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MY STORY

On any given day, from my practice in Dover, MA, I speak with weight management clients from Seattle to Baltimore who seek compassionate support and expertise. Via phone, Skype or in person, I help many do the seemingly impossible: lose weight and develop skills to prevent weight gain.

On a parallel track are clients who have experienced heartbreaking loss: both human and four-footed. Grief is an experience deserving compassion and expert care. If dismissed, suppressed or silenced, a world of pain may remainIn a culture that is ever hesitant to truly acknowledge the oh-so-human phenomenon of mourning, I have dedicated myself to providing a home for a different, kinder path.

I discovered my constellations of callings through a series of events over the course of life.

I began working with overweight patients in 1982. As an early stage employee of Health Management Resources, a Boston based start-up committed to providing effective, high quality behavioral treatment for overweight, I became Director of Overweight Treatment.  HMR, a company on the rise and requiring many hours of dedication from each employee, was the perfect training ground as I was determined to make a difference with a population in despair.  In my role, I co-led teams of trainers who implemented the program nationally, rapidly sharing and bringing this effective treatment method to many.

Fast-forward fifteen years, while raising two children, Kerrin and Devon, and wanting to spend more time closer to home, I launched my private practice in Dover, MA. Bringing a compassionate, effective approach that would have a lasting impact requires teaching clients skills for weight loss and the prevention of weight regain. Working closely with my clients and having an appreciation for the deep challenge health management represents, allowed individuals and families to re-set, attaining lower weights and establishing healthier lifestyles.  My practice quickly grew.

While working closely with my clients on weight over many years, I also shared their personal losses - a parent, a child, a friend. In addition, I experienced the illness and passing of several dear to me. As a result, in 2013, I began to explore the profound challenges related to the process of mourning. This path included post-graduate training and many hours as a hospice volunteer. With these experiences and training, I incorporated grief support counseling into my practice.

The world of loss is omnipresent in our lives. Grief does not have an expiration date. Often complex, heartbreaking, and confusing, loss may be difficult to make sense of or for others to be around. Grief and loss work is the way in which I can hold the hand of another and not let go, when others might.

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Riess siblings, 1968

Early life prepared me to contribute in many ways. Shaped by the physical, spiritual, and emotional closeness of a large and loving family of five brothers and sisters, my now ninety-one-year old parents created a lifelong backdrop of partnership between us. We always had each other’s back as well as a sense of making a difference in a bigger world.

In 1990, I hired three of my siblings to contribute to the success of Health Management Resources. My brother Rick Riess remains HMR’s Director of Behavioral Medicine, today, while “Brother Bill” continues his career as HMR’s lead behaviorist, making a stunning impact on the lives of patients.


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I work with clients who have tough challenges.

Challenge is woven into all lives; mine is no exception. Grounded in experiences that required strength and determination, understanding and the belief that no challenge is insurmountable forms the bedrock of my work. When I was sixteen, I was told, “You may never walk again”. My back was broken, my world shattered.  Ten years later I was a top performing, New England distance and marathon runner. This experience allows me to never forget what is possible.

If there are two words to summarize my work, they would be "You Can".

Whether on a journey seeking to overcome a weight or health issue, or to mend a broken heart, my mission is to enrich and to be a catalyst for you to reach your goals.

When I have the privilege of being a resource in either of these areas, I am then fulfilling on my life’s purpose.

Masterfully shepherding you thru areas of life that require a special strength and clinical expertise, I will carefully hold your heart and health with great regard.

 

I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being
— HAFIZ OF SHIRAZ

MY EXPERIENCE, EDUCATION & POST-GRADUATE TRAINING