From Body Positivity to Body Neutrality – A More Sustainable Approach?

Show Notes

Hey friends! I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Eleanor Clark, a fellow therapist who specializes in treating eating disorders and struggling with body image. Eleanor shares so openly about her own journey recovering from an eating disorder, and how that personal experience led her into this field and helped grow her passion for helping others. I found it insightful how she talks about the uniqueness of each person’s eating disorder – it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. A big theme from our discussion was around the concept of body neutrality rather than body positivity. Eleanor explains how body positivity, while sounding good in theory, often sets people up for failure and guilt when they can’t live up to loving their bodies all the time. She realized the approach of body neutrality was more sustainable for her clients long-term. Towards the end, Eleanor also opens up about starting her podcast and speaking out on some controversial issues around gender-affirming care for minors. It was so inspiring to hear how she found the courage to use her voice, even when it goes against the grain. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! And definitely check out Eleanor’s book Body Neutrality as well as her podcast The Dissenting Therapist. 

Parenting Gender Confused Children Support Group: 

Eleanor’s Links: 

Website: http://www.eleanorclarklmhc.com/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/eleanorclark_lmhc/ 

Book: 

https://www.amazon.com/Body-Neutrality-Eleanor-Clark/dp/1032221607/?_encoding=UTF8&pd _rd_w=s8Jum&content-id=amzn1.sym.cf86ec3a-68a6-43e9-8115-04171136930a&pf_rd_p=cf86 ec3a-68a6-43e9-8115-04171136930a&pf_rd_r=135-6079766-1283955&pd_rd_wg=yFi08&pd_rd _r=dead3ca0-ffca-442d-b331-5e972bd24f15&ref_=aufs_ap_sc_dsk 

Podmatch: 

Want to be a podcast guest? Have your own podcast and want to find guests? Use

podmatch! https://www.joinpodmatch.com/faithfullyengaged 

Faithfully Engaged Substack: https://faithfullyengaged.substack.com/ *This description contains affiliate links. These links add no cost to you and help support the show.* 

#BodyNeutrality 

#BodyPositivity 

#EatingDisorderTherapy 

#MentalHealthCounseling 

#TherapistInsights 

#RecoveryJourney 

#SustainableBodyImage 

#TherapistCommunity 

#EthicalPractice 

#SupportingClients 

TIMESTAMPS: 

00:00:09 – Launching a Podcast 

00:01:14 – Eleanor’s Background 

00:02:37 – Body Neutrality 

00:06:49 – Body Positivity vs. Body Neutrality 

00:14:16 – The Problem with Body Positivity 

00:16:21 – Understanding Guilt and Shame 

00:19:50 – Moral Conundrum of Choosing Recovery 

00:21:39 – Speaking Out Against Controversial Topics 

00:26:48 – Overcoming Fear and Building Community 

00:28:04 – Connecting People in Need 

00:29:18 – Finding Courage from Others 

00:30:35 – Finding Like-minded Therapists

00:32:06 – Taking Steps for Alignment 

00:33:11 – Benefits of Self-Employment 

TRANSCRIPT: 

00:00:00 – Johnny Sanders 

Do you enjoy listening to podcasts and think, man, I would like to make my own podcast? This is where I found myself last year, and I have learned a lot about what to do and a lot about what not to do. I’m offering consulting services to help you launch your podcast, especially if you’re looking to make a more Christian or conservative-based podcast. To find out more information@faithfullyengaged.com I have a link down in the description below if you would like help getting your podcast started. Well, welcome back, everyone, to another episode of Faithfully Engaged today. My guest’s name is Eleanor Clark, and she is one of the several guests that I’ve met just out in the wild on social media. As counselors out there with a certain value system, we can kind of see it. We know what it looks like when we see similar beliefs out there in the wild like that. So I’m super glad to run into Eleanor. So, Eleanor, why don’t you share with the audience a little bit about yourself? 

