Melvin Tillman, PhD, MA, LPC (Therapist)
Dr. Melvin Tillman first began seeing clients in graduate school in 2013. Since then, he has gained experience in many areas. Dr. Melvin Tillman (he/him/his) offers individual, couples, and family therapy, with a specialization in sex therapy. He currently works with clients struggling with anger, anxiety management, depression management, blended families, compulsive behaviors, financial issues, pornography issues, infidelity, panic, phobias, polyamory, self-esteem, sexual harassment, life transition, identity work, and sexual function/dysfunction. Additionally, Dr. Tillman runs an HSV support group on Wednesdays from 7-8pm.
Dr. Tillman joined the Center for Growth in 2016. He completed a one year, post-Masters fellowship with us and never left! In 2011, Dr. Tillman received his Bachelors in Psychology at the University of Illinois. He then continued his education at Northwestern University, where he obtained his Masters in Counseling. With a desire to further his therapeutic skills, Dr. Tillman attended Widener university’s doctoral program. After five years, he obtained his PhD in Human Sexuality Studies. His dissertation focused on women who use pornography, as well as how they are able to find authenticity within the sexually explicit material. In essence, the goal of the study was to assess the ways in which pornography can be even more enjoyable and beneficial for women.
Dr. Tillman attended Northwestern’s Counseling program for two years. During this time, the program educated him on multiple therapeutic styles, while focusing mainly on psychodynamic therapy. Psychodynamic therapy is an offshoot of psychoanalytic therapy. While both focus on how the past influences the present, psychodynamic therapy mainly differs on its concrete applicability. Specifically, psychodynamic therapy focuses on corrective emotional experiences: moments that challenge pre-established narratives. For instance, if one experienced blatant conditional love growing up, having the therapist stick around after a disagreement would be a corrective emotional experience.
In addition to psychodynamic therapy, Dr. Tillman also incorporates Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Feminist Therapy into his work. CBT focuses on the interconnection of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of an individual, while Feminist Therapy highlights the gender, political, and societal aspects that affect a person’s mental health. Both are especially beneficial in Dr. Tillman’s work as a sex therapist.
Dr. Tillman studied sex therapy for five years during his doctoral program. During this time, he studied sexual dysfunction (e.g., vaginismus, erectile disorder), sexual communication, unhealthy sexual behavior (e.g., out of control pornography use), sexual identity (e.g., gender and sexual orientation formation), and many other subjects. Though Dr. Tillman is skilled in many areas of sex therapy, there are certain subjects that he specializes in.
Female Sexual Health in Philadelphia, PA and Virtual in PA and NJ
Female sexual health involves the physical, emotional, and intellectual well-being of one’s sexual expression. Specifically, however, this well-being focuses on individuals who identify as women, have been socialized as women, and/or possess body parts that are biologically female. For example, female sexual health would involve the societal and/or religious stigma of girls and women engaging in sexual activities. Female sexual health also involves the physical. For instance, vaginismus (i.e., the unconscious and undesired clenching of the vaginal muscles) is a sexual maladie unique to individuals with female genitalia.
Through his clinical work and education, Dr. Tillman has shown interest and competency with female sexual health. One way in which he does this is through the incorporation of Feminist Therapy and sexual scripts. These philosophies challenge and examine society’s role in perpetuating problems for people who identify as women. Not only does theory contribute to Dr. Tillman’s competency with female sexual health, but also experience.
Dr. Tillman has provided therapeutic work for over nine years. During this time, he has made it his mission to provide comprehensive sex therapy to everyone, especially those who identify as women. According to Dr. Tillman, he prioritizes female sexual health due to the stigma, and thus, silencing that occurs with female sexual expression. Dr. Tillman is a racialized Black man, so he understands the damage that silence can cause when one is within a marginalized group. Such as how Dr. Tillman wants to empower and raise Black voices, he wants to do the same for people who identify as women.
Pornography Therapy in Philadelphia, PA and Virtual in PA and NJ
To complete his doctoral program, Dr. Tillman needed to write a detailed, academically rigorous dissertation. He chose to focus on women who consume pornography, and how they were able to assess authenticity within the sexually explicit material. The academic study required over 100 scholarly sources, and involved 24 interviews of women who consume pornography. To speak more of the former, Dr. Tillman studied many perspectives on pornography, including its history, effects, and clinical interventions. After completing the dissertation, Dr. Tillman refined the manuscript and successfully submitted it to the Journal of Sex Research. However, not only does Dr. Tillman have academic knowledge of pornography, but also clinical.
