Shoreline’s Dedicated and Caring Eating Disorder Experts
RachelLevi,LMFT, CEDS, F- IAEDP
Founder/Clinical DirectorShoreline Center for Eating Disorder Treatment
As the founder and Clinical Director of Shoreline Center for Eating Disorder Treatment, I have had the honor to work with so many men, women, children, families and other professionals in an effort to conquer this devastating illness. I have seen the treatment of eating disorders evolve, and been witness to lives transformed by recovery. This is my life’s passion, and my dedication to the recovery process has been unrelenting for over 20 years.
I am a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist as well as one of the first professionals to hold the designation of Certified Eating Disorder Supervisor. This has allowed me to train and supervise clinicians the most up to date, evidence based practices.
In 1995, Shoreline Center for Eating Disorder Treatment, started off as my private practice, focusing on helping individuals heal from Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating disorders. Over the years, it became clear to me that their was a great need for more intensive services in the Long Beach area. I found myself having meals with clients, going on experiential outings, doing art therapy – basically trying to do it all, or whatever I thought might help my client’s recover. One by one, I began adding programs as the needs arose. I am happy to now have the ability to offer multiple levels of care, giving more access to care.
In addition to my goal of providing the highest quality of treatment, it is very important for me to create a serene, homelike environment, which is conducive to healing. Unlike a hospital or corporate clinical setting, Shoreline Center for Eating Disorder Treatment is warm, friendly and comfortable. We are located 2 blocks from the ocean and are able to incorporate this natural setting with our center.
I am an active member in the following organizations and remain in constant pursuit of new concepts, treatment modalities and interventions to bring our clients.
Academy of Eating Disorders
International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals
National Eating Disorder Association
Anorexia Nervosa and Related Disorder Organization
Eating Disorder Coalition
California Association of Marriage and Family Therapist
Binge Eating Disorder Association
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Gandhi
Program Director and Primary TherapistShoreline
Hello, I am Erla Leon, the Program Director and Primary Therapist at Shoreline Center for Eating Disorder Treatment. I obtained my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, and my doctorate (Ph.D.) in Clinical Psychology from the University of Rochester. I also completed a one year post-doctoral fellowship in Behavioral Medicine at Harbor UCLA, and am licensed as a Psychologist in California. I have been providing individual and group psychotherapy for about 14 years in a variety of settings, but the majority of my prior experience has been treating clients with eating disorders in a residential setting, as well as working with college students in a college counseling setting. I also have management and supervisory experience, including supervising therapists treating clients with eating disorders. Additionally, I have several years of experience providing family therapy. My approach to therapy draws from a number of traditions – Brief Psychodynamic Therapy, Object Relationships, Attachment Theory, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Trauma Model Therapy and Body-Mind Psychotherapy. My long standing personal practices in mindfulness, meditative movement, somatic awareness, and creative pursuits (personal non-fiction writing, art journaling and photography) also inform my work, especially in my encouragement of my clients to improve awareness of their bodies and to find ways to express their creativity.
At Shoreline, I feel very fortunate to work in a setting that is dedicated to clinical excellence, as well as kindness and support at all levels of our small organization. A loving and supportive environment, that is also appropriately challenging, is essential to the recovery journey for our clients and to the thriving of the staff that serve them. We are fortunate to have such an environment. I feel privileged to often be the first point of contact with the clients who seek treatment at our Long Beach location, and to guide them through the process of starting (or continuing) their recovery journey with Shoreline. In addition to facilitating client admissions, I facilitate several groups, including our monthly Multi-Family support group, and provide individual and family psychotherapy. My goal at Shoreline is to provide a safe nurturing space where our clients can learn to feel comfortable with themselves and to reclaim their lives. I believe eating disorder recovery offers the possibility of living a life that is meaningful, rewarding and fun, a life where preoccupation with food and body is replaced with passion for life, contribution, manifestation of one’s gifts, and seeing one’s true beauty.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
– Mary Oliver
An M.D. from Poland specializing in Psychiatry, Dr. Wirga has trained at New York State University and Howard University. Her focus is in cognitive behavioral and rational behavioral therapy. Dr. Wirga has spent the past 25 years of her career studying the mind-body connection, and is convinced healing and treatment for patients must include the complete being, encompassing the physical, emotional, and spiritual components. She joined the Shoreline team in 2008 because of their reputation for providing professional, comprehensive care in a compassionate setting.