00:01:14 – Eleanor Clark 

Yeah, like I said before we started recording, I’m really excited to be on this podcast because I’ve been listening to it for the last few months, ever since I kind of met you, quote unquote on Instagram and then Facebook. But yeah. My name is Eleanor Clark. I am a private practice eating disorder therapist in Indiana. I live in the Indianapolis area. I started my career with eating disorders at a treatment center. So my first experience was with inpatient residential and then partial hospitalization levels of care, doing everything from individual work and body image work to group work and family sessions and stuff, stuff like that. And then joined a group practice for a couple of years doing outpatient eating disorder work. And now I’m running my own practice doing mostly eating disorder work. Other stuff slips in there, too, but mostly eating disorder stuff. I do a combination of telehealth and in-person, and then also do a little bit of therapy groups, which I love so much. That’s probably what I miss most about the doing higher level of care work is the group. So that’s something that’s been really fun about being on my own. I wrote a book called Body Neutrality a couple of years ago, kind of about my approach to body image, and recently started a podcast called The Dissenting Therapist, where I talk about some stuff that relates to mental health and kind of some hot-button issues in our field right now. 

00:02:36 – Johnny Sanders 

Fantastic. So lots of good things in there, and I know some of the audience are fellow therapists like you and I, and many who are listening are not. But I always get interested when I’m interviewing another counselor especially when they get into some of their specialties. So body image and eating disorders, that’s a fairly well-known issue in our culture. I’m curious for you. What got you interested in serving that population?

00:03:08 – Eleanor Clark 

Yeah, I got interested because, you know, I struggle. Most eating disorder therapists have this answer. You know, I struggled with an eating disorder throughout my childhood and was super fortunate to get to go to treatment during high school, before I went to college. And, you know, I wasn’t, I wouldn’t say that’s fully when my great recovery started, but it’s when I at least got kind of a stable foundation of recovery under my belt and was able to really be present and have a great college experience because of that foundation. And I’d say kind of along the lines of realizing everything is more important than food and body image. You know, when I started, like, dating my husband and seeing, you know, like, how great friendships could be is when I realized how silly it was, my obsession with things around my body and food, and was able to actually fully embrace recovery at that time. And when I had been recovered for a little while, like, in a pretty great recovery for a while, is when I actually started working at that treatment site center as just a technician during my senior year of college, and then I continued working there during graduate school. They were amazing at providing opportunities for me to keep learning and keep growing in my career while I was still in school. So I got kind of some unique opportunities there to run groups and things like that. Before I was a technical therapist, so I had my personal experience. And then, you know, the treatment center just gave me so much of a great education and passion for eating disorders because I kind of went into it honestly a little bit. I think arrogant that I knew so much about eating disorders, having had one myself, and was so interested in disordered eating. I had read so much about it. I felt like I knew what to expect from that job. And I remember my first day as a technician being so blown away by how much I did not know about eating disorders and how much variety there is. Most of them don’t look like mine, like they all, everyone’s eating disorder is different. You have to really get to know the person to get to know their eating disorder and also just the severity of just how life wrecking the eating disorder could be. Even though it had wrecked my life, it was still shocking to me to see how devastating they could be in other people’s lives, too. So that’s my passion came from my personal experience, but the experience of going to college a few minutes away from a great treatment center was also a huge part of that. That growing passion of mine. 

00:05:47 – Johnny Sanders 

Yeah, no, it’s always interesting for me to, like I said, just hear those stories. Everybody has a why, and obviously, yours is a pretty personal one. But I love the part where you mentioned almost kind of this. This arrogance there of, like, oh, I’ve lived it. So I’ve got it all figured out. And I think that takes some humility to admit that. 

00:06:09 – Eleanor Clark 

That I wouldn’t have admitted that. I wouldn’t have admitted that then it was years later that I was like, oh, my goodness, I thought I knew so much, and I knew nothing. 

00:06:19 – Johnny Sanders 

Yeah, yeah. I’m really interested in your book on body neutrality, and that’s something that, again, those. Those of you listening, you might have heard this concept. I know. Um, in our field, like, I’ve really been inundated with this, that the. The term you hear more often is body positivity. Um, and that. That sounds all nice. I mean, it’s positive. Um, so why body neutrality? Why that title?

