Sarah O’Leary

couples counselor affordable low fee therapy eating disorder recovery selfcare self care self esteem body image

Hi, my name is Sarah O’Leary. First I want to commend you for taking this step – the step that brought you to this page on this website. Whether you are browsing through therapists to start individual or relationship counseling, browsing through websites as you contemplate if therapy is for you (it is!), or are here reading our blog, the step you are taking is towards becoming a you that feels fulfilled, joyous, and comfortable in your own life, relationships, and skin. My first priority as your therapist is cultivating that safe space for you. When you feel safe you can be your most authentic self, you can take chances, and you can overcome obstacles. When you feel safe you can be vulnerable in your relationships. Know that this takes time, but I am here for you every step, and misstep, along the way. I will support you as you work towards your goals. You will gain tools and skills that will help you face the obstacles coming up in your life now, and feel prepared for those to come in the future. Most importantly, you will learn about yourself. 

I have a holistic viewpoint in therapy, whether you are coming in for individual therapy or couples counseling. I work from a biopsychosocial-spiritual model. This means I take into consideration your biology – your genes, traits, and predispositions; your psychology – emotions, behaviors; your social environment – past, present, the different groups you belong to and roles you play; and spiritual – regardless of your religiosity. I strongly believe in the interconnectedness of each of these aspects of one’s self. People are complex. It is essential to keep in mind the many aspects of the self in order to live in a space that allows you to feel fulfilled and yourself.

What first drew me to working at Estes Therapy was the importance and value of emotions in our daily lives and in our relationships. Our emotions can help us feel fulfilled, connected, safe, and in tune with ourselves. But we often receive the message that our emotions don’t matter, that they aren’t valid, or that we should have only positive emotions. Consistently receiving this message creates a lot of dissonance within the self. It leads to conflict in relationships. It leads to feelings of low self-worth. All this can lead to unhealthy and unhelpful coping behaviors, which can feed right back into continuing the cycle. The reality is that your emotions are conveying something to you. For example, your anger is letting you know your values are being challenged or boundaries are being violated. Our thoughts, behaviours, and emotions are all interconnected and influence each other. The first step in stopping this cycle is learning to identify your emotions. 

Throughout my time in college – both undergrad and graduate – I worked at Estes Therapy. I’ve spent time researching and reading to help provide content through blog posts, social media, and resources for clients to take home. I’ve helped run workshops. And have had a unique opportunity to be able to learn from so many impactful and amazing therapists through this experience. I received my Bachelor’s degree in psychology from San Diego State University, with a minor in Counseling and Social Change. In May of 2020 I received my Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of San Diego. Here, during my practicum year, I worked as an individual and group therapist at the University of San Diego Eating Disorder clinic. I worked as part of an interdisciplinary team (alongside nurses, dietitians, psychiatrists, and other therapists) in partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient settings with adolescents with eating disorder diagnoses and their families. 

Trainings from UCSD Eating Disorders:

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy*
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Eating Disorders
  • Family Based Therapy for Eating Disorders
  • Meal Coaching
  • Cognitive Remediation Therapy

Other Trainings:

  • Unbroken Bonds: EFT and Restoring Relationship Betrayals
  • Addiction Interaction of Sex, Drugs, and Tech in Young Adults
  • Supporting Mental Health Clinicians During a Pandemic

Areas of Focus:

I work with adolescents & adults, in relationship/couples counseling, family therapy, or individual therapy.

  • Academic Stress and Distress
  • Addiction
  • Anxiety
  • Binge Eating
  • Depression
  • Distress Tolerance
  • Body Image
  • Challenging Rigid Thinking
  • Eating Disorders & Disordered Eating
  • Emotion Regulation
  • LGBTQA+ Issues
  • Life Transitions
  • Long Distance Relationships
  • Overcoming Bad Habits
  • Premarital Counseling
  • Relationship Issues
  • Shame & Guilt
  • Self-Esteem & Self-Love
  • Sustaining Recovery   (addiction or Ed)
  • Mindfulness

Get to know more about Sarah here

*Note that I do not currently offer true Dialectical Behavior Therapy as my out of session availability is limited.

Sarah O’Leary is an AMFT#123449, supervised by Nicole Asencio, PsyD, LMFT#99795