Dr. Julia Di Nardo
Psychologist and Co-Director
Hi there, I’m Dr. Julia Di Nardo, the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Healing Tree Psychology and Wellness Centre. I am a Psychologist specializing in helping adults struggling with body image issues and emotional eating. My skills and experience allow me to get to the root of the problem quickly, and show you what’s been holding you back from being your happiest and healthiest. I help you remove those roadblocks, leading you towards a better you. Together, we’ll identify what’s contributed to your problematic relationship with food, explore ways of expressing, processing and coping with those issues, and help you recreate a deeper, more fulfilling relationship with yourself, your body and food.
Paramount to this work is a shared sense of trust, safety and optimism, which I work hard to establish with my clients. A keen intuitive sense not only helps clear through the “symptoms” to get straight to the bottom of things, but helps my clients feel profoundly seen and understood. Holding the space for you to process your feelings while gently but firmly nudging you forward
in life are assets that I am committed to bringing to our work. I also bring a feminist stance to my work, as women have been systematically oppressed through the diet industrial complex for decades now, and reversing the damage this causes to our psyches is fundamental to my work, which I consider to be a form of “change the world one person at a time” activism.
In addition to my work with food and body image issues, I also specialize in working with victims of abuse and trauma. In particular, I have a special place in my heart for victims of narcissistic abuse, which is far more common than people realize, and can occur in any relationship, from a relationship with a parent to a partner to a boss or coworker. “Toxic people” and “energy vampires” are terms that are increasingly being thrown around, and with good reason. Our world is waking up to the harm that such people wreak upon the people around them, and arming yourself with enough self-love and boundaries to effectively deal with these people is critical. I also have a passion for working with the victims of intimate partner violence (also known as domestic violence) in a way that is non-judgemental and supportive, helping women empower themselves to make the choices that are right for them.
I also work with with neurodivergent adults (or parents of neurodivergent children), who struggle with suspected or diagnosed "disorders" like Autism or ADHD. For Autistic folks, I help them to accept their neurodivergence, moving beyond awareness and into acceptance and even pride of their Autistic identity. There is a growing movement in the Autistic community to prioritize #actuallyautistic voices in order to destigmatize this sizable portion of our community. Autistic experience in a normative culture is often isolating at best, traumatizing at worst, as the highly sensitive nature of Autistic people is often silenced, stigmatized or pathologized leading to much higher rates of PTSD. I will work with you to embrace yourself (and/or your child), make sense of confusing experiences, teach you to confidently advocate for your needs, and work with the differences in your neurology to thrive in a life YOU create, which may or may not be within mainstream culture. For those struggling with other neurological differences or difficulties with executive functioning skills (e.g., planning, managing time, getting organized, and many of the other challenges often associated with ADHD) I will help you develop these skills in order to live up to your full potential.
I understand first-hand what you’re going through. My own experiences with emotional eating, and trying to stay fit despite a hectic lifestyle, and raising an Autistic child have taught me to slow down and be mindful of taking care of myself first. By overcoming some of the difficult situations in my own life, and finding new ways of healing and thriving, I bring a sense of clear guidance to my clients. As a result of my own personal work, I am now on the path towards lifelong peace with food. Yoga, meditation, spirituality, being creative and spending time with the people I love keep me grounded.
I’ve always had a profound fascination with people and how they become who they are. I also care deeply about people, and my professional life is a natural extension of that passion. I’ve learned that life is a series of lessons, and if we slow down and reflect, we can not only make important discoveries about ourselves but make significant changes in our lives. I bring this same sense of curiosity, openness and orientation towards growth to my clinical practice. A commitment to staying fully conscious and present in my personal and professional life help nurture these qualities in my work with clients.
I have a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Concordia University. I received my B.Sc. in Honours Psychology from McGill University. I have experience in various hospital, school and private settings where I have worked with people suffering from a wide range of problems, including depression, anxiety and dysfunctional relationship patterns. I have been in private practice since 2007, while completing my doctoral studies, and bring almost 15 years of clinical experience to my work with clients.
I believe strongly in continuing education and training to keep current with new advances in the field. My practice is enriched by the ongoing reading, research, and training that I continually pursue. Most recently, I have developed an interest in trauma and dissociation, particularly relational or attachment trauma, and have completed advanced coursework in the treatment of Complex PTSD using a variety of innovative, evidence-based approaches.
My clinical approach consists of a combination of psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioural, and humanistic techniques. I have a particular expertise in the use of “parts work,” which helps you identify the various parts of yourself that are carrying old wounds, false beliefs, and dysfunctional patterns. Using techniques grounded in inner dialogue, emotional awareness, mindfulness, meditation and visualization, together we help these wounded parts of the self heal and bring a sense of wholeness, integrity, self-compassion and self-love to move you toward your health and wellness goals. I also focus on using techniques that teach you the skills you need to make lasting changes in your life. I also use a number of somatic and mind-body techniques in my work, helping you connect to your body as the infinite source of wisdom that it is, and helping you release the stuck emotions getting in the way of that connection.
I am a Licenced Psychologist with the Order of Psychologists of Quebec, which provides official receipts for insurance purposes. Please check with your insurance provider to see if the services of a Psychologist are covered by your plan. My other professional memberships include:
- Eating Disorders Association of Canada: http://www.edac-atac.ca
- National Eating Disorders Association: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org
- Binge Eating Disorder Association: http://www.bedaonline.com