00:06:47 – Eleanor Clark 

No, I love talking about this. I. Yeah, I was in. In those, like, naive years of learning about how to treat eating disorders and starting to do groups and stuff, a lot of the girls would request body image groups because that’s, frankly, that’s most. That’s statistically why most people relapse. That’s, you know, even though it’s not. We always say it’s not about your body. The body is what got you a little bit fascinated with these behaviors and with the world of eating disorders. So it’s super relevant to recovery, even if it’s not about your body. And when I was first, like, trying to explore or how to treat body image, body positivity was, like, the big fad of the time because it was. I don’t know, this was about, like, 2017, 2018, and it was really exploding on Instagram, especially, and, like, Tumblr and stuff around that time. So all of the materials, curriculum, everything for body image was mostly based on that. I’d say, with a few exceptions that were kind of niche. Like, everything was about body positivity. And so I just kind of went with it and used that stuff and kind of used that inspiration, and it just wasn’t helping anybody. And the more we’d talk about it and, like, we’d have, like, honest processing and reflection among the groups about it, I’d hear more and more that this is just. I can’t relate to this because I don’t believe it. I feel like like a hypocrite to say I love my body and all bodies are beautiful and all bodies are great. When I don’t believe that, I don’t believe that about myself, I don’t believe that about others. You know, when people would start to get honest, it’s like I’m not just judging my own body. Like when you’re struggling with an eating disorder, you’re not yourself. You don’t look at others the same way, you don’t look at yourself the same way. So this like ultra-positive, all bodies are beautiful kind of approach, like a fairy tale approach to something that’s really dark and it’s not helpful. It’s also not sustainable to get to a place like that. And I think what a lot of the girls found is it gave them one more thing to feel guilty about. Like, not only do I hate my body and I know that’s wrong, I know that I shouldn’t feel that way, but also, like, I’m trying to pretend that I feel a way about it, that I, that I don’t. So when I did a little more research about it, I think it was on Instagram actually, that I came across the term body neutrality and started exploring it. There’s a lot more now than there was when I first started exploring it. So I had to kind of build a curriculum about it. And I did, I think I did like a ten-week kind of approach to body neutrality. And we started developing a lot of activities around it and processing questions and things like that. That was helpful. That was actually something that was getting us somewhere. Because we could be honest about the fact that even in phenomenal recovery, it’s okay to have days where you’re just like not in love with your body. Because frankly, that’s just not what life is about, is loving your body. You can have a very fulfilling life and not be obsessed, with how hot you are. Like, that’s completely possible. And that’s not actually, you know, going to be the end all, be all of your happiness and joy is finding yourself attractive. Instead, if we can prioritize what does matter in our life, what is important to us, and then decrease the significance of our body while acknowledging its goodness and the fact that, like, it was made by a creator intentionally and seeing the purpose in that and the higher purpose in that, then we can actually get to a place where we have a sustainable approach to our bodies that even as they change, even as they age, we can have a sustainable perspective of them. And something that was, I think, hard for some of the clients and we’d have clients that, you know, relapsed and came back a couple times. One thing that was kind of hard is, you know, I might leave treatment and I kind of like my body to a degree. Like it’s culturally accepted. You know, I feel decently good in it. And then maybe it changes a little more over the next few months after they get home

and all of a sudden they realize all of their body image was based on a conditional appearance of their bodies. So when it changed, it was no longer acceptable, and eating disorders were again very attractive. So when body image is based on actually finding your body attractive, there’s a little bit of conditional danger to that. That’s not sustainable versus body neutrality. That’s something I’ve been able to maintain through pregnancy, through postpartum. My body can change and I can still accept it and appreciate it and respect it, even if I can acknowledge that like sometimes it’s not, it’s like peak attractiveness. But that doesn’t matter because it’s something that has been an amazing part of my life. It’s been a vessel for me to have a wonderful life so I can appreciate it and respect it despite not always having this opinion of it being beautiful and stunning. If that makes sense, it’s still worthy of dignity and respect. 

00:11:42 – Johnny Sanders 

No, I think that makes complete sense. And those that have heard, yeah, you know, we need to love our bodies and things like that. I think you’re really parsing this out well there and it sounds good on the surface. Again, positive thinking, body positive goodness. Another term out there is sex positive, everything is good, positive, and happy. And there’s some of that that is good. Like there are good parts of everybody’s body out there that we should celebrate. I mean, goodness, we get up and I just worked out the other day and I had to get up off the couch after leg day and my legs weren’t working well. Um, and I was appreciative of the days that I wasn’t sore and my 

legs worked well. Um, and I don’t, I don’t think about that. But that’s a good thing about my body that I can get up and walk on most days. So there are positive things out there, but it’s not realistic like you’re saying for me to think that things are just great all the time. And I see this, um, not somewhat in my counseling practice, but more just in the culture that we celebrate everything. So with body positivity. If somebody is 200 pounds overweight, we’re supposed to say that that’s healthy. And. And it’s not. Same thing. If somebody is 50 pounds underweight, that’s not healthy either. So we’re not looking at reality, and there’s a way to share reality in a loving, respectful way. We don’t have to be jerks about it, but we need to be truthful. And like you’re saying, the people themselves that are struggling with it, they can’t put on that facade forever either. 

