Tell us a little bit about yourself personally and professionally. I am a recovered professional – sober and recovered from my eating disorder for over 20 years now. I got involved in community outreach for eating disorders awareness, on a personal level, which led me to return to school for psychology. I live in the Philadelphia area with my feline family. I eat intuitively, enjoy many types of joyful movement such as being in the open water or swinging on monkey bars! I embrace every chance I get to share a meal with a friends, family members or colleagues. I also love to travel and go to concerts!
How long have you worked at Monte Nido? My journey with Monte Nido began as an MFT Trainee then Primary Therapist at Monte Nido and Monte Nido Vista, in CA, 2008-2009 while I was in graduate school. I returned to school after a career in the mortgage industry and received my MA in Clinical Psychology at Antioch Santa Barbara. I returned to the East Coast and rejoined the Monte Nido family 5 years ago in my current role.
How did you hear about Monte Nido? As a person recovered from an eating disorder, I became involved in eating disorder awareness, in my community, as well as leading a free eating disorder support group. As I searched for treatment programs for others, I found Monte Nido online and was struck by Carolyn’s recovery and philosophy. The website stated ‘treatment by recovered professionals’ and I thought that IS the place for me. I began to attend Carolyn’s study groups, returned to school and reached out to intern when the time came.
What drew you to wanting to work at Monte Nido? What drew me to Monte Nido is the family environment for the staff and the clients. We honor each other and our differences and are people first, clinicians second. The homelike environment is something that I wish I had had in my treatment experience and I felt that it was a wonderful healing environment for clients and families.
What was your first job at Monte Nido and what was it like? My first job was as an MFT Trainee – it was very busy! My role was essentially what we call a recovery coach these days. I sat in on groups, helped in the kitchen, client observations, client outings. Once the team felt that I was ready; I became a group therapist then a primary therapist. I still remember that first session with my first individual client.
What’s your job now? My job now is a Senior Training and Outreach Manager. I wear many hats including leading events in the community, training our outreach staff, creating educational events, connecting with families, potential clients as well as professionals in our field and leading our virtual alumni program.
What’s kept you at Monte Nido? I have stayed at Monte Nido because I believe in the work that we do and it shows in the clients and families that we help. We have continued to grow so we are able to help support more clients yet stay true to our roots of our program and philosophy.
What’s your favorite memory? So many memories: My first day of my internship, I sat in on primary group with Carolyn Costin and I was honored and thrilled to be able to learn from Carolyn. From the early days, I remember beach walks with clients and CVS and Starbucks, in Malibu, on Friday nights with our clients. I have loved being a part of opening new Monte Nido locations including Philadelphia, Glen Cove and Maryland.
What do you love most about your job? I love the connections I make with professionals in our field as well as speaking with families and walking them through the process of getting the help that they need while giving them the hope that being fully recovered is possible. It is important to me that families and professionals trust me to talk to their people when they are struggling with the decision to seek treatment. I love to collaborate with our teams and be able to support them.
Any final words, thoughts or wisdom? On my first day at Monte Nido, one of the clinical directors gave me this advice, “don’t be too therapisty”. Eating disorder treatment is unique and forming connections with clients is essential; we need to be ourselves, with boundaries, and show our clients and families that they are a part of our family. This will allow them to feel safe in treatment, connect with us as they heal and then learn how to reconnect with their loved ones. As we continue on this journey through a pandemic, mental health professionals are seeing people struggle like we never have before and we are seeing higher rates of people seeking eating disorder treatment. This can be stressful and overwhelming. As clinicians and healers, it is important for us to focus on self-care, support one another and get help for ourselves with needed.