The biggest surprise of Melissa Goates Jones’ life happened when she became a mother. “I found myself absolutely blown away by how much I loved being a mother,” she says on Aspiring Mormon Women. “I expected that I would have children because that’s what I ‘should do.’ I had no idea that being a mother would be something for which I felt a deep…longing.” As a career woman and a PhD, she says that this realization was “disorienting.” “Suddenly I was faced with feeling like my interest and passion was split between two important and exciting opportunities,” she says. Her traversal of that division has become, over the years, something she’s embraced. She teaches about women’s issues in their careers. She is also a new professor in our psychology department and a psychologist in private practice, where she helps many others seeking to find balance in their lives.
To a certain extent, she says that finding balance may come for some by embracing the possibility that the perfect balance does not exist. “The stress I feel at arranging carpools, throwing together dinner for my family, and struggling to prepare for that early-morning lecture after the kids are in bed has become a testament to the privilege I enjoy of being able to arrange my life around the things I care for the most.”
In her role as a faculty member, she researches issues in women’s health, especially surrounding abuse and trauma. She looks at how the psychotherapy process and outcome affects women’s career development. She leads a group for women survivors of sexual abuse. Of that role, she says:
“Survivors will have a large variety of emotions, and those emotions will change and develop in the hours, days, weeks, months, and years following the assault. Recent research by Rebecca Campbell at Michigan State University suggests that survivors of sexual assault may respond in a variety of ways that do not always make sense to the observer because of how trauma affects memory, cognition, and emotion. These effects can last for 96 hours after the assault AND be evident whenever memory of the assault is triggered.”
She also teaches several psychology classes, and next semester she will teach an integrative psychology practicum as well as clinical research in psychology. She received her PhD in Counseling Psychology from the University of Maryland after completing her undergraduate degree in from BYU. Professor Jones is from Canada, has been married to Marshall Jones for thirteen years, and has four children.