00:13:36 – Eleanor Clark 

No, they can’t. And I think that was another thing that I, like. My arrogance prevented me from thinking that other people had worse body image than I did. Because when I had such a bad body image, looking back, I was like, there’s no way someone felt worse than that because that was just the most horrible experience of my life, was feeling like that in my body. And no, these were people that I could not even wrap my brain around. The lengths they were willing to go to feeling so uncomfortable in their skin. This is not someone that’s going to just because you said her body is beautiful, immediately give up the eating disorder. Because you’re right, my body is beautiful. Why am I doing this? That’s not. And that’s ultimately, too, it’s a fake. It’s a fake solution. Because again, the problem’s not your body. So if we’re trying to solve the problem by saying, but your body’s perfect, there’s nothing wrong with your body, all bodies are great. That’s not solving the problem. The problem is that we don’t have an identity outside of the eating disorder, or we don’t see value in ourselves outside of our appearance, or there’s trauma or something has made my body feel very unsafe and foreign, and it feels safer when I’m doing these things. So for me to walk up and slap you with, like, your body’s beautiful is a fake

solution. It’s not a real solution to the problem anyway. So not only is it minimizing the pain they’re going through, to just try to say these things that they don’t believe, that they’re not going to believe for probably, you know, for years, is how long it takes to get a healthier body image. They’re not going to, in four to six weeks, while they’re in treatment, start all of a sudden having a body-positive approach, because I’m saying it to them. They have to start maybe uprooting the way they’ve approached body image. Altogether, which is they live in a culture that emphasizes their body image and emphasizes thinness above everything, and emphasizes dieting and self-control around food. Feels like a moral goodness in our culture. So they’re going to have to uproot how they approach those things and how they see their body as a worthy being just because God created it, rather than something that has to earn value with an appearance. So body positivity is kind of the same problem. Like we’re too obsessed with the body, we’re too focused on it in an eating disorder. And our solution is to, again, just be focused on it and obsessed with it, but in a more positive way. Like that’s the same problem. So body neutrality was that was, it was like something that you kind of, the concept makes perfect sense. It was just not something that I had heard someone put a language to before that. So I totally took that and ran with it. I was obsessed with the concept of body neutrality after that. And that’s persisted for me, you know, years later. That’s something that I still use with all of my clients. It’s still sustainable. It’s still been sustainable for me. It’s kind of been one of those life-changing approaches to how you perceive your body. 

00:16:21 – Johnny Sanders 

Yeah, well, and it centers back into truth. This is something that I emphasize with clients all the time, no matter what the issue is. Some recent things I’ve discussed often are some emotions like, like guilt and shame. They tend to get a little bit of a bad rap that we don’t want to live in. Guilt and shame. And that’s how I identify everything. But they can be productive. Exactly. My wife, a bad name or something, and I feel guilty about it. That’s a good thing that brings reconciliation. I apologize. I was wrong. And with our bodies, if something is wrong, then that’s okay. We need to be able to, maybe there, maybe I do need to, to be able to work out a little bit more, something like that to, to make things better. Maybe I do need to eat more or whatever it may be. But yeah, it’s not this big moral concern. It’s, it’s a health issue and it takes some of the pressure off of things that I don’t have to be perfect. 

00:17:28 – Eleanor Clark 

Exactly. Yeah. And that’s kind of what you’re talking about with the guilt and shame. That’s something that kind of forgot about this. But it came up a lot in some of those groups as well. It’s trying to distinguish between false guilt and real guilt because in an eating disorder, there’s guilt about everything. Like every single thing you do. Just choosing recovery feels like a morally bad thing. And I think it’s kind of. I feel like eating disorders. I’ve tried to think of any other disorder kind of makes you feel like this. I believe eating disorders are the only disorder where choosing to get better feels like the wrong thing. It feels like morally I’m making a bad choice to try to get better from this because the eating disorder feels like a moral goodness. It feels like self-control and discipline for a lot of people, but not for everyone. It depends on the eating disorder. I don’t think anyone with Arfid feels like that. But a lot of people with anorexia and bulimia can’t imagine letting go of that eating disorder that feels like the wrong thing or it feels like letting themselves go or losing their discipline. So you have to kind of, like, accept that you’re probably during, like,

