YOU HAVE SHOWN ME HOW TO FEEL FREE AND FEARLESS, to have inner peace and serenity. You have helped me realize “life is rich.” I have found the person inside me that I am drawn to in others, the type of person who has enough confidence to act naturally and make my own decisions, instead of basing what I do on how I am being perceived. Thank you for all of this. And for the incredible feeling of being able to trust that even after I leave, I can always come visit or call Monte Nido and I will be loved and supported.
WORDS CANNOT EXPRESS all of the love and gratitude I have for Monte Nido. Monte Nido saved my life. I couldn’t have done it without you, Carolyn, and the magic you’ve created at Monte Nido. I’ve never encountered such generous, kind and caring souls. Carolyn, you and Monte Nido have a big place in my heart forever. I am able to laugh and love again because of the wisdom and encouragement you and Monte Nido have provided for me. Thank you.
YOU SUCCEEDED in accomplishing the one thing you promised to do for me. You continuously said that you just wanted to show me the life I could have and then it would be my choice whether I chose it or not. Well, you showed me that life and I chose it. You gave me life in my mind, body, and spirit. You gave me the most precious gift anyone could possibly give me.
THANK YOU FOR SHOWING ME there can be tenderness in treatment; for teaching me I can express my needs; reassuring me they are appropriate, and they can be met; for appreciating that the battle is between me and me, and letting me have a say in everything I signed up for; always being honest with me; and for telling me throughout my entire time here that you enjoy so many things about me and enjoy working with me. You’ve taught me recovery can be an okay thing. I remember a conversation I had with you on the phone before I came to Monte Nido, when I asked, “how do the clients make all the changes?” Your answer was, “lots of hard work… and a little bit of magic. I’ve participated in the hard work, and I’ve definitely experienced the magic!
WHAT CAN I SAY? Who knew? I guess miracles really do happen. The miracle in this case being Monte Nido and all the wonderful people who are associated with it. You’ve all given me a most precious gift. You’ve given me the gift of life and for that I shall never be able to thank you enough. Not only have you helped me in my struggle with anorexia and set me on the road to recovery, you’ve also given me in 7 weeks what I’ve lived a lifetime without and that is a family. I’ve never felt so at home with a group of people before in my life. I never knew what it was like to be surrounded by people who offer such love and support and yet don’t ask for anything in return. I never knew people could care so much (and not just because it was their job). I never knew what it was like to trust someone. I never knew what it was like to have someone really listen when I spoke. I feel very fortunate to have been one of the original six who first arrived here. How honored we should feel-as we can say we were the first to receive the ‘gifts’ of Monte Nido. I think to the future when many will have come and gone, and success and the exposure will be great. I think how proud I’ll be when I say, “I was there when it all first began.” Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of something so wonderful. Thank you for letting me into your lives. I’ll walk away from here a much better, healthier person thanks to all of you.
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you do and for creating such and amazing healing space and for providing me with the opportunity at the transition house, Bella Mar, to build a life for myself. Throughout my stay I have pages upon pages in my journal labeled “wise words of Carolyn”. Every time you spoke I knew my eyes were going to be opened up to a new part of myself that I hadn’t looked at yet or was avoiding looking at. Thank you for challenging me, questioning me and most of all helping me to heal. Today I have a job, I’m going to school, I have friends, I have relationships deeper than I could ever imagine, I eat my food, and most of all I know I have people who love me. I honestly don’t feel like I could thank you enough Carolyn. Thank you so, so much Carolyn and Monte Nido staff.
For a long time, I have tried to find the words to express the amount of gratitude I have towards Carolyn and the Monte Nido Staff. The past ten years of my life have passed in a slow, foggy, rapid blur. After taking part in the amazing “Life School” that is Monte Nido. I now know and am willing to fight for my desire. I can now see why fighting is always worth it. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to meet myself, the stillness to reach my soul, and the power to know I deserve this new life. With love, AP
Thank you Carolyn for creating a place like Monte Nido Vista, I wish there were many more. These past months at Monte Nido Vista have save my life. I came in exhausted of living. I believed that the pain of life was too great for me to handle. I have learned more about being alive, and about relationships in my time here than I ever have in the past. I have never experienced such unconditional love and support and more than that- hope. [It is] a home that is so full of love and care, and nothing but safety.
I strongly believe that what you have created at Monte Nido is unique and very special indeed. You and other members of staff here have given me hope that I can do well. That is something I have never really believed to be possible – you don’t receive that message in my country. I have often felt like a hopeless case – that I will never be better than I am now, but you have changed that for me, thank you.
