Kelly Souza, PsyD has been working in the field of mental health for the past 14 years in various settings including residential foster care, a psychiatric hospital, various partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs and outpatient therapy centers. Kelly recently moved into her current role as Monte Nido & Affiliates Senior Director of Clinical Programming for California and offers a glimpse into her soul in this week’s blog post…
Please share a brief description of your background and what guided you towards the treatment of eating disorders.
I’ve worked with many different populations including residential foster care ages 5-17, adolescents on probation, psychiatric hospital with severe chronic mental illness, substance abuse at all levels of care, and eating disorders. I’m recovered from an eating disorder and eating disorder treatment has always been the population I’ve been most passionate about not only due to my personal experience, but because when clients choose life and choose recovery, what unfolds is such a beautiful process. I’ve always been a huge fan of Monte Nido, as I believe we provide the very best treatment and the quality of clinical care is unmatched. Being an Orange County native, I never had the opportunity to work for Monte Nido until they came to Orange County. I was thrilled when the decision was made to open a Day Treatment in Newport Beach.
In your own words, please describe the philosophy of Monte Nido.
When I think of Monte Nido’s philosophy, I think of treating clients as a human first, and a client second, which is also how I see myself— a human first and a therapist second. I see us as treating the soul and reconnecting with ourselves in ways that extend beyond the physical body. I see us as focusing on being in relationship with people and passions we have, rather than being in relationship with an eating disorder. I see us as focusing on examining our relationship with food and learning to enjoy foods we’ve never imagined we could and letting go of our rules and disordered ways that has prevented us from living in the moment and according to our healthy voice.
What is your favorite thing about Monte Nido & Affiliates?
My favorite thing about Monte Nido is that when I come to work, it doesn’t feel like coming to work. We’ve created spaces that feel like an extension of my home and my family. I love coming and doing the work we do with clients, holding the space for them to do what they need to do, and having the support of an amazing team behind me- at all levels throughout the company.
What is your soulfood?
My soulfood is probably spaghetti and garlic bread. My mother is 100% Italian and my grandmother use to make the most amazing spaghetti (totally from scratch) for family dinners. It is a very special memory I have from my childhood.
What are three facts about you that people do not know?
I prefer rain over sunshine. I wake up totally elated when I see it’s raining outside
I am a terrible cook… I even manage to botch foolproof crock-pot recipes!
I love bookstores and libraries… I can spend hours in a Barnes & Nobles