If you are in recovery from an eating disorder, it’s likely that you’ve heard of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Originally developed by Psychologist Marsha Linehan, PhD, at the University of Washington, DBT is an evidence-based model that treatment centers and therapists employ to help people manage overwhelming emotions. Many San Diego eating disorder therapists and treatment programs also use DBT or DBT techniques, as emotion regulation is a key part of eating disorder recovery. Another type of DBT has emerged is Radically Open DBT (RO-DBT), with which therapists can treat people who have trouble accessing their emotions. In many cases, whereas DBT practitioners can help people who have big emotions, Radically Open DBT practitioners assist individuals who have small emotions. In San Diego, Mia Najor, LMFT, is an eating disorder therapist who uses both DBT and RO-DBT in her practice. Mia is a dynamic, authentic person with a heart of gold who feels passionate about helping people. She also co-hosts podcast in San Diego on a variety of mental health and eating disorder topics. It is called Breaking Down: The Podcast. I’m excited for you to get to know her!
Why did you choose to become an eating disorder therapist in San Diego?
It was completely by accident. I was getting ready to graduate from my MFT program in 2013, and a colleague of mine sent me a link to a position at Center for Discovery. I was interested in working with adolescents, and so I applied for the residential counselor position at the La Jolla house. I helped open that program that year. I then went on to work in eating disorder day programs and now continue to see clients in my private practice who struggle with various eating disorders. I tend to focus mostly on binge eating. The population in general has really impacted me because of the beautifully sensitive folks that tend to struggle with eating disorders. I really resonate with that sensitivity and have my own past with disordered eating patterns.
What kind of treatment do you provide?
I have a small private practice in Hillcrest, but most of my work is with Centered Ground under Dr. Angela Klein. We are an adherent DBT program in Carlsbad, California. I use the Standard DBT modality as well as the Radically Open DBT (RO-DBT) modality. I have had a background in Standard DBT since 2012. I have been training under Dr. Angela Klein for the past year as an adherent practitioner of Standard DBT and RO-DBT. I really feel like I found my niche. To work with Dr. Klein, who truly uses DBT in her life daily, has inspired me greatly. RO-DBT was designed to treat people who struggle with emotional loneliness, rigidity, and overcontrol. It can be sort of a back-door approach in treating restrictive eating, as well focusing first on social signaling and enhancing connection with others.
I also run several groups per week at Centered Ground with Dr. Klein including Multifamily DBT Group, Adult DBT Group, RO-DBT Class, and Mindful Eating.
I think that providing DBT phone coaching has been a game-changer for me in terms of having that deeper connection with clients. Clients are encouraged to reach out to me for support when they are having urges to use maladaptive behaviors. I am so proud of them when they utilize the service, and I’ve witnessed huge changes in behaviors.
I’ve been a feminist since I was a tween and also consider myself to be a Health At Every Size (HAES) advocate. These aspects show up in my work with Clients.
Do you only work with eating disorders?
Not at all. I tend to work mainly with folks who struggle with self-harm and suicidality.
How long have you been working with eating disorders overall, and how long have you been in San Diego?
I have been working in the eating disorder field for 6 years. I am a second-generation San Diegan! So besides the 4 years that I lived in different cities such as Paris, San Francisco, and Honolulu, I have basically been in San Diego my whole life—38 years. What a place to grow up in.😉
Who are your favorite types of clients to work with?
My main population is folks that struggle with Borderline Personality Disorder. I also really love working with the population with overcontrol using RO-DBT. I think it just goes back to the sensitive temperament that I resonate with and love so much.
What happens during a first appointment with you?
My intake assessments involve me gathering historical information from each client. My first sessions also include a slew of assessment tools. I always want to find out a client’s reasons for seeking therapy. I am confident that each individual that comes into my office can experience my real personality shining through. I think that is what DBT has really done for me. It helped me to see that I can be completely me in the room with these clients. and this ultimately can help them feel more comfortable in the room too.
What do you wish people knew about getting treatment for eating disorders?
I wish that people knew that being fully recovered is possible. I see recovery almost like a spiral shape. There are going to be ups and downs in the process; but, people can still move forward even with the ups and downs and slips and lapses. I also wish more people knew that they didn’t have to live in shame about the disorder. Let’s douse the shame with openness and realness so that it dies. I truly believe that behavior can be changed. I have seen it many times over.
How can people learn more and contact you?
People can find me at my website mianajor.com and they can also look up Dr. Angela Klein’s website at www.centeredgroundtherapy.com, which has information on the DBT groups we provide, our backgrounds, and pricing.
I also highly recommended Dr. Angela Klein’s book, called “Mindful Eating from the Dialectical Perspective: Research and Application.” It is the most helpful tool I have found in working with binge eating disorder.
Share one fun fact about you that most people don’t know.
I just started a band this year called Rosa Rossa. I am really proud of it. I feel so fortunate to be with my people playing music that I adore. We will start playing live shows by the end of this year. It’s a shoegaze/dream pop/indie rock band.
Hey everyone, I really appreciate you reading my blog! Have a wonderful day. :)
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!