I am a Registered Psychologist (#866) in Vancouver, British Columbia, who has been working mainly in the field of eating disorders for the past 30 years, including with both adolescents and adults. I initially became interested in this area while working at a university student counselling service. Twenty-eight years of my professional life was at BC Children’s Hospital, where I initially worked in the Youth Clinic which over a few years evolved into an eating disorder program. Eleven years were spent as Clinical Director of this Provincial Specialized Eating Disorders Program for Children & Adolescents. In the mid-eighties I co-directed the Vancouver Eating Disorders Clinic, which was a psychology part-time private practice with a consultant nutritionist and endocrinologist. I believe that individuals struggling with an eating disorder can recover. I also believe that recovery means much more than just the absence of restricting or binging and purging – it also means developing one’s potential as a human being to live a life with greater joy.
I grew up in Toronto, and knew from an early age that I wanted to be a psychologist. However, music was also an important part of my life, and in addition to psychology I was interested in the broader issues of consciousness and human potential, and I completed an Honours Bachelor of Science degree.
I was initially interested in pursuing sleep research but worked on aspects of amnesic memory in patient’s with Korsakoff’s psychosis, and then completed my Ph.D. thesis on smoking cessation. This involved looking at multiple strategies for ensuring relapse prevention: after all, as W.C. Field’s once remarked, “Quitting smoking is easy. I’ve done it hundreds of times.” On my academic journey, I obtained an M.A. degree, a Diploma in Clinical Psychology, and proceeded to the doctorate in clinical psychology.
Over the years I pursued an interest in working with athletes with disordered eating or eating disorders, and completed the BC Recreation and Parks Association and American Council on Exercise courses and exams as a personal trainer. I also completed registration as a Weight Training Instructor and Yoga Instructor, and registered with Yoga Alliance as a 200 hour instructor. These pursuits gave me the capacity to work with athletes with eating disorders as I can understand their world and can work with a graduated exercise program as part of the individual’s recovery process. I was a co-developer of the “Fitness for Life” group at the Provincial Specialized Eating Disorders Program for Children & Adolescents as well as the “Mind-Body” group. This latter group furthered my belief that individuals with eating disorders need to know more about how their bodies work, and how to translate overexercise in the service of the eating disorder into a lifelong fun and healthy recreational pursuit.
Over the past few years I have become very interested in how to treat aspects of trauma in my clients, which often seemed to include experiences of bullying and betrayals in personal relationships. This has involved training in Self Regulation Therapy (SRT), a somatically-oriented psychotherapy that aims to help the individual to discharge excessive activation in their nervous system resulting from these original, traumatic experiences. More recently, I have completed an immersion course in Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy, an approach that has helped to further integrate and extend my work.
This work has been coupled with integrating research from a diverse body of literature, including the neurosciences, developmental psychology, interpersonal neurobiology, mindfulness and Eastern traditions in psychology, and the positive psychology movement and the impetus towards human potential rather than diagnostic labeling and the development of pathologizing narratives about people. I immensely enjoy the work that I do.