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Our Eating Disorder Treatment specialties, at our Houston, TX a outpatient center specializes in Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating, & Orthorexia Recovery.

Eating Disorder Treatment Team | Houston, TX

Deandra Christianson, MA, LCPC, NCC, CCMHC, CDWF

Deandra Christianson, MA, LCPC, NCC, CCMHC, CDWF

National Director of Operations, Residential Eating Disorder Division

Deandra Christianson received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and then continued on to receive her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. While in her Master’s program she earned a Counseling Specialization and focused on treatment of children and adolescents. She is currently completing her PhD in Organizational Leadership at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

Deandra has been with Center for Discovery in many capacities, both clinical and administrative, since 2013. She has been afforded many opportunities to speak at conferences and other engagements throughout the country. Deandra has worked with people with eating disorders, self-injurious behaviors, mood disorders, and other co-occurring issues in both residential and outpatient treatment settings. Additionally, she has worked with schools in program development and implementation that focuses on student leadership and bullying prevention and intervention. Deandra is passionate about her work, as well as, eating disorder awareness, advocacy, and treatment.

Andrea Ciarlelli, LMFT

Andrea Ciarlelli, LMFT

Assistant Director of Operation, East Coast, Residential Eating Disorder Division

Andrea Ciarlelli is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in the treatment of eating disorders for adolescents and their families. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Southern Connecticut State University and later earned her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the same institution.

Ms. Ciarlelli has worked with adolescents and adults in various levels of care including Residential Treatment Centers, Therapeutic Group Homes, Intensive Outpatient Programs, Crisis Stabilization Programs and Outpatient Mental Health Clinics. Ms. Ciarlelli has extensive experience treating adolescents with complex psychiatric issues including: eating disorders, psychotic disorders, mood dysregulation, self-injurious behaviors and trauma. She approaches therapy utilizing a structural family therapy framework and believes that the support and inclusion of families in treatment is critical to the healing process. Ms. Ciarlelli is also an adjunct professor at Southern Connecticut State University in the Psychology Department, where she teaches Infant and Child Development, Adolescent Psychology and Abnormal Psychology as needed.

Julia Cassidy, CEDS-S

Julia Cassidy, CEDS-S

Director of Dietary Services - Adolescent ED RTC

Julia Cassidy is the Director of Dietary for Center For Discovery where she has worked for over 13 years. Julia is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist and a Licensed Body Positive facilitator. Through her passion for nutrition, food, positive body image and eating disorder recovery, Julia has developed the nutrition program used with all clients in the adolescent residential programs at Discovery. Seeing her clients take the path and make changes in their life from the time of admission to the time they discharge is the greatest reward of her career. Julia’s belief is having a healthy relationship with food through balanced nutrition is the baseline to attaining the tools necessary while on the road to recovery. The core ingredient for success for patients with eating disorders can be summed up in the words of Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

Megan Ledet

Megan Ledet

Program Director
Sasha Millice, MS, RDN, LD

Sasha Millice, MS, RDN, LD

Registered Dietitian

Sasha is the Registered Dietitian at Center For Discovery Houston residential eating disorder program. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of British Columbia in Food, Nutrition, and Health and her Master’s Degree in Nutritional Science from California State University, Los Angeles. During her graduate studies, Sasha’s research focused on exploring how weight and socioeconomic status impacted the recognition and treatment of eating disorders. She completed her dietetic internship at the University of Houston and is currently pursuing her Certified Eating Disorders Registered Dietitian certification.

Throughout her education and career, Sasha has gained experience at all levels of care for eating disorder treatment. She approaches nutrition therapy with compassion, meeting clients where they are to individualized care throughout every stage of recovery. Sasha uses intuitive eating and Health at Every Size principles to help clients find a more peaceful way to relate to food that includes nourishment and satisfaction.

Morgan Sinclair, MS, RDN, LD

Morgan Sinclair, MS, RDN, LD

Registered Dietitian

Morgan Sinclair is a registered dietitian at Center for Discovery Houston and splits her time between the residential treatment facility working with adolescents and the outpatient treatment facility where she leads the Binge Eating Disorder program. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences as well as her Master’s of Science in Business from Texas A&M University. During her studies, she was a part of the performance nutrition staff through Texas A&M Athletics, co-founded The Move Initiative – a nonprofit that utilizes NCAA student-athletes to help elementary students develop a healthy relationship with food and activity, and completed nutrition-focused study abroad trips to northern Italy and Brazil. Morgan completed her dietetic internship through the University of Houston, including rotations at the Medical Center for Eating Disorders and with an outpatient eating disorder dietitian. She practices with a Health at Every Size approach as she works with clients to become intuitive eaters and help them develop a positive relationship with food and their body.

Avanti Sule, MS, LPC-Intern, NCC

Avanti Sule, MS, LPC-Intern, NCC

Primary Therapist

Avanti Sule is a Licensed Professional Counselor Intern and is supervised by Meredith Riddick, LPC-S, CEDS-S. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology, with a minor in Biology, from the The University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from The University of North Texas. Avanti is a member of the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals and is currently pursuing her Certified Eating Disorders Specialist certification. Her clinical experience includes working with adolescents, college students, and adults struggling with anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, eating disorders, life transitions, relationship concerns, and substance-related disorders.

