I work with individuals, couples and families and specialize in the treatment of complex problems, including but not limited to: eating disorders, body image issues, trauma, addiction, relationship dynamics, anxiety, depression and other co-existing problems. I have extensive experience in a variety of treatment settings and levels of care, including inpatient, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, outpatient clinics, and faith-based environments. I am adept at connecting individuals to community resources to support their recovery needs.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Work & Career Issues
Addiction & Recovery
I am a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist (CEDS) and work with people who struggle with a variety of eating problems, including anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, compulsive over-exercise, and compulsive over-eating. Together, we can explore the meaning of these problems in your life and work to dismantle the hold they have on you.
I believe that eating disorders are the result of the complex interplay of cultural, social, interpersonal, biological and environmental factors that manifest into a “perfect storm” to produce the problem. Thematically, eating disorders are often about unmet needs, shame, trauma, perfectionism, competitiveness, problematic family dynamics, power, control, unworthiness, and the need to be productive. Through our conversations we will identify what underlies your unique eating disorder and what function the problem serves in your life. We will then try on alternative, more adaptive ways to meet those needs. Most importantly, we will work to discover what might be more important to you than your eating disorder and we will take steps to build a life that is worth recovering to.
Eating disorders are complicated problems that don’t only affect our food, weight and body; they can infiltrate just about every space in our lives. Eating disorders disrupt the harmony of body, mind and soul. They cloud our ability to be in our authentic selves and require us to behave in ways that aren’t in alignment with who we are or who we want to be. Having navigated my own recovery process gives me a unique perspective that enables me to speak to the challenges of the recovery process while firmly holding onto the possibility of a fully recovered life outside of an eating disorder.
I believe that healthy relationships- whether family, friendships, or romantic partnerships- are something we all long for and are what brings meaning and depth to our lives. We long to be seen, we long to be understood, we long to belong. However, oftentimes, we are not equipped to do relationships in the ways that would produce the kinds of connections we would prefer, and problematic relational patterns can emerge over time. The therapeutic work becomes naming and deconstructing old, ineffective relational practices and finding new ways to connect with one another that enhance our quality of life and deepen our sense of partnership.
When working with families, couples, friends, parents, and children, I believe it is important that all parties feel heard and validated. We will create a non-judgmental space where everyone is invited and encouraged to express their thoughts, feelings and needs without blame or criticism. In addition to speaking one’s own truth, it is important that each person learns how to hear the other and is accountable for the effects of his or her expressions and behavior. In this process, we will work on catching and shifting the defensive reactions we may get caught by, such as blaming, criticizing, denying or withdrawing, in service of developing new ways to negotiate differences. This may not come naturally, however, with support and practice, it is possible to improve communication patterns that can sustain our meaningful relationships in the long-run.
Whether it is caused by the effects of day-to-day stressors, biological factors, or major life, family, or health challenges, anxiety can feel overwhelming and debilitating. It can make us feel alone and fearful, even of things we previously did with ease. Anxiety can look like excessive worry, nagging thoughts, or panic attacks, and can take a toll on one’s functioning and well-being. Our work together will be on externalizing anxiety and identifying the ways in which it operates on you and affects you. This practice can help to reduce shame and increase self-compassion and understanding.
Because anxiety is future and past oriented, it often pulls us out of the present moment and out of our experiences in our own bodies. We will work on developing coping strategies and tools to help you stand up to your anxiety by challenging anxious thoughts and increasing your connection to your body and the present moment, thereby mitigating the effects of anxiety. Exposure to anxiety-producing stressors may be part of your process as well and we will carefully navigate and plan exposures with appropriate supports in order to challenge anxious thoughts, feelings and beliefs and ultimately give you more of the freedom you desire.
OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER
Portrayals of OCD in the media often miss the mark on how distressing living with obsessional thoughts and compulsions really can be. Oftentimes those struggling with OCD are aware that their thought patterns and resulting compulsions are illogical, however, they struggle to make change due to how distressing it feels to act in opposition to OCD. Both the awareness of the illogical nature of the thoughts and behaviors as well as the perceived inability to make change can evoke shame and may make it even more difficult to reach out for help.
Engaging in therapy for OCD is courageous and requires non-judgment and curiosity so that we can talk about the
symptoms that impede on your life. Together, we will work on identifying the thought patterns that you get stuck in and the compulsions that result.
Because OCD doesn't respond well to traditional talk therapy, it is essential to work with a specialist. I have extensive training and experience in Exposure Response Prevention (ERP), which is the gold standard for OCD treatment. From an ERP lens, we will work through graded exposures to challenge OCD and help you develop skills to tolerate the discomfort that comes up so that you can move into the life you desire for yourself.