Marissa Sappho, LCSW, BCD, CEDS, is the Co-Founder & Director of Clinical Services at Aurora Behavioral Health, a comprehensive yoga-based eating disorder treatment center in New York City. It is the first such center in the area specializing in the treatment of Binge Eating Disorder. In addition to overseeing the Clinical Programs at Aurora, Marissa maintains a full time patient caseload. Marissa is a passionate educator, holding the title of Adjunct Professor at New York University in their graduate school of social work, as well as being Faculty and Supervisor at the Center for the Study of Anorexia and Bulimia (CSAB) where she also serves on the Advisory Board and the Executive Committee. Her work includes direct teaching experience as well as program and curriculum development for psychoanalytic training institutes and outpatient clinical services.

Marissa is dedicated to social justice and co-founded the New York State Coalition of Social Workers (2008-2011), a non-profit 501c(6) professional membership organization to advocate for social workers statewide and the clients that they serve; she later served as President of the Coalition. She has maintained a commitment to serving under-served populations.

Prior to Founding Aurora Behavioral Health, Marissa held clinical positions in both inpatient and outpatient settings in New York and Connecticut including Assertive Community Treatment Teams, Intensive Outpatient Programs, city and state psychiatric facilities, clinics, and day treatment programs. Marissa has performed both administrative and clinical supervision and been responsible for clinical program development and implementation of state funded research protocols.

Marissa has published and presented nationally and internationally on Binge Eating Disorder, most recently at the Renfrew Center Foundation Annual Conference and the Eating Disorders & Obesity Conference in Australia. She is a frequent guest speaker at universities and psychoanalytic institutes on topics including eating disorders, psychodynamic approaches to treatment, social work licensing issues, and career development.

Presently she is working on a handbook for beginning clinical practitioners, and developing an iPhone app for clients with Eating Disorders in order to provide access to recovery tools. Through Marissa’s extensive experience with researching, teaching, training, and treating eating disorders, she recognized a need for a new model for the treatment of Binge Eating Disorder, called Reframing Recovery. Current research interests include the symbolic meaning of binge episodes, and intimate relationships in emerging adulthood in the context of social media. She is an advanced standing candidate at the Institute for Clinical Social Work and is presently working on her dissertation“Missed Connections: Countertransference Reactions Known and Unknown in Therapists Who Treat Patients With Binge Eating Disorder.”

Education and Training:

  • Institute for Clinical Social Work, Doctoral Candidate, PhD in Clinical Social Work
  • Board Certified Diplomate in Psychoanalysis, ABECSW
  • Eating Disorder Resource Center, Staff Psychotherapist
  • The Metropolitan Institute for Training in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, Coursework & Clinical Training in Adult Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy
  • New York University, Post Masters Certificate in Advanced Clinical Practice
  • New York University, Master of Social Work
  • University of Hartford, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

Professional Membership

  • American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work (AAPCSW)
  • The American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA)
  • Academy for Eating Disorders (AED)
  • Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA)
  • International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals (IAEDP)
  • National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)