Deborah Stelzleni, MA, MAPC, CAGS, LPC, CSAT

Treating clients for over 10 years, I have been in private practice for the last 5 years in Old Town Scottsdale. I hold a Master of Arts in Communication and a Master of Arts in Professional Counseling, plus a post-graduate certification in Trauma, Deprivation and Abuse and am an Advanced Student in Somatic Experiencing. I am a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist.


My interest in treating sex addiction began when I was an intern at The Meadows. Trained and certified by Patrick Carnes, Ph.D. in sex addiction treatment, I use Dr. Carnes’ models and Pia Mellody’s, R.N., models with clients who are sexually compulsive or their co-compulsive partners. My experience with individuals who are sexually compulsive, their partners and their families was broadened under the tutelage of Ralph Earl, Ph.D. and Marcus Earl, Ph.D. during the 5 years I practiced at Psychological Counseling Services.


I am trained by Pia Mellody, R.N., in Post Induction Therapy. Ms. Mellody’s model of codependency as immaturity is foundational to my practice. When codependency is viewed as immaturity, clients can identify dysfunctional behavior as the result of missed developmental stages. With this awareness, functional adult behavior can be learned.


As an intern at The Meadows, I was privileged to learn from many extraordinary clinicians as they helped patients break through denial, acknowledge destructive actions and be courageously honest with their families. Thus, they often began a healing process that can be initiated by giving up secret-keeping and telling the truth.


Tenets of Somatic Experiencing underpin my work with clients. Somatic Experiencing is a treatment modality for trauma that was developed by Peter Levine, Ph.D. Widely employed in Europe, South America and Africa, Somatic Experiencing uses the innate capacity of each person to heal.


Whether using Somatic Experiencing to quiet an anxious brain or to restore emotional regulation to a trauma survivor, I appreciate the nuanced pace inherent in Somatic Experiencing. I have completed the three-year academic and practice portion of the training and am currently completing the supervision component in order to become a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner.


A Level II EMDR clinician, I have conducted over 2000 hours of EMDR therapy with clients to deactivate traumatic energy, relinquish self-destructive beliefs and integrate positive thoughts and behaviors. The result is increased resilience. My trauma training is bolstered by my Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) in Trauma, Deprivation, and Abuse, a program created by Marilyn Murray, MA, a renowned lecturer and trainer of the Murray Method now extensively applied throughout the Soviet Union.


Psychotherapy is my third profession. I began my career in the Midwest teaching college courses in Interpersonal Communication, Group Dynamics and Public Speaking. I also conducted workshops on Assertiveness Training, How to Increase Self-confidence and Effective Couples’ Communication.


Next, I applied my communication expertise to business, holding several general management positions before I joined my husband in managing our advertising agency in Scottsdale. I managed the staff, supervised major clients and presented to executives at Fortune 500 companies. From this experience, I gained a comprehensive understanding of the stressors of corporate life and the accompanying demands professional challenges can impose upon an individual and a family.


To learn more about my work, please go to Specialties