-K®
Training in Metaphoric Resonance by Hugh and Vogue Smith
Training in Henry Grayson’s Energy Psychology
Training in Family Constellations by Bert Hellinger
Former Columnist for Holistic Health Publications
Past President of the Connecticut Holistic Health Association


 Melissa Shute, MS, BCH

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Melissa Shute, MS, BCH is a mental health counselor and resident NGH board certified hypnotist at Progressive Psychothriller. Melissa earned her master’s degree in clinical and counseling psychology and is completing her internship for licensure as an LPC. She is certified in Advanced Hypnotherapy, Five-Phase Advanced Transformations Hypnosis (5-PATH), as a Self-Hypnosis Instructor, Stress Reduction Facilitator, Complete Cellular Mind and Body Alignment (CCMBA), Access Consciousness Bars Practitioner, and Laughter Yoga.

Melissa uses techniques such as Heart Path Therapy, Positive Psychology, Inner Child Work, and client specific guided meditations. Melissa is also a motivational speaker within the community. Using a combination of her background and skills, Melissa has a wide variety of options to meet her client’s needs.


Kristen Larson-Samalus, LCSW

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Kristen Larson-Samalus, LCSW is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with more than 20 years in the human service field. She has been working with all ages and concerns through Heart Path
Therapy™, mindfulness, teaching, Motivational Therapy, CBT, art, music, and play. She is solution focused and helps people transform the root of their difficulties, including inner child work and guided imagery. She works with people individually, as a family, and in groups.

Kristen is Tobacco Treatment Specialist, Community organizer, Reiki practicioner, Cacao facilitator, Authentic Games facilitator, and Creator of the Untold Stories Project. Her focus is on a community connection, integrative and multicultural practice of compassionate healing and growth.

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