Welcome to my website!

Life is complex. No one is immune to life’s challenges. When a problem or a confounding situation occurs, it is human nature to talk to others. This natural drive helps put situations into proportion and set a course toward action.

My practice is dedicated toward assisting you to navigate difficult personal situations. This may include emotional distress, defeating patterns, eating disorders, trauma, substance abuse or life transitions.

My primary responsibility is to you; establishing a safe, comfortable, and trusting environment.

Our therapeutic relationship will allow you to feel free to explore any area of your thoughts, emotions, or behaviors. My commitment to you is privacy and a relationship without judgment or reprisal.

My Philosophy

Psychotherapy is a uniquely rewarding endeavor. It can be exciting, exhilarating, even fun, to try on unfamiliar perspectives, to eliminate habits and attitudes that no longer serve you, and to learn to know and care about yourself in a very different manner. At the same time, to examine and reveal your inner world, to trust another to share in that process, to make the inherently difficult effort to changethese things require considerable courage and are possible only in an environment of empathy, respect, and confidentiality where the delicate balance between encouraging growth and respecting limits is thoughtfully attended to.

You are not a collection of symptoms, not a problem to be fixed, not an aberration to be re-shaped into normalcy. You are a whole person with strengths and weaknesses, hopes and fears, joys and sorrows, all meriting considered attention and worthy of full exploration. Therapy ought always be geared toward helping you—whether as an individual or a member of a family—better understand yourself, find more satisfaction in your life, and become the person you would like to be.

About Karen

Karen is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. She received her bachelors degree in Psychology from Sonoma State University and her Masters degree in Counseling Psychology from Meridian University. Her training included experiential, somatic and art psychotherapies in addition to traditional approaches, allowing Karen to connect deeply with clients and explore their inner world.

Karen Schneller’s approach to therapy is relational. Importance is placed on the relationship between therapist and client creating a safe place for clients to explore difficult and painful parts of their lives while helping to create a more balanced life. She utilizes a psychodynamic approach while weaving in CBT, DBT and experiential psychotherapies.

Karen Schneller, MFT, CEDS
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Certified Eating Disorder Specialist

Karen’s practice is dedicated to supporting clients on their journey to health, while challenging and restructuring unhealthy coping skills. She brings compassion, experience and passion to her work with clients.

Karen’s experience involves working with teens and adults in a variety of settings. Karen took a special interest in working with eating disorders in 2004 when she began her training at The Center for Discovery, an adolescent residential treatment center for treatment of eating disorders and co-occuring disorders. She went on to work at several Intensive Outpatient Programs in addition to working at an adult residential treatment center for women struggling with eating disorders.

Psychotherapy Services

  • Long-Term Therapy
  • Brief Solution- Focused Therapy


  • Eating Disorders
  • Body Image Concerns
  • Trauma
  • Relationship Issues
  • Substance Abuse
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Professional Affiliations

  • NEDA-National Eating Disorder Association
  • IAEDP-International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals
  • CAMFT-California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
  • AED-Academy of Eating Disorders

“Let’s move forward from today. There is hope. You can feel better.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do people seek therapy?

People come into therapy for many reasons. Some need to respond to unexpected changes in their lives, while others seek self-exploration and personal growth. When coping skills are overwhelmed by guilt, doubt, anxiety, or despair, therapy can help. Therapy can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping for issues such as depression, anxiety, lack of confidence, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, bereavement, spiritual conflicts, stress management, body image issues, and creative blocks. People seeking psychotherapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives.

What can I expect in a therapy session?

During sessions you are expected to talk about the primary concerns and issues in your life. A session lasts 50 minutes. Usually weekly sessions are best. Some people who are in crisis or extreme distress need more than one session per week, at least until the crisis passes. During the time between sessions it is beneficial to think about and process what was discussed. At times, you may be asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records. For therapy to “work,” you must be an active participant, both in and outside of the therapy sessions.

What benefits can I expect from working with a therapist?

A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Often it is helpful just to know that someone understands. Therapy can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. Many people find therapy to be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, and the hassles of daily life. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:

  • Attaining a better understanding of yourself and your personal goals and values

  • Developing skills for improving your relationships

  • Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy

  • Find new ways to cope with stress and anxiety

  • Managing anger, depression, and other emotional pressures

  • Improving communications skills – learn how to listen to others, and have others listen to you

  • Getting “unstuck” from unhealthy patterns – breaking old behaviors and developing new ones

  • Discovering new ways to solve problems

  • Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence

What if I don’t know what my goals are for therapy?

If you aren’t sure what your goals are for therapy, your first task is to figure that out. It may take several sessions before a direction is clarified. During the course of therapy your goals may change. However, establishing a direction for therapy will help you get the most out of the experience.

Is therapy confidential?

In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and a psychotherapist. Information is not disclosed without written permission. However, there are number of exceptions to this rule. Exceptions include:

  • Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.

  • If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person/s. The therapist must notify the police and inform the intended victim.

  • If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to enlist their cooperation in insuring their safety. If they do not cooperate, further measures may be taken without their permission in order to ensure their safety.

