Spring Eats: Roasted Carrot & Avocado Salad

Here in the greater metropolitan areas of Glendale, Phoenix and Scottsdale, you can tell Spring has arrived:  people are out and about, enjoying Spring Training baseball, exploring our beautiful parks and hiking trails, and relishing evenings on patios with windows open.  I don’t know about you, but this puts me in the mood for fresh and highly yummy food….bonus if it’s packed with nutrients and amazing flavors.  Enter this fantastic cumin roasted carrot and avocado salad over arugula and Israeli couscous…a delicious way to nurture your body while savoring a feast for the eyes and taste buds!

This recipe features a few simple ingredients that individually are nothing spectacular, but combined are a taste sensation.  Farro, also called “emmer” in some parts of the world, is a type of ancient wheat grain that has been eaten for thousands of years around the world and is typically found in Mediterranean cooking. Farro is an excellent source of protein, fiber and nutrients like magnesium and iron and is a fantastic addition to this plant-based recipe. If you can’t find farro in the dried grains section your local store or natural market, you may substitute with cooked quinoa, barley, buckwheat or even a hearty wild rice.

Bon Appetit!

Kimberly Mahr is a licensed clinical therapist who is also a “foodie” at heart.  When not supporting others on their journeys towards health and wellness she enjoys trying new recipes and entertaining friends and family.

If you or someone you know needs help, talk with your health care provider or give us a call!  We have a caring staff of seasoned therapists and Registered Dietitians in our Glendale, Arizona offices who have experience in helping people heal from the past, find meaning and joy in the present, and embrace hope for the future.  (623) 810-1663

2017-03-22T21:40:16+00:00 March 9th, 2017|0 Comments

Eating Disorders: Men Suffer Too!

When people think of eating disorders they often think it’s all about women.  This is not always the case: eating disorders can and DO effect males, and they can suffer from a range of eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified).

According to The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA20 million women and 10 million men will suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at sometime in their life.  Men who identify as homosexual have a higher rate of eating disorders ranking at 15% and heterosexual males at 5%.  Just like their female counterparts, men with eating disorders may also suffer from depression, substance use, anxiety and excessive exercising.  Males may also suffer from body dysmorphia, where they obsess over real or perceived body flaws and muscle dysmorphia, where they obsess about being small worry that they are too “little” or too frail.

As with their female counterparts, men are bombarded with media images where men are portrayed with young, tall, strong, “built” physiques…often facing media pressure to look a certain way that is not attainable for most.  It can be very difficult for men struggling with eating disorders to seek treatment; they are often faced with social stigma and misunderstandings about how eating disorders affect their gender.  Getting a clear diagnosis can also be problematic as many of the assessment tests used tend to use language catering to women.

The good news? Prevention and treatment are available for men suffering from an eating disorder.  It is important to know the warning signs and risk factors of an eating disorder.

Genetic Vulnerability
Sociocultural Influences
Psychological Factors such as

  • perfectionism
  • obsessive-compulsiveness
  • neuroticism
  • negative emotionality
  • harm avoidance
  • core low self-esteem
  • traits associated with avoidant personality disorder

Using these warning signs, professionals and loved ones can help identify those who are at risk for an eating disorder.  It is important to keep in mind that men of all ages, shapes and sizes can suffer from any form of eating disorder or disordered eating.

Rachel Peru is a Counseling Intern at Empowerment Treatment & Counseling.

If you or someone you know needs help, talk with your health care provider or give us a call!  We have a caring staff of seasoned therapists in our Glendale, Arizona offices who have experience in helping people heal from the past, find meaning and joy in the present, and embrace hope for the future.  (623) 810-1663




2017-03-22T21:40:47+00:00 March 8th, 2017|0 Comments

Are Past Hurts Dragging You Down?


It’s one of those things that we hear talked about, but isn’t always entirely clear what it means and who it affects.