After several failed stints in treatment centers and medical procedures I admitted to Monte Nido Vista. There’s a perfect interweave of firmness, warmth and skill that Carolyn Costin has been able to create at this facility. It’s not all encapsulated in one person. They pool their resources together to create an individualized treatment plan within a nurturing, supportive atmosphere, which is conducive to healing. I appreciated and often reflect on the tasteful and personal touches that enhanced my experience there i.e. oversized cozy pillows, fresh cut flowers, candles, sparkling pool and relaxing swings. Over a year later, I am thankful and humble to report that I am doing remarkably well. Aside from recovering from an eating disorder, the work I did at Vista, empowered me. They cared enough about me to find me an outpatient therapist that is perfect for me and has continued to guide and support me over the last nine months. I can finally look back and have clarity that has helped me make choices and take action that brings hope and optimism rather than replicating the same old destructive behaviors. I now apply the tools that I’ve obtained at Vista and in my current therapy and as a result, I am creating a life that I’ve always wanted. I now have a life beyond my eating disorder. I am present in every moment; I get to feel; I get to laugh. I have the freedom to live every aspect of my life. Most importantly, I get to choose!
AFTER FOUR YEARS OF FIGHTING anorexia, my daughter and I came to Monte Nido. We had experienced multiple treatment centers and treatment types. During the first meeting, I looked at the physical facilities and wondered how a “homey” place could provide what multiple hospitalizations at sophisticated centers could not. It was the meeting with Carolyn that provided the first glimmer of hope that my daughter would survive this illness. In 30 minutes Carolyn had connected with my daughter and identified some of the struggles and secrets she’d held inside for so long. I made the decision to trust Carolyn with my daughter. It was a decision I’ve never regretted. At Monte Nido Carolyn has brought together a wondrous group of individuals who soften the treatment demands with love and support. The focus is on living, not just surviving.
WE JUST CAN’T FIND THE WORDS to adequately express our profound gratitude to Carolyn Costin and her incredibly dedicated team of professionals at Monte Nido. After multiple stays in two other major programs, the uniqueness of the program at Monte Nido is the reason our daughter is alive today and getting on with her life. Staffed by individuals who not only talked the talk, but had literally walked the walk and were able to relate to our daughter on every level. No matter what a client’s belief system is, every client at Monte Nido is treated with the love and respect they deserve. Our dying daughter’s response to treatment at Monte Nido was nothing short of miraculous. Thank God for Monte Nido.
AFTER SEVERAL YEARS of our daughter’s struggles with anorexia and extensive treatment as both an inpatient and outpatient, it became apparent to all of us that a new direction in treatment would be required for our daughter to begin the process of “getting well.” On our therapist’s recommendation, we began checking around the country for a program that would offer her the kind of structure, guidance (for diet, exercise, medication, therapy, etc…) and support she needed. After checking into a number of programs in several states, we selected Monte Nido and are profoundly grateful we did. Carolyn Costin and the staff at Monte Nido addressed the physical and psychological issues facing our daughter in a way no one else had. Their supportive, yet firm, counseling greatly assisted our daughter and us. Today, she is again healthy, full of life and increased self-worth, and succeeding in college. Monte Nido deserves a great deal of credit, and we unhesitatingly recommend Monte Nido to others.
There was a time when I felt that only I could save my child-just like taking her to the doctor for an ear infection. When all of my efforts failed, and she continued spiraling downward, I somehow summoned the courage to put her in the hands of Monte Nido. Slowly, patiently, and always lovingly, they led Molly to the truth and helped her achieve independence from her disease. She learned about physiology, about nutrition, about medications. But she learned mostly to love and care about herself and to release herself from the demands anorexia was making on her. Today she is healthy, confident, engaged in life, and surrounded by caring friends. With great confidence and personal conviction, I would recommend Monte Nido most highly and most sincerely.
MY FAMILY AND I WANT TO EXPRESS OUR HEARTFELT thanks for the caring environment you provided for our daughter while she was in residence. You cannot imagine how impressed we all were with not only the treatment she received and continues to receive but the amount of warmth and love offered to all the young women and their families. In our opinion you cannot walk away from Monte Nido without a good feeling in your heart; knowing that the person you love is in the right place to help her overcome her behavior problems. We believe that our daughter is not the only person in the family to have been benefited from your system. The sessions were liberating, educational and emotional. Each of us feels our own personal attachment to Monte Nido because of the help and consideration we were afforded on our visits. I don’t think any of us will forget your advice: “always tell the truth without judgment”. I could go on and on but the bottom line is “keep up the good work”. I can truly say that I have never felt closer to my family. May God continue to bless you all in your professional and personal lives. Affectionately,
As overwhelming and difficult as last year was at times we know that when everything was said and done that it evolved as it was meant to. There was a reason that our daughter traveled out west and a reason that she didn’t enter the doors of treatment elsewhere. That reason was Monte Nido. We know how lucky we are that she was able to get there. There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t give thanks for all that she has become. We knew that it was always there….we are so grateful that today she sees it & feels it with joy. You have created an amazing haven for girls like our daughter. It has been like watching a caterpillar grow into a butterfly. With lots of thanks & hugs
Over the course of the past couple of months I have had the blessing of watching my sister fight to win her life back, and it has changed how I live mine. As she and I commonly talk about…… you all have the ability to “speak to our souls,” in a way that is so authentic. You speak and treat us all in a way that reminds us what really matters in life. Because of your compassionate guidance, my sister is truly living again. She allows herself to be happy and knows it is ok to be sad. She has a freeness and beauty about her that I have not seen in years. In a way, you could say that you saved my sister’s life.
