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The Diana Effect: Princess Diana’s Legacy of Mental Health Awareness Continues

Becky Henry is trained as a Certified, Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) and uses those skills to guide families to let go of fear and panic, learn self-care skills and become effective guides for their loved one in eating disorder recovery. In this week’s post, Becky discusses the anniversary of Princess Diana’s passing and some of the impact that has had on mental health stigma.

The world is mourning Diana all over again on the 20th anniversary of her untimely death.

And I’m celebrating.

I’m celebrating because some of the world changing work she did in addition to helping people impacted by land-mines and AIDs/HIV was to reduce the VAST stigma associated with bulimia.

And now her brave, bold, vulnerability is helping bring eating disorders to the public’s attention again. As Brene Brown says, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”

I’m so grateful to this beautiful soul for her vulnerability.

​​Don’t get me wrong, my heart breaks for these young men who long to have their mother. To listen to them say they’ve not talked enough about the trauma of her dearth all these years is so very sad. I’d always hoped that they’d been able to comfort one another. Maybe now they are.

​I mourn because we lost this incredibly generous, loving, mother of two boys that she loved more than anything.

Through Diana’s vulnerability and courage in speaking out about her incredibly private struggle with bulimia she personally impacted regular people who reached out for help with their own bulimia. She created what became known as the “Diana Effect” wherein the numbers of people reaching out for help with their bulimia increased. These people were emboldened by her bravery to speak out. ​
She gave regular folks ‘permission’ to speak about what they felt was unspeakable.  

Diana helped reduce the stigma of mental illnesses. And now her beloved sons are continuing her good work. William and Harry along with Kate have created a charity called, “Heads Together” to help educate about mental health and reduce stigma as well as increase access to care.
Recently William participated in a film about eating disorders and spoke about his mother’s bravery in speaking out about her struggles with bulimia.

William and Harry are doing so much to honor their mother’s work and continue speaking out about mental health. You can see William praising his mother for being so candid in this interview. Together we can all re-ignite the “Diana Effect” to honor her memory and help bring more attention to bulimia which affects more people than even anorexia. I’ve been waiting YEARS for Diana’s boys to do this.
I’m so grateful that this day has come. Thank you William and Harry!
Will you please join me in following @HeadsTogether on Twitter? It’s one step to help resume the “Diana Effect” that went away 20 years ago when she died so suddenly.
Just this past week a young woman in the UK died from an eating disorder. Every day 23 people die from these most deadly of all mental illnesses. We can do something simply by retweeting the @HeadsTogether tweets and supporting that organization. I invite you to also share my tweets @HopeNetworkBeck to help educate about eating disorders.
Twenty years ago the world was mourning a beautiful, remarkable princess and brave woman who made the world a better place.  As we mourn her all over again, let’s honor her memory and speak out about the most deadly of all mental illnesses, eating disorders. ​
For more information about Monte Nido please call 888.228.1253, visit our website and connect with us on FacebookLinkedInTwitter, and Instagram.

Times of Change and Transition

 

Shari Botwin, LCSW has been counseling survivors of eating disorders and trauma in her Cherry Hill private practice for over 20 years.  She has appeared on several national media outlets offering commentary on the connection between developing an eating disorder after living through some type of abuse. Shari has also published feature articles on the Cosby trial, the Orlando nightclub shootings, the Paris massacre and the anniversary of 9/11. In the coming months Shari will be featured on global podcasts on topics related to recovery. In this weeks post, Shari discussing the challenges that might come during times of change and transition.

A recurring theme in my practice when working with someone recovering from an eating disorder is the role of transition and change. Whether I am meeting someone for the first time as a teenager or I have a patient that returns to therapy after being in remission from symptoms for ten years, a shift in one’s life plays a significant role in the eating disorder coming to life or resurfacing.

Many people struggle with separation and change, not just patients that report eating disorders. It is not the change itself that is the problem, it is how we are equipped to deal with whatever milestone or life events that come our way.

