Illinois Leadership

Insight’s treatment centers have been developed and are overseen by a compassionate team of experts across many behavioral health disciplines, including psychiatrists, internal medicine physicians, psychologists, therapists, mental health counselors, dietitians and other patient support staff. Our experts deliver evidence-based care to meet each patient and family’s unique recovery needs.

Susan F. McClanahan, PhD, CEDS

President and Founder of Insight Behavioral Health Centers, Chief Development Officer of Eating Recovery Center

Susan F. McClanahan, PhD, CEDS

Dr. Susan F. McClanahan is a licensed clinical psychologist and the President and Founder of Insight Behavioral Health Centers. Dr. McClanahan is a leading expert in the field with more than 20 years of experience working with clients struggling with depressive and anxiety disorders, anorexia and bulimia, and binge eating disorder. She also has expertise in the psychological aspects of pregnancy and infertility.

Dr. McClanahan is active on the boards of several professional organizations, including iaedp, where she is the past-Secretary for the Heartland Alliance Chapter.  She is a Board Member on the Residential Eating Disorders Consortium and is a founding member of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Board for the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders.  Dr. McClanahan also recently joined the Executive Board of Eating Recovery Center, where she helps to drive decisions related to growth and expansion of clinical services.  Specific to her leadership contribution to iaedp, Dr. McClanahan is an Approved Supervisor, providing ongoing mentorship and supervision to two of her top clinical staff who also hold leadership positions within iaedp: Michelle Gebhardt, President of the Heartland Chapter, and Anne Kubal, Insight’s Director of Clinical Training.

Dr. McClanahan holds an Assistant Professor position at both Rush Medical Center and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.  She coordinates and supervises the training of medical and psychiatry residents and post-doctoral fellows and interns.  Under her direction, Insight has developed a large and well-regarded training program and last year became a clinical training site for Northwestern University interns. Additionally, Dr. McClanahan’s expertise is sought out for local and national presentations. Recently, she was invited to speak on panels at the annual Academy for Eating Disorders’ ICED conference and at the Eating Recovery Center Foundation Eating Disorders conference.  In 2014, she was invited to join an elite group of female businesswomen to participate in the Women’s Business Symposia in Chicago.

Dr. McClanahan has designed and implemented a study at Insight’s residential treatment centers in Illinois to elucidate factors that predict positive responses to treatment, including therapeutic alliance, motivation, DBT skills acquisition and ERP engagement to outcomes.  The results of this study have important implications for the design and implementation of residential treatment services at Insight and elsewhere in the field.  Additionally, Dr. McClanahan recently spearheaded a research collaboration with Dr. Daniel Le Grange examining the inclusion of DBT in certain cases of FBT in order to improve treatment outcomes.

Dr. McClanahan has also proven to be an advocate for mental health treatment and Chicago eating disorder treatment in particular.  In 2010 she raised local awareness of discrepancies in an insurance company’s interpretation of parity laws and was instrumental in making changes on a state level to ensure proper care for Illinois residents.

Ellen Astrachan-Fletcher, PhD, CEDS

Executive Clinical Director

Ellen Astrachan-Fletcher, PhD, CEDS

Dr. Ellen Astrachan-Fletcher has a wealth and breadth of experience treating patients with mood, anxiety and eating disorders. She is Lecturer at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has over 20 years of clinical and teaching experience in the field of eating disorders and women’s mental health issues, and has taught and supervised Psychiatry residents and fellows as well as Clinical Psychology interns and externs for many years.  She was named Teacher of the Year by the Clinical Psychology Internship and Fellowship Program at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in 2013.

Dr. Astrachan-Fletcher is a nationally recognized expert in the field of DBT, is functionally trained in the FBT (Family-Based Treatment) model, and is a frequent presenter at national eating disorders conferences. She co-authored The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook for Bulimia: Using DBT to Break the Cycle and Regain Control of Your Life (2009), which is used at eating disorders treatment facilities throughout the country.

“Our focus is on helping create change from the inside out – and not simply from the outside in.”

