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Areas of Focus

Eating Disorders/Disordered Eating, Body Dysmorphia, and Shame.

I am recovered. I understand the forces that whisper in your ear about what you “should” be or do, that weigh on you. Together we work to take a position against the ideas and cultural discourses that are intruding on your life and sense of self. Let’s explore those insidious messages that reduce us to only our bodies, and explore we look in the mirror and only see our imperfections. Let's take a stand against those ideas and work to find value and meaning outside of body size, and food.

Depression

Have you ever been told that you are too much, not enough, too big, too small, too fat, too thin, too loud, or too quiet? Have you been told “you just need confidence” and not even known what that meant? That’s a lot of heavy baggage to carry around/we will explore how these constructs emerge. Let’s reauthor the narrative that hasn’t worked. I believe that our “too much” is our sensitivity and our power, nor our deficits.

I have spent my career working with people who view themselves as “different” or view their difference as a deficit. I have great compassion for people who have felt disqualified by society, and these exclusions are not just abstract or metaphorical. They include micro-aggressions as well as the macro-aggressions within our institutions and communities. These experiences can be the catalyst for mental health symptoms including depression.

Anxiety

Fear is a component of anxiety which can be exacerbated by current or life events. Anxiety is that machine that makes us feel scared, filled with fear of the “what ifs.” It’s the engine that keeps us stuck to our phones, our social media, and consumed with what it says about us. Anxiety is the thing that has the potential to keep you up at night. It distracts you when you are trying to focus on work or visiting with friends. Worrying about the future and regret from the past can have you constantly bracing yourself for the worst-case scenario. Everyone tries to tell you to “relax” or “breathe,” leaving you feeling misunderstood, maybe angry or frustrated that you will never find the doorway out. I work with clients to find their pathway. I work to name “it” and together find your way.

LGBTQIA+ Community

I am passionate about my work with the LGBTQIA+ community. I focused on affirmative therapy in my graduate courses at Antioch University. I created and ran the first eating disorder group at the LA LGBT Center in Los Angeles. Additionally, I was asked to speak at the Gay and Lesbian Psychological Society on the intersection between gay men, body identity eating disorders, and shame. I am here to name the forces in your life that keep you in shame or locked in an identity that doesn’t allow you to celebrate yourself.

Additional Areas of Focus
  • Anxiety

  • Anger Management

  • Body Dysmorphia

  • Co-Dependency

  • Coping Skills

  • Depression

  • Developing Interpersonal Skills

  • Divorce

  • Disordered Eating, Eating Disorders

  • Family conflict

  • Grief

  • Industry-Related Challenges

  • Identity Issues

  • Infidelity

  • Intersectionality

  • Life Transitions/Aging

  • Racial Identity Development

  • Relationship challenges

  • Self-Esteem Issues

  • Stress Management

  • Trauma and PTSD

Types of Therapy
  • Multicultural

  • Psychodynamic

  • Attachment-Based

  • Family Systems

  • Affirmative

  • Mindfulness

  • Strength-Based

  • Trauma-Informed

  • Solution-Focused

  • Motivational Interviewing

  • Cognitive-Behavioral

  • Narrative

  • Emotionally Focused 

My Approach

My approach to therapy is very conversational. I use curiosity and active listening to support you in reauthoring your story. We will collaborate to identify the issues that brought you into therapy and find ways to facilitate yourself discovery. While you share your story, your fears, and your feelings, I will be there to collaborate and bring forth understanding of yourself and your relationships with others. My work is to invite you to remove the barriers and for you to move forward into new possibilities. It is important for you to understand that you do not need to be defined by the problem. I believe therapy is identity work, however, I also believe that identify is not a fixed entity. It is fluid and ever-changing.

Additionally, I have a unique perspective with perfectionism. Failure and perfection, where does one begin and the other end? I’m not sure that anyone has the definitive answer, however, I do know that I understand the relationship between perfectionism and addiction. I recovered from an eating disorder and use my experience to gain trust and build a therapeutic alliance; my life experience informs my clinical skill set.

I have witnessed individuals and couples make incredible, dramatic life shifts in therapy with me. You are not powerless, no matter what you think or have been told. You have the ability, with support and guidance, to realize your true potential. Everyone is welcome in my practice. It is a place for you to discover safety through unconditional positive regard. I’ve made a commitment to do anti-racist work in my personal life as well as my practice.

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© 2020 by Suzy Unger, M.A., LMFT