Through the years I have met several seventeen and eighteen year old girls who are preparing to leave home and go to college. When they enter therapy they are perplexed by the recent changes in their thoughts and feelings about food. I was working with one young woman who reported having a great relationship with food until she became a senior in high school. She told me, “All of a sudden I find myself struggling with thoughts and feelings about food and weight.” After a few sessions I met with mom and started exploring how she had handled transitions earlier in her life. I remember mom saying, “She has always had trouble starting something new.” Mom told me about her separation anxiety when starting kindergarten and then again when going off to middle school. Once we began talking about her fears of leaving home to go to college Christy and I were able to make sense of her eating disorder. I remember asking her, “If you weren’t thinking about food so much what would you be thinking about? And what are you most afraid of?” Christy told me there was a part of her that did not want to grow up. We realized that if she shrunk herself up she could in some ways keep herself a child. Christy also spoke about her fear of losing her parents and that her eating disorder was a way to mask these irrational ideas. Once we reframed that she would not lose her parents, but that the contact would just be shifting once she left for school she was able to tolerate the upcoming changes.

I have worked with other patients who have had to confront significant loss during times of change. Surprisingly happy life events such as weddings, pregnancies and having children can lead to devastating affects with the eating disorder if the feelings are not acknowledged. I see a lot of trauma survivors with a history of eating disorders and some type of childhood abuse. Many of them used symptoms of different types of eating disorders as a result traumatic experiences left undigested and unacknowledged. Before I began counseling others I spent several years in therapy working through my childhood abuse and anorexia/binge eating disorder. Years went by where my eating disorder was in remission. In my late 30’s I decided to start a family and was blessed with a child after turning 40 years old. While this was by far the happiest time in my life it also stirred up some deep rooted loss and shame.

I always tell my patients no matter how much time goes by, if you find yourselves having urges to reconnect with your eating disorder most likely it is telling you that something needs attention. While I spent years grieving the loss of my family of origin, becoming a new mom brought up new feelings I had not addressed. Rather than giving into my eating disorder I worked hard with my therapist to name all the feelings and talk about what it was like to bring a child into my world and know I had no parents of my own to share that with.

I remember working with another patient, Samantha, who had been in remission from her binge eating for over 10 years. She started seeing me months before her wedding. She was thrilled with her choice of partner and expressed joy about her wedding day. But she also told me, “I do not understand why, but I am in symptoms almost every night since I picked out my wedding dress.” We explored the part of her that was avoiding grieving her losses associated with starting a family of her own. She was able to talk about the death of her mom in adolescence and the pain she was trying to push away. Samantha went to therapy immediately after her mom’s passing. She spent a few years learning how to replace the bingeing with connection and ways to manage her feelings. I remember asking her, “What is it about getting married that makes you miss your mom the most?” It was so painful for her to express the sadness about her mom not being able to share that day with her. Samantha also reflected on her desire to have children and how “more than anything I wish my mom could be here for all of that.”

Recovery from an eating disorder at times can bring up the most dreadful of feelings. The hope in what I did after giving birth to my son, or how Christy could voice her fears of leaving home, or Samantha could allow herself to revisit new feelings of an old loss is we all found ways to put words to our experience. Change, whether happy, sad, good, or bad can bring up the worst of feelings. The eating disorder becomes the comforter, the punisher, the coping mechanism to feelings we wish we could make go away. It is scary to think an eating disorder can resurface at any time, even years after being in recovery. Rather than deny its appearance or act like it is not there, the best thing we can do is use it as information and find ways to make sense of it. Times of change for anyone is stressful and triggering. Use the feelings as an opportunity to work through something in your life that still needs attention rather than spend all those hours, days and weeks destroying the most beautiful parts about you!

 

For more information about Monte Nido please call 888.228.1253, visit our website and connect with us on FacebookLinkedInTwitter, and Instagram.


Articles for the Soul

Join us in reading soulful articles we have cultivated from across the web. If you have found an article you feel is inspirational, explores current research, or is a knowledgeable piece of literature and would like to share with us please send an e-mail here.

