Valerie Alston-Southwick, LPC

The most rewarding part of my job is helping couples repair their relationship. I have advanced training in Emotionally Focused Therapy, EFT, which has shown to be successful for over 75% of couples as supported by clinical research, with over 90% of couples reporting improvement in fewer sessions. I can help you too, whether you are looking to:
Connection is the most basic human need. Our survival is dependent on whether or not we have someone we can turn to when we are most vulnerable. Individually we experience disconnection in a variety of ways such as:
When we experience the prolonged pain of disconnection it often leads to symptoms of depression and anxiety. Sometimes to numb out from this pain we develop unhealthy coping strategies, such as addictive behaviors, eating disorders, compulsive behaviors, etc.
I am Level II EMDR trained and supervised. EMDR is a trauma therapy technique which allows the brain to reprogram painful events. I might also utilize art, music, mindfulness, and some Somatic Experiencing (SE) methods to address trauma and the stories we tell ourselves about life’s challenging experiences.
My mission is to guide you through your own journey of growth and healing while developing satisfying personal relationships.
Valerie Southwick

Eating Disorders - It's Not About the Food

By Kelly Lopez

If it’s not about the food, what is it really about?

The eating disorder serves a function, it does a job. Despite the problems an eating disorder creates, it is an effort to cope, shield against, communicate, and solve problems. Behaviors may be a way to establish a sense of power or control, self-worth, strength, and containment. Bringing may be used to numb pain. Purging may be a way to release emotions. When one cannot cope in healthy ways, adaptive functions (behaviors) are created to ensure a sense of safety, security, and control.
According to Carolyn Costin*, some of the “adaptive functions that eating disorder behaviors commonly serve are”:
It’s not about the food, it’s a way of coping with low self-esteem, negative emotions, physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, unstable home, difficulty resolving conflict and much more.
*Costin, Carolyn. The Eating Disorder Sourcebook: A Comprehensive Guide to the Causes, Treatments and Prevention of Eating Disorders. 3rd. edition, McGraw Hill, 2007.
Fuller, Kristen. “Eating Disorders: It’s Not All about Food.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 22 Mar. 2017