As a family, you have shown us that although this world is messy at times, there is so much love. You have reminded us to stop aiming for perfection and start accepting each other…with all our beautiful imperfections. No matter what happens tomorrow, we are so incredibly fortunate to have each other.
I am not sure how you go about thanking a group of individuals for the blessings above. Thank you seems insufficient, for what you have given my family is immeasurable. I heard a quote the other day that said, “May you find inspiration in the big picture, but may you find love in the details.” Thank you for giving my sister the inspiration to live a full life, and thank you for teaching my family and I how to find love in the present.
The professionals at Monte Nido at Laurel Hill in Boston are unique in that they not only provide very effective treatment for eating disorders – they do so in a safe, caring and patient friendly environment. Our daughter had been in two previous treatment facilities for anorexia that proved to be abject failures. The staff at Monte Nido understands what both the patient and their families are going through as some of them are recovered anorexic patients! I am so thankful for the love and the care that my daughter is receiving from the MN staff. Their care is comprehensive and emphasis is on the patient’s’ mind, body and spirit and includes daily individual therapy as well as group therapy. I highly recommend Monte Nido to anyone who is suffering from an eating disorder. Prior to our experience at Monte Nido, our outlook was dark and we felt that there was no real hope for her recovery. Now, we feel that our daughter’s recovery is at hand. Thank you!
Dear Carolyn Costin- It has taken me an entire week to formulate my words of thanks to you for what you have offered my daughter. You have given her not just incredible nurturing but unprecedented support in her struggle. Please know that she never could have found a stronger endorsement from outside herself of how important she is. Previously, she described herself as “half a person.” You gave her the additional half a person she was seeking. The staff at Monte Nido has done something no other staff has been able to do. You have done what no other person has done. We thank you for what I sincerely describe as a “miracle.” It takes courage to both give and receive…thank you, thank you, thank you, for your courage!!!
Eight years ago, we discovered that our daughter suffers from anorexia. Thus began a journey for us which has been confronting, full of uncertainty, at many times frightening and ultimately exhausting. We tried absolutely everything we could to seek help for our daughter in Australia, and to find ways to help her survive the starvation and self harm that comes with this little understood disease. At some points we saw signs of improvement and felt there was hope, but these were always dashed as she would invariably relapse to an even more dangerous weight and loss of mental health. Our daughter found Monte Nido from the internet and discovered a holistic approach to managing and seeking to cure eating disorders. It is holistic in the sense that the program seeks to both keep the patient alive (avoid starvation), as well as rebuild mental health which as the core of the disease. Finally the program offers a step by step path back to a more normal life where the patient can manage their own eating, mental health, self perception and self esteem, and ultimately reestablish independence. When we became aware of the program, it was the first time we saw a potential path for our daughter to survive. 18 months ago she attended the program, and since then has gone through a remarkable turnaround, and is now able to eat healthily, and live an independent life. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Carolyn for a great job to manage Monte Nido together with her capable team of staff.
I have known and worked with Carolyn Costin for over 15 years and consider her as a friend and mentor. She has an encyclopedic knowledge of eating disorder treatment, and has a remarkable gift to provide state of the art care. Without a doubt, the Monte Nido treatment program is my first call residential treatment facility. The beautiful surroundings, the competent and caring staff and the dedication of all who work for Carolyn allows me to know that my private clients are getting the best possible care. In addition I appreciate the cooperative and collaborative approach they take with me, the referring therapist. I always feel included as part of the treatment team.
In addition I would, without hesitation, send a family member to Monte Nido.
As a psychotherapist in private practice who specializes in eating disorders I often need to refer a client for in-patient treatment. My first recommendation when making this type of referral is always Monte Nido.
My experience of working closely with their staff for the past 9 years has given me a great deal of confidence in their ability to treat eating disorders. Their thorough understanding of the complexities involved in the process of recovering from anorexia and bulimia, in conjunction with Carolyn Costin’s unique perspective on healing, offers their clients an opportunity to receive help in an atmosphere where they will given expert medical and psychological care while being treated as individuals who deserve to have their voices heard and their bodies honored. I have worked with many other inpatient and residential treatment programs, none of which, in my opinion, appreciate how nurturing a person’s soul is just as important as addressing the eating disorder behaviors.
