Santa Barbara

Francie White, M.S., PhD Candidate

Co-Founder, Director & Clinical Supervisor

Co-founder of the Central Coast Treatment Center, Francie is a Nutritional Psychology Specialist, and received a B.S. in Health Sciences from UCSB and a M.S. in Nutrition from UC Davis. She was a registered dietitian for 35 years and has also published research articles on Exercise Resistance Syndrome, written 2 workbooks for Central Coast Treatment and originally did nutrition science research at UC Davis Medical School. Francie is currently a PhD candidate in Consciousness & Transformative Studies at California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco.

Years before eating disorders reached epidemic levels, Francie began specializing in the psychological relationship we have to food, body image, and exercise. She explored how compulsivity, obsessive thinking, and the connection between the conscious and unconscious control behaviors and thought patterns. She has written several articles and training workbooks for professionals on the entire range of eating disorders. Francie’s articles on exercise resistance syndrome in women represented a breakthrough in the field. She speaks at conferences across the United States on the nature and treatment of the complex aspects of human psychology that affect attitudes and decisions about eating and exercise. Francie’s work illustrates how psychotherapy can interface with symptoms of disordered eating to create a comprehensive understanding of this epidemic.

Francie teamed up early on with Geneen Roth, best-selling author of Breaking Free from Emotional Eating and Women, Food, and God, and she ran the revolutionary Breaking Free from Emotional Eating workshops throughout the United States. Francie appeared on CNN and many local television and radio shows during her time with Geneen Roth. She then formed her own national workshop company that provided specialized training for psychotherapists, MDs, and dietitians to bridge the gap between nutrition and exercise science and the underlying psychological aspects of eating, body image, and exercise behaviors. After studying and training under Marion Woodman (Addiction to Perfection), Francie taught at Pacifica Graduate Institute. She incorporated Jungian psychology into her retreats and joined forces with Anita Johnston, Ph.D., author of Eating in the Light of the Moon, and Carolyn Costin, MFT, founder of the Monte Nido Treatment Centers and author of several influential books, including Eight Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder.

After several years running her workshop company and a successful private practice, Francie and Terry White founded the Central Coast Intensive Outpatient Program. The newly expanded Central Coast Treatment Center represents the culmination of Francie’s decades of work with eating disorders. The innovative IOP and day treatment programs provide a safe haven for those of any age who wish to free themselves from the ceaseless, self-defeating thoughts of eating and exercise disorders and discover the path to lasting recovery.

MFT License #29341

Terry White, MFT

Terry White received a B.A. in Recreation Administration from Sacramento State University and specialized in programs for the physically and mentally disabled before returning to Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara in 1988, where he completed a M.A. in Depth Psychology. His focus on depth psychology, mindfulness, and dream work, combined with his background in behavioral problems in children, gives Terry a unique perspective on the nature and treatment of eating disorders.

Terry co-lead nationwide workshops and trainings for professionals in the eating disorder field, teaching participants how to apply depth psychology, dream analysis, and art therapy to the treatment of eating and exercise disorders. He is certified by the Board of Behavioral Sciences as a CEU Provider for MFTs and social workers. Terry has studied the healing power of the unconscious aspects of the psyche with Jungian psychologist Stephen Aizenstat, the Chancellor of Pacifica Graduate Institute. Terry incorporates the sand tray process, art, and storytelling into his psychotherapy, and he leads the powerful Dream Therapy Group in the program. Terry is the Clinical Director of both the Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo programs and acts as advisor to the staff, drawing on his personal expertise in children, couples, family, and individual psychotherapy.

Terry recently trained in the ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) Program, which combines cognitive science with well-known Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Mindfulness practices. Terry is devoted to remaining on the cutting edge of the field and providing compassionate care to his patients and their families.