What is Your Eating Disorder Keeping You From? Huffington Post

Raising Awareness of Orthorexia Eating Disorder Hope

Comparison is the Thief of Joy NEDA

A Meditation Ritual to Relieve Stress & Anxiety Mind Body Green 

What You Need to Know About Stress and Self-Care Psychology Care

 

For more information about Monte Nido please call 888.228.1253, visit our website and connect with us on FacebookLinkedInTwitter, and Instagram.


Treating Males with Eating Disorders

Doug Bunnell, PhD, FAED, CEDS is an expert clinician and leader in the eating disorder field. He brings over three decades of experience and a wealth of knowledge to his role as Monte Nido & Affiliates Chief Clinical Officer. In this week’s blog post, Dr. Bunnell discusses some of the differences in treating males with eating disorders compared to females.

Most of what we know about Eating Disorders is based on what we know about women with eating disorders. Most of what we know about men with eating disorders is based on what we know about conventional models of masculinity. Most of what we know about either of these topics is heavily influenced by our own gender, sexual identities, and ethnic backgrounds.

These are the limitations that we, as psychotherapists, bring to the room when working with males- an underserved population in the world of eating disorder treatment. By examining the differences and similarities between how males and females with eating disorders present clinically, we will shed light on issues to be aware of as clinicians, as well as provide suggestions based in evidence regarding how we can move towards a more comprehensive treatment of the eating disorder population.

Conventional wisdom tells us that 1 in 10 people with Eating Disorders are male, but data suggests that 25% of diagnosable cases occur in males and that males have higher rates of disordered eating (Hudson et al., 2007).  Unfortunately, the under reporting is likely a result of stigma, lack of sensitivity and detection, and gendered perceptions of eating and dieting. The lower occurrence of eating disorders in males may, however, also be attributed to gendered differences in the risk and maintaining factors for eating disorders.

Difference in biology, brain organization and temperament may insulate men against risk. Lower levels of mood disorder vulnerability also seems to put males at a lower risk as they have a greater tendency towards externalizing disorders than women.  Generally speaking, men present with less harm avoidance, less drive for thinness, and less body dissatisfaction; with what we know about eating disorders, these discrepancies should also account for the lower prevalence in the male population. There remains a profound difference in the way men and women are taught to think and feel about their bodies, their weight and their shape. The differences in social, cultural, psychological, and biological factors makes the detection, diagnosis and treatment of men with eating disorders particularly  complicated. It falls on us as clinicians to make sure that we bring a certain awareness of clinical features and differences into our female-normed assessments to work against the risk of underestimating rates and severity.

We must also maintain an acute awareness for the different clinical presentations of eating disorders in men. It is not as pertinent, for example, to assess for a “fear of fat” with a male client as males tend to pursue and overvalue a body that has less fat and more muscle. They tend to fear “softness” rather than “fatness”.  A preoccupation with the need to be “lean” might be more relevant to males with eating disorders rather than the drive for “thinness” often seen in females. Additionally, males with eating disorders may report that they are using steroids and human growth hormone to accentuate muscle development.

In addition to maintaining awareness of gender specific assessment of males with eating disorders, it is equally critical to be aware of the language we use in the treatment of males. For a clinician accustomed to treating females, it is likely common to use very emotionally charged language such as “opening up”, “sharing”, and even referring to “fat as a feeling”. Not only are men generally less familiar with eating disorders than women, but they also have been socialized by an unspoken male code to not be weak or vulnerable and to prioritize leadership, work and self-sufficiency. While it is an adjustment from the way we work with female clients, it doesn’t have to be an obstacle in helping our clients. Instead, we can work with sensitivity to issues associated with gender while assessing motivation to change and ambivalence. By leaving what works for female clients at the door, we serve our male clients better and respect their sense of masculinity- however that may look for any one individual. Based on our experience working with men in our partial hospital level of care, it is essential to address gender-based beliefs and distortions when assessing and designing a treatment plan. This includes the use of assessments that have been designed for men and careful clinical supervision to monitor the treatment and experience of our male clients.

As individuals working with an already stigmatized disorder, it is important to consider how much additional bravery it takes for a minority of an affected population to seek out our help. While we have made great strides in the treatment of eating disorders, there is always room for improvement. By using a male-specific treatment framework, we are best able to serve this population and respect their unique gender specific eating disorder challenges.

