About

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Every therapist should be an outlaw.

Your body is an exquisite tuning fork. A barometer of truth.

But in a society where the body is oppressed—where it’s unsafe for you to have the body you have—that innate wisdom is often silenced and ignored.

The status quo tells us we can’t trust our bodies. That we’re not “normal” – yet maybe we don’t want to fall in line with norms we didn’t choose.

Outlaw

We learn to believe things like:

“I can’t be trusted around food.”

Or:

“I have no willpower.”

But if a thing can be learned,
it can be unlearned.

I like to break with convention and overturn what isn’t working. Particularly where the status quo goes unquestioned and where harmful patriarchal models are refusing to yield.

I’m done with structures that no longer serve life, and I refuse to participate in the ways those structures are supported by society.

I'm not here to help you adjust to oppression.

Nor will I join you in the belief that your body (or anything else about you) is a problem.

Because it’s not.

The problem lives out there, in our dysfunctional society and its unrealistic paradigms.

Not inside you.

I am not the therapist who is here to make your body fit in. I am here to support you as you and your body become allies. I am here to help create a world in which you can be free.

To me, that means:

Humanity > hierarchy
Relationships > rules
Connection & Care > the clinical curtain
Hospitality > hospitalization
Magic > manuals

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“Imagine if it was safe to be fat. Femme. Black. Trans. Disabled. Immigrant. Sick. Indigenous. Old. Queer… Without the ranking of bodies, where would eating disorder ideas take hold? What would they organize around? What if we were already safe?”

- DEB BURGARD, PHD, FAED

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“...a rare blend of gentle and revolutionary.”

"Carmen Cool is a rare blend of gentle and revolutionary. She is a sounding board, whose deep feeling and thinking is palpable and trustworthy. Carmen makes contributions to our shared field that reverberate through the bodies and souls of the people she encounters in a profound and lasting way. She is a leader who considers emergent and grounded strategy, always rooted in deep ethic, equity, humility and shared humanity."

Hilary Kinavey & Dana Sturtevant

Co-Creators of Body Trust®
Carmen-Cool-Psychotherapist

Professionally I am/have been:

  • a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) with a master’s degree from Naropa University
  • a certified Hakomi mindfulness-based somatic therapist
  • a binge eating disorder specialist
  • founder of the Boulder Youth Body Alliance (BYBA), a non profit dedicated to youth activism & eating disorder prevention
  • voted the “Most Inspiring Individual” in Boulder County, 2012
  • a recipient of the 2013 Excellence in Advocacy Award from the Eating Disorders Coalition in D.C.

For most of my career, I’ve worked at the intersection of eating disorders and weight stigma. Of love and resistance.

I’ve also worked as a massage therapist, in a reproductive health clinic, a suicide prevention hotline, a domestic violence shelter, and an HIV clinic.

So really—I love to be an advocate. To work alongside someone as they reclaim their body. And I believe it’s the therapist’s mandate to create a world that you can be free in.

My approach

Radically relational. Liberatory.

Body-centered.

My work is informed by the Health at Every Size® and fat activism movements, Critical Psychology, Narrative Therapy, Liberation Psychology, Relational-Cultural Theory, intersectional feminism, and queer theory.

I am an activist, an advocate, and a politicized therapist. Instead of ‘helping’ you conform to a broken system, I work the other way around—oppression is the problem, not you. I believe it’s my responsibility as a therapist to be an agent of social justice.

My work is body-centered. It’s about liberation, and trust. It’s about you getting to decide what recovery looks like, what’s healthy, what’s pleasurable, and what you need at any given moment. It’s about finding freedom on your own terms.

My practice is: anti-racist, anti-oppression, feminist, fat affirming, and informed by queer theory. I’ve got two decades of education and experience, and a deep well of resources to pull from in my work—but none of it really falls ‘inside the lines’ of traditional therapy. And none of it matters if you don’t feel seen by me.

