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Austin Eating Disorder Specialist

Hello! Here’s a little bit about me as a therapist:


I am a Licensed Professional Counselor in Texas and graduated with my Master’s in Counseling Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2020. My approach in therapy is that of gentle empowerment and trauma-informed healing through radical self-love. I have yet to meet a client that didn’t need more self-compassion and self-love in their lives, and helping clients work towards that goal is my favorite part of being a therapist! 


I feel a particular passion for helping my clients work through disordered eating and body image concerns because on the other end of this hard work is a feeling of freedom in your body. So much of disordered eating is a result of disconnection from one’s body, due to both systemic and individual factors. There is power in returning to your body’s unique story. My stance is an interpersonal and holistic mind-body-heart-soul approach, informed by being a daughter of South Asian immigrants and a Muslim. I believe in helping you find inspiration in your unique identities and using the strength you derive from them in your healing process. I like to utilize interpersonal and psychodynamic modalities, along with EMDR, exposure work, CBT, and DBT with clients. 


Having said that, as a therapist, I don’t believe talk therapy is the end-all-be-all for healing. What I do believe in is helping you find your path of healing and walking alongside you on it. The most fulfilling therapy sessions I have had the honor of conducting are those that didn’t involve words at all, such as experiential activities, art, meditation, visualizations, and working with clients’ inner spiritual dimensions. My main goal in this work is to help you find your innate superpowers. I am well-fit for clients who appreciate immersive therapy homework, collaboration, and gentle challenging of their worldview! 


My fees are $165/50-min. session. Sliding scale and reduced fee options are available on a needs-based waitlist. If you are interested in this, please ask! 

 

Education

 

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2017, Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Global Health

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2020, Masters of Science in Counseling Psychology

  • Licensed Professional Counselor 84670

  • EMDR trained

Call or text Najeeha directly at: (512) 877-7797

Or use the Contact Page

Najeeha Khan, LPC

Eating Disorder Therapist

Director of Diversity

Areas of Focus:

  • Disordered eating

    • Anorexia​

    • Bulimia

    • Binge Eating 

    • Orthorexia

    • ARFID

    • Food Phobias/Trauma

    • Chronic Dieting

    • Compulsive Exercise

  • Intuitive Eating

  • Body Image Concerns

  • Health at Every Size

  • Fat Positive

  • Anti-diet

  • Spirituality

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • OCD

  • Self-harm

  • Trauma

  • Racial/Ethnic Identity Development

  • Relationship Concerns

Special Communities Served:

  • Ages 15+

  • Asian Community

  • Muslim Community

  • Communities of Color

  • Spiritual and Religious Communities

  • Urdu/Hindi-Speaking Communities

  • Immigrants, 1st and 2nd Generation Communities

  • LGBTQIA+ Communities

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Written transcript of video on Ramadan and Eating Disorders

assalamualaikum everyone my name is maliha and i'm a licensed therapist who loves sharing information about mental health ramadan is around the corner and while it comes with its own set of blessing and challenge this time can be especially difficult for muslims who are struggling with eating disorder today i invited najiha khan who's a therapist that specializes in working with eating disorders so that she can shed some light on this topic thank you so much for joining us najiha thank you for having me of course i'm so excited to talk about this topic because i feel like it's going to be very beneficial for a lot of people one of the first things i kind of wanted to start off with was talking a little bit