While not everyone who enters the doors of Monte Nido may be quite ready to let go of their eating disorder, they all are given a chance to be surrounded by professionals whose intention it is to give them inspiration and a sense of hope that one day they can be recovered and fully embrace their appetites for life’s many delicious treats.
Monte Nido Treatment Center is a safe haven for any individual on the path to recovery from an eating disorder. Within this “mountain nest” my clients have received the individual support, guidance, and nurturing spirit that cultivates a desire to have a more fulfilling life.
Monte Nido is one of the best residential treatment centers, for eating disorders, in the country. The center combines a beautiful natural healing environment with a staff of highly trained experts specializing in treating eating disorders. Monte Nido is unique to all other eating disorder facilities in that it provides an individualized and empathetic approach to helping clients recover. The staff, which consists of professionals and other individuals who have recovered from eating disorders, offers some of the best treatment interventions and techniques to help clients accomplish their goals in recovery. I highly recommended the program to clients and professionals, who are looking for a thoughtful, unique and understanding program, which promotes hope and healing from eating disorders.
I am writing on behalf of Carolyn Costin and Monte Nido. As a registered dietitian specializing in eating disorders, I have known and respected Carolyn Costin’s work for over 20 years. In my private practice, I am often in the position of referring patients to inpatient eating disorder programs. Although I refer to a select number of inpatient programs, when I have a patient whose prognosis is especially difficult or poor, I usually call Monte Nido. I think one of the advantages to this facility is its very small size and very individualized care. In one particular case, Monte Nido was able to help one of the most challenging patients of my career come to terms with her anorexia, bulimia, social and family issues and enable her to return to college and begin the process of normalizing the relationships in her life. I was also pleased to have received interim updates on her progress from her team. The best part, however, was seeing the beaming face of my patient as she went through graduation at Monte Nido. I was not there in person on the day of her graduation, but because Monte Nido graciously called and asked if I would like a copy of the graduation, I was able to see the graduation process and share my patients experience and excitement. That was the first time I had been so included in a patient’s recovery from an inpatient program and I found the opportunity thrilling for both me and my patient.
Carolyn Costin’s workshop at this year’s National Eating Disorders Association conference was all about recovery, gathering strands from current research, feedback from recovered patients and strategies she’s come up with after 35 years of clinical experience. Costin, who herself recovered from an eating disorder, is founder and executive director of The Eating Disorder Center of California and Monte Nido, with centers in California and Oregon.
The session was packed, and it’s no wonder; she is a dynamic, witty speaker with a no-nonsense style born of years of experience in the trenches. Here is a brief summary of her information- and advice-rich talk.
- Recovery is when you accept your own natural body size and shape, have a healthy relationship with exercise, and when you won’t compromise yourself to reach a certain number on the scale. Another sign of a return to health is “when you reach out to others for comfort and help, not your eating disorder.”
- “Your healthy self will heal your eating-disordered self. In other words, your eating disorder can’t be more powerful than you are, because it resides in you and is part of you. The idea is to integrate the two selves over time. The work of the patient, with the help of a therapist, is figuring out what anxieties and issues the eating disorder is solving, and how to replace the eating disorder with healthier coping mechanism. (I know, easier said than done, but clarity about your objective always helps.)
- Costin has patient’s journal before bingeing, because this, she said, “gives access to the part of you that binges.” She also has patients journal about “my last binge,” write a dialogue with their eating-disordered selves, role play, write a thank you letter and then a goodbye letter to their eating-disordered self. She has them write about their worst eating-disordered day, too.
- Learn to tell the truth. Don’t say, “I don’t like pasta.” Say, “I’m afraid of pasta.” This is the first step to overcoming the fear.
- Eating disorders are both about food, and not about food. While non-food issues (anxiety, trauma) may have helped trigger the disorder, you need to regain a healthy relationship with food in order to recover. Food is the phobic object, and you have to be hands-on with it.
- Feel your feelings. Learn “affect tolerance,” or how to live with unpleasant, scary or hurtful feelings, instead of turning to food to mask those feelings.
- Find meaning and purpose outside of yourself. “Religion is the bridge to spirituality and too many people get stuck on the bridge.” Eating disorders are the same: the eating-disordered person seeks something larger, but gets stuck in the eating disorder.
- Advice for counselors, equally applicable to parents, is: Adopt the attitudes of empathy and constructive curiosity. A supportive, empathetic relationship is crucial to recovery.
- Be a positive role model (in other words, “be okay with your own body,” model healthy eating at meals).
- Don’t take sides against the eating disorder. Be for the recovery process, not against the eating disorder).
- Think in the long term: Those who recover don’t throw in the towel.
Marcia Herrin and Nancy Matsumoto are co-authors of The Parent’s Guide to Eating Disorders: Supporting Self-Esteem, Healthy Eating & Positive Body Image at Home (www.childhoodeatingdisorders.com)