Therapy for Healthy Habits and a Peaceful Mind 

Dr. Debra Gill, NJ Psychologist

Experience: Professional and Personal

Dr. Debra Gill, Clinical Psychologist
124 E. Mt. Pleasant Avenue 
Livingston, NJ 07039​Phone: (973) 820-5174 Website: ​www.eatingdisordertherapistnj.com

Professional Experience

Broad Experience:

I am a seasoned therapist and coach who has been helping people make desired changes in their lives for over 25 years. Before starting my private practice, I developed expertise in a wide variety of areas through working in programs and clinics specializing in: mood disorders, eating disorders, sleep disorders, pain management, substance abuse, alcoholism, smoking cessation, diabetes, cardiac rehabilitation, bariatric surgery, bladder problems, GI issues and aging.

Specialized Experience in Weight and Eating Issues:

I have multidisciplinary experience and education in weight and eating concerns. In addition to my specialized training as a psychologist, I am certified to provide nutrition education, fitness instruction, healthy lifestyle coaching, as well as mindful eating and meditation training. Below is a chronology of my career development in this area:

In 1992, when graduating from college at UVA, I became certified to teach aerobics and fitness and have taught five or more classes per week since then. In 1994, while a doctoral student at UCLA, I ran an “Intuitive Eating”weight-loss program at the VA Medical Center (Los Angeles, CA) before moving to the East Coast for my post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA). There, I was mentored by internationally-renowned experts in obesity treatment, binge eating, body image and bariatric surgery and was a clinician for NIH-funded trials of innovative weight-loss approaches. I have since conducted over 300 psychological assessments for clients preparing for bariatric surgery.

In 1999, I moved overseas (London, England) and created a smoking-cessation program that would help people avoid gaining weight when they quit smoking. In 2001, I became Senior Psychologist for a comprehensive adult weight loss program at the Cooper Institute (Dallas, TX). While at Cooper, I also began teaching nutrition courses and became certified in healthy lifestyle coaching.

In 2005, I came to New Jersey and founded the award winning Healthy LIFE Pediatric Weight Management Program at Barnabas Health (Livingston, NJ). After 8 years as Director of Healthy LIFE, I moved this child and adolescent program to my private practice. I now work with one young person at a time, coaching and educate them (and sometimes their family). I want young people to master healthy and effective weight management strategies so they will avoid extreme diets and be less likely to develop eating disorders. I also work to improve their body acceptance and confidence.

Since 2009, I have been in private practice. I primarily provide individual treatment for adults and adolescents. I provide long term solutions for weight management, emotion management, stress and anxiety management and eating disorders. My clients  gain freedom from destructive habits of emotional eating, restrictive eating, binge eating, bulimia and/ weight obsession. I also run groups supporting this individual work.

Relevant Life Experience

I struggled with weight as a child and was put on diets such as “Weight Watchers” from the age of 9. Starting in middle school, I lost weight but developed disordered eating patterns. My symptoms took different forms during various stages of my life but persisted for a number of years into adulthood. My desire to enjoy eating without guilt, regret or anxiety and to be free from obsession with my weight and body shape prompted me to read, practice and learn as much as I could about treatment approaches that truly help. My own full recovery from disordered eating and distorted body image inspired my career-long commitment to share what I’ve learned and help others through their struggles.

Another major accomplishment in my private life was to navigate an amicable divorce after 17 years of marriage. This renewed my early-career interest in working with people struggling with relationship issues or navigating various stages of divorce. Also, my twin teenage sons and two younger step sons help me better understand many of the parenting challenges that my clients are experiencing.