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Deeper Roots Therapy

We are all born intuitive eaters, with innate hunger and fullness cues to guide our eating. Along the way, however, we can get lost in the world of dieting, restriction, bingeing and emotion-based eating. Deeper Roots Therapy was  founded by Melissa Elder, LCSW to help clients rediscover their food roots and connect with their inner wisdom to stop bingeing and improve their food relationship. Deeper Roots Therapy is grounded in non-diet, Health At Every SizeIntuitive Eating, and Mindful Eating principles, which are evidenced-based for the treatment of eating disorders such as Binge Eating Disorder and Bulimia. Our clinicians are extensively trained in the treatment of eating disorders, and work collaboratively with dieticians and physicians. 

Melissa Elder, MSW, LCSW - Clinical Supervisor, Founder & Owner

I believe in a comprehensive approach to therapy which begins with a strong relationship and trust between therapist and client. I use an integrative wellness approach, exploring client's emotional, physical and psychological wellbeing to assist in breaking disordered eating patterns and creating a positive relationship with food.

My primary work focuses on treating binge eating disorder, bulimia, and other related eating disorders utilizing an evidenced-based, non-diet approach. I have extensive experience in the eating disorder field, and have training in several proven treatments for eating disorders including somatic (body-based) therapies, mindfulness and relational therapies. My approach is trauma-informed and multi-dimensional, helping my clients tap into their internal wisdom to reconnect with their bodies and the eating process. I utilize somatic approaches including Brainspotting, Safe and Sound Protocol and Embodied Recovery to address underlying trauma and body held patterns. 


  • Adult women and men with binge eating and bulimia

  • Chronic dieters looking to break the diet/binge cycle

  • Non-diet approach utilizing a weight-neutral framework

  • Reconnecting clients with their bodies using somatic, body-based therapies to improve body image and self-awareness around food, eating patterns and emotions

  • Addressing sensory and nervous system dysregulation (i.e.  fight, flight or freeze patterns) using somatic techniques for embodiment and auditory intervention through the Safe and Sound Protocol

  • Trauma processing through somatic interventions and Brainspotting work. 


  • Fordham University, Master's in Clinical Social Work with honors 

  • Former Intensive Outpatient Program Team Supervisor and Therapist at the Renfrew Center for eating disorder treatment in Connecticut; ten years of clinical practice in eating disorder specialty 

  • Adjunct Faculty Member, Sage Colleges - Graduate School of Nutrition, teaching Psychology of Eating and Eating Disorders course

  • Embodied Recovery Practitioner - trained in somatic, body-based therapies

  • Safe and Sound Protocol certified practitioner 

  • Brainspotting practitioner

  • Certified MB-EAT practitioner- intensive training in Mindfulness Based Eating (MB-EAT), a  program designed to improve mindful eating and break binge cycles

  • Registered Yoga Teacher, RYT-300 with advanced training in yoga therapy

Rachel Phillips Tenny-LPC, LCMHC


Do thoughts about food, your body, and weight keep you from living a life based on your values? Eating disorders often appear to be about changing your body, but under the surface, are about struggling to tolerate emotions and distressing situations. You don't have to continue to exist in the chaos of restricting, bingeing, purging, or over exercising. If you are tired of living inside a box created by your fears, I can help.

I believe that full recovery from your eating disorder is possible. Together we will work to identify triggers, break down the barriers that keep you from having a normalized relationship with food and your body, and develop skills to help you tolerate challenging situations in the future. 


  • Adult women and men with bulimia, binge eating, over exercising and restrictive eating

  • Working with individuals in the LGBTQ+ community

  • Reconnecting clients with their bodies using somatic, body-based therapies to improve body image and self-awareness around food, eating patterns and emotions

  • Complex trauma and addressing sensory and nervous system dysregulation (i.e.  fight, flight or freeze patterns) using somatic techniques for embodiment and auditory intervention through the Safe and Sound Protocol. 


  • Lenoir-Rhyne University, Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

  • Experience at the Residential, Partial Hospitalization, and Intensive Outpatient levels of eating disorder treatment 

  • Embodied Recovery Practitioner - trained in somatic, body-based therapies

  • Safe and Sound Protocol certified practitioner 

Jennifer Kogut, MS, LCMHC


Does change scare you? I believe too often individuals underestimate their capability in navigating life’s challenges. I believe when we are vulnerable and authentic to our experiences, we can confront our “stuck points” and begin moving forward. I’m here to help you start moving forward.

My approach is person-centered as I believe therapeutic approaches should be tailored to the individual. Together, we can evaluate areas of life contributing to your distress and identify skills to assist you in gaining emotional tolerance; preparing you for whatever life throws your way. I provide a warm, empathetic, nonjudgmental, and safe space. I will accept you in any capacity the day may bring; you do not have to navigate this alone. I look forward to working with you!


