Kelli Malkasian, Psy D
Helping Teens and Adults Recover From Eating Disorders and Addictions to Regain Their Lives
Many clients come into my office initially expressing that they have lost themselves. They don’t know who they are apart from their eating disorder or addiction. It has become their best friend and their worst enemy. They can’t imagine living any longer with it and are similarly terrified to live without it.
Their lives have become unmanageable. They express being consumed with negative body image, self-hatred or feeling desperate to numb out. Friends and family members might also feel this loss of their loved one and are often the ones who encourage them to seek help, because they see their loved ones lost or stuck in their destructive patterns.
Everyone deserve to be happy and healthy! I work with teens and adults to help them find themselves and separate from their eating disorders and addictions. Through connection, deep processing and guidance, we work together to make monumental changes in how people see themselves and their bodies, as well as, how they treat their bodies and whole selves.
My story starts just after college. After I earned my Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology from Michigan State University, I raced back to the warmth of sunny south Florida as fast as I could. I am from South Florida and couldn’t wait to get back to the sunshine. However, I had no idea that my love of sun would have such an amazing impact on my career path.
By luck or serendipity I got my first job at The Renfrew Center in Coconut Creek, FL, one of the top eating disorder treatment programs in the country. Since then, I have worked at a handful of other prestigious treatment centers, including the Oliver-Pyatt Centers in Miami, FL. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into 13 years ago when I started in this field and I certainly knew nothing about working in recovery, but thought I would give it a chance.
Well, I loved it! I loved it so much that I decided to make working with eating disorders and addictions my life’s work. I started to see first-hand how transformative the recovery process can be. I watched women come into treatment as a shell of themselves and emerge whole, peaceful and ready to continue their work back in their lives. To this day, I still consider it an honor and a privilege to participate in a client’s recovery process. Outside of my family, this work is the most fulfilling aspect of my life.
While working at Renfrew I started and completed a Doctoral program in Clinical Psychology at Nova Southeastern University. I had worked at Renfrew for seven years by this point and then made the transition to the Oliver-Pyatt Centers, where I was employed for over five more years and also earned the prestigious Certified Eating Disorder Specialist credentials. I am blessed to have trained and worked at both Renfrew and Oliver-Pyatt Centers, along with other treatment centers for substance use disorders throughout my training and early professional career.
These experiences allowed me to help thousands of people at all different stages of readiness for change and levels of care, which prepared me to open my own specialized practice, Coral Reef Counseling. Coral Reefs are resilient, unique and beautiful, which is how I see each of my clients. No two clients are alike. However, I believe that all people who suffer can build resilience and realize their true inner beauty through this work.
When I am not at the office, I am outdoors. Nothing makes a person miss the sunshine more than living in Michigan for a few years, so I take advantage of living in beautiful South Florida whenever I can. My family and I love to be outside and especially on the water, whether we are paddle boarding, kayaking, fishing, or boating, we always are trying to make the best of our South Florida lifestyle.
In my free time, I am also highly dedicated to advocacy work for eating disorders, body image and addiction. I hold a committee position with the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (IAEDP) and support advocacy groups dedicated to improving body image, increasing access to care and those who fight for mental health legislation and rights.
Why Work with Me?
It is in my nature to be casual and collaborative, so this is the style I bring to my work. I work with my clients and empathize with them on the deepest level, because I never forget my humanity nor see myself as immune to the struggles or social pressures that my clients endure. Though, I am highly trained and knowledgeable about the disorders I treat, I still collaborate with my client and allow them to set the pace for their recoveries.
Although I do meet clients where they are at and work at their pace, I will also work hard to motivate clients towards healthier and happier lives and challenge their irrational thinking and their use of destructive behaviors. I know change is not easy and you need a strong and specialized clinician to help you through the mud.
Finally, the relationship is key to me. I am present in my work and I strive to make myself available to my clients. I open up office hours in the evenings and weekend to make sure clients can be seen. At times, I offer phone or video chat sessions when clients can’t be seen in person.
I Help Teens & Adults Struggling with...
Addictions and Substance Use Disorders
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Body Image Concerns
Low Self-Esteem and/or Self-Worth
Identity Concerns and Existential Issues
Take the First Step
The first step is one of the hardest, but you can do it. You deserve to feel whole again! Call me at 954-590-0597 today for your free phone consultation. I am here to help and I look forward to your call!