For more information about Monte Nido please call 888.228.1253, visit our website and connect with us on FacebookLinkedInTwitter, and Instagram

 

 


The Soul’s Ingredients: How to help evolve a client’s relationship with their basic needs using the four agreements

Monte Nido presents “The Soul’s Ingredients: How to help evolve a client’s relationship with their basic needs using the four agreements” featuring Monte Nido Vista Dietitian Kym Wyman, RD.

The foundation of our relationship to self begins in our earliest experiences of how our basic physical needs are met or not met, and in what we witness from our primary caregivers. “Self care” by definition requires not only a healthy self, but also an action of care that is nurturing and consistent in supporting and affirming it. The distortions suffered by a client struggling with an eating disorder reside predominantly in how they view and define themselves and in how they define the word “care”. Using The Four Agreements, clients can begin to understand how their version of reality regarding self creates suffering. Evolving a client’s expression of care for self can be the launching point for recognizing the relationship to their basic physical needs and helping them to achieve recovery.

Attendees will be provided how to describe two techniques to help the client with their internal dialogue about food and exercise, describe the difference between responding rather than reacting to basic needs, identify three basic needs and explain how you might help a client form an intimate relationship to these needs. Accurately explain at least two beliefs and assumptions clients might hold regarding how food and exercise effects their bodies.

The presentation will take place on Friday, September 22nd at Napa Valley Grille Westwood in Los Angeles, CA. Check-in will begin at 11:30 and the presentation will be held from 12:00-1:00pm. One CE credit will be provided. Please reach out to Regional Outreach Manager Mary Andreasen at 310.721.6264 or MAndreasen@montenidoaffiliates.com with questions or to RSVP.

For more information about Monte Nido please call 888.228.1253, visit our website and connect with us on FacebookLinkedInTwitter, and Instagram.

 

 


Monte Nido Nursing Program

Monte Nido & Affiliates Vice President of Nursing Lyn Goldring, RN, BN, CEDRN helped to create the current nursing program, and currently oversees the well being of clients and the team of nurses. In this week’s blog post, Lyn dives into the passion and dedication behind the Monte Nido nursing program.

Research now supports the notion that a well-integrated nursing team improves client outcomes. Hundreds of clients have now experienced the gentle touch and wisdom from the hands of our Monte Nido Nurses. At the nucleus of this holistic delivery of care is a well-structured framework of systems, assessment tools and regulated policies and procedures. This framework has organically grown and expanded in response to the ever-changing landscape of our clients’ needs.

As in all systems, it is vital to have a leader placed within the facility that can oversee the framework daily. This leader is the on-site Nurse Manager—a role that is often met with confusion! Within a behavioral health setting the therapists have a clear role and all disciplines fundamentally understand “what they do”, like with Doctors and Dieticians. Although, in many others programs, and even within our own programs, the question arises “what do nurses do?” Most of the team knows that nurses hand out medications and take orders from doctors, and they are not incorrect, as this is part of the job description. However, this archaic model, which is often used at other programs, results in a fragmented team, medication errors and nurses that just feel “out of the loop” and become disenfranchised.

Back in 2005, with the support of Carolyn Costin, my mission was to create a nursing program that was integrated, holistic and wellness focused. I wanted to help change the client’s relationship to their bodies while therapeutically they were changing their relationship to food. I found that nurses had to learn the therapeutic language in order to be able to speak and connect with clients about their somatic experience while going through the painful process of therapy.

With the guidance of Doctors and therapists, we developed a nursing program that holistically looked at care and increased the support to the client via the art of nursing. The Nurse Manager is at the center of all that occurs for the client. The Nurse Manager goes to groups, sits in all doctor sessions so that she disseminate the information to the rest of the team and avoids client splitting. The Nurse Manager is involved with UR calls and has therefore contributed to extended length of stay because the medical piece is well represented.