all moments of your life in the beginning of recovery going to feel wrong and guilty. And you have to decide, like, which one feels appropriately guilty. Like, when I had lapses in my recovery, I felt guilty. That was more of an appropriate guilt of kind of bringing me an awareness of, like, that’s because I’m not living consistently with my values. It’s because I’m not living consistently with my long-term goals for my life. Guilt makes sense here. I’m not going to live in it. I’m not going to get obsessed with it or drown in it. But I’m going to acknowledge that this guilt kind of makes sense. When I feel guilty because I did not throw up or I feel guilty because I did eat my lunch, that’s false guilt. And that’s really hard to distinguish. For someone who literally feels guilty for every single choice they’re making around food, around movement, all of that is going to feel like I did something wrong for probably weeks to months of recovery. So learning to understand when I’m not living according to my values, is probably false guilt. And when I’m not living in my values, that’s probably genuine guilt. And how can I make it productive? How can I make a change or apologize or do the thing that I need to do that, I think, resonated with a lot of people and me included, because like I said, I don’t think there’s another mental illness where choosing recovery feels like a bad choice. 

00:19:50 – Johnny Sanders 

Yeah, no, it makes a lot of sense. And you bring up, really, the key word in this is your values. And I’m pretty open on my podcast. And then even in my Christian counseling practice about where my values come from. I believe that they. They come that we are. We are inherently given value just because we’re made in God’s image. And I think that holds incredible value. And I know not all of the clients that we work with will operate from a Christian worldview, but one of the great things about Christianity is it’s pretty self-explanatory of, again, where those values come from. And it’s not about the things that we do or that we earn. It’s because we were made and because of who we are. Whose image we were made? And it takes that pressure off and rather, whether they’re Christian or not, if you don’t know what. Why your life matters, what your values are, you’re not going to have a compass to say if this is true or false. Guilt. It’s just all guilt is bad. 

00:20:59 – Eleanor Clark 

Yeah. Yeah. You’re just going to feel uncomfortable and wonder where you’re going with no compass all the time if you don’t have a set that, of values to operate from when you approach something like recovery. Absolutely. Couldn’t agree more with that. 

00:21:10 – Johnny Sanders 

Well, let’s get a little bit into kind of this newer phase of your life,. Of your podcast, and just stepping out a little bit into, like, we’re talking off the air, just a little bit of things that don’t seem to be that controversial, at least they shouldn’t be, but in our field and in our culture, they are. Um, so just tell me a little bit about your process and why you’ve kind of decided to take a step out there a little bit. 

00:21:38 – Eleanor Clark 

Yeah. So, the first episode of my podcast was about gender-affirming care in minors, and it got a lot of attention. It got a lot of negative attention. It also got a lot of positive attention, actually. And I want to. I kind of feel like that’s important to talk about, too, because I think when I posted