– Ellen Astrachan-Fletcher, PhD, CEDS

Lara Schuster Effland, LCSW

Senior Director, Clinical Operations

Lara Schuster Effland, LCSW

A licensed clinical social worker and formerly the Director of the Mood and Anxiety Program, Ms. Effland earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Oberlin College and later earned her Master’s degree in Social Work from Loyola University with a concentration in clinical practice. She specialized in mental health, women’s issues and evidence-based practices. Ms. Effland completed graduate practicums in community-based mental health treatment at Heartland Health Outreach and outpatient family and individual therapy at the Family of Nazareth Outpatient Clinical Services at Resurrection Behavioral Health Care.  She focused her care on mood and anxiety issues, skills training, trauma and grief therapy. Ms. Effland has extensive experience in treatment of individuals, groups, families and couples, who suffer from anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, non-suicidal self-injury, PTSD, eating disorders and co-occurring disorders.

Ms. Effland joined the Insight team in 2006 as a DBT therapist specializing in eating, mood and anxiety disorders.  A valuable leader in the development of Insight’s mood and anxiety treatment centers in Chicago, she worked alongside founder Dr. Susan McClanahan to launch the Mood and Anxiety Program in 2008. Prior to joining ERC Insight, Ms. Effland served as a Behavioral Counselor at Rogers Memorial Hospital in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin in its residential eating disorder program.

Ms. Effland has received training in evidence-based treatments such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy, Zen and Vipassana meditation practice and Relational and Feminist Theory of trauma treatment.

She teaches and regularly speaks on the topic of DBT, non-suicidal self-harm, mood and anxiety disorders and the Chicago dual diagnosis treatment of eating, mood, and anxiety disorders within the Chicagoland area and nationally.

Julie Friedman, PhD

Executive Director, Binge Eating and Related Disorders Programming

Julie Friedman, PhD

Julie Friedman is a health psychologist whose specialties include cognitive-behavioral therapy, Night Eating Syndrome, Binge Eating Disorder, Bulimia Nervosa, pre- and post-bariatric surgery behavioral care and obesity and weight management. She is an Assistant Professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

Dr. Friedman is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Obesity Society, and the Academy of Eating Disorders. She received her B.S. in Psychology from Northwestern University and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

She completed a fellowship in sleep disorders and behavioral medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine and a two-year, post-doctoral fellowship in obesity and eating disorders at Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Wellness Institute. Dr. Friedman provided an invited address on Night Eating Syndrome at the annual meeting of the Obesity Society. She currently teaches workshops and classes on the assessment and treatment for eating disorders at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Anne Kubal, PhD

Director, Clinical Training

Anne Kubal, PhD

Dr. Anne Kubal is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and the Director of Clinical Training at Insight.

She earned her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology at Northwestern University and received her PhD in Counseling Psychology from Michigan State University.  She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Northwestern University’s Counseling and Psychological Services, specializing in the treatment of eating disorders. Her clinical and research interests include eating disorders, non-suicidal self-injury, perfectionism, relational issues and supervision and training.

Dr. Kubal is a member of the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (iaedp) and serves as the Student Liaison Chairperson for the Heartland iaedp chapter.  She has presented at national and international conferences, and teaches a graduate course on the treatment of eating disorders in the Certificate of Graduate Study in Eating Disorders and Obesity program at Northern Illinois University. She is a Health System Clinician at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, and serves on the Intern Training Committee at Northwestern University.

Linda Lewaniak, LCSW, CAADC

Senior Director, Clinical Operations and Integrated Services

Linda Lewaniak, LCSW, CAADC

Nationally recognized addiction treatment expert Linda Lewaniak, LCSW, CAADC joined Insight in March 2016. A widely respected therapist and administrator, Lewaniak brings over 25 years of experience in the treatment of substance abuse and comorbid mental illness.  As Program Director of Integrated Services, Lewaniak is responsible for integration of Addiction Services across all programs and levels of care to most effectively treat the co-occurring diagnosis of substance abuse. Leveraging her extensive clinical and operational background, she oversees the delivery of evidence-based, cutting edge substance abuse treatment at Insight’s Chicagoland treatment centers and provides clinical supervision to the multidisciplinary treatment team. Lewaniak also collaborates closely with Eating Recovery Center’s senior clinical leadership across all 25 facilities nationwide to ensure holistic integration of addiction treatment, and provides substance abuse education, training and development for mental health professionals, educators and community resources.