Trauma can take many forms: “Big T” traumas are often  shocking, scary, or dangerous. These kinds of trauma may be natural, like a tornado or earthquake, but they can also be caused by other people, like a car accident, crime, or a terror attack.  “Big T” traumas can also take the shape of major medical problems, the death of a loved one, or even a major financial or relationship crisis.  “Little t” traumas, which can have an equally great impact, are often a result of chronic, on-going, or lower levels of not having our needs met, bullying, difficult relationships, or simply having experiences in life for which we were not prepared to deal.

Warning Signs

There are many different responses to traumatic events. Most people have intense responses immediately following, and often for several weeks, months, or even years after a traumatic event. These responses may include:

  • Feeling anxious, sad, or angry
  • Trouble concentrating and sleeping
  • Continually thinking about what happened

For most people, these are normal and expected responses and generally lessen with time. Healthy ways of coping during this recovery period may include avoiding alcohol and other drugs, spending time with loved ones and trusted friends who are supportive, trying to maintain normal routines for meals, exercise, and sleep. In general, staying active is a good way to cope with stressful feelings.

However, in some cases, the stressful thoughts and feelings after a trauma continue for a long time and interfere with everyday life. For people who continue to feel the effects of the trauma, it is important to seek professional help. Some signs that an individual may need help include:

  • Worrying a lot or feeling very anxious, sad, or fearful
  • Crying often
  • Having trouble thinking clearly
  • Having frightening thoughts, reliving the experience
  • Feeling angry
  • Having nightmares or difficulty sleeping
  • Avoiding places or people that bring back disturbing memories and responses

Physical responses to trauma may also mean that an individual needs help. Physical symptoms may include:

  • Headaches
  • Stomach pain and digestive issues
  • Feeling constantly tired
  • Racing heart and sweating
  • Being very jumpy and easily startled

Those who have previous mental health challenges or who have had traumatic experiences in the past, who are faced with ongoing stress, or who lack support from friends and family may be more likely to develop stronger symptoms and need additional help. Some people turn to alcohol or other drugs to cope with their symptoms. Although substance use can temporarily numb or appear to lessen symptoms, it can also make life more difficult and inhibit a person’s ability to process the trauma in a healthy manner.

If you or someone you know needs help, talk with your health care provider or give us a call!  We have a caring staff of seasoned therapists in our Glendale, Arizona offices who have experience in helping people heal from the past, find meaning and joy in the present, and embrace hope for the future.  (623) 810-1663

2017-02-22T02:17:00+00:00 February 22nd, 2017|0 Comments

Explore The Connections Between Food, Body & Feelings


  • Do you find it hard to love your body?
  • Are you done with fad diets?
  • Do you think you “should” exercise, but you’re embarrassed to go to the gym?
  • Have you considered the relationship between food and feelings?
  • Do you eat certain foods to help you feel better?

Join our EMOTIONAL AND BINGE EATING PROCESS GROUP which begins March 29th and meets weekly on Wednesday nights from 6:00-7:30 in our Glendale, AZ office.

If you live or work in the greater metropolitan Phoenix area, please join us and connect with others who share your struggles, and begin to move towards healing and wellness. Topics covered will include nutrition, body image, movement and more!

Call our office for details: 623.810.1663.

2017-03-13T13:37:06+00:00 February 15th, 2017|0 Comments

The Benefits of IOP: Eating Disorder Outpatient Treatment in Arizona

For many people, getting help for an eating disorder isn’t a matter of admitting that they have a problem. The issue is getting the right amount of support that can be flexible enough to accommodate a busy schedule. Inpatient eating disorder treatment isn’t always necessary, and it’s not the right option for most people. Even so, traditional outpatient treatment can leave participants feeling as though they need more than just a meeting or a group one or two days a week.

Intensive outpatient programs offer the perfect level of treatment for most eating disorder patients, and these programs carry many benefits.

Plenty of Time for Counseling in Arizona

Counseling is an integral part of eating disorder treatment in every case. It’s essential for you to be able to work one on one in a therapy environment and discuss the issues that could have led to your eating disorder. When you choose IOP, you’re giving yourself plenty of time to work with your counselor without having to wait a long time between your appointments.

