Low-Cost Eating Disorder Psychotherapy Now Available

Low-Cost Eating Disorder TherapyWe are excited to announce that via our designation as a practicum site we are now able to train advanced graduate students in psychology in evidence-based treatment for eating disorders. This allows us to further our mission of helping to disseminate evidence-based treatments and to bring them to people in Los Angeles County who need them. We are also able to offer a true low-cost treatment option. Our psychology externs will be able to provide individual psychotherapy for adults with bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder and teens and adults with disordered eating and body image concerns.

Beginning in August, 2021, the cost for sessions with our psychological externs is $60 per therapy hour. We will also be offering some lower-cost groups. Sessions are available in-person in our office in mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles and virtually with individuals throughout California.

As of June 2021, EDTLA has developed a memorandum of understanding with two local doctoral programs in clinical psychology— the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University and Pepperdine University’s Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program of the Graduate School of Education and Psychology.

Each year, up to two advanced-level doctoral students are carefully selected through an interview process to be psychological externs at EDTLA. Psychological externs provide individual and group therapy to adults and adolescents.

All of the psychological externs receive extensive training through EDTLA’s training seminars and supervision program in order to provide quality therapy at lower fees than is typically found in Los Angeles.

All Psychological Externs work directly under Dr. Muhlheim (PSY15045), meaning that treatment decisions and progress are monitored on a weekly basis by an experienced licensed psychologist.

To inquire about receiving treatment from one of our psychology externs, please complete this form (and put Psychology Extern) under “Requested Clinician.”

You can read more about our current psychology externs here.

An EDTLA Origin Story

Photo of Lauren and Elisha in EDTLA t-shirts
Dr. Muhlheim and Dr. Carcieri (with baby bump) in 2015 in EDTLA t-shirts

In August, 2014, a Los Angeles psychologist who was in the process of taking the licensing exam reached out to me and asked to schedule a meeting. She was interested in pursuing more training and work in the field of eating disorders. We met and there was an immediate recognition that we were aligned. She practiced in the same way I did and had a passion for evidence-based treatment of eating disorders. We discovered we even used all the same patient education materials. And she was an early proponent of Health at Every Size ®. She wanted to know if she could work with me in my practice, but I had no plan to start a group practice. I told this therapist—Dr. Elisha Carcieri—to keep in touch as she completed her licensing.

But I was intrigued, and I didn’t want to lose the opportunity to work with such a capable colleague. So the wheels started to turn. Very soon, I decided to start a group so I could hire her. In December I emailed her back, “I’m starting to think about expanding my practice if you are at all interested… .”And in December, 2014, the seeds of Eating Disorder Therapy LA were planted.

It took time to bloom—because of various family obligations and credentialing issues, Dr. Carcieri finally joined the practice in October 2015. She was well-liked by patients and colleagues alike and we worked really well together, collaborating on other projects as well. After a year and a half with EDTLA, her family moved to South Carolina and she had to leave the practice. Since then, we have continued to grow and add wonderful new colleagues, but I grieved the loss of the colleague who was there at the beginning.

Fast forward to 2020 and the growth of telehealth. I am really excited to share that Dr. Elisha Carcieri is back—joining us via telehealth and will be seeing California patients. She has immediate openings for early morning appointments.

 

 

August 2018 LACPA Eating Disorder SIG Event

Jaye Azoff, Psy.D., Los Angeles [image description: photo of Jaye Azoff]Date: Wednesday, August 22nd at 7:30 pm

Presenter: Jaye Azoff, Psy.D.

Title: The Anatomy of a Recovery

Description: Recovery from anorexia nervosa (AN) follows an unpredictable, windy path. Rarely does it come quick; there is no single trajectory, no infallible indicators of how a treatment will play out. Opinions about the recovery process vary, depending on whose perspective is being sought. The patient—the former patient—sees it one way—but there is no guarantee that the opinions of others, therapists, partners, loved ones, will concur.

This talk addresses the question in a unique fashion. A patient: a former patient, (a doctoral level psychologist) will share her account of a treatment that unfolded over roughly twenty years.

