Two years ago, therapists Kara Bazzi, Alexia Giblin and Julie Church decided to take their collective eating-disorder therapy practices from the University of Washington and Seattle Pacific University to start their own clinic in the heart of the University District. Opal Food and Body Wisdom (opalfoodandbody.com) occupies a few unique niches: It’s independent, owned by women and focuses therapy on adult women only, which Bazzi says is the group with which she and her colleagues have the most relevant experience. “The majority of our experiences treating eating disorders were with college women,” says Bazzi.
Opal offers three levels of therapy for all eating disorders, from bulimia to anorexia: Partial hospitalization, for which they allow a maximum of 10 clients, intensive outpatient, and general outpatient, which serves the majority of its clients. “Our approach focuses on transformation of the whole person, rather than reduction of eating-disorder symptoms,” says Bazzi, who once suffered from an eating disorder herself. The therapists hew to Health at Every Size (haescommunity.org), a movement that advocates changing habits for health and well-being, rather than weight control. Opal also specializes in treating athletes with eating disorders, a practice that’s close to former track and cross-country athlete Bazzi’s heart.
In a field that is moving toward larger companies, Bazzi and her partners, all moms of young children, hope to retain what she calls a “family feel,” with their personal experiences informing their approach. Having been outpatient clinicians in Seattle for 10 years helped them develop connections and referrals in the community, and the small staff of 26, Bazzi says, “models the treatment we provide—living authentically and working toward growth.”