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Marriage and family therapist Michelle Minero has made it her goal to support those struggling with eating disorders


Minero says two things drew her to the work she does today.

"When my kids were very little, I led a parent support group for the Family Education Center," says Minero. "I saw how people's lives were changed for the better and I wanted to keep helping them. At the same time, I was in the master's counseling program and had my fourth child. My husband would pack the kids up and bring them to me so I could nurse my youngest."

Minero says she contracted an eating disorder and had to learn to work her way through it.

"That convinced me that I had something to offer others and went on to launch the Intensive Outpatient Program Quest that allows patients to deal with eating disorders on an outpatient basis," she says. "I &‘walked the walk' through my own recovery."

Minero is currently working on publishing a book, "Self-Love: The Only Diet that Works." It's scheduled to be released in 2011.

"It's my favorite because I wrote it about a topic I'm passionate about," she says.

Getting her book published and being the voice for self-love and body acceptance has been at the top of Minero's to-do list. She also has some other goals.

"To offer &‘body masking' workshops and retreats to help others work toward body acceptance, and to be a professional artist with works in art galleries in the United States and other countries."

As engaging as her practice is, Minero is not an "all work and no play" kind of person.

"When I was 16 years old and just got my driver's license, I had my 1962 Thunderbird, and drove backwards on a freeway exit on a dare!" she says. "In my 20s, during college, I did belly dancing and Hindu dancing."

She adds that the creative process, "is coming more into my work. I did a body-head breastplate archetype called &‘Feminine Mirror,' for the cover of &‘Self Love.'"

As for her greatest challenge, Minero says, "I see myself strive to love myself and others. As I get older, I'm motivated more by the visionary. My creative side is really coming forth."

She considers a turning point in her life to be "when my third child was about a year old, I fainted, and became unconscious. It turns out I was bleeding internally and didn't know it. I had an unknown ectopic pregnancy, and my fallopian tube burst. I required seven pints of blood. Needless to say, I almost died, and when I came back home, I told God I would do the best I could to be of service, and live in gratitude for the rest of my life."

To that end, her philosophy has been, "Our job is to love ourselves and those in our lives to the best of our ability. It's our job to love, encourage, forgive and support others in creating their own unique lives."

If there was one thing in the world she could change, it would be to enlighten everyone to the broad range of women's accomplishments. "Motherhood is really underrated," she says, adding, "It's not the 1950s anymore. Raising responsible, loving children is important, but so is the reward that can come from an engaging career."

(Contact Lynn Schnitzer at argus@arguscourier.com)