Sarah Farris is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and is certified as a Specialist in Fitness nutrition through ISSA. She began studying Psychology in 2000 as an undergraduate at Roanoke College, then earned a Master’s Degree in Bicultural and Bilingual Studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She pursued a career in Psychiatric research at the UT Health Science Center, exploring impulsive behaviors and severe mental illness among adolescent psychiatric inpatients. While working in the university and hospital setting, she received an additional Master’s Degree in Community Counseling to follow her interests in clinical work.
While in Graduate school, Sarah began to explore the connection of physical well-being with mental health. She enjoys an active lifestyle which began for her as a child growing up in New Orleans and participating in equestrian sports. Sarah immediately recognized a therapeutic connection with horses which has now extended beyond the ring, into a variety of exercise and wellness activities. She has continued to study counseling theories and the link between lifestyle mental health
Sarah primarily sees adults, though has worked working with teens, families, university student athletes, young adults and geriatric patients with a background in treating anxiety, depression, stress management, and relationship issues. She primarily utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy integrating Mindfulness practices and nutrition education to focus on the unique therapeutic goals of her clients. She aims to create a goal-oriented, non-judgmental environment to enable clients to cope, grow, and make adjustments in their lives. Sarah’s interests include communication and assertive training strategies, mood and anxiety disorders, Exposure and Response Prevention for OCD, Panic, Phobias and other Anxiety disorders, counseling needs for athletes, and understanding the influence of food and lifestyle on mental health.
In addition to the Chicago Mind and Body blog, Sarah is an Expert Topic Contributor for the Good Therapy website. You can read those entries here.
Sarah’s Food Philosophy
Nutrition science is relatively young and there have been a lot of changes in dietary recommendations just in the past few decades. The food industry is also a business, so it’s challenging to interpret which information is accurate and well-intentioned. Additionally, all bodies are different and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Sarah has seen many struggle with body image, emotional eating and self-criticism for not achieving the unrealistic “perfect body” they believe society expects of them. These are just some reasons why Sarah rejects diet culture.
Not all clients come to sessions to talk about food, but if it is part of a counseling session, Sarah’s goal is to provide psychoeducation about what nutrition information is available while shifting rigid, all-or-nothing thinking about food. By eliminating labels about food and eating, body-image and emotional punishment, room can be made for self-acceptance while extinguishing triggers to binge or avoid. Mindful eating and Cognitive Behavioral strategies are often used to redirect negative beliefs and replace them with practices that better serve you.