We like to “grow our own” nurses and recruit from within. In an ever expanding company and many more sites later, the basic principles have been successfully duplicated at all our residential sites. Our Monte Nido Nurses are invested and work diligently daily at caring for our complicated and dynamically compromised clients. Yes, we give medications and we take Doctors orders but we also take the time to sit, to listen, to guide and to witness the most magnificent journeys into recovery. Our clients reward us daily with a smile with a hug with a thank you. The connections and relationships that get built between our nurses and the clients extend way past their time with us.

With that said we have more to do! Most recently I became a CEDRN, this coveted certification obtained from IAEDP is an acknowledgement that the RN is a certified eating disorder specialist. There are to date around 5-6 of us across the country. I believe the next step for our Monte Nido Nurses is for them to all to become certified. This would officially set us apart as the specialists we are. It would march our cause further in the eating disorder community and we would obtain international recognition.

I believe that education is key and that “paying it forward” is a way in which we can continue to constantly teach and again “grow our own”. Therefore we are currently looking to create a Monte Nido New Grad program for nurses just out of school. Becoming specialized in eating disorders and dedicating a nursing career in this field is, I believe, one of the most rewarding experiences a nurse can have.

 

For more information about Monte Nido please call 888.228.1253, visit our website and connect with us on FacebookLinkedInTwitter, and Instagram.


Moms Midlife/Changing Bodies during Eating Disorders Caregiving

Becky Henry is trained as a Certified, Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) and uses those skills to guide families to let go of fear and panic, learn self-care skills and become effective guides for their loved one in eating disorder recovery. In this week’s post, Becky offers some inspiration in dealing with challenges mothers face both personally and while caring for their loved ones in eating disorder recovery. 

Coaching moms who have a child in eating disorders recovery unveils a variety of challenges that life throws at them.

In between learning to:

Navigate insurance

​Set healthy boundaries

Create & engage a treatment team

Be calm in the face of terror and chaos

Nurture a marriage & other children who are getting lost in the fray

These women also are also hitting the age at which their body is ‘turning on them’. Okay, well they say it feels like that.

When we hit mid-life and suddenly and we lose energy, can’t sleep, break out in hot flashes, lose our libido, and get foggy minds it takes a toll. Add to that, the body morphs into something that looks like your grandmother’s body overnight, it’s challenging to not begin having negative thoughts about our bodies along with our child in recovery.

In studying eating disorders I’ve learned that many women in “middle age” develop; eating disorders, disordered eating and “Body Dysmorphia” in which we have distorted perceptions of how our bodies look, as our bodies change.  Moms who have a child with an eating disorder aren’t immune to these. After all there is a genetic component to these most deadly illnesses.

My clients often ask how they can be at peace with their own body during this challenging time. Today I’m focusing on the arms specifically…AND…these tools can be used to make peace with any part of your body that has taken up residence in a new locale.

If we don’t laugh, we might cry when our body changes so much we need to buy new, larger clothes and nothing is where it used to be.

Have you ever wondered…

What have my arms ever done TO me?

Like, really….what have they ever done to hurt you?

​Tennis elbow maybe or have been broken?

What have my arms done FOR me?

Carried babies

Rocked sleepy children

Held friends close when they’ve been hurting

Planted a garden

Welcomed people into your home

Operated machinery

Flown a plane

Performed medical treatments

Helped carry your mom when she broke her hip

Danced with loved ones in your arms

Hugged loved ones tight​

My aim is to help us all to appreciate and feel gratitude for the arms we do have.

Working at my computer, the muscles have gotten smaller and the arms have gotten looser, bigger and lower…It’s all part of what happens naturally. AND, I’m working at reclaiming some of my strength so that I can have as much freedom as possible for the next 55 years. 🙂 Yet, even though I know all I do about loving our bodies, it can be weird to watch my body change. And have to buy larger clothes. This is the reality.

When we are parenting a child in eating disorders recovery it is essential that we model body positivity at all times. Not an easy task. Our child needs us to show them (not tell them) how we love our bodies. By doing our parallel process we can help ourselves and our child in recovery.

Here are 5 SIMPLE things we can each do to combat these feelings and thoughts we have about our arms (or other body parts), especially as we are wearing sleeveless tops and swimsuits:

Feel gratitude for what our arms have done for us.

Have gratitude for what our arms can do for us still.

Notice when we have judgment and shift to gratitude.