Several points will be discussed. Importantly, the former patient will consider 1) briefly, the etiology of her illness (and we will assume a basic understanding of eating disorders here); 2) briefly, how (some) of the various treatments were directed and integrated across the multi-disciplinary teams (and throughout the years) 3) how her protests and resistances—and there were many— were met, and with what explanations 4) most importantly, looking back, what aspects of this treatment are now recalled as influential, elements seen in a positive light, elements perceived as detrimental.

Perhaps most important for the purposes of this discussion is the concept of the “power struggle” – that all too familiar war our patients learn over years of treatment with us to get into with themselves which then becomes acted out with their caregivers. How can we as treaters do better at not engaging, and shift the power and responsibility back into their hands?

Namely, how can we teach them that if they are to get well, it will be because they choose to get well? How do we teach them that they “win” nothing by restricting their snack for an evening or vomiting their dinner because they feel hurt over something we as clinicians might have said or done to them? These are complicated constructs, but not impossible ones, and by using Dr. Azoff’s past as a case vignette, we might be able to chisel away at some of the answers.

Bio: Jaye Azoff, Psy.D., has been practicing in the fields of clinical psychology and neuropsychology since 2008, when she graduated from the California School of Professional Psychology in Los Angeles, where she trained under the Health Emphasis Track. Dr. Azoff did most of her field training at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ Keck School of Medicine, where she practiced in the hematology/oncology neural tumors unit and trained in many roles over nearly eight years, eventually advancing to become the team’s neuropsychology fellow. It was Dr. Azoff’s own recovery from an eating disorder that propelled her forward and launched her into the eating disorders field. Currently, she is an eating disorders consultant, and she is the owner and operator of Basik Concierge, the world’s only boutique concierge firm offering wraparound services for individuals with eating disorders and their families. She is also the In-House Clinical Consultant for the Kantor and Kantor law firm, which fervently works to attain treatment for individuals with eating disorders struggling to gain access to care. Dr. Azoff is a past board member of the Eating Disorders Coalition. She is a sought-after speaker, having formally addressed the United States Congress in the Spring of 2013, and travels nationally to speak to patients and families affected by eating disorders, as well as delivers in-services to clinicians and other individuals eager to learn about various topics related to eating disorders. 

Location:  The office of Dr. Lauren Muhlheim (4929 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1000, Los Angeles) – free parking in the lot (enter on Highland)

RSVP to:  drmuhlheim@gmail.com

SIG meetings are open to all LACPA members.  Nonmembers wishing to attend may join LACPA by visiting our website www.lapsych.org

July 2018 LACPA Eating Disorder SIG Event

image description: photo of Ryan SheldonDate: Thursday, July 12th at 7:30 pm

Presenter: Ryan Sheldon, Eating Disorder Advocate

Title: Men Struggle, Too: My Journey with Binge Eating Disorder

Description: Description: I’m often asked what’s it like being a guy with Binge-Eating Disorder. It’s sad but true, many view eating disorders as female illnesses. Why is there so much shame about being a guy with an eating disorder? Why did it take so long for me to get diagnosed? Come join me to find out what it’s really like being a guy with Binge Eating Disorder. I will share my story and give you insights into working with males with eating disorders. Here’s a recent article.

Bio: Ryan Sheldon, founder of the blog Mr. Confessions formerly Confessions Of A Binge Eater, a blog he created to not only document his body image and eating disorder struggles but also to promote self love. He is proud to be a much-needed voice for men whose struggles all too often are neglected, while encouraging them to reach out for professional help. Ryan is currently working on a book and has a self-love Instagram account @BingeEaterConfessions

Location: The office of Dr. Lauren Muhlheim (4929 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1000, Los Angeles) – free parking in the lot (enter on Highland)

RSVP to: drmuhlheim@gmail.com

SIG meetings are open to all LACPA members. Nonmembers wishing to attend may join LACPA by visiting our website www.lapsych.org

May 2018 LACPA Eating Disorder SIG

Gretchen Kubacky, Psy.D. on Polycistic Ovary Syndrome  [image description: photo of Gretchen Kubacky]Date: Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 7 pm

Presenter: Gretchen Kubacky, Psy.D.

