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© 2019 by Carolina Gaviria, LMHC, NCC, CEDS



Eating disorders can be consuming and overwhelming. The process of recovery is often described as a roller-coaster of emotions that can lead to successes, slips, and burn out. There’s opportunity and discovery in the journey making it a really interesting ride!

Although your relationship with food needs to be restored and healed, eating problems aren’t really about food. They are about deeper underlying emotional problems that find an outlet through behaviors around food. Restricting, binging and purging become a way to escape, deal, avoid, numb out, prolong, lessen, or calm down emotions that seem too difficult to experience.

Because feelings are so complex and we are so poorly thought how to handle them, it’s easy to confuse food and feelings. However, if you constantly binge or reject food when you’re feeling an emotion (yes, pleasant emotions can lead to using eating disorder behaviors, too!), you don’t let your feelings flow and provide the message they need to deliver. Perhaps the...

In order to effectively manage your stress, it’s important to understand your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Do they minimize or maximize your stress? Once you understand how your thoughts, feelings, and actions impact you, you’ll be able to make positive changes and manage your stress before it takes over and manages you!

Below is a list of common “mental traps”. Take a moment to check the ones that you believe apply to your stressful thinking:

  • Filtering: You take the negative details of a situation and magnify them focusing on them while filtering out all positive or neutral aspects.

  • Polarized Thinking: Things are black or white, good or bad, all or nothing. For example, you have to be perfect or you're a failure. There is no gray area or middle ground, good isn’t enough.

  • Overgeneralization: You come to a conclusion based on a single incident. If something bad happens at school or work, you think it will happen again and again, like failing an exam.

  • Mind R...

A vision board is a powerful tool that helps you stay connected to your goals and personal values, visualize them, and have a concrete plan for your future and what you want to see in it.  By reminding yourself of your goals you boost your mood and direct your energy with intention and hope.

Without a doubt, it is the visual aspect of the vision board what acts as an anchor to your dreams and aligns your energy into manifesting them. Why is this? It’s very simple: You’re activating a feeling and feelings are much stronger than thoughts. Also when we experience a feeling we tend to attract more of it. For example, if you’re feeling loving, you will attract love! People will see it, feel it and respond to it. The same will happen if you’re feeling angry! What we focus on EXPANDS so you want to be intentional with your thoughts and feelings, and empower those you really want to feel.

To complete your vision board, you’ll need:

  • Newspaper cutouts

  • Magazine cutouts

  • Images/Quot...

This is the time of the year when families get together and there are many feelings that can arise from those encounters! I know, I also have a family! Whether it's a chocolate cake, a bag of chips, or a pint of cookies and cream ice cream, most of us have that one food we tend to gravitate towards when we're stressed or mindlessly eating when we're bored or anxious. The good news is that mindfully eating can help you recognize the feelings behind your behaviors around food and help you stay present with your food.  

Mindful eating is the ability to put down your joggling balls and stay focused on one task: eating your food! When you embrace monotasking as a way to stay present, you become more aware about your fullness and hunger levels as well as the way you connect with food, really paying attention to what your body needs or your intention when you’re eating. Healthy eating and mindfulness encourages you to be present with your senses, your food, and your body, and be less judgmen...

The end of the year prompts us to reflect on what we have experienced and state new goals to start the year. Here are 3 concepts that can help you embrace new beginnings with an open heart!

  1. Radical acceptance can be seen as the pathway to change. When we are able to see people, situations, and experiences as they are, without tainting them with our own perception and judgements, we are able to deal in more effective ways with the reality of our lives. Radical acceptance is about accepting life on life’s terms and not resisting what you cannot or choose not to change.

  2. Self-compassion directs the ability to direct understanding, acceptance, and love inward and embrace your feelings with acceptance and clarity. As we cultivate self-compassion, we become more comfortable with our distress and can lean into the feelings, not wanting to escape them or change them, but really embracing them and becoming our best ally. If you compassionately validate your own emotions, you can remind y...

The weeks before and after starting a new school year can be very difficult for some children who struggle with anxiety or have experienced traumatic situations at school such as being bullied, and most recently, dealing with safety precautions in case there’s a school shooting! Other circumstances that can increase anxiety in children may be connected to changing schools, starting a new school, and feeling pressured to perform in a certain way socially and academically. Anxiety can also be escalated when changes have taken place at home right before school starts such as parents separating, going through a financial struggle, or losing a family member.

Some kids and teens who struggle with anxiety refuse to go to school or may complain of physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and stomach ache. Others might vomit or get diarrhea. Once they are in school they might repeatedly ask to visit the school nurse or request to be picked up by their parents. Often when the child is allowed...

Being a parent is a role that can bring up intense emotions. You can experience great joy, pride, and happiness as well as fear, frustration, and self-doubt. There’s never a dull moment in a parent’s life!

Children don’t come with instructions on how to raise them as you embark the journey of nurturing and guiding your child through life. You will have to lean into your own experience growing up with your parents, read about how to raise a child, be vulnerable and ask friends and family members how they deal with certain situations and behaviors, but there will be times that you will feel lost as a parent. Using the present moment and the dynamic you have with your child will offer information about what you need to do.

The journey of being a parent is about self-discovery and learning a whole new set of skills that require self-awareness and commitment. Being a parent requires action, not just words. You have to “walk the talk” to be able to model for your children the behaviors you wan...

Body image is the mental representation we create of what we think we look like; it may or may not be close to how others actually see us, but is true for us. What this means is that the image we have about the way we look is subject to all kinds of distortions that go from internal struggles to cultural influences. Internal elements like our moods and emotions, early experiences from childhood, messages we received growing up, and attitudes our parents had towards their own bodies, and our bodies, impact the way we feel in our body and the views we hold towards it.

Life experiences, current life situation, and events influence the way we see ourselves on the mirror. So do external influences like the diet culture we live in, plastic surgery accessibility, and the thin ideal which impact how we connect with ourselves, our food, and our body. When we are consumed by the way we look and preoccupied about the way others see us, our feelings soon can become overwhelming. Many people strug...

You can change the way you feel by changing the way you think, but can you change who you are by changing your perception of yourself? I strongly believe YOU CAN! If you want to feel better, you must realize that your thoughts, self-perception and attitudes - not external events – determine the way you feel and how you respond. This means that the quality of your thoughts antecede the way you feel and act.

While everyone experiences anxiety from time to time, some people tend to feel it more often and deeply. They even tend to identify with their moods and feelings, and call themselves “depressed or bipolar” without an actual diagnosis. These labels become part of their identity and perpetuate a cycle that can be difficult to break because the words “I AM” hold a lot of power. If I believe “I am damaged goods”, I will feel unworthy and sad. If I say “I am determined, loving, kind.” I’ll surely embrace those personal qualities. I will be whatever I chose to say I am.

All of us hold differ...

There’s no excuse to neglect your well-being and balance. Technology has become an important part of our lives and there are literally thousands of apps that can boost your mood and support your journey of living a healthier and meaningful life. From yoga apps to those providing relaxing music, ocean sounds, sleep hygiene, memory and brain training, goal setting, purpose-built, stress and anxiety relievers, to meditation and mindfulness, but there are a few FREE apps that I particularly like and want to share with you.

Recovery Record. This is an app for individuals working on their eating disorder recovery. It’s a personalized tool to log meals and share them with their treatment team. They are also reminded of coping tools and clinicians can see the information they logged in and provide feedback. This app is easy to use at any stage of recovery. What I also like is that its secure and reliable, offers data that can be used to modify treatment plans and provides a way for individuals...

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How to Manage Your Stress by Using the Power of Your Mind

April 3, 2019

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