Hi there and welcome!

My name is Melissa Kinney. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, psychotherapist and the owner of Smiling Sage Therapy.  The idea of therapy may feel tiring or intimidating or even conjure up some jadedness.  I will share with confidence that there is meaning in the suffering, in the dark places and where  the road turns.  It is a worthwhile journey to become the sorcerer of your life and learn to transform suffering into the fruitful energy you need to live the life that is meant for you. The essential qualities of your spirit are ready to rise and radiate with your attention with a little support and guidance.  I love working with people in all walks of life but some practice specialities include: trauma, addressing abandonment, struggles with anxiety and depression, relationship issues, life transitions, finding purpose, and ADHD. 


I was born in the beautiful bluegrass state of Kentucky and lived the second part of childhood in the suburbs of Chicago.  I have lived many other places, including North Carolina, New York, Florida, New Mexico, Colorado, Ireland, etc. Maybe you can tell I love to migrate. My kiddos are getting older so we finally have permanently settled (Did I say that?! Don’t quote me!) in Asheville, North Carolina; a home I adore.

Some education & work history:

I obtained my BA in Cultural Anthropology with Minors in Religious Studies, Eastern Studies, and Latin American Studies from Colorado State University. 
I traveled to Nepal and Thailand to study Buddhism and Hinduism as part of my Religious Studies curriculum. I completed my Masters in Social Work at Western New Mexico University. I am a Licensed Clinical Therapist (LCSW) in several states.  I have training in Spiritual Psychology, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Internal Family Systems, Positive Psychology, Mindfulness, and other therapeutic models and enjoy finding the common threads of healing in these different practices.  I am constantly learning, evolving, and updating my practice with the latest evidence-based practice and research in the field of mental health and neuroscience. I have practiced as a Clinical Therapist in schools, in homes, on pueblos, in psychiatric facilities, in emergency room departments, residential treatment centers, homeless shelters and in private practice. 

A little backstory:

I was raised by my father. I met my mother (again) when I was 28 years old and pregnant with my first child. My grandparents were a large part of my life growing up. My grandfather was a preacher at a big church in Nashville, TN.  He would take me with him to deliver meals for the elderly. I will never forget how he lit up their day with his enthusiasm and smile and how that brought him joy as well.    


I often reflect on the comfort provided by communities of faith.  From a young age I was praying, examining and questioning everything while attempting to find meaning in the heaviness of my personal life.  I was gifted with a ‘spiritual’ experience in my childhood where I was held in light by a guardian angel. This experience grounded me to a connection with something larger than myself and has had a guiding impact on my worldview.  It became clear to me that we are all birthed from the same source of unconditional love and non-judgment and that each soul has a unique calling and path to travel. 


I always appreciated my religious background, but a skeptical mind and curious heart led me to dig deeper into my own historical Christian roots and see it in new ways. I was also led to different parts of the world to better understand the universal truths and mythologies that weave through the world and the psyche and provide a guiding connection with one’s higher self.  This is the foundation for my approach and the passion that leads my life’s work as a social worker, psychotherapist, and healer.  



Please reach out, I look forward to learning your story and connecting with you!