Stop comparing our arms to what they used to look like and what other’s arms look like.

Go do something with our amazing arms to help someone else.

Will you take the challenge and love your body everywhere you go this fall? Even your amazing arms?

How do we implement all this? I’m going to challenge you to make a list of all the things about your arms for which you have gratitude so that you have it handy to accomplish the 5 steps. Feel free to share the shifts you notice on my Facebook page! Shift does happen. ​

Now, let’s get out there and enjoy!
​Becky

For more information about Monte Nido please call 888.228.1253, visit our website and connect with us on FacebookLinkedInTwitter, and Instagram.


Recovery Tips for the Fall

Monte Nido Eating Disorder Center of Philadelphia Primary Therapist Kate Funk offers tips for navigating the upcoming change of seasons and return to school. Kate shares ways to maintain recovery and manage the stress of a new schedule and academic pressure.  

As summer fades into fall here on the east coast I can’t help but get excited for cozy knit sweaters, pumpkin flavored coffee, and enjoying the brightly colored changing leaves. For our clients, we know fall often means transition; transition back to school and extra- curricular activities and for parents’ hectic schedules of pickups and drop offs, not to mention less sun light each day which can bring its’ own struggles.  In this post I will explore some fall tips for anyone facing recovery.

School can stir up a lot of anxiety, schedules are jam packed, meals and snacks can feel like a burden, and perfectionism flourishes in academic settings. I like to ask clients how they can do things differently. If historically, you took only advanced level classes, how about taking less intense courses? If you always do several clubs and sports, I would ask you to think about what you can sit out of this year. It’s important to realize that by stepping out, you’re actually taking the more courageous road. You are choosing to prioritize your recovery. Recovery is a full time job and in order to manage recovery and school it’s important to look at your schedule realistically and see what you can put on the back burner for now.  Just because you step away from a sport or club doesn’t mean you can’t go back to it at another time. In my own experience, I decided to leave school for almost an entire year and work with my Dad while pursuing intensive outpatient treatment. That wasn’t an easy decision for me, but it allowed me to be gentle with myself. That break from school allowed me to start to get to know myself as someone in recovery and not just my eating disorder self. The last thing your eating disorder wants you to do is to be gentle with yourself and that’s exactly what you should do!

A new season is a great opportunity to create new habits and routines. Instead of focusing on past behaviors think about how you could create new habits that are promoting your recovery. This thought can bring up lots of ideas, but maybe look at where some of the harder moments you had in the past and see how you could replace those moments with structure and support. There are countless things you can do to prioritize your recovery in your daily routine; maybe hanging a quote in your car to remind you to stop for lunch, listening to a soothing playlist on your way to school, sitting with friends or teachers at school that have a healthy relationship with food, decorating your locker with art work you made in treatment, preparing to go snacks at the beginning of the week, etc. Recognize that you are in charge of your own actions and how you can you act as if recovery is your number one priority, even when it feels like the furthest thing from a priority. Getting into recovery oriented routines early in the season will make it easy to continue moving forward.

Living with an eating disorder is like living in a fog, unable to connect with the world around you. One thing I liked to think about in my own recovery, was what would “baby Kate do?” and this would especially apply to a change in seasons. Would baby Kate want to go pumpkin picking or drink apple cider? Would baby Kate want to spend time with friends and family? Of course she would! This was a great way for me to get in touch with my soul self and what was really important to me instead of what my eating disorder wanted to do. The fall season is a great time to challenge your recovery with new routines, new activities, and new flavors, but during change and challenges I think sticking to the basics is always key.

Prioritize your treatment, set a schedule and stick with it! Meal plan with your dietitian and supports. Keep your doctor appointments. Life will come up and threaten to shake things out of place, but committing to these basics can help you feel grounded. Stepping back from activities that do not enhance your recovery can only promote your wellness. Look at where you’ve struggled in the past, and see if you can put support in those places. Fall is a time of transition, but transition is an excellent opportunity to step up your recovery and see how you can rewrite old scripts and step into healthy change.

 

For more information about Monte Nido please call 888.228.1253, visit our website and connect with us on FacebookLinkedInTwitter, and Instagram.