Dr. Tillman does not adhere to the addiction model concerning pornography use. Instead, he follows the concept of Out-of-Control Sexual Behavior. He believes this modality to more encapsulate the complexities of human sexual behaviors and attitudes. However, do not assume that Dr. Tillman is a blind proponent of pornography use. He acknowledges the correlated detriments of pornography use, such as erection difficulties and decreased satisfaction with partnered sex. Dr. Tillman has tackled these issues and many more by helping clients reduce their sexual material use, and by increasing their sexual mindfulness. Additionally, Dr. Tillman believes pornography to have the potential of positive experiences.
Just as how any tool can be detrimental, so can the tool be used for good. After interviewing 24 women on their pornography preferences, Dr. Tillman learned that porn has the ability to provide sexual validation, increased sexual communication, and safe, sexual exploration. Essentially, a person can explore their sexual preferences without actively engaging in them, which can then equip the person to better articulate their wants during an in-person sexual experience. Due to his clinical and academic experience with pornography, Dr. Tillman feels confident in his ability to work with the detrimental and positive aspects of pornography. However, this is not the only topic that Dr. Tillman excels in.
Life Transitions in Philadelphia, PA and Virtual in PA and NJ
There are numerous junctures in life that prove challenging. Even when a change is positive, such as graduating college, life transitions are often difficult. This is because our way of living suddenly has to shift. Our environment, the people we know, and our day-to-day activities all form to create a sense of comfort. Therefore, what does one do when this comfort is taken away?
Dr. Tillman has worked with several clients on this very quandary. Whether it is changes in a relationship status, entering the workforce, or becoming a parent, Dr. Tillman has helped clients through difficult life transitions. Not only can he aid with life transitions, but anxiety management, as well.
Anxiety management is difficult as many people suffer from stress to different degrees. After all, there are several stressors in the world. All of this is happening during a once in a century pandemic, global warming, and late-stage capitalism. Perhaps worse, the Internet has made these problems and many more even more apparent. All in all, there are several legitimate reasons for the contemporary person to feel anxious. Fortunately, help is available. Dr. Tillman has also trained to work with various forms of anxiety. This includes general anxiety management, panic attacks, performance anxiety, and much more. Dr. Tillman is also skilled with depression management.
Depression Management in Philadelphia, PA and Virtual in PA and NJ
Depression is a deep melancholy that robs a person of their motivation, life satisfaction, and general well-being. Similar to anxiety, several recent events have made depression easier to experience. There is good news, however. Depression management is one of the mental maladies that Dr. Tillman is the most experienced in. To help manage it, he incorporates psychodynamic therapy and cognitive behavior therapy. By focusing on the past, and by challenging one’s cognition, depressive symptoms can be mitigated. In addition to depression management, Dr. Tillman has worked with clients on their identity.
Identity Work in Philadelphia, PA and Virtual in PA and NJ
Let’s first have a shared definition of identity work. Throughout life, there are various aspects that form how we view ourselves. Gender, sex, career, family, and relationship status are simply a few examples of factors that impact a person’s identity. Therefore, identity work is focusing how one views themselves, and how they want to view themselves.
As an example, a person may realize that the gender assigned to them at birth does not connect with their inner truth. Replacing an outdated or incorrect aspect of one’s identity tends to be more difficult than one might think, however. Often, a person needs guidance on how to shift a perspective that existed for years, if not decades.
This is what Dr. Tillman specializes in. Whether it is realizing that one is not actually monogamous or completely heterosexual, Dr. Tillman has carefully engaged in identity work with clients for years. If you are experiencing a shift in your identity, Dr. Tillman would be a great match for you.
Life can be challenging with the high number of mental maladies that exist. Fortunately, Dr. Tillman is a licensed clinician who has experience with working on such maladies. Whether it is anxiety and depression, or an issue with sex, help is available. Contact Dr. Tillman at 267-428-2612 or email@example.com if you want to enlist his expertise. You will not be disappointed.
- Pennsylvania: PC013181
- New Jersey: Working towards licensure
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