MFT license # 94355

Natasha Deacon – M.A., LMFT,

Program Coordinator, Psychotherapist

Natasha is a highly skilled practitioner with a warm, grounded, authentic manner as well as a highly detail-focused case and program coordinator. As our Program Coordinator, Natasha’s gifts in perceiving the over-arching individual nuances of each client allows her to direct our team resources to meet the needs of each patient and their family members. With compassion and a wisdom that is beyond her years, she utilizes the best of cognitive behavioral therapy strategies, which confront hidden belief systems alongside pragmatic insight oriented therapy styles. She has a second nature with understanding addiction and its consequences, in patients and their family members and coordinating care with the variety of issues present in most clients.
Natasha has spent years in intensive focus on eating disorder treatment, along with a specialty in treating children and adolescents. Whether taking clients on excursions, meal outings, or utilizing her love of cooking, sustainable environmental practices or the incorporation of other life skills, her University of California Bachelors Degree in Sociology, Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University lead her to a profound capacity to flourish as a leader of our life affirming extensive treatment modality at Central Coast Treatment Center.

MFT license # 87573

Lauren Richardson, MA Psychology, Licensed MFT

Therapist

Lauren Richardson received her master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University, followed by the Marriage and Family Therapy license. Her expertise and 5 year speciality with adults experiencing severe mental illnesses and co-occurring disorders, provided her with a range of treatment specialties, one of which is dialectical behavioral therapy and a multitude of powerful group therapies. Her experience with residential and outpatient clients inspired her own development of a family program using expressive arts. As eating disorders benefit from all of her specialties, including her specific focus process on grief and loss, Lauren brings a high degree of knowledge to our dynamic team. She has a lifelong passion for animals and is certified in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy through the EAGALA model, as both an Equine and Mental Health Specialist. She also recently began an Equine Assisted Therapy program working with individuals, couples, and families. She is thrilled to bring this healing, experiential work to individuals with eating disorders.

Amy Lake, MS, RD

Registered Dietitian

Amy brings enthusiasm alongside her academic expertise as a new team member with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in nutritional science.  She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona in 2014 and her master’s degree from Saint Louis University in 2016. She has had advanced training in eating disorder treatment with Francie White and Marlena Tanner, RD, and through her dietetic internship at Saint Louis University with an emphasis in pediatrics.

During her dietetic internship, Amy confirmed her passion for working with the eating disorder population of all types and all ages.  Her interest in the psychological dynamics involved in the application of medical nutrition therapy is an asset to Central Coast Treatment Center’s work with binge eating disorder and metabolic syndrome as well as the many unique nutrition requirements for all disordered eating.  Amy’s exercise physiology and general biochemistry knowledge sets the basics for rebuilding body strength and nutritional rehabilitation during each client’s recovery. Amy is a current member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and brings the most up to date practices in medical nutrition therapy to the Central Coast Santa Barbara team!

Certifications and Memberships:

  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics member August 2015 – present
  • CITI Program Human Research trained through September 2018
  • ServSafe Certified through February 2019

San Luis Obispo Staff

MFT License #29341

Terry White, MFT

Terry White received a B.A. in Recreation Administration from Sacramento State University and specialized in programs for the physically and mentally disabled before returning to Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara in 1988, where he completed a M.A. in Depth Psychology. His focus on depth psychology, mindfulness, and dream work, combined with his background in behavioral problems in children, gives Terry a unique perspective on the nature and treatment of eating disorders.

Terry co-lead nationwide workshops and trainings for professionals in the eating disorder field, teaching participants how to apply depth psychology, dream analysis, and art therapy to the treatment of eating and exercise disorders. He is certified by the Board of Behavioral Sciences as a CEU Provider for MFTs and social workers. Terry has studied the healing power of the unconscious aspects of the psyche with Jungian psychologist Stephen Aizenstat, the Chancellor of Pacifica Graduate Institute. Terry incorporates the sand tray process, art, and storytelling into his psychotherapy, and he leads the powerful Dream Therapy Group in the program. Terry is the Clinical Director of both the Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo programs and acts as advisor to the staff, drawing on his personal expertise in children, couples, family, and individual psychotherapy.