Title: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Eating Disorders: What’s the Connection?

Description: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is currently estimated to affect up to 22% of women. It is the primary cause of female infertility and other endocrine disruptions. Women with PCOS have much higher rates of depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, particularly Binge Eating Disorder. Dr. Gretchen will present an overview of the physical and psychological symptoms of PCOS, how those symptoms present clinically, and discuss the challenges of appropriately diagnosing and treating eating disorders in women with PCOS. 

Bio: Gretchen Kubacky, Psy.D. is a health psychologist with a private practice located in West Los Angeles. Dr. Gretchen works primarily with hormonal issues and chronic and invisible illnesses, with a specialty in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). She is the creator of PCOS Wellness, a Certified PCOS Educator, and a member of the PCOS Challenge Health Advisory Board.  She is also a Certified Bereavement Facilitator for children and adults, co-editor of the Los Angeles Psychologist magazine, and a frequent speaker and author on health psychology topics. For more information about her private practice and PCOS education services, see www.DrGretchenKubacky.com and www.PCOSwellness.com.

Location: The meeting will be held in the office of Dr. Gretchen Kubacky, located at The Gardens building, 2001 South Barrington Avenue, Suite 121, Los Angeles, CA  90025 at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 15, 2018. Suite 121 is on the ground floor, at the north end of the building. After 6:00 p.m., you may park for free on the ground floor of the building. The parking entrance is located on the south end of the building, adjacent to Yoga Raj studio. There is also free and metered parking on the streets surrounding the building. The building and office are wheelchair accessible. 

RSVP: drmuhlheim@gmail.com

SIG meetings are open to all LACPA members. Nonmembers wishing to attend may join LACPA by visiting our website www.lapsych.org

April 2018 LACPA Eating Disorder SIG

Bermudez [image description: photo of Ovidio Bermudez]LA area professionals are invited to the April 2018 LACPA Eating Disorder SIG event. This event is open to non-members!

Date: Tuesday, April 24th at 7:00 pm 

Presenter: Ovidio Bermudez, MD, FAAP, FSAHM, FAED, F.iaedp, CEDS 

Title: Understanding Brain Development in the Treatment of Eating Disorders

Description: This presentation will review three concepts of the current understanding of brain development.  The first is proliferation and pruning as the brain grows via enhancement of gray matter and white matter.  The second is sequential maturation and fully coming online of different areas of the brain and how this may help us understand emotion regulation.  Third how environmental and hormonal influences may affect brain development.  In addition, how this may be applied to the treatment of eating disorders in children and adolescents will be discussed.

Bio:  Ovidio Bermudez, M.D. is the Medical Director of Child and Adolescent Services and Chief Clinical Education Officer at Eating Recovery Center in Denver, Colorado. He holds academic appointments as Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. He is Board certified in Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

Dr. Bermudez is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, the Academy for Eating Disorders, and the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals. He is Past Chairman and currently Senior Advisor to the Board of Directors of the National Eating Disorders Association, Co-Founder of the Eating Disorders Coalition of Tennessee (EDCT) and Co-founder of the Oklahoma Eating Disorders Association (OEDA). He is a Certified Eating Disorders Specialist and training supervisor by the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals.

Dr. Bermudez has lectured nationally and internationally on eating pathology across the lifespan, obesity, and other topics related to pediatric and adult healthcare. He has been repeatedly recognized for his dedication, advocacy, professional achievement and clinical excellence in the field of eating disorders.

Location:  The office of Dr. Lauren Muhlheim (4929 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1000, Los Angeles) – free parking in the lot (enter on Highland)

RSVP to:  drmuhlheim@gmail.com

March and April SIG meetings are open to all professionals.   During other months SIG meetings are open to all LACPA members.  Nonmembers wishing to attend may join LACPA by visiting our website www.lapsych.org

Who Gets Treated for Eating Disorders in Los Angeles?

low cost eating disorder treatment Los Angeles County [image description of the lights outside LAX]Update June 2021: We are so excited to have our own low-cost option. Please read more here

This NEDAwareness week, I’ve been thinking a lot about the theme of “Let’s Get Real.” One stubborn myth about eating disorders is that they affect primarily white, upper-middle-class females.

