Meet Our Compassionate, Experienced Therapists
Our experienced therapists will make it easy for you or your loved one to take the first important step to recognizing and getting help for an eating disorder or self-harm behavior. Our comfortable centers in Columbia, Maryland and Woodley Park, D.C. are renowned for providing therapeutic approaches that work for every body.
Andrew Walen, LCSW-C, LICSW, CEDS, Founder, CEO
Andrew Walen is the founder and CEO of The Body Image Therapy. He is a psychotherapist specializing in eating disorders, body image, anxiety and depression, self-harm, and self-esteem. He is an active author, speaker, and advocate on these issues.
Mr. Walen currently serves as President of the executive board for the National Association for Males with Eating Disorders (NAMED). He was also a founding board member of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA). He has appeared on The Today Show, was featured in The New York Times, and interviewed for film documentaries, television, and radio as an expert in the field of eating disorders and body image. In addition, he has authored numerous articles and presented workshops on eating disorders, body image disturbance, exercise addiction, bariatric surgery recovery, and binge eating disorder. His first book, Man Up to Eating Disorders, which is a memoir and self-help book directed at males with an emphasis on binge eating disorder, was published May 2014.
Mr. Walen is a magna cum laude graduate of the University Of Tennessee College Of Social Work in Nashville. He also is a published singer/songwriter and performs regionally (www.andrewwalen.com).
Jacki LaRusso, LPC – Therapist, IOP/PHP Lead Therapist, D.C. Office
Jacki believes recovery from an eating disorder begins in an accepting environment that values the unique personality, lifestyle, and goals of the individual. Her clinical background includes providing therapy to patients with eating disorders, body image issues, anxiety, depression, trauma, and self-injury behaviors. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park (Go Terps!), she went on to earn her Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling from Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey. Jacki is a member of the American Counseling Association and enjoys participating in advocacy efforts with organizations including the National Eating Disorder Association. In her free time, Jacki enjoys spending time with family and friends, writing, and reading.
Colleen Fitzgerald, LGPC – Outpatient Therapist, D.C. Office
Colleen works collaboratively with individuals and families to help them grow and change. A graduate of Loyola University’s Pastoral Counseling program, Colleen has a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She offers spiritually integrated counseling that draws on what is most meaningful to the client in order to promote healing. Prior to becoming a therapist, Colleen completed her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology at Penn State University and worked in education and housing policy. She is a member of both the American Counseling Association and the American Association of Pastoral Counselors. She enjoys reading good fiction, watching bad comedies, and spending time outdoors.
Laura Jones, LGPC – PHP Therapist, Washington DC Location
Laura believes in a holistic approach to recovery and a therapeutic environment that meets clients where they are. She has a wide array of clinical experience in both residential and outpatient settings and has provided therapy for clients with eating disorders, depression, anxiety, body image, and self harm behaviors. Laura earned a degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from James Madison University and has worked in residential and outpatient settings for eating disorders. Prior to counseling, Laura was a high school mathematics teacher. She combines her love for counseling and teaching to facilitate dynamic groups. When Laura is not working, she enjoys sketching, painting, and crafting.
Samantha Gordin, LGSW – Therapist for IOP/PHP, D.C. Office
Samantha “Sam” Gordin has a diverse professional history including inpatient, residential, outpatient, and non-profit settings. Raised by a mother who is a social worker, Sam developed a passion for helping others throughout her life. She received her Bachelors Degree in Social Work from Syracuse University, followed by her Masters degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania. Sam specializes in eating disorders, trauma and the LGBTQ community. When Sam is not working, you are likely to find her snuggling with her rescue dog, Nala, and watching some of her favorite mystery shows.
Hayley O’Brien, MA – IOP Lead Therapist, DC Office
Hayley approaches her clinical work from a holistic perspective — seeking to understand and treat all aspects of the human experience. As both a mental health counselor and registered yoga teacher, she works closely with each client to integrate healing modalities for both mind and body. Hayley works within a trauma sensitive framework to insure clients feel safe and secure as they explore the therapeutic process. After receiving her masters in mental health counseling from James Madison University, Hayley went on to work at a residential eating disorder center where she specialized in counseling and yoga. When Hayley is not working, you can find her enjoying her own yoga practice, traveling and spending time with loved ones.
Octavia Sykes, LGSW – Adolescent IOP Co-Therapist, Central MD Office
Octavia Sykes, LGSW, is a proud Baltimorean and quirky feminist. She credits her upbringing and education as the source of her advocate passions. Octavia holds a BA of Women’s Studies and LGBT Studies Certificate from University of Maryland, and an MSW from Widener University, where she is completing her M.Ed. of Human Sexuality. Octavia works with core issues of body image, self-esteem, self-identity, and trauma through her experience working with LGBT youth of color and survivors of sexual assault. She also enjoys volunteering with Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition and chilling with her cats.
Emily Hamberger, MA – Therapist, D.C. Office
Emily is a mental health counselor specializing in the treatment of eating disorders in adults and adolescents in the Washington D.C. office. She received her Master’s degrees in Counseling Psychology and in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and completed a specialized training program in the treatment of eating disorders and co-occurring disorders at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy in New York City. Emily worked as a counselor in New York until 2011 before moving back to her hometown of D.C. Emily’s passion for eating disorder counseling began by working adolescents at an in-patient facility. There she developed a hunger for helping young people move beyond the notion that disordered eating is “all about my weight.” When working with clients, Emily partners with nutritionists and medical doctors, and entrusts to them most of the discussion about food, calories, and the scale, recognizing that disordered eating is a concrete reflection of an internal struggle. Recovery with Emily starts at the place where the clients take her, and she collaborates with each of them in working on relationships, self-expression, and self-love on the journey towards a healthy self. She is currently a member of the American Psychological Association and the National Eating Disorders Association.
For more information, please give us a call at (877)-674-2843 or CLICK HERE to contact us.