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Our Eating Disorder Treatment specialties, at our Chicago, IL a residential center specializes in Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating, & Orthorexia Recovery.

Eating Disorder Treatment Team | Chicago, IL

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

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 of 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 Center For 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.”

Desiree Hawley, PsyD

Desiree Hawley, PsyD

Program Director

Dr. Desiree Hawley is a Clinical Psychologist with over 7 years of experience in residential care for eating disorders. She earned her Doctor of Psychology degree at Illinois School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University where she focused on coping processes and perceived stress in men with eating disorders. She also has strong interest in individual, group, and family psychotherapy, treatment of body image concerns, anxiety, depression, difficulties with transitions and identity development, LGBTQ issues, and self-injury. Dr. Hawley believes clients are ultimately the experts on their own issues, and her goal is to help them achieve what they are looking for in life through understanding, support and collaboration. As the Primary Therapist at Center For Discovery Chicago, Dr. Hawley works with clients individually, in groups, and with their families. She is passionate about eating disorder residential care and the emotional depth this work can produce.

Jillian Larmon

Jillian Larmon

Facility Manager

Jillian Larmon graduated from DePaul University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. When she began her work with Center For Discovery in 2013 as a milieu counselor at Discovery’s Glenview location, she soon discovered her passion for helping people find freedom from their eating disorder. Ms. Larmon enjoyed being a part of the counseling staff, especially providing meal support, challenging client’s eating disorder thoughts, and helping clients express and process the emotions that surfaced at these moments.

For the last two years, she served as the education liaison for Center For Discovery, and provided support to each client’s individual education needs. In the summer of 2015, Ms. Larmon took on the role of Facility Administrator and has enjoyed supporting both the counselors and treatment team to better serve clients and their families.

Kathleen O’Connor, LPC

Kathleen O’Connor, LPC

Primary Therapist

A Licensed Professional Counselor, Kathleen OConnor graduated from DePaul University with a Master’s degree in Community Counseling. She has worked within the mental health and eating disorder treatment community in a variety of roles including inpatient, residential, and crisis stabilization programs. She began working as a Counselor at Center for Discovery and enjoyed assisting clients to grow and empower themselves throughout the challenges of treatment. As a Primary Therapist, Ms. OConnor works with clients individually, in groups, and with their families. She is passionate about eating disorder recovery and the collaborating with patients to find balance in their lives. She brings a genuine passion and enthusiasm to her work as she supports her clients throughout the journey of recovery. Ms. OConnor strongly believes in the power of therapy with a personalized approach to treatment that addresses the multitude of components of the individual’s struggles.

Alicia Kazarian, R.D.

Alicia Kazarian, R.D.

Registered Dietitian

A Registered Dietitian, Alicia Kazarian has a Bachelor’s of Science in Health Care Sciences with an emphasis on Nutrition from University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. Following graduation, Alicia welcomed her first position with Center For Discovery as a Diet Tech in Chicago. Before she completed her dietetic internship through Sodexo Distance Internships, Alicia knew she would return to Center For Discovery to work with adolescents and nutrition.

She believes that the food philosophy taught at Center For Discovery is essential in creating positive relationships with food. Alicia lives this philosophy daily, in and out of Center For Discovery, with the hope of inspiring others to develop their own healthy relationships with food.

Dr. Stephen G. Galston, MD

Dr. Stephen G. Galston, MD

Psychiatrist

A graduate of Washigton University in St. Louis, Chicago Medical School, and Northwestern’s Institute of Psychiatry, Dr. Stephen Galston has been dually board certified in both adolescent and adult psychiatry. He served for 28 years as the only medical director of the Highland Park Hospital Eating Disorder Unit until it’s closing in the spring of 2013. His private practice, serving adolescents and adults, resides in Vernon Hills and Highland Park, IL, where he is the President of Neuropsychiatric Associates of Illinois. He has been the medical director and consultant for multiple adolescent and adult psychiatric, chemical dependency, and eating disorder programs in the Chicago area. He has also served as President of the Medical Staff at various hospitals in Chicago and its suburbs.

Dr. Galston is an instructor at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University and the University Of Chicago School Of Medicine, where he teaches psychiatric child fellows and residents, and family practice residents, eating disorders and psychiatric problems. He has lectured widely on the subjects of eating disorders and all areas of adolescent and adult psychiatry.

Dr. Chirag Patel

Dr. Chirag Patel

Physician

Dr. Chirag Patel has been an Internal Medicine physician in private practice for 15 years. He received his medical degree from the joint BA biology/M.D.  medical program at University of Missouri-Kansas City, and completed his residency in Internal Medicine at St. Joseph Hospital/Northwestern Medical Center. He has extensive experience in metabolic syndromes, relative to nutrition and dietary practices, specializing in young adult and adolescent medicine.

Dr. Patel started his private practice in 2000, and continues to care for patients in the Northshore and Chicagoland area. Dr. Patel has been appointed as the Primary Care Physician at Center For Discovery’s Adolescent Eating Disorder Treatment Center in Glenview, Illinois and will provide important medical care, supervision, and treatment to the adolescents enrolled in this treatment program.

Emily Van Nelson, MA

Emily Van Nelson, MA

Clinical Outreach Representative

Emily Van Nelson earned her MA in Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling from Columbia College Chicago. She worked as a clinical team member for 4 years with many clients in inpatient, residential and partial hospital levels of care. Ms. Van Nelson has been in clinical outreach for 3 years and is devoted to connecting clients and professionals with the services they need to meet their specific needs.

As the Clinical Outreach Representative at Center For Discovery Chicago, Ms. Van Nelson 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.