Interview with UCSD Eating Disorder Center's Christin Conkle, LMFT

Hi everyone! I interviewed one of my former marriage and family therapy (MFT) graduate students from Alliant International University. Her name is Christin Conkle, and she is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego. She graduated years ago, so she knew me when I was a new professor at Alliant! She now works at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) Eating Disorder Center. She is the lead therapist in the adolescent programs, which provides a partial hospitalization program (PHP) and intensive outpatient program (IOP) for teens with anorexia, bulimia, avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), and other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED), which is a category that includes subclinical and atypical eating disorders. She is a lovely person who really has a heart for teens and families struggling with eating disorders.

Why did you choose to become an eating disorder specialist in San Diego? 

I chose to become an eating disorder specialist because of the amount of positive change, recovery, and growth that a family can gain with the right treatment. I work with some of the pioneers in the eating disorder field. I am learning constantly! We have learned so much about the neurobiology and treatment for eating disorders, but we have a long way to go. I am happy to be on this journey and providing the best treatment to our patients and their families.

What kind of treatment do you provide? 

I specialize in family based treatment for anorexia nervosa (FBT). We have learned that when treating adolescents and young adults with anorexia, working with the family provides a higher success rate. When working with bulimia or binge eating disorder, I work from a cognitive behavioral approach for eating disorders. I also, specialize in dialectic behavioral therapy (DBT) for some of my patients who experience mood dysregulation, lack of coping strategies, and experience some co-morbid disorders. DBT offers coping strategies to regulate mood, suggest coping skills, and understanding and validation for the experience.

Besides eating disorders, what other co-occurring issues do you treat? 

When working with eating disorders, it is not uncommon to also treat a variety of co-morbid diagnoses. Some of those diagnoses may be, depression, anxiety, OCD symptoms or behaviors, personally disorders, and/or family dynamics. 

How long have you been working with eating disorders overall, and how long have you been in San Diego? 

I was born and raised in San Diego. I absolutely love San Diego! The majority of my family is from San Diego, so I don’t ever anticipate moving. I started working with eating disorders in 2013.

Who are your favorite types of clients to work with? 

I honestly don’t believe I have a favorite type of client. I truly love working with eating disorders. I enjoy learning new techniques and research on our patients. When a patient who is need of weight restoration and they get health and their parents tell me, “I see my kid again”. That is my favorite!

What happens during a first appointment at the UCSD eating disorder program? 

During our initial first session at UCSD. We are going through a lot of logistics (program times, rules, regulations). Starting the program at UCSD can be overwhelming. I always tell families it takes about two weeks to adjust.  

Depending on the diagnose will determine what the second sessions looks. If the patient has symptoms of anorexia—restrictive type or ARFID then we will be formulating a FBT approach and determine treatment goals, identifying the medical complications, and provide guidance and support to the family. 

If the diagnose is bulimia and/or binge eating we may be taking more of collaborative approach, establishing weight goals, and treatment approach.

How long does it typically take for clients and their families to go through the UCSD eating disorder program?

This is tough question! It really depends on the diagnose and treatment goals. Patients can typically be at UCSD from three to six months. 

What do you wish people knew about getting treatment for eating disorders? 

I wish that people knew that if you come to UCSD, you won’t be alone in this disorder. You will feel supported by our multi-family program, Saturday multi-family day, parent mentors, support by other families, and our world renowned staff! 

How can people learn more and contact you? 

The best way to learn about UCSD is to go to our website here.

You are welcome to contact our intake/ outreach department to learn more about the program at UCSD

If someone is interested in outpatient therapy—I am available at cconkle@ucsd.edu

Share one fun fact about you.

I have recently become a certified yoga instructor. I enjoy attending yoga events and conference for me personally as well how to in cooperate into my practice. 
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Thanks so much for reading my blog!  Have a wonderful day! :) 

Marianne

If you are struggling to find eating disorder treatment in San Diego give me a call for your free 15-minute phone consultation at (858) 699-3754, and I will help you get where you need to be!

 You can find more information about me on Instagram @drmariannemiller or on my Facebook page.