it, all my friends were kind of like, oh, my gosh, you’re gonna get so much hate for that. And that wasn’t totally wrong. Like, I did. Shocked by how much support and how many therapists, how many therapists and dietitians, for me work very closely alongside therapists. So therapists and dietitians that reached out and people I hadn’t talked to maybe for years texted me, called me, and said they were so thankful that, like, to know that another clinician felt that way. And I think that’s important to say, because I think we all feel so alone in the way that we feel towards these issues I haven’t even said on here right now what my take is. You can probably guess, though, that I was very against gender-affirming care in minors. And I think we all assume that every single therapist, especially therapists, is going to only be in support of gender-affirming care. And they probably would say, especially in minors, because of the stats we hear about suicide rates and because of the fear-mongering that a lot of people have used to make us feel that that’s, no matter how you apply logic or how you apply other forms of research that are maybe a little more credible, that this is the only way we can approach these things right now. So I think a lot of clinicians that question that or think that doesn’t make sense, kind of like I did feel very alone, and I did. I felt so alone in those thoughts. And I remember for me, kind of that moment, I’ve always had these opinions, I’ve always had these thoughts. But the moment where it was like, this is ridiculous, was when the American Academy of Pediatrics came out and they were talking about recommending bariatric surgery and other weight loss like procedures and medications for kids as young as 13, which I don’t support. I think that’s crazy. I’ve seen adults have, like, life-suffering consequences from these surgeries, so I can’t imagine doing that to children. But this is exactly what we were doing in kids. We’ve been doing that for years to kids when it comes to gender-affirming care, just under a different title. And there was actually one time I brought that up in a group of, a group of therapists, and as soon as I said that, the room just got quiet, like no one said anything. But afterward, like privately afterward, people were like, I totally agree with you. That doesn’t make sense. But it was something that no one would say in a group. And that’s kind of been the theme of even this podcast, is the criticism I’ve gotten has all been public. The criticism has all been like, comments and things like that. Praise has all been private. I think a lot of people are very scared to say even that. I think this makes sense, or I’m glad you said this because of how it’s going to reflect on their license. I think for some, it’s kind of, it’s not even just, you know, afraid of how they’re going to be perceived. I think people genuinely have a concern about their license when it comes to saying these things. And I think going into now being self-employed, I just kind of felt like, why am I still, like, not saying anything about it? I know we all do. I know we’re all in agreement. I know a lot of us feel this way. I don’t have anyone over me saying I can’t say it or that I’m representing them anymore. So it kind of just. It kind of just felt like the time to just start saying it. And my hope is. My hope is that even if it’s just local, like, people around me, around here start to feel a little more comfortable talking about it, even if it’s just with me, that that would start maybe a little bit of a movement away from just assuming. All therapists have this one approach to this issue. And of course, I have these unpopular opinions about other things, too, but this is the one that got the most attention. 

00:25:51 – Johnny Sanders 

Well, and for good reason. It’s. It’s one just hop pressing. It’s kind of at the apex right now, although I’m optimistic that it seems to be more on the downside. See Eleanor dropping some puberty blockers and things like that. So there’s good news coming along. But regardless, it’s

extremely polarizing. You cannot find a mainline counseling organization that is not in support of gender-affirming care. It’s everywhere. Short of, you know, some Christian counseling organizations out there. 

00:26:31 – Eleanor Clark 

But niche groups are all you’re gonna find. Yeah. 

00:26:35 – Johnny Sanders 

Yes. All the big ones, apa, all that. They’re all in on it. So there is pressure. And I think what you are really hammering out here, Ellie, is big. Whether you’re a counselor or not, counselors, we do face a little bit of a different challenge. Livelihoods are. I mean, quite frankly, they are on the line. So there’s some of that. Fear is legitimate, but even if you’re not a counselor, even if you’re just at the water cooler and people are talking about whatever, or you’re at a work conference, and everybody has to go around and share their pronouns or just things of that nature. If you don’t comply, a couple of things are gonna happen. One, you’ll probably be the only one that does that upfront. There probably won’t be someone else who starts before you. That much is true. But to what Elliot said, you’re either gonna have somebody publicly support you, maybe, but you’ll definitely have somebody privately support you. 

00:27:42 – Eleanor Clark 

Yeah. 

00:27:43 – Johnny Sanders 

The great thing about that is, is they may become the next public person, and that courageousness spreads. And like you were saying, it matters, even if it’s just in your community. I’ve had people reach out to me. It’s actually one of my favorite parts of my private practice that I’ve had. People reach out to me that they’re in states I’m not licensed in, and I don’t even serve them, but I connect them with somebody else, and they say, I didn’t trust anybody else. I’m afraid they’re going to push this on my kids. Can you find me somebody who will treat my kid who’s not going to push that on them? And I love that. I don’t even see a dime from them, but I love getting to connect with people in that way. So some of. Some of how they found me is either by my podcast or a blog post I made. You don’t know the impact you can make just by standing on the truth. It is absolutely worth it. 

00:28:41 – Eleanor Clark 

I want to say that’s kind of where, you know, I got my courage was from watching, you know, I feel like there haven’t been many therapists that do that, but we’ve even talked about some of the ones that we know, the ones who were willing to kind of do that first. I can’t even begin to admire their courage because I’m not the first one. There were people who had to do this that 

did not know if anyone else was going to support them or did not know if anyone else was going to agree with them. And I admire them deeply. And when I started seeing some documentaries and see, oh, my gosh, there were two therapists that were interviewed in that documentary. That means there are two therapists, at least, who are willing to. And they even talked about it in the documentary. Like, I can’t talk about this with peers. This is something that is not. Is not welcome, and I feel very alone. And yet they were willing to go on a documentary and talk about

