About Michele R. Smith, M.Ed, LPC, NCC

Board Certified Counselor

The Runaway Fork was created as a place for people to explore their relationship with food in a way they probably haven’t before. A place to learn about why diets fail, why we overeat, the impact of dieting on our body and emotions, and how to make sense of all this from your unique perspective. By using quality research from the fields of Psychology, Neuroscience, Nutrition, and Weight, combined with more than a decade of psychological counseling skills and techniques, we can begin to form a holistic view of your life story to find connections between your eating and other important life domains.

From an early age, I had no doubt that the field of psychology was for me and that I wanted to study it at Carnegie Mellon. The training there was everything I hoped it would be and so much more. The emphasis on research and critical thinking was embedded in every single class. At Carnegie Mellon, we were taught to critique and evaluate research studies for threats to its reliability, validity, experimental design, and methods. We spent years learning statistics and regression analysis in order to interpret the data and evaluate the findings.

Understanding how to make sense of “scientific” claims is essential especially if you are a consumer in today’s weight loss industry.

Dieters have more than 30,000 diet plans from which to choose all of which involve some type of food restriction based on “scientific” data. Many of my clients have suffered attempting to navigate through these “facts” that are often contradictory, harmful, and based on a single flawed study.

Too many people work so very hard at maintaining diets that simply do not work.

 It is certainly heartbreaking to witness the repeated cycle of physical deprivation, mental anguish, and shame only to watch your loved ones regain all the weight, and often even more. The real problem for dieters is not their lack of willpower, but the solutions offered to them. Most programs offer short-term weight loss solutions at best, and repeatedly make false and deceptive claims about the safety and effectiveness of their weight loss plans.

My goal is to help my clients interpret the real data, understand the whole truth behind the research, and to really consider for the first time that it is the diet that has failed them; they did not fail the diet.

What it comes down to is this, I still love the fields of psychology and research, and I am more passionate than ever to use my skills and knowledge to help people find peace with their bodies, minds, and souls.

Understanding the connections is not easy work, but sometimes you have to make bold moves to get to where you really want to go in life.

My deep desire is to help you in that process. I really believe that healing can occur and that our energy that has been rooted around food and body for so long can be reinvested into other areas of our lives to make us, and those around us, much happier people.

Michele R. Smith

Michele R. Smith

Board Certified Counselor

My work today is a culmination of my professional trainings, passions, and education across many disciplines and many years helping others. I believe people possess great potential to change. I am humbled by the human capacity for resilience and am deeply honored to be part of the process.

Education and Research

Carnegie Mellon University, B.S., Double Major: Psychology and Social & Decision Sciences
Teachers College, Columbia University, M.A., M.Ed., Psychological Counseling
Research Team Member, Counseling Psychology Department, Teachers College, Columbia University, Multicultural Counseling Competencies
Graduate Internship, Bellevue Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, Rehabilitation Department

Certifications and Licenses
  • National Board Certified Counselor (NCC), National Board for Certified Counselors
  • Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), New Jersey, #37PC00346200
  • Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), New York, #000782
  • Certified Mind Body Eating Coach, The Institute for the Psychology of Eating
  • Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor 
  • Primary Certificate in REBT and CBT, Albert Ellis Institute
  • Person-Centered Therapy Training Certificate, New York Person-Centered Resource Center
Professional Memberships
  • Professional Member, American Counseling Association
  • New Jersey Counseling Association
  • New Jersey Mental Health Counselors Association Division
Work Experience
  • Sports Illustrated and Fortune, Time Inc., NY
  • Rehabilitation Counselor, Bellevue Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, NY
  • Rehabilitation Counselor, Methadone Clinic, Bellevue Hospital, NY
  • Therapist, Survivors of Abuse, Outpatient Mental Health Clinic, FL
  • Therapist, Maplewood High School, Family Connections, School-Based Youth Services Program, NJ
  • Therapist, Private Practice, NJ
  • Owner and Therapist, The Runaway Fork, NJ

The Runaway Fork Office

Located in the heart of downtown Westfield, NJ

This tranquil space was designed to nurture your mind, body, and soul. Rejuvenate with organic snacks, teas, and drinks while you rest your eyes on a soothing forest landscape. Take a moment from your busy schedule to reflect on your life and honor yourself with deliberate self-care.

The Runaway Fork is safe, shame-free space that celebrates diversity and welcomes people of every size and shape. It was created as a special place for you to explore your personal relationship with overeating, weight, and negative body image from a completely different perspective.