Clinical Therapist and Site Director
Ashley L. Southard, Ph.D., LMFT, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in the treatment of eating disorders, trauma, abuse/neglect, relationship problems, depression, anxiety, and related issues. She is also the Site Director of A New Beginning, committed to maintaining the center’s reputation for providing excellent, compassionate, and innovative care to each of our cherished clients.
Dr. Southard is also the Co-Founder and Program Director of TheHealthyWeighOut, an innovative program dedicated to helping people affected by emotional and binge eating and related weight issues.
Over the past 15 years, Dr. Southard has developed a passion for working with people deeply affected by traumatic experiences, family-of-origin dysfunction, and abusive/neglectful relationships. Whether their pain manifests as a persistent eating disorder, debilitating depression, or intrusive anxiety, she has an affinity for helping people work through their stories ~ providing a safe place to share what is so often buried or hidden, tools to organize the content, and strategies for letting go and living freely. Dr. Southard has received extensive training in various models of healing, such as EMDR and Emotionally-Focused Couple Therapy, which she uses to help clients develop the tools needed to live a life filled with joy, confidence, and hope.
“What I found with Dr. Ashley was a trust, a warmth, and genuine concern that allowed me to explore “why” with her. Why I ate until I physically hurt…”
— C (Treated for Binge Eating Disorder)
While Dr. Southard’s primary passion is working one-on-one with clients, she also enjoys giving back to the community as an educator and researcher. Dr. Southard is frequently invited to speak at conferences and community awareness events, and serves as a guest lecturer for many local graduate school programs wanting to educate their students about mental health issues. She has also co-authored a book chapter on the use of feminist family therapy to treat eating disorders, and in 2008 she completed an extensive study that investigated the similarities and differences in African American, Latina, and Caucasian women’s experiences with bulimia. Dr. Southard has also conducted research on the positive qualities of LGBT parents and their children, prevalence of eating disorders across socioeconomic levels, and mental health parity laws. Dr. Southard accepted the invitation to serve as a founding board member of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA) and the Eating Disorder Network (EDN) of Central Maryland. She currently serves on the Board of the Arizona Community for Emotionally Focused Therapy (AZEFT).
“Because of Dr. Ashley and A New Beginning, life has changed dramatically.”
Dr. Southard earned her master’s degree in Couple and Family Therapy and her doctoral degree in Family Science, both from the University of Maryland in College Park. Dr. Southard has been board licensed since 2004.