it. That’s amazing. And it gave me the courage to think, I’m not alone here. There are well-known people in this area who are seeing problems with this approach to healthcare. I think that you probably don’t have any idea of the impact you would make just by being a little bit bold. Even in, you know, like I’m talking about, even in a little meeting that might have five people in it, someone feeling like, oh, thank goodness there’s someone else here that feels that way. That’s what made me really close with a coworker was us realizing we actually aligned on this. She’s not as public about it, but she is really someone that I rely on and talk to a lot about these issues because I trust her judgment and her approach. That’s still evidence-based that’s still ethical, that I can trust where she’s coming from and where she’s landing on some of these tough issues. And the more I’ve talked about it, the more therapists I have found that are open, they’ve been open about this. They just don’t have, like, they might be older therapists or they might be established enough that they don’t have social media. So they’re just not necessarily. They would be open if that was a platform that they had. That’s just kind of before their time. But there are people that have thriving practices that just have had kind of a grassroots approach to this for years. You are far from alone with those. With those beliefs, if you’re listening today. And that’s something that you’re kind of walking through right now, if you have some boldness, just sometimes you’re gonna be shocked by how many people you come across that. They have the same concerns and also feel alone in them. 

00:31:05 – Johnny Sanders 

Yes, absolutely. That’s something I’ve harped on no matter what the topic is, if it’s gender-affirming care or just sticking to your values, wherever you may be, it takes just tiny steps, little steps. And again, it’s not about what may be. I don’t know what may be. I don’t say off camera, I don’t know if I’ll lose my license one day. I don’t know. But I know. I know what a boy and a girl are like that. That’s pretty self-explanatory, and I’m willing to risk things for that. And that’s another encouragement that I will have to anybody. Now, whether you’re a counselor or stay stay-at-home mom or whoever you are, take steps now to try to prevent catastrophe. If you’re working for somebody whose values are directly opposite to your own, I’m not saying to quit your job right that very second, but take steps. Is there another job you can look at? Are there ways that you can get some side income? You don’t want to be beholden to somebody who is directly opposed to your values. And I know Ellie and I have been like, we’re both self-employed, so we have a little bit more freedom, but we didn’t just wake up one day and we’re self-employed. Like, It takes steps out there to do it. And again, you don’t even have to be self-employed. You could be in a group practice or some other employer that more aligns with your values, but don’t rely on people who hate your values to not fire you. It’s just not a good strategy. And don’t wait for that big moment. Start now and you’re going to be much prepared and it’ll be much easier for you to be courageous. 

00:32:55 – Eleanor Clark 

Fully agree with that. Yeah, that’s, I think that’s something that made self-employment feel so attractive. You know, obviously, there are lots of reasons self-employment is very attractive, but that is absolutely one of the top ones. If you have the freedom to speak out again, you’re not fully, you know, you still need a license. You still need those kinds of ethical, you know, those things are necessary, but for the most part, you have much more freedom than you would working for someone else. So huge, huge attractive factor there. If it’s possible for someone

who might be considering whether or not that’s kind of their route, that’s not even the only perk. There’s a thousand of them. 

00:33:35 – Johnny Sanders 

Yeah, absolutely. Well, I think the audience has gleaned a lot from just your, courageousness of your own story of stepping out and sharing more about kind of your thoughts on some hot topic. Hot topic issues and also sharing about body neutrality. I think that’s just such a wonderful topic that those of you listening, maybe don’t struggle with eating disorders. Maybe you struggle with body image issues. And I about guarantee you, you know, somebody that struggles with body 

image issues at some level. So for those who are listening and want to either get the book or to listen to your podcast, just talk to you after the show, how can they be in touch with you? 

00:34:20 – Eleanor Clark 

Yeah, so I have links to everything on my Instagram, which is for licensed mental health counselors, and my book, Body Neutrality. It’s at Barnes and Noble. It’s on Amazon. And my therapist or my podcast is called the dissenting therapist. It’s on Apple and Spotify. 

00:34:40 – Johnny Sanders 

Fantastic. Well, I’ll include some of those links in the description below so that you all can visit it. And Ellie, it was great to have you on. 

00:34:49 – Eleanor Clark 

Thank you so much for having me. 

00:34:51 – Johnny Sanders 

Absolutely. Thank you to everybody who was listening today. And I’ll catch you on the next episode.