Welcome to a Mindful Meal, dedicated to improving mind/body health through the application of empirically supported compassionate-awarenessinterventions.

My name is Dr. Dawnn McWatters, Psy.D., and I’m a licensed psychologist in independent practice in downtown Portland, Oregon. I offer individual psychotherapy to clients 18+ years of age as well as educational classes, workshops, and groups.

Fall 2018: I am currently prioritizing new clients who are seeking help for binge or “emotional” eating issues, although I am happy to consult with other individuals as well. Please note that I am no longer accepting new Cigna, Providence, or UnitedHealthcare insurance plan members.  

If you are interested in working with me, please take a look around and read this post to learn how to become established as a client. Once we’ve scheduled our initial intake appointment, you can download the new client packet.

Thanks for visiting, and do return soon!

Healthy Snack

New to SAVOR? Learn more by visiting our page.

SAVOR Orientation: Sunday, December 9th, 2018 (1:00pm – 4:00pm). Introductory workshop to introduce basic skills, experiment with core exercises, and review helpful resources to support a positive relationship with food. Highly recommended for individuals who are curious about the content of longer-length offerings and want to get a “taste” of the SAVOR program. Please bring appropriate weather attire because we will engage in a brief outdoor savoring exercise. $35/person or $60/couple (bring a friend!). Advanced registration required, register here by 12/2/18. Minimum 5 participants.

SAVOR Series (6 weeks): January 2019 – February 2019. Thursdays, 6:15pm – 8:15pm. Includes skill-building, resources, mindfulness exercises, and discussion. Introductory pricing: $35/session or $180/series if paid in advance. Minimum 5 participants. A sample SAVOR session might include:

  • A brief mindfulness or self-compassion exercise, designed to provide a “soft landing” as you transition into class
  • Class check-in (circle, or in pairs, and/or through writing)
  • Mindful/intuitive eating instruction: attune to the senses, as well as hunger, fullness, and taste satisfaction
  • Brainstorm and discuss: How do values impact your journey with food? What are your core health-related values, and how can you move toward an identified value over the course of your week (and/or what might get in the way)?
  • Outdoor break – savoring movement or bringing awareness to the senses, in nature
  • Writing prompt – example: “The first meal I remember…looking back, I realize…”
  • Another brief mindfulness or self-compassion exercise to integrate into daily life
  • Resiliency toolbox: sleep hygiene and relaxation strategies that support a healthy lifestyle
  • Homework invitation for the week – examples: try a food you’ve never eaten before, and eat it mindfully; develop and savor a simple food ritual; sit outdoors in a garden or green space and journal about your sensory experience; create a food collage

SAVOR (Continuing): Beginning Winter 2019, time and dates TBD. For those that have completed the initial SAVOR series. Meet for a two-hour session every other week for ongoing support. Deepen your SAVOR skills as we explore various exercises and resources that strengthen our food relationship. Three-month commitment. $35/session or $60/month if paid in advance.

All classes will be held at 2188 SW Park Place (downstairs meeting room), Portland, Oregon 97205, unless otherwise indicated. Look for the SAVOR signs when you enter the building. The facilitator reserves the right the cancel an event and offer refunds in the event of inclement weather or other unforeseen circumstances.

Please note: SAVOR is not intended as a substitute for psychological or medical treatment, and participation in a SAVOR offering does not constitute a therapeutic relationship. If you have any questions about whether SAVOR is right for you at this time, please contact Dr. McWatters at (503) 367-9488 or info@drmcwatters.com 


image-header_long-e1447711621383This morning during a writing exercise, I found myself reflecting upon how frustrated I feel when I don’t have enough time for my creative projects. How painful it feels to start — only to end before I’m ready. Zooming out, I suspect that sometimes I might even avoid creative work because I don’t want to experience this uncomfortable, unpleasant dynamic.

Suddenly, I remembered words of advice that I share every day: I encourage others to show up and “savor” their experiences with food. We practice inhaling delicious aromas, gazing at our food, exploring texture, and holding it in our mouths to fully absorb flavors. By doing so, we experience the richness of each bite, each meal. We allow ourselves to feel more fully satisfied – and to discern what we like, or don’t like, and how our bodies receive these gifts, so we can make adjustments in the future.

So often, I forget that I can practice savoring many moments of my day. With food, and during other activities. I do remember to “show up” for some of the good stuff – a walk beneath a beautiful, smoke-free blue sky, for example; doing so fills me and helps to buffer difficult parts of my day. However, for those activities that I especially love (writing, as an other example) but experience with scarcity, I become fused to the story “not enough, not enough”….and miss what is happening, what is possible, even in the moment.

Is there an activity or connection in your life for which you desperately long? Can you experiment with showing up – with intention and curiosity – to its next occurrence, to explore what is available to you, even in a few brief bites?



13972775576_ac7b8af48c_bA few weeks ago, I began reading The Book of Awakening, by the poet and teacher Mark Nepo. From the September 23rd entry, he writes:

“There is no expected pace for inner learning. What we need to learn comes when we need it, no matter how old or young, no matter how many times we have to start over, no matter how many times we have to learn the same lesson. We fall down as many times as we need to, to learn how to fall and get up…We suffer our pain as often as is necessary for us to learn how to break and how to heal. No one really likes this, of course, but we deal with our dislike in the same way, again and again, until we learn what we need to know about the humility of acceptance….”

We fall down as many times as we need to, to learn how to fall and get up.

To be human, is to fall. “Everything looks like a failure in the middle,” I heard a TED talk speaker once state.

It’s how we respond to the falling, how kind (or unkind) we are to ourselves, whether we are willing to get up – sometimes again and again and again, that can make all the difference.


A sneak peek

20180915_153044A few shots of my new office space at 2188 SW Park Place Suite 303, to help everyone find me in the coming weeks – this first view is of my waiting area, a third-floor landing that I share with several other psychologists and businesses. You’ll find a restroom on this floor, as well as on each floor of the building. Continue Reading »


4762000_l-Man-covered-by-lots-of-cardboard-boxes-moving-concept-810x540I’ve moved many times in my twelve years of private practice. And this weekend, barely after I’ve finished hanging art work and arranging (and re-arranging) furniture in my newest space, I will need to move once more.

A mentor once commented on how quickly we can move through life transitions. Sadly, this is true – sometimes out of necessity, other times out of avoidance of emotions that are triggered by particularly difficult transitions. I use writing to make sense of things, so permit me a brief, somewhat nostalgic review of offices – past and current:  Continue Reading »

20180828_105302.jpgFor those that follow me here or on my business Facebook page, you’ve seen my postings on the therapeutic benefits of gardening. When I’m not in the office, I’m usually either working on my hobby farm, writing, or parenting. This morning, I was struck yet again regarding the parallels that run beneath these varied experiences of being human.

Continue Reading »

Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness bookI was delighted to receive this book in the mail recently – not only is Dr. Treleaven’s book a long-awaited and valuable contribution to the field of scientific mindfulness-based programs, but it is also a timely exploration of the relationship between trauma, privilege, power, and oppression.

From an article he wrote recently:

“Trauma is not just an individual tragedy—it is rooted in larger social systems that shape our lives. When we peel back the layers of a traumatic experience, we find that they’re bound up within a larger social context.” Safety is an essential ingredient in the development of any self-awareness practice.