I bring warmth, humor, and my own humanity to the work. Rather than viewing people through the lens of diagnosis, I look for the ways in which you are wise and outrageous and creative.

I’m not a neutral, distant therapist—I’m radically relational, ferociously protective, and extraordinarily nurturing.

I ask different questions. Instead of “How can you feel better about your body?” I want to know… “How connected are you to yourself? What’s coming between you and that connection? And “How do we resist a system that decides whose bodies are worthy and valuable?”

I am a safe place for your truth—A place where your truth can be witnessed without intrusion, judgment, or editing. I care very much that you feel heard and seen. But more than that, I care about you feeling felt.

(Also, I’m rather fond of ‘F’ words. Fat. Feelings. And that other one, sometimes.)

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“It seems to me that all healing is the work of love, because all healing takes place in a context where we wish to promote growth… my concern is always to link those practices of healing with practices of political resistance.”

- BELL HOOKS

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Deb

“…one of the most soulful, thoughtful, playful, and brave people I know.”

“In the world of therapists, you can often guess by people’s styles and interests whether the person majored in science or in English. Well, Carmen majored in music. She is one of the most soulful, thoughtful, playful, and brave people I know, and she brings all of these gifts to her work. I can trust her to take on the hardest truths and the subtlest nuances. I can trust her to be deeply affected and still not withdraw. I can trust her to be there in the music, playing so skillfully that skill disappears.”

Deb Burgard, Ph.D

About Me

I do my own work. I’m committed to unearthing my biases, and continually look at ways that I—and my profession—uphold oppressive systems. I don’t always get it right, I know I don’t have all the answers, and I pay close attention to feedback.

I like to critique (I can’t help it, I’m a triple Virgo). I like to ask disruptive questions. I like to inspire critical consciousness in service of us all having more room to breathe.

I’m often found on the edges. I long to push the fields of eating disorder treatment, and psychotherapy, out of the box.

I dream of nuance. I know there is a space to occupy between: good / bad, right / wrong, comply / rebel, recovered/recovering, and all those other binary ways of thinking—and I yearn for a world where people are free to live in middle spaces.

My superpower is noticing. I pay exquisite attention to power dynamics, to the body’s signals, and to what’s wanting to surface. I’m not shy around the hard/challenging conversations.

I love cupcakes. They’re the best.

Carmen Cool Body Positivity Therapist

A few things I believe:

I believe in bodies.

I believe in relational responsibility over ethical respectability.

I believe in listening to young people and supporting them as they become fierce advocates for an equitable future.

I believe Black Lives Matter.

I believe in smashing the cold and patriarchal clinical spaces of the past and replacing them with warm and brave relationships that are just as transformational as they are compassionate.

I believe in respecting everyone’s own exploration of sacred.

I believe in the comforting powers of melted cheese.

I believe in grey. Grey hair, grey skies, and the messy middle where black and white collide.

I believe that the most healing thing we can bring to each other is our full presence.

I believe that broccoli and chocolate cake are morally equal.

I believe that reclaiming the body is an act of justice.

I believe in both/and.

I believe in movement as a way to liberate our life force, not to change our body.

I believe that this work of liberation must include joy. The things that are currently bringing ME joy are: Sweet harmonies. Live eagle cams. Soup pots on the stove. Collecting pottery. Boxing. Going out of my way to pet all the dogs.

I believe in community. Here are professional communities I am or have been a part of:

  • Counselors for Social Justice
  • Psychologists for Social Responsibility
  • Citizen Therapists for Democracy
  • Society for the Psychology of Women
  • American Psychological Association
  • Binge Eating Disorder Association
  • Former Board President, Association for Size Diversity and Health
  • Former Board of Directors, Hakomi Institute

Let’s be in community. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram.

Health At Every Size® and HAES are registered trademarks of the Association for Size Diversity and Health and used with permission.

FIND OUT HOW WE CAN WORK TOGETHER:

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Connection is everything.

Join me for conversations, updates, embodied practices and ways to take action. We need each other.