Availability of Eating Disorder Groups

Research has shown that participating in group therapy has been instrumental in helping people recover from eating disorders. When you have an eating disorder, you typically feel as though you’re all alone in your struggles. You may feel depressed when you see others who are living their lives normally, and you wish you could achieve that goal for yourself. In a sense, the weight of your eating disorder and the isolation it brings can drag you down. Eating disorder groups reinforce the truth – that you’re not alone, and there are others who have struggled the same way that you are struggling. In addition, you’ll reap the benefits of hearing others tell their stories, and you’ll help many people through their own struggles too.

Health Insurance Companies Prefer Intensive Outpatient Treatment in Arizona

If you have ever tried to begin an inpatient treatment program for your eating disorder, you may be familiar with how difficult it is to get some health insurance companies to approve your stay. The fact is that for most people, inpatient treatment isn’t necessary, and yet, traditional outpatient treatment doesn’t provide enough support for recovery.

IOP offers an excellent middle ground for eating disorder treatment, which health insurance companies prefer. Many times, their reimbursement rates are much higher for intensive outpatient programs than they are for inpatient treatment programs, and you’re able to get started much faster. Choosing IOP relieves a lot of financial stress, and gives you the excellent support you need.

Intensive Outpatient Programs in Arizona are Flexible

One of the biggest reasons people tend to shy away from going to inpatient treatment is that they don’t have the time to commit to such a program. Some of these programs are thirty days long, or even longer in many cases. Life is busy, and if you work full-time or have a family to care for at home, inpatient treatment is probably out of the question for you.

With IOP, you can get the level of support you need on a schedule that fits into your busy life, and allows you to take care of all of your responsibilities.

IOP in Arizona at Empowerment Treatment & Counseling

At Empowerment Treatment & Counseling, our approach to eating disorder treatment is a holistic one, and our goal is to get to the underlying root cause of your eating disorder so that we can promote healing and recovery.

Our intensive outpatient program is an eight-week program for men and women who are age 18 and older. You’ll have the opportunity to work closely with our treatment team, and other patients in a group setting several days during the week. The flexibility of our program allows you to continue going to work or school during the day and receive the help you need during the evening hours.

How can Empowerment Treatment & Counseling help you recover from your eating disorder? Contact us today to learn more.

2017-02-22T02:07:01+00:00 October 26th, 2016|0 Comments

Living with Bulimia: My Story

Here at Empowerment Treatment & Counseling near Phoenix, Arizona, it always tugs at our heartstrings when we get to experience our clients’ recoveries from eating disorders, such as bulimia. We’d like to share one with you today.

I can remember the exact moment my eating disorder began. At the time, I had no idea I was toying with becoming bulimic, but to be honest, I really didn’t care. I’d look at myself in the mirror in the morning and I’d hate what I’d see. People would complement me on my outfit, and I’d be sure they were lying to me just to try and make me feel better about myself. I dreaded getting up in the morning because I knew I’d have to face that mirror and the horror of what I saw there.

It was a terrible place to be.

One day, I made a decision. I was going to take charge of that image in the mirror, and I was going to change it. I had heard of people eating a lot of food, and then taking diet pills or laxatives. Some people even forced themselves to vomit. That seemed like the quickest way to get what I wanted, so I gave it a try. The first time was hard, but after that, it got a lot easier. Soon, bulimia nervosa became a way of life for me.

Contemplating Bulimia Therapy Near Phoenix, AZ: Bulimia Side Effects

It wasn’t long before I started experiencing some physical changes, but they weren’t the ones I was expecting. The image in the mirror really didn’t change much, but my health did. My teeth started to get a lot of cavities, which I found out later is one of the most common bulimia symptoms. A few months in, I developed stomach ulcers. I went to the doctor to get treated for them, but still continued on in my bulimia nervosa behaviors.

About six months later, I developed pancreatitis. I started having pain in my stomach, and I was admitted to the hospital so they could stabilize me and give me the treatment I needed. It was then that I decided I should find out more about bulimia symptoms and what else could potentially happen to my body.

