“Megan J. Campbell, MS, RD, LDN founded Healthier Tomorrows in 2009 with the goal of creating a warm and welcoming nutrition practice where clients with all types of nutrition needs would feel understood and supported. She is passionate about assisting individuals in their recovery from eating disorders and addiction, and she provides comprehensive, compassionate, and versatile nutrition therapy. Her counseling techniques provide her clients with information, skills, support, and motivation to move forward in their recovery journey.”
About Megan Campbell, MS, RD, LDN
Megan Campbell is a registered and licensed dietitian and received a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Whitman College and a Master of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. Her graduate program was holistically focused, and she learned the value of assisting individuals in their health journey physically, but also to provide resources and support for their whole being, including their emotional, social and spiritual parts.
Megan is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition dietetic practice group, the Behavioral Health Nutrition dietetic practice group, the National Eating Disorders Association, and the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals. She regularly collaborates with other professionals in the field and attends training and conferences focusing on addiction and eating disorder recovery.
I did not have the intention of addiction and eating disorder recovery becoming my area of specialty. But, it is truly my soul’s work. When I started my private practice I began to see a large number of individuals struggling with food and their body and facing serious health consequences because of this. My training has taught me that nutrition counseling is about more than food – it is about the whole person. So, I began helping these individuals to walk through their story of food and their body. I wanted my office to be a place of safety and free from judgement. As they began to feel safe, these brave individuals would also share what has happened to them along their life’s journey that had started their struggle with food, body image or other substances. I believe the majority of my practice is individuals who are survivors of trauma and violence; I believe every day I am working to help them find a way to continue their recovery and heal while nourishing their body.
My Interest in Working With Survivors
I have the honor of working with survivors every day, and I feel so grateful these individuals feel safe in my presence. While we aren’t addressing the trauma directly, as we look at their relationship with food and their body, frequently they share what they have survived, and I help them to see how this relates to their relationship with food. They may binge, restrict, over-exercise or avoid exercise, gain weight to feel protected or lose weight to try to hide from the world. I enjoy working with these individuals because as they heal they begin to see themselves and food in a completely different way. My hope is they experience joy and freedom around food – that it doesn’t terrify them, it isn’t their only means of comfort and instead it can become an enjoyable, joyful and social part of their life.
My Approach to Trauma-Informed Care
To me, trauma informed care means that I believe each individual is doing the absolute best they can to cope with what they have experienced, and I have no judgement about what they have done to survive. I see clients that are typically either avoiding food as a coping skill or are overeating/binging to cope. I treat these behaviors as survival skills. I tell my client they have done what they have needed to do to survive and move forward in their life, but now these behaviors are causing them pain, and that is why they have sought help from me. So, we will work together to find ways for them to let go of these behaviors. Of course this all occurs with the help of their therapist and other team members.
I provide individual and group nutrition therapy as well as experiential sessions. Individual work consists of one-on-one time together talking about experiences with food, meal planning or nutrition education as needed, emotions surrounding food and the body, thoughts and feelings about exercise, and other topics related to nourishment and physical activity. Group sessions I believe are extraordinarily powerful, and I have groups that are educational in nature, and I also provide meal support groups, where we all eat a meal together and then process what emotions and thoughts come up before, during and after the meal. Experiential sessions might include dining out in nearby restaurants, going grocery shopping or cooking a meal together, shopping for clothes, donating old clothes or any other activities that the client and I feel would be helpful in their recovery.
I attend many dietitian trainings, but I also attend many therapist trainings, and while the counseling I do has to do with issues related to food, I believe the same skills are needed by any clinician that is dedicated to helping individuals heal themselves and their bodies.
How My Practice Holistically Addresses the Impacts of Sexual Violence
Timing is the first thing I always think about and openly discuss. The work I do with my clients can go at the speed that is best for them. I have no timeline or agenda. This is entirely their journey. So, if emotionally they are feeling overwhelmed or have a lot to process in therapy or on their own, we slow down. I talk to my clients about how they are feeling overall so we can determine when we should push forward and challenge thoughts, feelings and reactions in regards to food, and when we should slow down a bit and focus on practicing the skills and tools they have learned and working through the discomfort.
Food preferences are also recognized and honored during our work together. There may be foods that are especially triggering to survivors. We can discuss if they want to challenge themselves to overcome this, or we can decide to simply not have this food be a part of their life. I can help them decide what feels like the most loving choice for them.
I also look at exercise as a possible way to disassociate from the body. So, I discuss this openly with clients if we are looking at over-exercise as a behavior. On the other hand, avoiding exercise can be a way to avoid connecting with their body and we discuss this as well.
From a very practical standpoint, over email I explain to my clients where my office is located. When they arrive I explain where the bathroom is, where they can find the bathroom code, and invite them into my office and to sit wherever they feel most comfortable. I have a couch and several chairs and this way they can choose the spot that is most comfortable to them. I have the radio playing lightly in the waiting room, and light white noise in each office so they can feel assured no one will overhear the session. They are invited to enjoy coffee, tea or water in the waiting room or during the session. Especially during group sessions, I encourage clients to take care of themselves, so if they need to go to the bathroom to please go, to get food or fluids if they need to, and also to share if they are feeling triggered during a conversation.
Modifications for Survivors
I am extremely flexible in my work. I am available to speak on the phone before a session so clients can either ask questions about my office or the work we will be doing, or they can begin to share their story so they don’t feel they need to do it all when they arrive. I also have clients who don’t tell their story until we have been working together for a while. I ask questions during my intake but always make it clear that they can choose not to answer, answer partially, or whatever feels comfortable for them. I also try to make the sessions enjoyable – I think we typically will laugh at something along the way! The work is meant to be challenging, but also will hopefully include lighthearted moments, if at all possible.
Additional Areas of Interest
I have done consulting work at New Hope Recovery Center, and we had a program focused on the LGBTQ population. This was a lot of fun. With the birth of my child I wasn’t able to continue with them regularly, but am always available for consultation. Our program attracted many young individuals struggling with substance abuse, sex and love addiction, and body image and eating concerns. Our staff meetings were a great opportunity to come together as a team and discuss how their addictions were influencing their life, their health and their recovery.
I also have a special place in my heart for the challenges women in recovery face with pregnancy and life post-partum, as well as women struggling with reproductive trauma. I find there is a lack of compassionate and knowledgeable resources in this area, and have a vision to create programming – workshops, individual work, referrals to appropriate clinicians to provide emotional support, pelvic floor rehabilitation, urogynocological referrals, and more – so that women struggling with any issues related to reproductive trauma can receive the support they need to heal.
I do not currently have sliding-scale spots, but I do believe the groups we offer are a fantastic way to receive education and support at a lower price point than individual sessions. Additionally, there is always time before or after group to have individual questions or concerns addressed.