It would take you just one afternoon at my own Los Angeles practice to discover how untrue this is. My clients are all genders, ages, and ethnicities. I accept some private insurance and one public insurance. Among my patients with eating disorders are non-native English speakers, immigrants from low SES backgrounds, and people on public assistance.

The myth that eating disorders affect only the wealthy not only makes it more difficult for patients who don’t meet the stereotype to recognize that they have a problem but affects the entire system of treatment.

Throughout the US, there is a shortage of publicly funded specialized treatment programs for eating disorders. And specialized eating disorder treatment is expensive! The residential treatment complex only serves the economically privileged.

Carolyn Becker, Ph.D. recently brought attention to the presence of eating disorders in food insecure populations. The research on which she collaborated studied adults receiving food at San Antonio area food banks. Those who had hungry children in their households (representing higher levels of food insecurity) had higher levels of binge eating, dietary restraint, weight self-stigma, worry, and overall ED pathology when compared to participants with lower levels of food insecurity

Within Los Angeles County, eating disorders are a covered diagnosis by the Department of Mental Health (DMH). However, according to a DMH district chief, there are no specialized services for eating disorders within the DMH system. I recently led a training on eating disorders at one of the county community mental health centers and a staff member there told me, “Most patients with eating disorders are seen in primary care and none of us are trained specifically in this… What we need is training in evidence-based treatment.”

A clinical staff member at another DMH clinic said, “Honestly, we don’t have a lot of access to resources for people with eating disorders and aren’t equipped to adequately handle serious cases at this clinic. Referrals have always been difficult and there are no reliable referral sources for our patient population. We have really only been able to connect a few of our most severe cases to any treatment at all.”

I searched the Alliance for Eating Disorder Awareness list of Medicare/Medicaid providers and facilities within 50 miles of Los Angeles and came up with only one Medicare provider and no Medicaid providers or facilities.

This blog post was inspired because as a provider for Anthem Medi-Cal, I am receiving calls from county clinics with referrals of other (non-Anthem) Medi-Cal patients with eating disorders that I can’t see. So, when faced with a patient with an eating disorder and no insurance in LA County, what’s a provider to do?  Here’s what I’ve been able to find. If you have other resources, I’d love to hear about them!

Resources

Hospitals

CHLA takes California Medicaid for patients under age 25 needing medical stabilization.

UCLA takes California Medicaid for patients under age 25 needing hospitalization for eating disorders.

General low-fee counseling centers

Southern California Counseling Center

Maple Counseling Center

The Wright Institute

Cal Lutheran Low Fee Counseling Center

Treatment Scholarships

Center for Discovery and Project Heal provide treatment scholarships.

Source

Becker, Carolyn Black, Keesha Middlemass, Brigitte Taylor, Clara Johnson, and Francesca Gomez. 2017. “Food Insecurity and Eating Disorder Pathology.” International Journal of Eating Disorders 50 (9): 1031–40. https://doi.org/10.1002/eat.22735.

 

Thanks to Rosewood Center Santa Monica for help with the referral list.

ARFID talk for LACPA Professionals in Los Angeles

ARFID talk LACPA Jennifer Thomas, Ph.D. [image description: Jennifer Thomas]
Harvard Health Publications, Jennifer Thomas
Date:  Thursday, January 18 at 7:30 PM

Presenter:  Jennifer Thomas, Ph.D.

Title: Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder: Assessment, neurobiology, and treatment

NOTE: This talk has already occurred. If you are looking for treatment for ARFID in Los Angeles, we encourage you to visit our ARFID page.

