About page image

Taking a Holistic Approach


Image: Photo of Cynthia SaffellCynthia Saffell

Cynthia Saffell RD, LCSW is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist, certified through the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (IAEDP).  Her interest in eating disorders began while getting her BS in dietetics at Rutgers University and struggling with her own eating disorder over 35 years ago.  After working in the community as a dietitian for 5 years, Cynthia wanted to specialize in treating eating disorders and returned to CSUF for her masters in clinical social work.  Her master’s thesis studied compulsive overeaters, using dance therapy to improve body image and self esteem.  Determined to learn more effective treatments for eating disorders, Cynthia later conducted a research study adding a care sponsor in the treatment of bulimia. 

As a registered dietitian, Cynthia’s experience includes managing WIC programs; providing nutrition evaluations/counseling for the developmentally disabled; consulting for group homes for the developmentally disabled; and nutrition counseling in various community health clinics and private physician’s offices in the San Joaquin Valley.

Cynthia received her license as a Clinical Social Worker in 1992 and began her private practice as an eating disorder therapist.  She was a regular guest lecturer for the CSUF dietetics program and UCSF nurse practitioner/physician assistant program in Fresno, and consulted for the CSUF Athletic program. 

With a strong interest in women and women’s issues, Cynthia is experienced in treating problems which often occur with an eating disorder.  Common concurrent problems are mood disorders, anxiety disorders, self harm, trauma, relationship problems, chemical dependency, and personality disorders. 

Learning from her life long yoga and meditation practice, and training as a registered Ananda Yoga® teacher and certified Ananda Yoga® Therapist, Cynthia brings the lessons of her mindfulness practice into the therapy.  Using a holistic, integrative approach, she combines techniques from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Interpersonal Therapy, Gestalt Therapy, Yoga Therapy and the use of metaphor in her counseling.

She believes that everyone is intrinsically good, has a wise intuitive self and is an expert on their own path.  Since each person is unique and comes to therapy with different needs, she designs each client’s treatment according to their individual needs.

Cynthia is an approved supervisor through the IAEDP and is thus involved in the training of therapist working on their certification as eating disorder specialists.

Return to top

Taking a Team Approach

Since eating disorders are complex and often require treatment from different disciplines, in addition to individual therapy, Cynthia/SLO eating disorders works closely with, and makes referrals to a wide range of health care professionals, including Cyndy Smith LMFT, Heidi Lewin-Miller RD, LMFT and Marlena Tanner, RD, who have special training in the field of eating disorders, and the Central Coast Intensive Out Patient Program in Shell Beach.


Image: Photo of Cyndy SmithCyndy Smith, M.S., Marriage & Family Therapist

Licensed in 1983, Cyndy has worked as a therapist, consultant and program director in various eating disorder treatment settings including inpatient, outpatient, residential and private practice. A Holistic, Humanistic & Cognitive Behaviorial approach is combined to assist clients in learning to not fear their needs or wants and how to separate the true self from the eating disorder. "An eating disorder cannot live without us....but only without an eating disorder can we truly live!" Finding ways to separate from the eating disorder takes a great deal of care, understanding and strength. Cyndy works with her clients to move the energy, drive and creativity used to foster the eating disorder into their personal recovery path to reclaim hope, life and love. Her private practice is in a confidential and caring setting where both tears & laughter are a part of the recovery process. She works with adults, teens and children who suffer from restricting, bingeing & all forms of purging behaviors. Other areas of special interest include Grief & Loss, Sexual Trauma, Domestic & Dating Violence as well as Addiction and Dependency.

Cynde's office is located at 3522 El Camino Road, Atascadero, CA. To contact her, call 805.462.1503 or email cyndy-mft@charter.net.

Return to top

Image: Photo of Heidi Lewin-MillerHeidi Lewin-Miller, LMFT, RD

Heidi Lewin-Miller, LMFT, RD has specialized with treating all forms of eating disorders and related issues in San Luis Obispo since 1983. Having recovered from an eating disorder as a young adult, she believes there is hope for her clients to recover fully and find deeper meaning in life beyond their disorder. Ms. Lewin-Miller blends Cognitive Behavioral, Experiential, Gestalt, Feminist Approach, Metaphor, Sandtray Therapy, humor and her own version of a non-diet approach. She offers individual and family therapy, with adolescents and adults, both female and male.

She also offers Nutrition Counseling separately or in conjunction with therapy. Ms. Lewin-Miller collaborates with other health professionals whenever needed. She believes "It takes a village to heal a person", and thus, helps her clients find their "tribe" of support and connection, as a way to wellness.

Heidi's office is located at 1110 California Blvd. Suite E, San Luis Obispo, CA. To contact her, call 805.549.9778 or email heidi@heidilewinmiller.com.

Return to top

Image: Photo of Suzanne BarronSuzanne Barron, Marriage & Family Therapist

Suzanne Barron is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has been working in the field of eating disorders since 1990. Her experience has been in settings of private practice, residential treatment, and inpatient hospitalization. Suzanne was the Clinical Director of a residential treatment center as well as being the primary therapist on an eating disorder’s unit.

Suzanne works with males and females, children, adolescents, and adults. She utilizes a combination of techniques including cognitive behavioral, dialectical behavioral therapy, and somatic experiencing. Eating disorders affect not only the individual but also the family and other support persons. Suzanne also works with families and individuals whose loved one suffers with an eating disorder.

A strong believer in the team approach to treatment, Suzanne works closely with dietitians and other health professionals to collaboratively address the symptoms of an eating disorder and to work to restore an individual to a healthy relationship with their bodies and food.

Other specializations include substance abuse and trauma work. Suzanne’s office is located at 3220 S. Higuera St., Suite 306, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401. She also has an office in Arroyo Grande located at 1180 E. Grand, 93420. To contact Suzanne call 805-235-4060 or email her at sbarronmft@gmail.com.

Return to top

Image: Photo of Libby ParkerLibby Parker, RD, CPT

Libby Parker, RD, CPT is a Registered Dietitian and NASM Certified Personal Trainer, currently working towards her Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian (CEDRD) credential under supervision of Cynthia Saffell, as well as her Master’s degree in Nutrition. Libby received her B.S. in Nutrition-Dietetics form the University of Minnesota with a minor in Leadership; then moved to San Luis Obispo to complete her dietetic internship through Cal Poly. In college Libby struggled with her own disordered eating, and she now uses that experience to bring a deep level of understanding to her work with clients. She loves to research how our environment and brain chemistry effect personal food choices.

In addition to private practice (since 2012), Libby’s experience as a RD includes working with SLO County Public Health, training in IOP/PHP level eating disorder nutrition under Francie White, corporate wellness with Diablo Canyon Power Plant, and teaching nutrition at college level.
As a dancer most of her life and current runner, Libby particularly enjoys working with dancers and athletes in addition to eating disorders, and sees a wide range of clients in her private practice. She believes that each individual is their own best health advocate, and enjoys educating others on how the body works, and how to take care of oneself.

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Libby offers individual and group nutrition counseling at her office located downtown San Luis Obispo, CA 93401. Other services include grocery shopping “tours,” Skype or phone nutrition counseling, presenting to groups on health topics, and “kitchen makeovers.” See her website www.libbysfitnutrition.weebly.com or contact her for more information. Libbyrd12@gmail.com (805) 801-1321.

Return to top

Some stories don't have a clear beginning,
middle and end.

Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.

Delicious ambiguity...

Gilda Radner