Every new patient meets with Dr. Wirga for an initial evaluation to determine the level of care needed. Dr. Wirga stays actively involved and engaged throughout the course of Shoreline’s patients’ care. Although healing from an eating disorder may be difficult, she maintains it is one of the most rewarding journeys a person may ever take. She also maintains a private practice in Long Beach, CA.
“The greatest pleasure for me is to see out clients leave the Shoreline program equipped with the skills for healthy living.”
Program Director and Primary TherapistShoreline Center for Eating Disorder Treatment
Hello, my name is Jenn, the Program Director as well as a Primary Therapist at Shoreline’s Laguna Hills location. I received my B.A. in Psychology from California State University, San Marcos and obtained a Master of Science degree in Clinical Psychology from California State University, Fullerton. I have always had a strong desire to work with a diverse culture of women, which is what led me to explore a career in the treatment of eating disorders and, in particular, an enthusiasm in working with Shoreline Center for Eating Disorder Treatment.
I began working for Shoreline as a recovery coach at Satori House and quickly discovered that I have the utmost respect for those who choose to travel the journey towards recovery. Even now, as a therapist, witnessing the healing process associated with eating disorder recovery continues to be very rewarding. I lead multiple groups at Shoreline, including a free ANAD support group, which is held on Friday evenings from 6pm-7pm. I practice an eclectic approach to therapy, which incorporates a variety of therapeutic principles (i.e. cognitive behavioral therapy, solution-focused therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, experiential therapy, psychodynamic therapy, etc.) in order to meet the specific needs of my clients. As the Operations and Compliance Director as well as a Primary Therapist at Shoreline, I have found that my outgoing and adventurous, yet gentle nature is a great asset.
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away.” —Maya Angelou
Office Manager/Director of Financial ServicesShoreline Center for Eating Disorder Treatment
Hi, I’m Laurén, the Office/Billing manager for Shoreline Center for Eating Disorder Treatment. I am so happy to be a part of this great team! Prior to working here I spent about 4 years working in the medical field as an Office manager for a chiropractic office. I’m delighted to bring my professional experience here to Shoreline so that I can take care of all questions related to insurance and billing.
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” —Dr. Seuss
Primary TherapistShoreline Center for Eating Disorder Treatment
Hello, my name is Sara and I am a Primary Therapist at Shoreline Center for Eating Disorder Treatment. I earned my Master’s of Science Degree in Clinical Psychology from Vanguard University of Southern California. I currently serve on the Board of Directors for the the Long Beach – South Bay Chapter of California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT). I am an active member of the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (IADEP) and working on becoming a Certified Eating Disorders Specialist (CEDS). I have worked in a multitude of mental health settings for over a decade including inpatient psychiatric care, residential treatment for eating disorders, outpatient clinics, and spent four years as Shoreline’s Live-In Recovery Coach at Satori House Extended Care Residence. I have found that my passion lies most in helping individuals recover from their eating disorders and reconnect to their authentic selves. Having recovered from an eating disorder myself, I have an intricate understanding of the complexities related to eating disorders, the courage it takes to enter treatment, and I am committed to helping others achieve full recovery.
I approach therapy with a kind-heart, an open-mind, and a reflective lens. I utilize strategies tailored to our clients’ specific needs and strive to provide them with the tools needed to achieve recovery. Some of these strategies include Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Motivational Interviewing techniques. I also enjoy bringing a creative and experiential component to therapy through nature, art, and metaphor. For example, I use the symbol of a labyrinth to lead clients in meditation, journal work, and in viewing their journey through the single weaving path that leads to the center. I have found that clients develop a greater ability to utilize setbacks as an opportunity for learning and growth when they approach their experiences through the ebbs and flows of a labyrinth, as opposed to a linear and one-dimensional perspective of recovery. My creativity has also been recognized through winning First Place for my submission in IAEDPs 2012 Imagine Me Beyond What You See: Mannequin Art Competition and the Professional’s Choice Award for my 2011 submission.
Being a part of Shoreline’s team and helping our clients navigate the healing journey, has been and will continue to be my greatest privilege.
