Counseling for individuals and families.
Covid 19 TeleHealth Update
For continuity of care as the Covid-19 pandemic continues, appointments are virtual only via a HIPAA-compliant Zoom platform.
Picture a quaint and lovely house.
Imagine a room within where you spend most of your time⎯you write your daily To Do list, work, read, phone friends, check email, and organize your thoughts. It’s an active place with forward movement. This is your conscious mind.
Imagine a room in the back of this house. Every memory and thought you ever had clings to the walls. Every bad experience is stuffed under the bed and dresser, and every moment of sadness, pain, embarrassment and humiliation spill out of the closet and litter the floor. Every scene you’ve seen, every story you’ve told and been told lives here. Like when you were five and awoke from a nap screaming in pain from a mindless game played while you tag-teamed sleep where you wove a rubber band tightly around your finger, then felt afraid and abandoned when you couldn’t find your mother. Or that time in high school when you were shamed with a “D” in algebra. When schoolmates called you names and sibs mercilessly poked and picked. Memories of being criticized for how you dressed. Remembering you were always last to be picked for recess games.
This back room holds fear of loss from moving every three years, humiliation when you forgot your lines in the play, embarrassment you weren’t good enough, concern you were taller than your classmates, and pain and sadness of dashed hopes and dreams. It holds every negative, self-critical and judgmental word you’ve said about yourself. This is your unconscious mind.
This back room is cluttered and filled to the brim with beliefs formed around childhood experiences. It is sometimes so full the door won’t shut no matter how hard you try. Bursting forth are terrors, worries, anxiety, and ideas that take you down fantastical trails filled with made up stories. Its din is orchestrated by childhood stories and informs present choices and actions.
- You become fearful for no reason.
- Anxiety skyrockets.
- You judge yourself harshly without cause.
- You are sharp and rhetorical without logic.
- You eat compulsively then restrict. Poor eating habits drag you down.
- You body check to see that your careful calorie calculations are working.
- You make judgments about “that food is bad!”
- You’re uncomfortable in your own skin due to weighing yourself constantly.
- You feel totally overwhelmed and unfulfilled though life is full.
It’s driving you crazy.
Guests in your home are completely unaware of the clutter and stink in that back room driving all this. But you know it’s there. You know that when it’s cleaned it out, you’ll feel better.
And that’s your work. By diving into that back room, you heal the unconscious focus informed by erroneous childhood beliefs that ghostwrite present storylines. Clutter begins to thin, old stories are refreshed to what makes sense now, and healing occurs within all those childhood experiences.
- Binge eating, compulsive overeating, emotional eating, restriction and under eating, stress response eating, food addiction, yo-yo diets
- Moving away from 'Should' and 'Should Not' binary thinking
- Healing the conflict between mind and body and body image concerns
- Accessing inner wisdom despite external culture influences
In working with Diana, I have found grace, encouragement and clarity as I explore my complicated journey with food and body. Her curious, kind and client focused style has inspired me to give myself permission to let go of shame and embrace compassion for myself. As a result I am able to experience freedom in ways I have only imagined.
I feel so lucky to have found Diana. For 17 years, I weighed myself every day. The number on the scale was how I felt that day, affecting what I ate and how much I exercised. I beat myself up every morning. I was disgusted with my body image. After asking me for a year to give up my scale, I handed it to Diana because I realized how toxic it was.
Once a month I weighed in with Diana without looking at the scale. Diana taught me that I could nourish myself appropriately and exercise for fun. In the process, my body found its natural weight. She has been such an important part of my personal progress, I can’t thank her enough.
My continued journey of working with Diana has taught me my health and wellness is something you not only can’t put a price on, but is the one thing that makes the rest of your life run smoothly! Thank you, Diana, for the gift of healthy living! You’re more than I could ask for!
About Our Work
Inside of you is a whole, unbroken essence, a radiant authentic Self. When you seek, find and acknowledge that, you rediscover your self-love and the serenity that innately dwells within. Self-led eating takes active management through thoughtful intention, oversight, and attention to eat in an attuned way to what your body needs.