about the prevalence of eating disorders

in the muslim community

yeah you know it's unfortunate that

there's just not a lot of research

at all on muslims and i mean mental

health in general in muslim communities

but

um eating disorders especially there's

not a lot of numbers in the us

on what that looks like however there's

no reason to believe

that it isn't just as prevalent if not

more prevalent

as compared to the general population so

with the general population you know

the numbers vary depending on the type

of eating disorder it could be anywhere

from

one to ten percent of people that are

living with an eating disorder

there is research that suggests that

minorities tend to have higher rates

of eating disorders and especially

racial and ethnic minorities and so

you know we can safely assume that a lot

of muslims might be experiencing eating

disorders at higher rates the numbers do

show that minorities tend to be under

diagnosed

with eating disorders so clinicians

therapists

people just aren't as likely to notice

these behaviors in people who are

minorities and so

the numbers again might be high in

muslim communities but

it might just be getting missed there

was actually a study done in the uae

that showed that

teen girls had higher levels actually

twice twice the number of cases of anorexia

than teen girls in britain what are some

of the common misconceptions that

muslims have about eating disorders the

biggest misconception might be that it

doesn't even exist

in our communities people tend to think

that you know if you have a good

relationship with god then you're going

to be able to feed yourself and to

to just not have these struggles and

obviously that's not true right those

things are not correlated

and another big misconception is that

eating disorders

only happen to women or that they only

happen to teenagers and that's also not

true we have people who have a lifetime

of eating disorders that they're dealing

with we have men who have eating

disorders and that's

that's way more common than we might

think another one is that

i think because a lot of muslims come

from more collectivistic cultures here

in the us

they might think that we wouldn't have

eating disorders because we live in

these

family groups that would protect us from

that and that

people would be able to pick up on it if

you have an eating disorder and that's

also not true because

eating disorders can very easily be

hidden they can very easily fly under

the radar

a lot of people they don't lose an

immense amount of weight as you might

think they might just be around their

regular weight so

you wouldn't be able to see that on

somebody and also just diet culture

that somebody who is restricting their

food intake who is over exercising

that those things are celebrated so you

know and

that's really unfortunate they associate

eating disorders with

being very thin or looking a certain way

and so

it can go under the radar when we don't

know what to kind of

look out for right right and that's yes

and there's

several different ways to have an eating

disorder you know there's

people who might be experiencing

anorexia there's people who might be

experiencing bulimia and folks with

bulimia

again their weight may not fluctuate

that much

if they may not be any drastic changes

they might look the same as you've

always seen them

even though there's a lot of changes

going on internally in their body

um due to the purging binging cycles

that they're in

and then there's folks with binge eating

disorder who might be experiencing

weight gain

or no weight gain um you know everyone's

bodies are so different

and then there's also our fed which is

avoidant restricted

food intake disorder yep and with that

you know it's not even about body image

folks with arfid are not

refraining from eating because they want

to lose weight but it's something

out of their control and so sometimes

those two things might get conflated

that oh if you're not eating then you

must not be happy with your body which

is not always true either

also i think helpful to look at what um

influences your loved one is a part of

so like athlete culture sport culture

eating disorders are highly prevalent

there um

just because it's the environment that

they're in right already over exercising

being told what they should or shouldn't

eat how much they should weigh

and so i think that's also a

misconception that if someone is

over exercising and they're an athlete

then it's okay but that's not

necessarily true

i've noticed this happening in the uh

they see brown community that

conversations surrounding weight

especially for women is something that's

discussed quite a lot

right and conversations those can be

very detrimental

for someone who is recovering from an

eating disorder or experiencing that

but it's really unfortunate that

although those conversations are so

prevalent

the conversations surrounding recovery

and

healthy eating habits and all of that

that's something that's

that's not talked about at all you

really hit the nail on the head

i think that in our cultures like people

almost feel like they have a right to

your body and

they can just make these comments about

you and how you're looking these days

and oh you look like you haven't been

eating much

like that's such a common thing for us

without realizing that that's not

helping that individual it might

actually be really harming them

what are some of the challenges that

muslims face in ramadan

when they're struggling with eating

disorders a lot of cultural practices

during ramadan

can really trigger the same eating

disorder behaviors that people are

trying to heal from so

a good example of that is when you know

like you're expected to not eat anything

all day and then come sunset

you most of us have a whole feast in

front of us that we're expected to eat

and for folks who are trying to heal

from binging behaviors

or from restricting purging cycles

that can really you know light up that

part of themselves that they're trying

to heal from

because it just puts their brain back in

that spot that they're trying to grow

from

part of healing from disordered eating