 


My Soulful Journey: Melissa Spann, PhD, LMHC, CEDS

Vice President of Admissions Dr. Melissa Spann, PhD, LMHC, CEDS shares her journey to joining the Monte Nido & Affiliates team. She gives insight into the work she does with the admissions team and what inspires her to be so dedicated and passionate in her role. Read on to learn more about Dr. Spann…

 

What is your name and what are your credentials?
Melissa Orshan Spann, PhD, LMHC, CEDS

Please give us a brief description of your background.
When I decided to go to graduate school in a helping profession it was no shock to my friends and family. Growing up as the oldest of four kids, involved in community service and social action organizations, it was a natural path for me. During my doctoral training, I was introduced to a program called Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing!, a proactive approach for building healthy self-esteem in adolescent girls. Through my work facilitating girl-only groups, I reaffirmed my dedication to working with girls and women. I decided an essential part of my training would need to include integrating a systemic perspective and holistic approach to my work. Through this, I moved to Philadelphia and attended a Ph.D. program in Couples and Family Therapy. While I was in Philadelphia, I was introduced to The Renfrew Center in Philadelphia. There, I began my training in the field of eating disorders. I developed a specialization for working with couples and families who were struggling to cope with an eating disorder in their families. When I returned to home to Miami, I was introduced to Oliver-Pyatt Centers. From the moment I walked into the building, I knew OPC was the type of environment I had always hoped could exist; a place where women and their families could be provided a multi-systemic integrated approach to health and healing. Following my time as a Primary Therapist at OPC I became the Director of Admissions. After two years as Director of Admissions where we sought to build a clinical focus for a best-in-class admissions department, my role evolved to the VP of Admissions for Monte Nido & Affiliates. It was a dream for me to work in the broader role for all MNA brands including Monte NidoOPC and Clementine.

What does a typical day look like for you?
What I love about my job is that there isn’t really a “typical” day. In my current role, I have the unique opportunity to interface with many people on a daily basis. I am talking with potential clients, meeting families, working with providers and interfacing with all of our outstanding teams across the country. I feel fortunate that I often have the opportunity to connect with an individual as their first point of contact for one of our programs. Placing that initial call is often the most difficult decision to make. Myself and the highly specialized and trained admissions staff understand how critical this initial contact is and seek to meet every individual who connects us with the connection, empathy and support they receive in our care. Our goal is to provide support, consultation through a therapeutic lens during every interaction we have.

In your own words, please describe the philosophy of Monte Nido & Affiliates.
To me, our philosophy is about balancing acceptance and change, integrating mindfulness in all aspects of life, and focusing on a highly interpersonal model that through connection and meaningful relationships, recovery is possible.

What is your favorite thing about Monte Nido & Affiliates?
I have held many roles throughout the organization. No matter what I am doing, by far the best part of my job is the amazing group of people that I work with. Everyone shares a common vision and goal, respect one another, and share a life both professionally and personally with each other. Through our outstanding staff, we are able to model what it means to share in strong female relationships that provide support and care – something that is translated to the women we work with.

What are three facts about you that people do not know?
Oh boy, here it goes: 1- I have played the guitar since I was five and love to rock out. 2- I have two kids, Violet age six and Archer age eight who teach me more on a daily basis than any book I’ve ever read. 3- I am a third generation Miami native.

Is there any additional information you want to share with our readers?
I’m always ready to talk – call me and we’ll figure it out together!

How can someone contact you and your team?

Monte Nido Admissions Line: 888.228.1253

Clementine Admissions Line: 855.900.2221

Oliver-Pyatt Centers Admissions Line: 866.511.4325

 

For more information about Monte Nido please call 888.228.1253, visit our website and connect with us on FacebookLinkedInTwitter, and Instagram.


The Garment Project: The First Sea Glass Grant Recipient

At Monte Nido & Affiliates, we save lives while providing the opportunity for people to realize their healthy selves. One of the ways we want to help provide opportunities for individuals to realize their healthy selves is through our Sea Glass Grants opportunity. A Sea Glass Grant aims to support small projects that create, develop or communicate a project that supports eating disorder recovery and healthy self-image.