Director of Nutrition ServicesShoreline Center for Eating Disorder Treatment
Hello, my name is Nesreen and I am the Registered Dietitian at Shoreline Center for Eating Disorder Treatment. I earned my Bachelors in Nutrition and Dietetics and Masters degree in Nutritional Science, both at CSU Long Beach. I completed by dietetic internship at CSU Long Beach as well. I have worked in both residential and outpatient eating disorder facilities, and with clients from a variety of backgrounds and ages. I am passionate about helping my clients, and as a Registered Dietitian, I have the skills to help clients work on challenging their eating disorders with a structured, individualized meal plan. I am committed to my clients, and strive to support their recovery every step of the way!
“You cannot alter your fate. However, you can rise to meet it.” – Studio Ghibli
Primary TherapistShoreline Center for Eating Disorder Treatment
Hello! I’m Hallie, a Primary Therapist at Shoreline Center for Eating Disorder Treatment. I received my Bachelor of Arts from the University of Arizona where I double majored in English Literature and Creative Writing, with an emphasis in Poetry. I later earned my Master of Social Welfare from the University of California, Los Angeles. My previous professional experiences include working with and providing therapy to children through older adults, many of whom struggled with eating disorders.
My clinical style centers on using a strengths-based approach that takes from psychodynamic, feminist, attachment, humanistic, and dialectical behavioral therapy methodologies to engage people collaboratively on a journey to healing. I believe that relationships (with therapists/friends/family/peers in group sessions) can help lead to self discovery and repair wounds. My personal philosophy within treatment also includes honoring each person’s narrative and process, as well as exploring and creating meaning in the past and present as part of the path to recovery.
My personal practices of meditation and yoga have allowed me to open to a kinder, gentler, more non judgmental, and curious worldview, which I aim to bring to my professional practice each day. I am excited to be part of the Shoreline team!
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vlnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” –Brené Brown
Primary TherapistShoreline Center for Eating Disorder Treatment
Hello, my name is Hayley and I am a primary therapist at Shoreline. I received my Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of San Francisco, where I majored in Communication Studies. I attended USF on an academic and athletic scholarship as a member of the cross country and track and field teams. During my time at USF I became inspired to pursue a career in the mental health field due to a strong desire to impact the lives of others in a positive way. After completing my undergraduate degree I attended California State University, Fullerton where I eared my Master of Science in Counseling degree. My professional experience as a therapist began a few years ago working at a community based clinic serving low-income families, couples, and individuals, as well as providing school-based counseling to children and adolescents in under-served areas. Prior to joining the Shoreline team I spent the past year working in a dual-diagnosis drug and alcohol treatment center, providing individual, group, and family therapy to adults struggling with addiction and co-occurring disorders, including eating disorders.
My approach to therapy is first and foremost person-centered, in the belief that every person is worthy of unconditional positive regard and empathy regardless of their circumstances. In addition, I utilize evidence based approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy, as well as pulling from family systems approach, narrative therapy, and motivational interviewing techniques. I view each and every client as a unique individual with a story to tell, and I consider my clients experts of their own lives and view my role as a guide to help them become the best, most authentic versions of themselves. I am so excited to be a part of the Shoreline team and I am so privileged to have the opportunity to provide hope and healing to the clients we serve, and to help change lives.
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” – Brene Brown
Lead Dietary TechnicianShoreline Center for Eating Disorder Treatment
Hi my name is Kim and I’m the Lead Dietary Technician at Shoreline Center for Eating Disorder Treatment. I’m an Australian qualified Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD) with a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics (Hons) at Monash University, Melbourne Victoria. I am also completing my PhD exploring how to establish frameworks for nutrition professionals to communicate food and nutrition-related health messages to young adults on social media to support healthy eating behaviors and positive body image.
I’m committed to making a difference to Shoreline clients with a caring and supportive approach that respects everyone’s individual journey to recovery.
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” – Confucius
Fully Accredited Programs
We are proud to announce that our Eating Disorder Partial Hospital/Day Treatment and Intensive Outpatient Programs have earned a third consecutive three-year accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. This award reflects our ongoing commitment to upholding the highest quality standards in eating disorder treatment.