My Approach to Therapy
I am a strongly science-driven practitioner with a special emphasis on understanding and working with the connection between body and mind. I teach people how to work with their bodies’ natural rhythms in order to help people to live more comfortably inside of their own skin.
This body-based approach has been shown to be highly effective for eating disorders, trauma, sensory processing issues, and anxiety. It is also a very important part of living mindfully and whole-heartedly and feeling present in your life and relationships.
In addition to providing therapy, I am a non-diet, health-at-every-size aligned certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor (ACE). I understand how the body works, and I understand that the important thing is that your body works for you, not a society focused on aesthetics. My certification as a yoga teacher (E-RYT 200) and understanding of the nervous system helps people to bring calm, peace and awareness to their bodies. My experience in Zumba helps folks rediscover joy and fun in movement.
Many traditional exercise programs place a focus on moving our arms and limbs as fast or hard as possible while ignoring the body’s signals. This approach can promote injury, ineffective movements, and disconnection from the center of the body. Disordered eating and an aesthetic focus on body shaping can also disconnect us from the strength and power in the center of our bodies. Through movements like pilates and boxing, I help people mindfully reconnect and reawaken small muscles that protect the back and joints. Instead of body sculpting, I focus on reconnecting mind and body and finding peace and power inside the body you have today.
I meet people where they are and do not push any type of movement on someone who does not feel truly ready for it.
As a person who identifies as neurodiverse, I am lucky to have a unique lens on autism, ADHD, specific learning differences, giftedness, high sensitivity and other factors of neurodiversity.
The way you are wired is a gift. You do not have to hide or become less of who you are.
Through therapy we will unlock, explore and harness the unique superpowers that you already possess. Of course, all superheroes also have a “kryptonite”, so we will also find effective and practical ways to handle realities like overstimulation, sensory issues, hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty with change and communication problems. None of these struggles makes you any less of a person.
You are more than enough and you have a lot to offer.
Eating Disorders and Disordered Eating
Eating disorders can feel like chasing a rabbit down a hole in the pursuit of something you lost. And then one day, you realize that what you lost was yourself. Food, exercise, and body image problems are treacherous to navigate in a society that values appearance highly and that values some body types over others.
Therapy counters the lies, quiets the noise and helps you find the freedom to become the amazing person that you always have been. People who have used a body-based approach to eating disorders report more awareness of their hunger/fullness cues as well as their emotions.
Exercise Addiction, Exercise Aversion and Embodied Movement
Movement balances our brain and body systems by regulating our energy level and emotions. Sometimes, though, a person can depend too heavily on exercise to do the balancing. Exercise can start to get in the way of daily life. If you have exercised when injured or ill, taken valuable time away from family and friends, or stopped having fun exercising, I can help you to reclaim your right to move your body in a way that works for you.
Eating Disorders, Sensory Processing and Autism
Food and autism are complexly intertwined. Many autistic people are co-diagnosed (or misdiagnosed) with eating disorders, because these brains are more prone to rules, anxiety, and food sensitivities. Unfortunately, many mental health interventions for eating disorders fail to take neurodiversity into account.
Traditional treatments may not take into account autistic needs. For instance, clients who struggle to verbally articulate their thoughts in therapy sessions may be labeled as “resistant to treatment”. Alexithymia, a condition that makes it difficult to identify emotions, can make it difficult to answer the dreaded question of “How do you feel?”
Rituals related to food or exercise may be quickly labeled as eating disordered without taking into account an autistic’s need to cope with other realities like hyperactivity or sensory needs. Difficulties with interoception, the sense that helps you feel and understand what is going on in your body, may make feeling hunger and fullness seem impossible. Social anxiety and overstimulation may make it particularly challenging to eat in a restaurant long after you can comfortably eat the same meal at home.
Figuring out “normal” eating and exercise, when you’re not “normal” is challenging. Yet the autistic community is often known for thoughtfulness and problem solving. Let’s figure out what food freedom looks like for you.
Gender Dysphoria and Eating Disorders
Gender dysphoria and eating disorders are deeply intertwined, and often misunderstood in eating disorder recovery. Changing your body size or shape through food and exercise may be a way of shaping your body so that it feels more congruent to your internal mirror. But sometimes this process increases anxiety because you find yourself living in constant fear of small body changes. Or you might find that crafting your body gets in the way of living the life you want.
If you are navigating the reality of living in a body that does not feel like home, please know your struggle is valid and you are not alone. If you feel stuck in behaviors that are no longer serving you, let’s explore other ways of meeting your needs and expressing your true self so that you are able to be more alive and present in the life you want to live.
“Calm down, it’s not that big of a deal”
Actually, science shows us that for some of our brains and bodies… it really is that big of a deal! The alarm system in your brain (amygdala) may create a larger response so that what seems small to someone else is literally an emergency for you.
The “fire hose” (vagus nerve) that should help us put out the anxious response may not work as well as the person next to you. The muscles that help you breathe may subconsciously operate in a way where every breath tells your brain that you are stressed. So it’s not your fault!
Some brains and bodies are wired in ways that leave us more susceptible to certain thought patterns and behaviors. But the good news is that our brains and body systems are not stuck- they can change!
If you are looking for practical understanding of panic attacks, PTSD episodes, meltdowns or day-to-day anxiety management, we’ll talk about the science of how your body copes now and also work on tangible, practical coping skills that calm your body. When practiced regularly, these skills can begin to rewire your brain and body in a way that changes how you respond to stress on a daily basis.