Terry recently trained in the ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) Program, which combines cognitive science with well-known Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Mindfulness practices. Terry is devoted to remaining on the cutting edge of the field and providing compassionate care to his patients and their families.

Francie White, M.S., PhD Candidate

Co-Founder, Director & Clinical Supervisor

Co-founder of the Central Coast Treatment Center, Francie is a Nutritional Psychology Specialist, and received a B.S. in Health Sciences from UCSB and a M.S. in Nutrition from UC Davis. She was a registered dietitian for 35 years and has also published research articles on Exercise Resistance Syndrome, written 2 workbooks for Central Coast Treatment and originally did nutrition science research at UC Davis Medical School. Francie is currently a PhD candidate in Consciousness & Transformative Studies at California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco.

Years before eating disorders reached epidemic levels, Francie began specializing in the psychological relationship we have to food, body image, and exercise. She explored how compulsivity, obsessive thinking, and the connection between the conscious and unconscious control behaviors and thought patterns. She has written several articles and training workbooks for professionals on the entire range of eating disorders. Francie’s articles on exercise resistance syndrome in women represented a breakthrough in the field. She speaks at conferences across the United States on the nature and treatment of the complex aspects of human psychology that affect attitudes and decisions about eating and exercise. Francie’s work illustrates how psychotherapy can interface with symptoms of disordered eating to create a comprehensive understanding of this epidemic.

Francie teamed up early on with Geneen Roth, best-selling author of Breaking Free from Emotional Eating and Women, Food, and God, and she ran the revolutionary Breaking Free from Emotional Eating workshops throughout the United States. Francie appeared on CNN and many local television and radio shows during her time with Geneen Roth. She then formed her own national workshop company that provided specialized training for psychotherapists, MDs, and dietitians to bridge the gap between nutrition and exercise science and the underlying psychological aspects of eating, body image, and exercise behaviors. After studying and training under Marion Woodman (Addiction to Perfection), Francie taught at Pacifica Graduate Institute. She incorporated Jungian psychology into her retreats and joined forces with Anita Johnston, Ph.D., author of Eating in the Light of the Moon, and Carolyn Costin, MFT, founder of the Monte Nido Treatment Centers and author of several influential books, including Eight Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder.

After several years running her workshop company and a successful private practice, Francie and Terry White founded the Central Coast Intensive Outpatient Program. The newly expanded Central Coast Treatment Center represents the culmination of Francie’s decades of work with eating disorders. The innovative IOP and day treatment programs provide a safe haven for those of any age who wish to free themselves from the ceaseless, self-defeating thoughts of eating and exercise disorders and discover the path to lasting recovery.

R.D. License:

Marlena Tanner, R.D., CEDRD

Treatment Coordinator

Marlena is a Certified Eating Disorder Dietitian with more than ten years of experience working in the treatment of eating disorders. She earned her B.S. in Nutrition from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and completed the didactic internship through the Porterville Developmental Center. Marlena has worked as a counselor for adolescents and adults with disabilities and has extensive experience with the 12-step program for alcoholism and compulsive overeating disorders. Prior to becoming a dietitian, Marlena worked as certified personal trainer and registered dietetic technician. She received her DTR through Westchester Community College in Valhalla, New York.

Marlena’s own struggle with an eating disorder has given her empathetic insight into the challenging path to recovery. She works to improve each client’s relationship to food and self through nutrition education, meal plan development, individual counseling, cooking classes and group coaching. She is further certified as a “Creative Journal Expressive Arts” (“CJEA”) instructor having trained with Dr. Lucia Capacchione, Ph.D., A.T.R., R.E.A.T. As an artist herself and having been raised by two artist parents, she particularly enjoys using art and journaling as a form of releasing and processing emotions.