Avanti uses an integrative approach to treatment which is client-centered, individualized, family-focused and incorporates CBT and DBT principles. Avanti’s approach is guided through empathy, genuineness, and unconditional positive regard to build a therapeutic relationship and foster personal and interpersonal growth. She is passionate about helping individuals strengthen their relationship with food and empowering families to support their loved ones during recovery.

In her free time, Avanti loves to travel, watch Christmas movies (even in July), and spend time with family and friends!

Thalia Puente, LMSW

Thalia Puente, LMSW

Primary Therapist

Thalia Puente is a bilingual Primary Therapist at Center for Discovery’s Houston residential eating disorder program. Thalia is a Licensed Master Social Worker and is currently pursuing her Certified Eating Disorder Specialist certification. Thalia earned a BA in Sociology with a minor in photography from Sam Houston State University. Following graduation, Thalia pursued her master’s degree from the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston. While pursuing her graduate degree, she was a research evaluator and case manager where she worked with adults, minority couples and individuals in enhancing their relationships with their families. Thalia’s passion to work with adolescents drove her to seek out her internship’s youth coordinator to help be a part of the Building Futures program. During this time, she traveled to multiple high schools and churches and presented to adolescents about the following topics: effective communication, college and career coaching, building trust, increasing self-confidence, and strengthening family relationships. During her second year of graduate school, Thalia became a fellow of the Child Trauma Program where she began her career as a therapist working with mandated probation youth battling alcohol/substance abuse and other mental health disorders at a residential treatment center. As part of the fellowship, Thalia received extensive training in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Thalia has over 4 years of experience in residential treatment centers and has worked with individuals with depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, autism, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, pica, PTSD, ADHD, OCD, alcohol/substance related disorders, special needs, and severe behavioral problems. She uses a strengths-based approach to treatment and incorporates principles of TF-CBT, CBT, and DBT. Thalia believes in creating a therapeutic alliance with each of her clients and families as she understands that at the center of healing is the development of a nurturing, professional relationship.

Elizabeth Marcum, LPC

Elizabeth Marcum, LPC

Primary Therapist

Elizabeth is a Licensed Professional Counselor in good standing in Texas and Oklahoma who graduated from Oklahoma State University with her master’s degree. Elizabeth is a Nationally Board Certified Counselor (NCC) and member in good standing with The International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals (iaedp™), American Counseling Association (ACA), Houston Eating Disorder Specialists (HEDS) and Bay Area Mental Health Providers Net.

Elizabeth has eight years of clinical experience conducting individual and group therapy with adults, adolescents, couples, and families. She has worked and volunteered in a variety of settings, including university counseling centers, psychiatric hospitals, community based programs and in community mental health settings. She has provided treatment, conducted assessments, intakes, and on-going service plan reviews with a diverse client population, in addition to presenting and leading outreach events.

Elizabeth has worked in various settings (including inpatient, outpatient, and residential) for eating disorder treatment for several years and is currently working towards becoming a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist to further develop and pursue her passion for eating disorders and clinical issues that arise. In addition, Liz spent several years advocating and assisting with spreading awareness and education about eating disorders with the Oklahoma Eating Disorder Association (OEDA). While working at the University of Houston, Elizabeth developed a curriculum and facilitated a Peace with Food and Body Group each semester, in addition to mentoring and supporting “I am Enough because…” body image project. In 2018, Elizabeth collaborated with the Body Project to implement a Peer Lead Body Project study, an Evidence-Based Body-Acceptance Program, at the University of Houston.

Elizabeth is a certified and trained QPR (Question Persuade Refer) Gatekeeper who has provided numerous trainings to aid in suicide prevention. Elizabeth worked for two years as a therapist on the PACT multidisciplinary team with clients struggling with chronic severe mental illness and co-morbid issues involving substance abuse and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), among others. Elizabeth has worked with a diverse population and assisted clients with self esteem, anger management, eating disorders, substance abuse issues, social skills training, anxiety, depression, and crisis intervention, among others. She believes in a holistic approach to therapy utilizing an eclectic counseling technique and individualizing it for each client. Her preferred approaches in counseling include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with elements of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Client-Centered Therapy, Solution Focused, Narrative Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Interpersonal Psychotherapy.

Dr. Edward P. Tyson, MD

Dr. Edward P. Tyson, MD

Physician

Dr. Tyson is the Physician at Center For Discovery Houston residential eating disorder program. He has been specializing in the assessment and treatment of eating disorders for over 25 years. Dr.Tyson completed his Family Practice residency and a fellowship in Adolescent Medicine, during which he had his first clinical training in eating disorders. He began to focus on eating disorders as a specialty while the Director of Clinics for the Adolescent Medicine Section, Department of Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of Oklahoma. Upon moving back to Austin, he opened his private practice specializing in eating disorders.

