Body-Positivity in Counseling: Working with Teens with Eating Disorders

Body-Positivity in Counseling: Working with Teens with Eating Disorders


About this Episode:

In this episode, Dr. Megan Speciale interviews Emily Behrs, AMFT and Kaila Hattis, LMFT about using a body-positive framework for working with teens who struggle with negative body image, disordered eating and nutrition, and/or unhealthy exercise patterns. Emily and Kaila share strategies about how to incorporate body image and nutrition into the intake and assessment process, broach topics related to self-esteem and body image with teen clients, and how to navigate privacy and confidentiality concerns with incorporating families into treatment. The guests also discuss the role of social media, COVID-19, and online learning on self-image, diet and nutrition, and mental health.


About Emily & Kaila:

Emily: Emily is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist and Associate Professional Clinical Counselor at Pacific Coast Therapy of Santa Cruz, CA. Emily has a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Pepperdine University and is a State Certified Sexual Assault Counselor and Advocate. Emily has extensive experience working in residential, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient levels of care with eating disorders and co-occurring disorders such as anxiety, depression, trauma, and mood disorders. Emily also has experience as a school-based therapist providing personalized mental health services for General Education, Special Education, and Alternative Schools. Emily specializes in working with teens, families, and young adults and is a member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Emily strives to bring her whole heart, curiosity, and authentic self into the therapeutic relationship. Emily believes in creating a safe, non-judgmental space that allows clients to explore their wholeness and feel truly seen. Emily uses evidence-based practices such as CBT and DBT while also incorporating modalities to meet each client’s needs. Elements Emily often integrates are family systems, somatic practices, self-compassion practices, social justice, and expressive arts practices.


Kaila: Kaila Hattis, MA is a licensed marriage and family therapist working with adults, adolescents, families, and couples. Kaila specializes in adolescent and family therapy. Kaila honors the courage it takes to come to therapy and begin a journey towards growth and healing. Kaila uses evidence-based practices such as CBT and DBT, while also incorporating modalities specific to each client’s needs. Kaila honors the depth of trust within the therapeutic relationship and meets each client with empathy and acceptance.


Additional Resources:


Access Audio Transcript Here


APA Citation for this Episode:

Speciale, M. (Producer). (2021, December 1. Body-Positivity in Counseling: Working with Teens with Eating Disorders [Audio Podcast]. The Thoughtful Counselor. Retrieved from


Thanks to the Following:

Photo by Elizaveta Shitikova on Unsplash

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