Amy Pershing LMSW, ACSW
Amy Pershing LMSW, ACSW is the Founder and creator of Hungerwise. She developed the program from more than 25 years of clinical experience working with binge eating and yo-yo dieting, and from her own personal experience with a lifelong struggle with food, weight and body image. Amy is an internationally recognized speaker on ending yo-yo dieting, body image, and binge eating disorder. She has been featured on numerous radio, television and webinar programs, and has written extensively on weight maintenance, body image and health.
Amy is the founder of “Bodywise™,” a comprehensive outpatient treatment program for binge eating disorder (BED). Amy is also a former Chair of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA) Board of Directors. She is currently the Clinical Director of The Center for Eating Disorders, and maintains a clinical practice in Ann Arbor.
Joy Mulrath, LMSW
Hungerwise Lead Clinical Consultant
Joy earned her Master’s in Clinical Social Work from Eastern Michigan University in 2005. In her clinical work with a variety of presenting issues, Joy helps clients focus on cultivating already-existing strengths, and develop the resiliency needed to move forward and meet their goals. She works most typically with depression, anxiety, substance use, struggles with self-image, and life transition challenges. Using this same empowerment paradigm, Joy is a perfect fit as a Hungerwise TM group facilitator. Her eclectic approach allows her to help Hungerwise participants explore options, experiment with new strategies, and speak difficult truths in a way that promotes growth and change.
Sarah Vlnka, LMSW
Sarah earned a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan, a Master of Arts degree in Literature from Eastern Michigan University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hope College.
Sarah has clinical experience with an emphasis on treating Binge Eating Disorder (BED), anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, trauma, and depression. Her approach to therapy is multidisciplinary, while her clinical training and prior research has been in evidence-based practices with a specialty in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety Disorders. She works to treat and raise awareness for Binge Eating Disorder and weight stigma-related issues. In her practice, she takes the whole person into account when forming individualized treatment plans with clients, and works from a “health at every size” paradigm.
Sarah has completed post-graduate training in several evidence-based practices including: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). Her approach to therapy is biopsychosocial, encompassing psychological, physical, and interpersonal aspects of treatment. She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the Binge Eating Disorders Association (BEDA).
Jennifer DiGennaro, MA LLPC
Jen earned her Bachelor’s in Behavioral Science from Grand Valley State University and her Master’s in Professional Counseling from Central Michigan University. She is a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, Certified Body Trust® Provider and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. She brings a deep passion for social justice to her trauma-informed, evidence-based, heart-centered clinical work. She is committed to exposing the lies of the diet industry and ending the war that is waged against bodies in our culture. Jen founded her private practice, Nourished Energy in 2015 and it has evolved into a thriving clinical holistic psychotherapy and couples counseling practice located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Jen is warm, open, caring and known to be a champion and a catalyst for powerful change. Jen is thrilled to bring Hungerwise™ to West Michigan and help even more people step out of dieting and into their bodies.
Traci Breniser Hawkins, MA LLP
Traci earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Michigan State University in 1989 and received her Master’s degree in Clinical and Humanistic Psychology from the Michigan School of Professional Psychology in 1990. She did her Master’s Thesis on eating disorders and participated in a joint program with The Center for Behavior and Medicine and The Center for Eating Disorders starting in 1992. She recently began facilitating Hungerwise TM groups for Chelsea Hospital in their Chelsea and Dexter locations and also sees clients in her office in Brooklyn. Her manner is informal, relaxed and insight oriented.
Michelle L. Liska, LMSW, CAADC
Michelle received her Master’s of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan and is a Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CAADC). Her primary treatment modalities include use of metaphor in therapy, Mindfulness, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Michelle has specialty training in gambling addictions, substance abuse, working with older adults and domestic violence (working with both survivors and perpetrators). Michelle is trained as a leader and Master Trainer in the Stanford University Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP), known as Personal Action Toward Health (PATH) in Michigan. She brings to Hungerwise the critical ability to help people find new solutions, and trust in their ability to change.