- Adolescent, young adult, and adults with bulimia, binge eating, overexercising, emotional eating, and restrictive eating

- Adolescent, young adult, and adults with substance use disorders, anxiety and depression

- Trauma Informed Care


- Capella University, Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

- Experience in Inpatient Psychiatric Hospitalization, Inpatient Detox, Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities, Partial Hospitalization, and Intensive Outpatient Therapy

Hannah Cooper, Clinical Intern

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I am currently working towards my master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Wake Forest University. I will graduate in May of 2022 and plan to stay on full time with Deeper Roots Therapy and pursue licensure as a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate. I am currently under supervision with Rachel Tenny, MA, LCMHC and Melissa Elder, MSW, LCSW at Deeper Roots Therapy. 

I have been at Deeper Roots Therapy since May 2021 when I began my clinical experience as the masters-level clinical intern. During my time at Deeper Roots I have worked alongside experienced clinicians and participated in multiple evidence-based trainings to further strengthen my clinical skills. This includes my current participation in the Introduction to Embodied Recovery for Eating Disorders (ERED) training. I previously worked as the Undergraduate Counseling Intern at Clemson University’s Counseling and Psychological Services while completing my bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology. This internship is where I first developed my passion for this field.

I believe strongly in the power of human connection and that everyone deserves to feel valued, supported, and worthy. I strive to build a strong therapeutic alliance and provide a safe space for all of my clients. As a result, I feel that being genuine, open-minded, and practicing from an individualized, person-centered approach are important when working with clients. My approach also includes body based, somatic work from polyvagal theory. I have experience working with anxiety, depression, binge eating disorder, bulimia, and other related eating disorders. I enjoy working with a variety of individuals including adolescents and adults from all cultural backgrounds.

Lauren Barker, LMHCA

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My approach to therapy is client-centered and trauma-informed, as I believe that therapy should be tailored to the individual and a strong therapeutic relationship between counselor and client is key. I utilize an evidence-based comprehensive approach to therapy which includes references from the polyvagal theory and CBT. I follow an anti-diet approach and always aim to create a non-judgmental, safe, and caring environment where we can work together to explore what you bring to our sessions.

Alicia Newell, MS, LMFT-A

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I believe that we all deserve to be on a path towards our dreams in a joy-filled

life. I understand that there are many obstacles that get in the way of this and

that we cannot do it alone. Having someone trustworthy and experienced to walk

alongside to help navigate the ups and downs and complexities of life is

important for all of us. As you work to re-align your path towards your goals and

live out your dreams, I want to listen deeply to where you have been, understand

fully where you are at, and get on board with where you want to go. I want to

work with you to reimagine what is possible and introduce you to new ideas and

skills you may not be aware of or tried before. I want to be a solid support

system, encourager and partner in celebrating the victories you will have. 

I feel it is a privilege to build an open, honest, and working relationship with

others and am passionate about helping those who are struggling with various

life obstacles and beliefs about how we see ourselves in the world. We get to

choose what dictates our value in this world and whether or not we are living in

the present moment or are lost in our thoughts or worries. Our mind-body

connection, thoughts and behaviors, values, hopes and dreams, spirituality, and

purpose are major influences in life and I believe are worth exploring in the

process of healing and moving forward.  

My work focuses on treating various types of eating disorders utilizing evidenced-

based, solution focused, and non-diet approaches. My training is in several

proven treatments including Systems Based Family Therapy, Dialectical

Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, mindfulness, Narrative

Therapy, Play Therapy, and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. I believe you have

the potential to overcome all that you are facing, and like all of us at times in our

lives, need and deserve someone to come along side of you and help align and

focus forward movement on the right path.


-Young adults or middle-aged adults struggling with an eating disorder

-Individuals struggling with Anxiety and Depression

-Persons feeling lost or out of touch with themselves and are looking for a new chapter in life. 

-Persons in a crisis and are looking for hope 

-Persons who have tried therapy in the past and have felt it was unsuccessful



-University of Minnesota, Mankato State, Masters in Mental Health Counseling

-Specialized Training in systems and family-based models

-Nine years of clinical practice in eating disorder specialty at top Residential treatment facility in Minneapolis

-Specialized training for crisis management

-Intensive DBT and CBT training for inpatient eating disorders treatment

-Certified Path Equine Assisted Mental Health Practitioner 

-Special training for Equine Assisted Psychotherapy for Veterans with PTSD

When I’m not seeing clients, I work hard to raise 3 strong and spirited daughters with my husband while restoring an urban farm in Charlotte where we currently take care of 25 animals.

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