Eating Disorders Information

Eating disorders are complex and have one of the highest mortality rates among all emotional disorders. However, with innovative and comprehensive intervention, recovery and management are obtainable. Often times, it is difficult for parents and families to differentiate between routine dieting, a temporary food fad and a serious eating disorder.

Basic Definitions:

Anorexia nervosa is self starvation. People with this disorder eat very little even though they are thin. They have an intense and overpowering fear of body fat and weight gain.

Binge eating disorder means eating large amounts of food in a short period of time, usually alone, without being able to stop when full. The overeating or bingeing is often accompanied by feeling out of control and followed by feelings of depression and guilt.

Bulimia nervosa is characterized by cycles of binge eating and purging using extreme means such as vomiting, or taking laxatives or diuretics. People with bulimia have a fear of body fat even though their size and weight may be normal.

Disordered eating refers to troublesome eating behaviors, such as restrictive dieting, bingeing or purging, which occur less frequently or are less severe than those required to meet the full criteria for the diagnosis of an eating disorder.

Compulsive exercising is exercising for long periods of time as a way to burn calories from food that has just been eaten. People with anorexia or bulimia may over exercise.
~Eating Disorders Sourcebook. Second Edition. 2007

Does this sound like you?

  • Even though people tell me that I’m thin, I feel fat.

  • I get anxious if I can’t exercise more than two hours per day.

  • I think of ways to get rid of food, once I have eaten a meal.

  • I feel guilty when I eat.

  • I would rather die than be fat.

  • I would rather eat by myself than with family and friends.

  • I weigh myself daily, and obsess about the number on the scale.

  • I have a secret stash of food.

  • I worry that I might lose control over how much I eat.

  • I worry that I might lose control over how much I eat.

  • I constantly calculate numbers of fat grams and calories.

  • I get anxious when people urge me to eat.

  • Sometimes I think food dominates my life.

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you could be dealing with disordered eating and an unhealthy pre-occupation with your body weight and shape. By not sharing your thoughts with a health care provider, teacher or family member, the emotional and physical toll can be tremendous. Seeking help from a professional with experience in treating eating disorders can provide you with honest feedback about your condition and advice about what to do next.

What causes eating disorders? Parents… the media… genetics?
An eating disorder is a treatable illness and its cause is multi-faceted. Parents do not cause eating disorders, but family attitudes can contribute to disordered eating behavior. The popular media has increasingly held the thinner body as the ideal and dieting is now common in girls as young as nine or ten. Twin, family and genetic studies also support the possibility that eating disorders may be due to an imbalance in brain neurotransmitters or hormones.

Keep reading below for articles and resources to help you learn more about eating disorders, body image, and related symptoms:

Eating Disorders Treatment

Karen Schneller treats all forms of eating disorders and body image issues; males and females, children, adolescents, and adults including relatives of those affected with an eating disorder. Karen also works with Athletes and Compulsive Exercisers, Night Eating Syndrome, Food Addiction, Binge Eating Disorder, Obesity, Compulsive Overeating, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD).

Karen uses a combination of therapeutic interventions to work with the underlying issues and emotions behind the eating disorder behaviors. Her approach is mainly eclectic, incorporating, psychodynamic, family systems, cognitive behavioral and interpersonal psychotherapy. She believes to treat eating disorders you need to address factors in the emotional, behavioral and environmental realms. As you increase awareness of how you utilize your relationship with food to manage your feelings and emotions, you can begin to learn to separate your emotions from food, working through the underlying issues and implementing healthy change behaviors.

Karen helps individuals develop the strength to overcome dangerous eating disorder behaviors through increasing insight, and providing support and accountability. Using proven psychotherapeutic techniques, clients will learn to access their eating disorder self, giving voice to the underlying feelings and fears that play out in eating disorder behaviors. Clients are partners in the recovery process and Karen values hertherapeutic relationship with them. Together you will look at the maladaptive behaviors that are keeping you stuck, and will work to create new behaviors and coping skills. Clients will learn to reduce self-defeating behaviors and the lesson the critical voice inside, with the goal of replacing them with more effective coping skills and healthier communication.

Karen works collaboratively with a treatment team of dieticians, psychiatrists, and medical doctors to ensure her clients are receiving comprehensive care.

As a therapist, she holds great compassion and respect for her clients’ abilities to work through difficulties in order to find the strength to make positive changes in their lives.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with an eating disorder, you are invited to contact Karen for an initial consultation. She can be reached at (562)-884-6827.

Guest Speaking Opportunities

If you’d like Karen to come and guest speak at your school or organization about eating disorders prevention, awareness or treatment, contact Karen by phone at (562) 884-6827 or email her to inquire about her availability.

Eating Disorders Groups

ANAD Meeting FREE, Drop-In, Eating Disorder Support Group

Mondays- 7:30 to 9:00 pm

2124 Main Street, Suite 230, Huntington Beach, CA 92648

This is a small intimate setting and open for those struggling and well as loved ones.

Contact Us

Our Information

Please give us a call at (562) 884.6827 or simply fill out the form on this page.
We’re looking forward to speaking with you soon.

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    • Phone | (562)-884-6827
    • Fax | (714)-362-9564

    San Luis Obispo

    1530 Monterey St Suite A2
    San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
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