Description: Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) was recently added to the Feeding and Eating Disorders section of DSM-5 to describe children, adolescents, and adults who cannot meet their nutritional needs, typically because of sensory sensitivity, fear of aversive consequences, and/or apparent lack of interest in eating or food. ARFID is so new that there is currently no evidence-based treatment.  This presentation will discuss how to recognize and diagnose ARFID, share preliminary findings from an ongoing NIMH-funded study of its neurobiological underpinnings, and describe a new cognitive-behavioral treatment currently being evaluated in an open trial.  

Bio:  Dr. Jennifer Thomas is the Co-director of the Eating Disorders Clinical and Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, and an Associate Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Thomas’s research focuses on atypical eating disorders, as described in her books Almost Anorexic: Is My (or My Loved One’s) Relationship with Food a Problem? and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder: Children, Adolescents, and Adults. She is currently principal investigator on several studies investigating the neurobiology and treatment of avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder, funded by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health and private foundations.  She is also the Director of Annual Meetings for the Academy for Eating Disorders and an Associate Editor for the International Journal of Eating Disorders.

Location:  The office of Dr. Lauren Muhlheim (4929 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1000, Los Angeles) – free parking in the lot (enter on Highland)

RSVP to:  drmuhlheim@gmail.com

SIG meetings are open to all LACPA members.  Nonmembers wishing to attend may join LACPA by visiting our website www.lapsych.org

We are now treating ARFID at our office in Los Angeles. Please see more here.

 

November 2017 LACPA Eating Disorder SIG Event

Jamie Feusner, M.D. [image description: photo of Jamie Feusner]Date:  Thursday, November 30th at 7:30 PM 

Presenter:  Jamie Feusner, M.D.

Title: Body Image in Anorexia Nervosa and Body Dysmorphic Disorder: Clinical and Neurobiological Features

Description: Anorexia nervosa (AN) and body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) share clinical features related to body image distortion, including distorted perception of appearance and overemphasis on appearance in one’s self-evaluation. In addition, they share obsessive and compulsive tendencies, poor insight, and are frequently comorbid with each other. Despite this, few studies have directly compared the phenomenology or neuropsychological functioning in AN and BDD and even fewer have compared their neurobiology. In this talk I will describe the overlapping and distinct clinical features of these disorders, as well as the neurobiological substrates of visual and emotional processing from our recent lines of research. In our research, we have used functional neuroimaging (electroencephalography – EEG – and functional magnetic resonance imaging – fMRI) to probe the neural basis of visual processing and to uncover the dynamics of brain connectivity related to fear processing. We additionally have used structural neuroimaging to understand white matter network connectivity patterns. I will also discuss our ongoing study in AN of how brain systems involved in anxiety interact with those involve in reward and how this relates to clinical trajectory. Finally, I will discuss ongoing and future studies to develop visual modulation strategies to address dysfunctional neural systems involved in visual processing, as potential tools to remediate perceptual distortions in disorders of body image.

Bio:  Jamie Feusner, M.D. is professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at UCLA. He obtained his medical degree and completed his psychiatry residency training at UCLA. He then completed a psychopharmacology fellowship followed by a research fellowship in neuroimaging, and joined the UCLA faculty in 2006. Dr. Feusner’s research program seeks to understand phenotypes of perceptual and emotional processing across conditions involving body image and obsessions/compulsions, including body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), eating disorders, OCD, and gender dysphoria. Dr. Feusner published the first functional neuroimaging studies in BDD, and the first studies to directly compare the neurobiology of BDD to anorexia nervosa. He is currently funded by the NIH to study anorexia nervosa, BDD, and gender dysphoria. His clinical work includes Directorship of the UCLA OCD Intensive Treatment program. He teaches cognitive-behavioral therapy and pharmacotherapy, and is a research supervisor for postdoctoral fellows and students.

Location:  The office of Dr. Lauren Muhlheim (4929 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1000, Los Angeles) – free parking in the lot (enter on Highland)

RSVP to:  drmuhlheim@gmail.com

SIG meetings are open to all LACPA members.  Nonmembers wishing to attend may join LACPA by visiting our website www.lapsych.org

Fall 2017 LACPA Eating Disorder SIG Events

Hope Levin, M.D. [image description: photo of Hope Levin]Date:  Wednesday, September 13 at 7:30 PM

Presenter:  Hope Levin, M.D.

