Dr. Aubrey Toole is a licensed psychologist whose research and clinical work has focused on the treatment and prevention of eating and body image problems and the potential benefits of compassion- and acceptance-based interventions. Dr. Toole further specializes in treating eating and body image concerns in high performance athletes at Stanford. Clinically, she works with a range of presentations, including eating and body image concerns, mood and anxiety difficulties, interpersonal problems, and post-traumatic stress, as well as rigid perfectionism, harsh self-critical thinking, and shame. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Psychology with Highest Honors at UC Berkeley and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Emory University. She completed her predoctoral internship at the Emory University School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry, where she worked with children, adolescents, and young adults with eating disorders, emotion regulation difficulties, anxiety, depression, OCD, and PTSD. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University’s School of Medicine within the Psychosocial Treatment Clinic, where her training focused on evidence-based treatments for eating disorders, anxiety and mood disorders, couples, and high-performance athletes, as well as clinical supervision.

Clinical Focus

  • Clinical Psychology

Academic Appointments

  • Clinical Assistant Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Professional Education

  • Fellowship: Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Stanford University Hospital (2019)
  • Internship: Emory University Medical School (2018) GA
  • PhD Training: Emory University Office of the Registrar (2018) GA

All Publications

  • Self-compassion and dissonance-based interventions for body image distress in young adult women. Body image Toole, A. M., LoParo, D., Craighead, L. W. 2021; 38: 191–200


    Self-compassion interventions have been suggested as a potentially more acceptable way to address body image distress compared to interventions that emphasize challenging (often firmly entrenched) thin-ideals. In the current randomized controlled trial, young adult women endorsing body image concerns were randomized to a self-compassion (SC) intervention consisting of one in-person session plus one week of self-guided practice (n = 50), a similarly-structured dissonance-based (DB) intervention (n = 50), or a waitlist (WL) control (n = 51). Both brief interventions were acceptable and were more effective than WL. The two interventions did not differ significantly from each other in reducing the global measure of body dissatisfaction, improving body appreciation, or reducing appearance-contingent self-worth. The DB intervention alone decreased thin-ideal internalization, but only among participants with initially high scores. More participants initially expressed a preference for the SC rationale, and at post-test SC participants reported a higher likelihood of recommending the intervention they had received to others. Change in self-compassion emerged as a possible mechanism of action within both interventions, suggesting it may be useful to integrate aspects of both approaches to enhance acceptability and provide the greatest benefits.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.bodyim.2021.04.001

    View details for PubMedID 33940550

  • Brief self-compassion meditation training for body image distress in young adult women BODY IMAGE Toole, A. M., Craighead, L. W. 2016; 19: 104–12


    Self-compassion interventions may be uniquely suited to address body image distress (BID), as change-based strategies may have limited utility in a cultural context that so highly values appearance. The current study evaluated a version of an Internet-based self-compassion training, which had previously shown promising results, but was limited by high attrition. The intervention period was reduced from three weeks to one week in the present study to improve retention. Eighty undergraduate women endorsing body image concerns were randomized to either self-compassion meditation training or a waitlist control group. Results suggest that brief exposure to the basic tenets of self-compassion holds promise for improving aspects of self-compassion and BID. Attrition was minimal, but compliance with meditation practice instructions during the week was low. Efforts are needed to improve engagement, but this approach has the potential to be an acceptable and cost effective method to reduce BID.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.bodyim.2016.09.001

    View details for Web of Science ID 000390721300013

    View details for PubMedID 27664531

  • Self-compassion, Body Image, and Self-reported Disordered Eating SELF AND IDENTITY Breines, J., Toole, A., Tu, C., Chen, S. 2014; 13 (4): 432–48