You and I partner on this journey using your rich history and experience to create a strong foundation of hope. We’ll rely on my weight-inclusive expertise in understanding the emotional pulsations involved in your relationship with food. We’ll check in voices that continue to believe in and rely on the old, outdated food “rules” of your past.
Your body innately understands your needs yet it’s been covered with rhetoric from diet culture. What your body needs will become clear as you move through healing and self-discovery. You’ll meet the parts of you involved in your relationship with food. You’ll accept who you are and know you can feed your body in a way that nourishes both biologically and psychologically. You’ll eat a hot fudge sundae with the same mindfulness as vegetables and beans.
As your nutrition therapist, I remain curious as you ask deeply within. This inquiry becomes a framework of connection and empowerment to shift in ways that align with your own authentic truth and deep longings.
You’ll discover your desires and establish realistic expectations and goals toward your most optimal self. You’ll eat food based on how you want to feel – alive, comforted, and joyful based on trust in yourself. You’ll begin to sense harmony and fluidity within as you integrate the core principles of compassion, clarity and creativity. As awareness grows, the change you seek begins to happen. I believe in you!
Bio: Diana Dugan Richards is a Level 3 Certified IFS practitioner with over a decade of experience using IFS with clients and groups. She has staffed a dozen Level 1 and Level 2 IFS Trainings as well as several IFS retreats with Dick Schwartz at Kripalu in western Massachusetts. She has completed both the Basic and Advanced IFIO courses (Intimacy From the Inside Out, IFS for couples work), and co-created with Jeanne Catanzaro a 4-month online continuity course for IFS titled “Using IFS to Heal Our Relationships with Food and Body.” She offers confidential individual and small group consultation for IFS colleagues seeking a supportive space for connection, validation for clinical challenges, and improved IFS fluency and competence.
- Diet culture is stealing your food and body freedom.
- Stress response eating often follows deprivation (diets), seasonal and situational stress, anxiety, and inability to distinguish between physical and emotional hunger. Addressing the vulnerability around food and body image is the first step toward shifting unwanted eating responses.
- Diet industry’s ‘Should’ and ‘Should Not’ binary thinking is toxic. I believe all foods can be emotionally equal and have a place on our plate.
- The conflict between mind, heart, and body image can be healed by attuning in with curiosity and compassion, and gaining clarity about your needs.
- You can access inner wisdom on nourishing yourself despite external culture influences.
How we begin:
In subsequent sessions, we’ll pulse between nutrition science, if needed, and psychology using Internal Family Systems to move toward the shifts you’d like to see.
Before our first session:
Please download, complete, and return the forms shown below before our first session. When our first appointment is confirmed, I’ll send you an encrypted email to return the completed forms. This insures confidentiality of your protected health and personal information.
The monthly IFS-Informed Food and Body Freedom Group is one of a collection of folks learning what we can from each other and finding support and camaraderie in our connection and learning. These groups require a 3-month commitment. You’ll experience additional support via guided meditations, experiential exercises, and group discussion in a setting with others who share similar journeys and stories as you do. See the Events page for more info.
We meet virtually using a HIPAA-compliant Zoom platform. When appointments are scheduled using an online scheduling platform, you’ll receive a confirmation email along with 48-hr and 4-hr reminder emails. Please save one of these for easy access to the Zoom link and cancel/reschedule link.
Contact me to schedule a consultation or for more information.
Licenses: MA 1630; N.H. 1189; IL 164.008633
Story influenced by Ramdesh Kaur.
My practice is out-of-network with insurance companies (fee-for-service). I can provide you with a detailed receipt you may use to try to obtain reimbursement from your health insurer. To determine how much they may be willing to reimburse you, it would be important to call your insurer to ask about out-of-network benefits for medical nutrition therapy and how to apply for these benefits.
You may contact me for my self-pay fee. All sessions are 55 minutes.
Note: Self payment and co-pays accepted via Zelle, Venmo, or credit card using secure Square.
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