Counselor / Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

Lauren Muhlheim, Psy.D., CEDS

Lauren Muhlheim, Psy.D., CEDS photo
Psychotherapy for Adolescents and Adults
Help with Depression, Anxiety, and Eating Disorders
In my practice I provide psychotherapy to adolescents and adults. I focus on empirically validated treatments that science demonstrates work. I specialize in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for problems including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. I am a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist (CEDS) through IAEDP.

Eating Disorders Treatment

I have special interest and expertise in the treatment of adult and adolescent eating disorders including Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, and Body image issues. My approach to working with eating disorders is based on empirically validated treatments. I provide CBT to adults and older adolescents with eating disorders and family based therapy (Maudsley model) to adolescents with eating disorders. A course of CBT for bulimia is usually about 20 sessions. Family based therapy (FBT) usually consists of 20 treatment sessions over a course of 6 to 12 months.

I work collaboratively with other treatment professionals and have a dietitian in my suite who is available to provide dietary counseling.

Family Based Therapy for Anorexia and Bulimia (Maudsley)

For adolescents with anorexia, the outpatient treatment of choice is Family-Based Treatment (FBT or Maudsley Approach). I am certified in Maudsley Family Based Treatment through the Training Institute for Child and Adolescent Eating Disorders and am one of the only therapists in my area to have this certification. In this treatment, no one in the family is blamed for the development of the eating disorder. The symptoms are viewed as outside the child’s control and having taken on a life of their own.

In contrast to traditional therapies, Maudlsey Family-Based Therapy enlists the support of parents and siblings and even extended family as resources in helping the adolescent battle the eating disorder. Treatment initially focuses on weight restoration, with the parents tasked with providing adequate nutrition for their child during family meals. The therapist supports the parents in this difficult task of refeeding and also models a non blaming stance that views the eating disorder as an external force that must be fought off by the family working together. In the second phase of treatment, once the child has gained weight and starts to exhibit more normal eating behaviors, the child is gradually given back more control over their own eating. In the last phase of treatment development and comorbid issues are addressed within the family context

Adult Treatment
Cognitive behavioral therapy for eating disorders was pioneered by Christopher Fairburn, MD in 1981 and has been updated several times, including a revision in 1993 co-authored by my mentor, Dr. Terence Wilson (Fairburn, C. G., Marcus, M.D., & Wilson, G. T. (1993). The most recent revision is an “enhanced” (CBT-E) protocol (Fairburn, Christopher G., 2008).

A core issue in all eating disorders is overconcern with shape and weight. Cognitive behavioral therapy, which focuses on addressing the various behaviors, thoughts, and feelings that are components of this core overconcern, is particularly well-suited to treat eating disorders. Cognitive behavioral therapy also addresses general personality characteristics that maintain eating disorders.

Cognitive behavioral therapy has become the leading evidence-based treatment for adults with eating disorders. It has been tested in numerous clinical trials and proven successful. Research studies indicate that about two-thirds of the patients who complete treatment have an excellent response. It can also be successfully employed with older adolescents with bulimia nervosa.

Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses primarily on factors in the present that are keeping the eating disorder going. The therapist and client work collaboratively to understand the client’s problem and develop strategies to overcome it.
Dr. Muhlheim has worked in a variety of settings with diverse clients with many different issues including an Obesity Research Clinic, inpatient hospitals, outpatient clinics, group homes, and private practice. For nearly ten years she was a staff psychologist at Los Angeles County Jail, where she gained expertise in diagnostic assessment and crisis intervention. She resided for three years as an expatriate in the People’s Republic of China and worked there as a clinical psychologist treating expatriate foreigners in two different settings. One setting was a primary care clinic at Parkway Health, the largest international healthcare provider in Asia (www.parkwayhealth.cn). In her work in Shanghai, she gained experience working with clients of many different nationalities as well as cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds. Dr. Muhlheim has experience supervising and training psychology interns and other mental health professionals.

Dr. Muhlheim spearheaded the establishment of the Shanghai International Mental Health Association (www.s-imha.org ) and served as its first president. In her work with this organization she gained valuable experience with working with a team of culturally diverse colleagues to achieve organizational goals and expand the group’s membership and community visibility.

Dr. Muhlheim is active in the Academy for Eating Disorders and has held numerous leadership roles within this organization, including co-chair of the Membership Recruitment and Retention Committee, co-chair of the Social Media Committee, and a founding co-chair of the AED's Family-Based Treatment Special Interest Group. She currently sits on the Academy for Eating Disorders Board of Directors as Director for Outreach.

She is also a co-chair of the Los Angeles County Psychological Association Eating Disorder Special Interest Group and is Clinical Director of Mirror-Mirror, an eating disorder information page.
Practice Areas
 Counseling / Therapy  Loneliness
 Adolescents  Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
 Anger Management  Online / Video / Teletherapy
 Anxiety and Panic  Pre and Postpartum Mental Health
 Bicultural Difficulties  Relationship Issues
 Body Image Issues  Self Esteem Issues
 Caregiver Issues  Stress Management
 Coronavirus/COVID-19 Issues  Trauma and PTSD
 Depression  Women's Issues
 Eating Disorders  Work and Career Issues
 Life Transitions
 Licensed Clinical Psychologist (State)
Dr. Muhlheim has a B.A. from Princeton University and a doctoral degree (Psy.D) in Clinical Psychology from the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University. During graduate school, Dr. Muhlheim trained in the Rutgers Eating Disorder Clinic under the mentorship of internationally renowned eating disorders expert, G. Terence Wilson, Ph.D. There she was trained in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for bulimia, and eating disorders have been a primary focus and interest of study ever since. More recently, Dr. Muhlheim obtained training in Family-based therapy for adolescent anorexia. She also has had specialized training in CBT for anxiety disorders and depression, run groups for clients with panic disorder, and has had training in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy. She is a certified eating disorder specialist (CEDS).
SIMHA, Founding member and past President; APA, AED (Academy for Eating Disorders), LACPA (Los Angeles Psychological Association), IAEDP (International Association of Eating Disroder Professionals), NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) ABCT (Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies)
Recognized by the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology, 12/21/2010
Payments Accepted
Cash, check, credit cards, SOME insurance plans
License:PSY 15045 California
Helpful Links
4929 Wilshire Boulevard
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