I learned that one of the other bulimia side effects was developing heart problems, and that it could even cause heart failure. I had reached the point where I was scared of continuing in the behaviors, but I really didn’t know how to stop doing them. That was when I reached out for help.

Bulimia Counseling Near Phoenix, Arizona: Changing the Course of My Life

To be completely honest, I was ashamed of what I had done. I had put myself through so much physical stress, and I was afraid to admit that I had bulimia nervosa. It was hard for me to open up about my behaviors to the staff at Empowerment Treatment & Counseling, but once I did, I couldn’t believe how much better I felt. They didn’t judge me at all. Instead they focused on helping me overcome bulimia nervosa in a way that was focused on my body, and on true healing.

Today, those urges to binge and purge are gone. Now that I have the support I need from bulimia counseling, I’m confident that my healing will continue.

Are you in need of bulimia therapy near Phoenix, Arizona? This story is just one of many, and we’d love to give you the chance to share your success story. Please contact us to get the help you need.

Quiz: 5 Signs You have an Eating Disorder

2017-01-17T01:45:13+00:00 September 19th, 2016|0 Comments

4 Tips for Finding the Right Therapist Near You in Arizona

“Shopping for therapist should be approached in the same way as looking for a new pair of shoes. They should FIT well, feel COMFORTABLE, and you should be HAPPY with their look and STYLE, or you will never feel completely satisfied.”

~Mary Jane Warr, Finding the Golden Key – Making Sense of Depression

If you live in the Phoenix, Arizona, area and are having emotional problems for which you feel the need to talk to a professional, you are lucky enough to have a plethora of choices. No matter what your particular issue is –trauma, anxiety, depression, relationship issues, emotional eating – you will find a qualified therapist.

But too many choices can also breed confusion – with so many options before you, which one is the right one for YOU? Trying to find the right therapist through trial-and-error can be expensive and take months. To make it easier, here are some helpful tips that can make your search for the right Phoenix therapist that much easier.

Start with the Resources You Already Have to Find the Right Therapist in Phoenix

Even if you think that you don’t even know where to begin to look for a therapist in Phoenix, you probably already have some resources that can at least point you in the right direction:

  • Your Insurance Company

    –Thanks to the Affordable Health Care Act, you probably already have insurance. Contact your carrier to see which therapist and counselors in the Phoenix area are included as part of your coverage.

  • Your Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

    –Many companies have a wellness program in place that provides confidential counseling and support for employees as part of the benefits package. You may be entitled to a limited number of free sessions, after which you can receive a referral for a local Phoenix therapist.

  • Your College/University

    –Most schools have a Counseling Center as part of Student Affairs. As with an EAP, you can receive short-term assistance, and if you need ongoing counseling, you can be referred to a qualified and licensed mental health specialist in Phoenix.

Narrow Your Search in Arizona, but Don’t Limit Yourself

When you are looking through listings of therapists in Phoenix, you will most likely focus on those counselors who (a) specialize in your specific issue, and (b) are close to where you live or work. That can be an efficient way to conduct your search, but don’t paint yourself into a corner. Keep an open mind.

Even though most therapists in Phoenix offer counseling for specific types of problems, many areas of practice overlap, and you might be able to get the help you need from unexpected sources. For example, if you are being troubled with low self-esteem and are having a hard time finding a therapist with an opening, perhaps a disordered eating counselor might be able to assist you, since often, the two conditions go hand-in-hand.

Also, it might be a good idea to expand your geographical boundaries a bit. If you limit yourself to only therapists in Phoenix, you might miss an excellent counselor in Glendale who would have been able to help you work through your issues.

Know What Questions to Ask Your Potential Therapist Near Phoenix 

Many people feel uncomfortable asking their mental health professional any questions about their qualifications, experience, and expertise – but that’s exactly what you SHOULD do. For therapy to the effective, you have to have complete trust in your counselor, and you can’t have that trust if there are any lingering doubts or unanswered questions.

  • Are you licensed in Arizona?
  • How long have you been practicing?
  • What are your areas of expertise?
  • I’m here because of ____. How do you typically treat this problem?
  • What are your success rates in dealing with this issue?
  • Do you accept direct payment/billing from my insurance company?