Marlena immigrated from Switzerland at the age of nine and spent sixteen years in New York before making the Central Coast her home. She has a unique multicultural perspective and is thus able to adapt smoothly in working with a broad spectrum of clients. When talking with clients, she is often heard repeating the phrase “permission to eat is key”. It is her hope that through her own recovery and nutrition expertise that she can educate clients sufficiently to have them regain that permission and begin to trust their bodies again.

MFT License: #50208

Katja Ahlstrom M.A., MFT

Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

Aside from being a Marriage and Family Therapist, Katja is also a mother of two. She lived in Germany for the first twenty years of her life and gained a unique multi-cultural perspective on eating disorders. Katja struggled with anorexia as a teenager and finally found the path to recovery through artistic expression, earning her first degree in Theatre Arts. Katja then pursued a B.A. in Psychology and a M.A. in Clinical Psychology, which she received from Antioch University, Los Angeles. Katja completed her traineeship at Inland Aids Project in San Bernardino, California and also worked as a grief counselor at the Hospice of San Luis Obispo.

Katja is interested in the humanistic approaches of Carl Rogers and Eugene Gendlin and works to incorporate Gendlin’s focusing-oriented psychotherapy (Certified as a Focusing Partner) and EMDR (Certified practitioner) with cognitive behavioral approaches already practiced with the eating disorder population. Katja helps her patients transform their own experience of their eating disorder over time and free themselves from its grip on their emotions. Katja integrates art, movement, and drama into individual and group psychotherapy to inspire her clients to find new meaning in their lives.

Pamela Kremza, MA, MFT

Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

Pamela graduated from Pacifica Jungian Graduate Institute and received her license 6 years ago. Her practice focuses on depth psychology, connecting the client or family system symptoms to the deeper calling of the true Self. With a decade of specialized work with Central Coast Treatment Center focused on creating eating disorder workshops, groups processes, lectures, and individual & family therapy, Pam as a calm, confident mastery as a therapist.

MFT License #: 36641

Melissa Wheelock, MA

Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

Melissa Wheelock graduated from California State University, Fresno in 1996, earning a MS degree in Counseling Psychology and later becoming licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist. Melissa has over twenty years of experience working with children, families and adults with mild to severe mental health challenges. Melissa is a transplant from the Central Valley, where she was born and raised and where she went on to pursue her career with several nonprofit mental health agencies working over the years as a therapist, supervisor, manager, trainer and consultant. Early in her career, Melissa received training in Theraplay and other attachment based child and family therapies, which she still draws inspiration from today. As a supervisor and program manager, she developed community based prevention and suicide intervention programs as well as training programs for new therapists. In the three years prior to joining the team at Central Coast Treatment Center (CCTC), Melissa managed programs serving individuals experiencing life threatening mental health crises. It was in this position that she worked with Marsha Linehan’s institute, Behavioral Tech, to receive intensive training in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). Melissa is a firm believer that DBT skills can be life changing for individuals struggling with eating disorders and/or experiencing relationship turmoil and so she incorporates this philosophy into her work as a therapist providing group and meal support as well as individual and family therapy at Central Coast Treatment Center. When she isn’t working, Melissa enjoys spending time with her husband and three kids-at the beach, traveling or just relaxing. Melissa also enjoys yoga, reading fictional crime mysteries and throwing the ball countless times for her incredibly energetic Lab.

M.A. IMF #: 73934

Shani Wichman, MFTI

Marriage and Family Therapist Intern

Shani Wichman is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern. Her Master of Arts Degree in Psychology is from Chapman University following her Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from California Polytechnic State University. Shani Wichman, M.A. IMF 73934 is supervised by Terry White.
Shani is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, but has made the Central Coast her home. For the past several years Shani has been providing counseling and support for a variety of family support agencies, such as, San Benito Elementary School, The Community Counseling Center, Hospice of SLO, and The Kinship Center.
As a member of the Central Coast Treatment Center Team, Shani adds her warmth, humor and wisdom guiding individuals toward the discovery of the true Self, by tracking each clients’ underlying passion and gifts. Her wisdom is complemented by her easy going nature, supporting individuals through meal support, outings and the variety of group experiences.

