“I am deeply committed to helping people of all body types live a life free of body shame and disordered relationships with food and weight.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist? What inspired you to choose this profession?
My path began as an adolescent girl navigating the diet and wellness cultures of the ‘80s and ‘90s. It was confusing and I was driven to figure it out. I studied nutrition and psychology as an undergraduate student, and after a detour through a holistic nutrition program, I focused my graduate studies on the treatment of eating disorders. My path has given me a deep appreciation for critically looking at research rather than the beliefs spread by pop culture. I practice therapy by applying what the research says is effective to the human experience. I am deeply committed to helping people of all body types live a life free of body shame and disordered relationships with food and weight. That way, they can focus only on what allows them to truly flourish and feel satisfied with their lives.
What would you want someone to know about working with you?
Our first session is when I get to know you—your history with your body, food, relationships—and learn what you really care about. We will work to identify and observe your patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving, and discover how the challenges you face may be influenced by those patterns. I will introduce you to my therapeutic framework and, together, we’ll adjust your patterns in a way that resonates with your unique experiences and pace of change. After each session, you’ll leave with a few specific and achievable actions or attitudes to help you make the changes we’re working on creating in your life.
How does collaboration with other providers play into your work?
Disordered eating and eating disorders have physical effects beyond mental health, so it’s important for clients to connect with the healthcare system in a way that supports their full well-being. Making sure you are regularly meeting with a primary care physician who doesn’t stigmatize weight is essential. I also work with doctors who aren’t as informed about eating disorders or HAES to bring them up to speed. Nutritionists who are open to HAES and intuitive eating can be very helpful in our work, but you’re not required to have a nutritionist in order to work with me. I work with a network of providers, so if you need or want someone who’s aligned with my style, I can help match you with the right person.
What do you think is the biggest barrier today for people seeking care?
I believe the biggest barrier is time. We are all so busy with so many conflicting priorities that it’s often hard to stop and prioritize our own well-being and life satisfaction. While we want our lives to change in very meaningful ways, it is so very hard to prioritize taking time each week to reflect, observe, be mindful, and create the changes we are hoping to experience. This is why I also offer video sessions for clients as an option. This allows them to eliminate their commute time and prioritize therapy in a way they haven’t yet been able to.
If there was one thing you wish people knew about the therapy experience who might be hesitant to try it, what would that be?
I believe that weight stigma makes people hesitant to engage in therapy. Rather than seek out help for their discomfort with their bodies and food, they attempt to work out more or change how they eat. They may feel that things will get better with those adjustments and decide to only seek out help if things get worse. But people lose a lot of time with that cycle, and now is the time to get help. I won’t shame you. You can be in any body and still be struggling. I am passionate about helping you externalize your weight stigma so that you can truly love and accept yourself as you are in this body. Therapy can help you give yourself permission to let go of the belief that you have to manipulate your food intake and your body to be happy or achieve great things.
“Therapy can help you give yourself permission to let go of the belief that you have to manipulate your food intake and your body to be happy or achieve great things.”
Interested in speaking with Leslie?