How Does Your Therapist Make You Feel?

The right match between you and your therapist is extremely important. If at any point – the initial consultation or even after a few counseling sessions – you feel uncomfortable or that the “fit” isn’t right, don’t hesitate to say so.

Sometimes, the rapport just isn’t there. It’s not something that can be researched, and if you need to move on to another local Phoenix therapist, the professional you’ve been speaking with won’t take any offense. It is understood that for you to get better, you have to feel perfectly at ease with your mental health provider.

If you live in the Phoenix, Arizona, Metro area and need any type of counseling, the trained professionals at Empowerment Treatment & Counseling, located conveniently in Glendale, are ready to work with you to restore peace of mind and hope to your life.

2017-01-17T01:45:13+00:00 July 21st, 2016|0 Comments

How Therapy Saved My Marriage

My marriage had reached a dead end, and we were in trouble. Even now, it bothers me to write those words, but it was a FACT. I still loved my wife, but I didn’t like who WE had become.

The Signs Were There That Our Marriage Needed Help

We had been living in denial for a while, but the truth was, we just weren’t happy. Over the course of 11 years, so much had changed:

  • We never really TALKED anymore
  • We didn’t spend quality TIME together
  • We were pursuing SEPARATE agendas
  • We ARGUED over petty things
  • Our SEX life was non-existent

I’m lucky that my wife still cared enough to bring up the idea of couples counseling. One night, she told me that she had been looking into a local program in Glendale – not far from our home in Phoenix, Arizona – that offered relationship therapy. At this point, I was ready to try anything, so I agreed.

My Wife and I Begin Couples Counseling

I’ll admit that I was apprehensive when we attended our first session. I didn’t know what to expect and I dreaded the idea of simply rehashing every old argument and airing our dirty laundry to a total stranger.

But when we met our counselor, she surprised me with a very simple question – “What are some goals you want to achieve with relationship therapy?”


I wanted to save my marriage. Wasn’t that why we were here?

It was explained to the two of us that a troubled marriage was merely a resultant symptom, because the root of our problems really lay elsewhere – poor communication, divergent goals, or issues with intimacy, for example.

That made a lot of sense to me, because what I missed most was how my wife and I used to talk for hours – about everything. It occurred to me that I couldn’t remember the last time we had just sat down and had a meaningful conversation.

The therapist explained that she would be working with us every step of the way as we tried different approved approaches that would help us REESTABLISH our marriage as a priority, REPAIR any damage our behaviors may have inadvertently caused, and RECONNECT as a couple.

She stressed two things –

FIRST, it was going to be a process that would require a lot of patience on our part. We hadn’t arrived at this point overnight, and it was going to take some time to get back to where we wanted to be.

SECOND, it was going to require real work on our parts, because our marriage was the most important relationship either of us would ever have with another person, and something that valuable was worth the effort to maintain it.

And then she smiled, and said that we had already done the hardest part, just by showing up.

What I Learned From Couples Counseling

Over the next several sessions in Glendale, our therapist guided us through different therapies designed to identify our biggest issues, so we could start focusing on solutions. Sometimes, there was even homework.

  • Emotional therapy – We learned how to honestly express our real emotions and needs to each other WITHOUT resorting to negativity like blaming, arguing, or shutting down.
  • Behavioral therapy – We worked on breaking bad habits and dysfunctional ways of thinking that contributed to our marital problems.
  • Mindfulness therapy –This was especially helpful to me. I learned how to be more “emotionally present” at any given time. During positive moments, I could be more aware and appreciative. During negative moments, I got better at separating what was REALLY bothering me from my own fear-fueled assumptions and insecurities.

One common theme that ran through each type of therapy was the need for better communication – open sharing of our feelings, “active” listening, and “fair” fighting that focused on resolving the conflict, rather than extending the argument.

I have to say that all of the sharing and communication helped my wife and I rediscover the love for each other that we had never lost – we had only buried it under too many bad habits. We are now closer than we have ever been.