Dr. Tyson speaks nationally and internationally on various topics about eating disorders. He also teaches to residents, medical students, nurse practitioner students, as well as undergraduate and graduate classes at the University of Texas. Dr. Tyson wrote the chapter on medical assessment for the recent text, “Eating Disorders—Bridging the Research-Practice Gap”. He is also a co-author of the AED’s medical guide on eating disorders, “Critical Points for Early Recognition and Medical Risk Management in the Care of Individuals with Eating Disorders”. Advocating for those with eating disorders has been a priority for Dr. Tyson, who has worked to develop legislation in the state of Texas to mandate insurance coverage for eating disorders.

Dr. Sonal Rana, MD

Dr. Sonal Rana, MD

Psychiatrist

Sonal Rana, MD, went to Stanford University for her undergraduate education. She pursued her medical degree at the University of California, San Francisco. She completed four years of adult psychiatry training at the University of California, Los Angeles’ Semel Institute of Human Behavior and Neuroscience and later returned to Stanford to complete her child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship. She is board certified in adult psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry.

After completing her fellowship, Dr. Rana worked as the medical director for the intensive outpatient program for adolescents and families at the Bay Area Children’s Association, a non-profit agency in California. She has specialized training in mentalization-based therapy, structural family therapy, family based therapy for eating disorders, play-based therapies, interpersonal, parent-child interaction therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapies for children and adolescents.

She has facilitated adolescent groups on depression and anxiety, parent workshops on childhood anxiety, as well as, multifamily groups designed to improve family communication and cohesiveness. She has worked with children, adolescents, and adults with diagnoses ranging from anxiety and depression, to bipolar disorder, eating disorders, disruptive behavior disorder, personality disorders (with particular emphasis on Borderline Personality Disorder), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, high functioning autism, and schizophrenia. As a psychiatrist, she believes that medications are a useful adjunct to therapeutic modalities designed to bolster families and individuals. She moved to Houston, Texas in May 2015 and is excited to be part of the Center for Discovery family.

Jennifer Nagel, RDN, LD, PA-C

Jennifer Nagel, RDN, LD, PA-C

Physician Assistant

Jennifer is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Licensed Dietitian, and the Certified Physician Assistant at Center For Discovery Houston residential eating disorder program. She has almost a decade of experience as a Physician Assistant and over a decade of experience as a Registered Dietitian. Her work experience includes primary care, urgent care, weight management, and psychiatry. Jennifer specializes in the medical evaluation and treatment of eating disorders. She discovered her passion for the field when she worked as a Physician Assistant providing medical care for both residential and partial hospitalization programs at an eating disorder treatment center in San Diego, CA. Jennifer found great benefit in working as part of a treatment team and encourages a collaborative approach with other professionals caring for eating disorder clients

Cristina Nanez

Cristina Nanez

Facility Manager
I am currently completing my Masters Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. I have a background in Substance abuse treatment with co-occurring disorders in institutional facilities within Texas. I have worked with many mental health issues regarding depression, anxiety, personality disorders, and trauma. I also have a background in supervising a therapeutic foster care agency in training staff and parents on how to work with children suffering from emotional, mental and/or physical disorders and help transition them out of the system effectively. I am excited to work with the eating disorder population and continue to practice my skills in guiding others on the road of recovery!   
Cheryl Philipps, MEd

Cheryl Philipps, MEd

Clinical Outreach Representative

Cheryl Phillipps  joined the Center for Discovery team with an integrated marketing background and over five years of experience in the field of behavioral health treatment and nutrition. Cheryl received her undergraduate degree in business administration at Keene State with a concentration in Marketing and her M.Ed. in nutrition at Framingham State College with high honors.

Cheryl is dedicated to connecting clients and professionals with the services they need to meet their specific needs. As the Clinical Outreach Representative at Center for Discovery, Cheryl fosters and maintains relationships with professionals throughout the mental health community, and she is the primary contact for inquiries about the treatment center. She would be happy to hear from you with any questions or concerns. Cheryl is passionate about helping treatment teams, their clients, and families find treatment and loves being part of the Center for Discovery family where clinical excellence and dedication to the individual client help make recovery possible.

Evelyn Bruno

Evelyn Bruno

Registered Nurse

Evelyn Bruno is a Licensed Registered Nurse in the state of Texas, as well as additional compact licensing states. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from University of Texas Health Science Center in the Houston Medical Center and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston with a Liberal studies degree including minors in Psychology and Health Communications. Evelyn is currently pursuing a higher education to receive a Masters Degree as a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Her clinical experience includes working at St. Luke’s Hospital on the cardiovascular/telemetry floor and various clinical rotations at Harris County Psychiatric Hospital on the Dual Diagnosis Unit. She is passionate about mental health as a whole and hopes to one day provide mental health services to underserved populations in the Greater Houston area. Evelyn is specifically interested in working with the adolescent population and has enjoyed doing so since working at Spring Branch ISD as a supplemental teacher for middle and high schools.

 
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