Title: Psychopharmacological Treatment of Eating Disorders

Location:  The office of Dr. Lauren Muhlheim (4929 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1000, Los Angeles) – free parking in the lot (enter on Highland)

Bio:  Hope W. Levin, M.D. is a board-certified child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist.  Since 2006, she has worked as a staff psychiatrist at UCLA Counseling and Psychological Services where she serves as the psychiatrist on the eating disorders treatment team.  She co-founded the UCLA Campus-wide Eating Disorders Partnership to collaborate with campus professionals who provide treatment to students with eating disorders.   In addition to her work at UCLA, Dr. Levin is a staff psychiatrist at The Renfrew Center of Los Angeles and maintains a private practice in Santa Monica.

Dr. Levin completed her undergraduate education at Cornell University and medical school at MCP Hahnemann School of Medicine.  She completed general psychiatry residency at University of Pennsylvania where she was Chief Resident, and child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at the Massachusetts General Hospital/McLean Hospital program, Harvard University where she was also Chief Resident.

Dr. Levin gave this talk previously to our group in March 2012. She will present updated information.

RSVP to:  drmuhlheim@gmail.com

SIG meetings are open to all LACPA members.  Nonmembers wishing to attend may join LACPA by visiting our website www.lapsych.org

Tuesday, October 3 at 7:30 PM

Presenter:  Bobbie Eisenstock, Ph.D.

Title: Media and Body Image: How Media Literacy Can Help Counteract Unrealistic Body Ideals

Description: In our media saturated world, it’s hard to escape the onslaught of messages that tell us how we should look, sell us products to achieve the ideal body, and pressure us to reshape our bodies with promises of happiness and success. How can we protect our self-image from media’s narrow and unrealistic ideals that can make us feel less confident and accepting of our bodies? Research demonstrates that media literacy can help counteract media’s role in normalizing cultural body standards that are naturally unattainable for most and can adversely affect body positivity. This mini-workshop highlights essential media literacy strategies and resources for self-care in the digital age.

Location:  LACPA Office, Encino

Bio:  Bobbie Eisenstock, Ph.D. specializes in the social and psychological effects of media and new interactive technologies on children, teens, and families. She facilitates media literacy workshops for parents, educators, and health practitioners to promote healthy child and adolescent development. A recipient of NEDA’s Westin Family Award for Excellence in Activism and Advocacy, Dr. Eisenstock is on the faculty at Syracuse University in Los Angeles and California State University, Northridge where she directs the Proud2Bme civic engagement project about media literacy and body image. Her students developed NEDA’s Get REAL! Digital and Media Literacy Toolkit and How to Spread Body Positivity in Your Community.

Here is a link to media literacy tips Dr. Eisenstock wrote for NEDA that were posted on its website earlier this month:

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/blog/media-body-image-what-you-need-to-know

LACPA ADDRESS and PARKING INSTRUCTIONS: 6345 Balboa Blvd, Bldg 2, Suite 126, Encino 91316. The buildings are on the south-west corner of Victory and Balboa, and Bldg 2 is the second building from Balboa.  If you come from the Westside, take the 405 to the 101 and exit going north on Balboa to just before Victory (park on the street or in the Sepulveda Basin Sports Complex (6201 Balboa Blvd.) on the west side of Balboa, just south of Victory).  Or take the 405 to Victory (past the 101 if you are coming from the Westside) and exit West onto Victory.  Take it to Balboa and turn left, now heading south.  On your right, you will see the buildings.  The LACPA office is right by the entrance off the parking lot, on the left if you walk in from the parking area.

Parking at The Encino Office Park lot between the hours of 9am – 6:30 pm is restricted to building tenants only.  We can park there in the evening and on weekends, but not 9 – 6:30 weekdays.

RSVP to:  drmuhlheim@gmail.com

SIG meetings are open to all LACPA members.  Nonmembers wishing to attend may join LACPA by visiting our website www.lapsych.org