LACPA's 2022 Presidential Theme

All Bodies, All Voices

Lauren Muhlheim, Psy.D. 

Photo of Dr. Lauren MuhlheimIt is an honor to join you as LACPA’s 2022 president. To share a little about me, I have been a practicing psychologist for the past 25 years, most of it in Los Angeles. The first 10 years, I worked as a staff psychologist at the Los Angeles County Jail. After a brief side trip to Shanghai with my family from 2008 - 2010, where I worked as a psychologist serving the expatriate community, I started my private practice, which has since expanded to a group practice specializing in eating disorders.

I have been involved with LACPA since 2013, when I served as Co-Chair and then Chair of the Eating Disorder Special Interest Group and later joined the Ethics Committee. I joined the Board of Directors of LACPA in 2018 as the Chair of Special Interest Groups. In 2020 I became Chair of the Ethics Committee.

The theme I have chosen for 2022 is “All Bodies, All Voices.” As the largest chapter of the California Psychological Association — and an entity larger than some state psychological associations — LACPA has an obligation to serve the community of psychologists in Los Angeles County and to meet the needs of the diverse community in which we live and work. The events of the past year, along with many internal discussions, have made clear to the LACPA Board that we have failed to adequately address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We also know that there are those in the Los Angeles professional community who have felt unwelcome at LACPA.

As a Board member who is in a position of privilege, I take responsibility for this situation and commit to doing better both personally and as an organization. I want LACPA to be a place where all psychologists are welcome and hope to help LACPA in its commitment to diversity. Under the leadership of Past-President, Kenneth Skale, Psy.D., LACPA has created a diversity task force and is consulting with experts in issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in an effort to realize this vision.

To me, “all voices” means that LACPA encourages diverse viewpoints and that those of us — like myself — whose views are part of the dominant culture must make space to hear from those with more marginalized identities.

“All bodies” holds a unique meaning to me as well. As an eating disorder specialist, I have become aware of the deep impact that weight stigma has on all people, but especially those in larger bodies. Size diversity among humans exists and always has, and yet size diversity is often left out from conversations on diversity. People in larger bodies face stigma in their daily lives and from health professionals and mental health professionals alike. The belief is that if someone is larger, it must be a problem and their fault and therefore something to be solved. Instead we can recognize that body size is largely genetically determined and that people in larger bodies deserve equal access to dignity, respect, and medical care. Many of our psychological and medical interventions are either aimed at reducing body size or not even studied on people in larger bodies. It is my hope that I will be able to use my presidential platform to educate our community about weight stigma and share information about Health at Every Size®, a weight inclusive paradigm.

In 2022, I hope we will see the return of some in-person events. It will also be a year of huge transition for LACPA, because our beloved Director of Operations, Carol Torcello, will retire in mid-2022 after 30 years at the helm of our organization. I’m sure most of you know how essential Carol has been and recognize her face and voice as the person who has handled so many matters at the office. She is an amazing repository of historical information of LACPA and her retirement will be a significant loss for us all. We are currently working on a search for our next Director of Operations.

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