Monte Nido & Affiliates is delighted to announce that The Garment Project  – founded by Monte Nido alumni Erin Drischler has been awarded the first Sea Glass Grant of $500 to support their mission to provide size free clothing to women in treatment and/or early recovery from their eating disorder.

We are happy to share more about The Garment Project through our conversation with Erin:

Tell me about the process of creating Garment.

Garment was created from about two years of conversations between [my partner] Jordan and myself. I have worked in retail for the past decade and have always been interested in fashion. Jordan is a documentarian at an advertising agency. Our careers have given us knowledge and experience that helped us to create something innovative and truly necessary. Once we had our concept worked out, we started to talk to friends in the non-profit space about taking next steps and making this idea a reality. Jordan and I have been learning as we go, but we make a great team.

How has Garment helped you in your recovery journey?

Garment is a constant reminder of the progress I’ve made in my own recovery. The initial idea came to 5 years before we could make it a reality. I worked through my issues of always wanting to be the caretaker for other people like my mom or my friends but never taking care of myself. As I began to devote more time to my self-care, I was able to become more confident in myself and my abilities. Now I am able to truly help people in a bigger, healthier way.

Who is Garment?

Garment is me, someone who is living a recovered life, and Jordan, who has spent the past few years learning how to be a great support person for recovery. Both of us have a passion for helping others and are devoted to solving a problem that hasn’t been addressed for others in the past.

What feeling do you most associate with Garment?

Pride. I’m proud of the organization. I’m proud of the work I accomplished in my recovery to get here. I’m proud of the relationship Jordan and I share and the bond we’ve created by working together on something that we love. The small setbacks we’ve faced leading up to our launch would have sent me on a downward spiral just a few years ago. It is empowering to take pride in something that once gave me so much shame.

Walk me through the Garment Experience.

Garment has relationships with treatment centers across the US. When a woman is reaching a point in her recovery process where our service would be most helpful, her treatment team will start to communicate some helpful info to Garment. With that style, personality, and measurement detail, Garment creates a unique shopping site for each individual. From there, our new friend can pick out items that she likes, we’ll box them up and ship them right to her.

How and where do you get your clothing and accessories?

Garment has been building relationships with retailers across the US to ensure that we have an inventory with enough variety to fit anyone’s style. There are so many retailers that are acting philanthropically with their items after a certain season has passed, when items have gone on sale, etc. Garment has been fortunate enough to be in contact with incredibly generous people at both national retailers as well as smaller boutique shops. We take boxes of new, never worn clothing in all shapes, colors, styles, and most importantly, sizes. Eating disorders do not target certain body types. We want the women we serve to see more options from Garment than they’d otherwise be able to find in most stores.

What is your favorite part of the day-to-day start-up process?

My favorite part of the day-to-day startup process is working side-by-side with Jordan. It is incredible to see what we are capable of doing when we work together. He constantly impresses and surprises me with his talent and attention to detail.

How can people get involved?

The Garment Project has already seen such an encouraging response and we know that it’s all because of people talking. The best thing anyone can do for The Garment Project is to talk about it. Talk about eating disorders. Talk about mental health, about resources for help, and about supporting anyone around you who is struggling. We encourage everyone to continue our conversation on social media and via email. Donations to The Garment Project can be processed on our website.

What advice would you give to someone in their recovery who has a dream?

Recovery was uncomfortable work that took dedication, acceptance, and time. It was not easy, and yet it is so worth it. Recovery is possible for everyone. A few years ago, I could not say that sentence out loud, let alone believe it true for myself. I am now living a life free of the eating disordered thoughts and rules that once consumed me. Although each person has a different story and struggle, it is truly possible to live a fully recovered life, free from your eating disorder.

What are your hopes and dreams for Garment?

Our hope is that Garment can reach women and eventually men too on a global scale and spread confidence through fashion. We want to become a resource for the millions of women and men who are working hard to recover.

 

For more information about Monte Nido please call 888.228.1253, visit our website and connect with us on FacebookLinkedInTwitter, and Instagram.