Victoria Smith, BA

Registered Dietitian

Victoria joins the San Luis Central Coast Treatment Center from the East Coast, where she received her B.S. in Nutrition and Food Science from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Victoria completed her dietetic internship through Drexel’s Individual Supervised Practice Pathway, with emphases in outpatient counseling, pediatrics and weight management. She has experience working with patients across the lifespan and received specialty training in Motivational Interviewing in the winter of 2016.
Victoria volunteered and interned for the noted National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) in New York, New York. She worked as a helpline correspondent and provided callers across the country with crisis support and referrals specific to their needs for quality treatment throughout the U.S. As a communications and marketing intern, she oversaw NEDA’s social media platforms, aided in the creativity of the adolescent website, Proud2bme.org and increased the public’s awareness of eating disorders, body dissatisfaction and treatment modalities.

As a recent graduate dietitian, Victoria holds the latest knowledge and understanding of evidence-based practice and nutrition therapy and is an active member of the Pediatric Nutrition Practice Group. Victoria has a true passion for nutrition and wellness and a genuine love for cooking in an “all foods fit” environment. Through her shopping, cooking and meal planning experiential groups, her hobby with recipe development offers clients a chance to learn a variety of delicious life skills in the kitchen through each phase of recovery.

Mallory Soares

Nutrition Assistant

Mallory is currently finishing her last two quarters at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in Applied Nutrition, with a minor in Psychology. She is interested in medical nutrition therapy, nutrition education, disease prevention and epidemiology, and all forms of treatment for disordered eating. Mallory is recovered from her own anorexia, and found recovery through the pragmatic facts within the field of nutrition education. Her own history of having an eating disorder has allowed her to empathize and better understand individuals with eating disorders. Mallory leads grocery outing, nutrition group, and meal planning group at CCTC. She loves cooking with our clients and experimenting with new recipes and foods–nutrition group is always an adventure! Mallory is passionate about nutrient metabolism and regularly incorporates nutrition education into nutrition group. She brings an upbeat, positive activism to the shopping, cooking, and the meal support groups!
Mallory has been a BACCHUS certified health educator for four years through Cal Poly’s PULSE peer health education program, helping students with disordered eating and promoting health and well-being through awareness programs on campus.

Mallory will be a fantastic future Registered Dietitian and plans in addition to pursue a Masters in Public Health!

MFTI License #: 92267

Katie Boucher

Therapist

Katie received her MA in Counseling Psychology, at Argosy University in the San Diego area. Her clinical experience included specializing at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital, Eating Disorder Partial-Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program.

She has worked with individuals from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds diagnosed with Feeding and Eating Disorders, as well as other co-morbid disorders (including: Mood Disorders, Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders, Personality Disorders, and Anxiety Disorders). Her training in evidence-based practices (including: CBT, DBT, Interpersonal Therapy, and Mindfulness) has provided her the opportunity to gain proficiency in a variety of skills/tools and therapeutic interventions, which she focuses on currently at Central Coast Treatment Center running groups utilizing these skills and adding art therapy to both groups and individual treatment.

Laura Anselmo, LVN

Case Manager & Administrative Assistant

Laura received LVN degree from Cuesta College in 2013 after a ten year role in Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Her patience and warmth is welcome as our medical assistant for our clients at Central Coast Treatment Center as well as adding to our administrative assistant team and insurance authorization team. She resides in a community which emphasize sustainable farming, including sites within the Cal Poly agriculture department. She has a history of volunteering for GreanSlo, providing food bank donations from local farmers and residents with excess food supplies, becoming a avid resource for our own center’s clients who want to learn more about sustainable food growing as part of their education with us!