We owe it all to Empowerment Treatment & Counseling.

2017-01-17T01:45:13+00:00 May 28th, 2016|0 Comments

Emotional Eating: Finding a Way Through

There’s a reason why it’s called “comfort food”.

As a child, I learned that food could be a welcome pick-me-up that made me feel better when nothing else could, and that perception only grew as I got older. By the time I was an adult, food had become my coping mechanism.

I Turned to Emotional Eating Whenever Life Let Me Down

It’s easy for me to have a love-hate relationship with food.

On the one hand, my comfort foods of choice have always been there for me – they don’t judge me, criticize me, reject me, or let me down. Binge eating always made me feel better – at least for a while –whenever I was feeling:

  • Stressed
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Anxious
  • Lonely

But here’s the thing – as time went by, a wicked pattern started to emerge.  Whenever I was feeling down, I would often overeat even if I wasn’t hungry. I would eat way past the point of feeling full. It was almost as if I was completely powerless.

Of course, all of this binge eating affected my weight, which in turn affected my self-esteem and made me feel even worse. So, without even thinking, I would turn to my normal coping method – eating.

I Had to Get Help for My Emotional Eating

My problematic eating caused me a bit of a health scare, and my doctor recommended that I get some help that went beyond just losing weight. After checking around, I found a reputable program right here in Arizona.

When I met with my counselor for the first time and she interviewed me, something she then said really stuck in my mind. She told me that my primary goal in therapy wasn’t going to be to lose weight – it was going to be to get healthy.

She explained that my weight was only a byproduct of a different problem – emotional eating. If, through counseling and therapy, we could get to the root of that problem, the weight would take care of itself.

Learning to Move Past Emotional Eating

During the first few sessions, we worked on identifying the “triggers” that set off an episode of binge eating. We talked about being “mindful” – trying to increase my overall awareness of how I was feeling at any given time. The goal was to recognize the emotional and physical signs that preceded a binge.

Once I was able to recognize my triggers, we worked on substituting positive coping methods that didn’t involve food. For example:

  • For stress or anxiety, I could get rid of the excess energy by taking a walk, doing housework, or even turning on the radio and dancing alone in my apartment.
  • For depression or loneliness, I could make myself feel better by calling up a friend or family member. I was also encouraged to get a pet to keep myself company.
  • For boredom, I could go to a movie, take up a new hobby, or even enroll in a class.

Of course, all of these were just examples that we explored. The main goal was for me to understand that I did not have to be held “hostage” by the feelings that could result in emotional eating. I could proactively regain a measure of control.

Once I started learning how to eliminate some of the triggering negative feelings, we worked on how to resist the inevitable cravings. Sometimes, despite my best efforts, I would still sometimes experienced almost-overwhelming feelings of wanting to eat and eat and eat.

We worked on practical strategies that I could employ to deflect and delay until I felt more in control of myself:

  • Sometimes, all it took was steeling my resolve for very short periods – half an hour, 15 minutes, or even 5 minutes at a time, to give the craving an opportunity to pass.
  • When shopping, I stuck to a list of healthy, non-junk foods.
  • I never let myself get too hungry –I kept a supply of healthy, nutritious snacks. If I let myself get positively ravenous, it became all-too-easy to lose control.
  • I tried to practice portion control.
  • I ate slower and took smaller bites.
  • Most of all, I tried to appreciate my food, rather than just mindlessly wolfing it down. Again, this allowed me to be more mindful of what I was doing.

Over the course of my therapy treatment for emotional eating, I learned so much about WHY I overate, which helped me to practice strategies that I still use to this day. I honestly have no idea exactly how much I weigh, because I was taught not to judge my progress via a scale, but I can tell you this – today, I am happier and healthier than I have been in a very long time.

If you live in Arizona and are struggling with any degree of eating disorder, Empowerment Treatment & Counseling, conveniently located in Glendale, has licensed therapists who can help you regain control of your health and your life.

2017-01-17T01:45:13+00:00 May 27th, 2016|0 Comments