is to get back in touch

with the natural cues your body gives

you for hunger and fullness

and in ramadan you're you know you're

expected to kind of ignore those cues

and just not

eat and not listen to your body not

listen to your stomach when it grumbles

and so that can also kind of set

somebody back

and throw their healing off course that

offset and somebody's schedule can

throw off their healing as well and i

think you know one big one

that we don't talk about enough is just

the guilt that people feel for not

engaging in this religious obligation

that's just a very unique thing that

people with eating disorders deal with

in ramadan that everyone around them is

fasting and

they can't participate in it not because

they don't necessarily want to

but because of an illness that they

can't even always verbalize to the

people around them

when we're trying to help people to eat

again after

a period of restricting themselves we

want them to get back on

a schedule that they can regularly eat

and monitor their eating

and it's again really hard to do that in

ramadan when

you don't really have an eating schedule

most people will just

not eat when the sun's out and then eat

when the sun's down and there's no real

schedule to that

and that can make it really tricky so

how does someone decide if fasting in

ramadan

is the right thing for them when they're

in recovery talk to

your recovery team so if you know people

with eating disorders

will probably have a therapist a

dietitian a doctor they'll have all

kinds of people on their team

so you know pick one of them whoever you

you feel like you can have this

conversation with

and talk to them about this when you're

in the midst of your own

eating disorder you might miss certain

things you might not

know the full context of what's going on

around you so it can just be helpful to

get a second opinion

a professional opinion on what can be

healthy for you

some questions that they might ask you

to help you figure it out is

um are you at your goal weight yet

if you're not yet at your goal weight

then they may not want you to fast yet

they may want to get a feel for what

your coping skills are like so if you're

planning on fasting during ramadan you

might get triggered by the people around

you you might get activated and so it's

going to be

really important to be able to cope with

those negative

emotions that will come up and so um

just making sure that your coping skills

are set before ramadan starts will be

important

if you've been through an eating

disorder it will be difficult to

separate that part of yourself that

that used to fast for other reasons from

fasting for god

and so if there's a part of you that's

feeling like you're not going to be able

to separate those things

then it might be a good idea to take a

step back how can

friends and family help their loved ones

when they're going through

so i think malia you mentioned it really

well earlier when you said like just how

we comment on other people's weight

and bodies so really to refrain from

doing that it could really trigger

someone even if you think you're helping

um but you know even a comment that you

think is harmless like oh it looks like

it looks like you've

put on a little bit of weight or you

know you look good you lost weight

all those things can be really harmful

for people and one thing people

also don't think about a much more

insidious way that this happens

is commenting on your own weight and

your own body

so saying things like i i need to get

back in shape

i don't want to eat eat this cookie or

something because it's

unhealthy so refraining from commenting

on yourself is also really important you

know you may think that it's just

if i'm just talking about myself like

how can that person be impacted by it

but it is getting internalized for them

so so not asking invasive questions so

like i noticed i noticed you were not

fasting today or

um you know how come you're eating that

much or asking these questions can be

really hurtful and just puts that person

in a painful place that they're trying

to heal from

so don't force conversations onto people

but

be there for them when they are ready to

talk about it my final question for you

was what are some resources that people

can utilize

and i'll go ahead and i'll link that

information in the description box for

the video so that

people can keep coming back to it if

they need to the national

eating disorder association crisis text

line is is

really a great resource to use um i

think you can just text

neda 2741741

so the alliance for eating disorders um

there's eating recovery center erc

that does great work and they have

locations in texas

um and then for people who want to

educate themselves there's also

something called

edie catalog you can find a lot of

different books online

that are really great for just body

image disordered eating

the social justice impacts of eating

disorder

and yeah there's a lot of great

resources on there as well

that's awesome i think that could be so

helpful for a lot of family members too

because

i feel like in our community especially

information about mental illness or

eating disorders

it's just not talked about so people

don't even know where to start

and if they can have somewhere to go to

where they can learn about hey how do i

help my loved one

you know cope with what they're going

through it could be something that's

very helpful

i wanted to say thank you so much for

for doing this video with me i think

it's going to be so helpful for a lot of

people who are who are

struggling with an eating disorder or

loved ones who don't even know kind of

where to start

with this whole process so i'm really

happy that you were able to make time

and enjoy today yes thank you this is

really lovely thanks for having me

if you found this information to be

helpful make sure to share this video

like it and subscribe to my channel so

that you can learn more information

about mental health

don't forget to share this video on your

social media platforms so that more

people can learn and benefit ramadan

mubarak and i'll see you in the next one

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