You are the sum of every good and bad thing that has ever happened to you, including your genetics. You respond to your life by creating distinct behaviors, patterns, attachments and associations. Some have helped you thrive, some to survive and others have crowded out your authentic nature. You may feel stuck and need help finding a way out with the assistance of my counseling services.
Intentional. Specific. Effective.
Counseling services are purposed to bring insight and understanding, healing and restoration, and confidence in committed action. The sessions are directed toward specific objectives and carefully selected interventions to accomplish measurable goals.
Therapeutic influences include mindfulness based cognitive behavioral therapies such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). These therapies are evidence based for managing thoughts, regulating sensations and emotions and changing behaviors.
Compassionate. Connected. Creative.
We are born to be in relationship. In her counseling services, the therapeutic relationship is the foundation of safety and from it grows a deeper relationship with all parts of self and attachment to others. Healing modalities also include Interpersonal Therapy (IPT), Internal Family Systems (IFS) and Polyvagal Informed Therapy. Polyvagal Informed Therapy is also considered a body-based, trauma informed therapy that encourages the empowerment of self-regulation. The goal of all counseling is autonomy, the confidence to manage internal and external stressors with ease and ability to connect to others for support. Ultimately, it’s moving away from and not needing the therapeutic relationship.
Kari is also trained in the Safe and Sound Protocol, a cutting-edge intervention developed to reduce mental health symptoms associated with an over-stressed vagus nerve response.
Eating Disorder Treatment.
Kari has been treating eating disorders for 30 years, she is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist and trainer. Eating disorders are complex illnesses that require specialized care and a multi-disciplinary approach. Her integrative methods for treating the body, mind and heart lends themselves perfectly for treating these disorders.
She believes that eating disorders are primarily anxiety based and are an attempt to balance a dysregulated nervous system. Obsessions are an effective way to channel anxiety and distract from the many other sources that feel overwhelming. Why an obsession toward food and body? The ever-present focus on food and weight in our culture lends itself to an easy and acceptable obsession. Compulsions are behaviors that release the pressure of the escalating anxiety. Restricting food intake, binge eating, vomiting and other compensatory behaviors are all compulsive in nature. In eating disorders, the focus on restricting food intake combined with maintaining a thin ideal creates the perfect storm.
Why do some get “hooked” and others don’t? Vulnerability. Genetics, personality structures such as perfectionism and the bodies own built in drive to survive can become a sticky web when exposed to these behaviors. Although this is a macro view of eating disorders, there are nuances and circumstances that make them very complicated at best. Our dysregulated nervous systems have histories of trauma, issues of attachment and sensory sensitivities. Our relationship with food and our bodies are like other attachments. We cannot find peace when driven by fear, control or self-loathing. Not all eating disorders are driven by the desire to be thin. Not all behaviors are apparent by looking at someone’s body. Eating disorders come in all sizes, genders, races and cultures. They do not discriminate.
Kari treats all DSM-5 Eating and Feeding Disorders including Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder, AFRID and OSFED with her counseling services. Many clients come to her having never identified with having an eating disorder. Treating sub-clinical disordered eating is the best possible scenario in order to prevent a much more serious problem. Inflexibility around food and body image distress are symptoms as well as the overuse of emotional and stress eating. If you’re interested, contact Kari here.
Binge Eating Disorder.
New to the DSM 5 under Feeding and Eating Disorders in 2013, Binge Eating Disorder is the most common eating disorder, occurring more than all other eating disorders combined. There was much discussion prior to incorporating Binge Eating Disorder into an official eating disorder status, some lobbied for a classification as a substance use disorder, thinking it more closely aligned as a food addiction. In the end, resembling the eating pathology seen in other eating disorders; such as a strong alignment with a drive for thinness and characteristics of food restrictive thought processes; it remained in the eating and feeding disorders category. Disinhibited eating with feelings of being out of control when eating, continual cravings, obsessions with food and continued behavior even with severe consequences mirrors some substance use disorders yet, unlike substance use disorders, abstinence is not an effective treatment for BED. A harm reduction model seems to work better.
Kari uses a weight neutral, integrative and flexible self-care model with staged interventions. It includes education on food science, diets and promoting a mindful relationship with food and the body from the inside out. Science has advanced to the level where we now understand the “craving mind and body”. Cravings are real and we can interrupt them with adjustments to diet and exposure therapies. Special attention is given to long term, sustainable interventions for mood and anxiety management.
From a neurobiological perspective, binge eating easily can replace other attachments to regulate the nervous system, using the same cranial nerves as the social engagement system. Learning to trust again, we begin to transfer our affinity for food for relationships with others. Another characteristic of Binge Eating Disorder is extreme self-loathing of eating behaviors and body hate. A compassion-based approach to understanding the behavior is imperative combined with a movement-based healing of the body focuses on feeling good, rather than “being or looking good”. Before Binge Eating Disorder was understood, it was part of Kari’s story. Her memoir; Food, Body and Love: But the Greatest of These is Love was released in July 2021.
Assessment, Diagnosis and Treatment Recommendations.
A single counseling service session intended for assessment, diagnosis and treatment recommendations only. A history and interview(s) combined with some assessment tools allows Kari to formulate her diagnosis and offers recommendations going forward.
A strategic treatment plan using evidence-based therapies, prioritized interventions based on acuity, including coordinated care with other treatment providers; such as psychiatrist, primary care and dietitian.
Body Image Healing.
Long term sustainable recovery requires developing a collaborative relationship with one’s body. Using mindfulness-based techniques, Kari moves clients away from body hate to a place of body neutrality. You don’t need to love your body to treat it with respect and use it as a source of wisdom.
Family Healing Intensives.
Having been a family therapist for years, Kari understands how an eating disorder effects the entire family. Especially when it comes to food and weight, often families are unsure how to support their loved one. Kari offers family intensive opportunities for individuals and their families using an educational and highly structured communication format shown to bring healing to families.
Anxiety Disorder Treatment.
Kari has treated eating disorders for 30 years and has extensive training in all things Anxiety. Cognitive Behavioral Therapies are the most evidence-based treatment for anxiety including ACT, exposure treatment and mindfulness-based interventions. There are many factors that influence our nervous system; genetics, personality, experiences of fear and trauma and diet. We can influence our bodies response to anxiety and change how we feel and think about it. Kari treats all DSM-5 Anxiety Disorders. Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety, and others.
Mood Support for Cancer or other Health Diagnosis.
One in three people with cancer experience mental or emotional distress. Up to 25% of cancer survivors experience symptoms of depression and up to 45% experience anxiety. As a melanoma cancer survivor, Kari has some understanding of impact of such a diagnosis and the stress of ongoing treatment. She teaches specific coping strategies and mindfulness techniques to keep grounded in the present. Kari wants to help you process the impact and changes you’ll experience with the diagnosis.
Schedule a private counseling, coaching, or consulting session.