Monte Nido Eating Disorder Center of Philadelphia Primary Therapist Kate Funk, MS, MFT joined the Monte Nido team six months ago when the program first opened. In her writing, Kate shares the journey she and her team have gone on starting as co-workers and now becoming a family, and just how important this relationship is in providing eating disorder treatment services.
In early June I joined the team that would open Monte Nido Eating Disorder Center of Philadelphia. During our training, we were promised that we would create a family and enjoy life long relationships with one another. I thought nothing of it at the time, figuring this was something people say when trying to build camaraderie among new staff members. Theoretically a nice concept, sure, but how could they ensure that our site would have that experience? As we learned about the “fairy dust” that sets Monte Nido apart, I hoped that we could give clients the same specialized treatment provided by the staff at the original six-bed facility.
Flash forward six months… Our staff, accompanied by the Chief Clinical Officer and Chief Experiential Officer, shared desserts over a family meal in a local restaurant. As we laughed and dined together, I looked around the table and had a moment, a soul moment. A table of individuals from different corners of the world, various backgrounds and values, experts in our field, strangers just a few months prior, now people I consider family. This was the fairy dust we learned about in training. We had it. A dinner with my coworkers and the heads of the company and I was completely myself; even better, they were all being their true selves. That was a night I’ll never forget.
This is what Monte Nido is all about. We work to wean our clients off their eating disorders and onto healthy relationships with others, but, even more importantly, with themselves. We model this skill with our staff. Monte Nido offers the space for staff to be authentically themselves; modeling this journey of self-exploration invites clients to explore who they are as well. We share with each other our experiences. We share meals and emotions, the good and the bad. We celebrate and we mourn together. We don’t hide who we are we. We don’t turn away from the dark parts. We take the time to go in. Hand in hand. Together.
This is the fairy dust. This is what matters. This allows us to stand apart. Six months ago I wasn’t sure we could recreate the magic that Monte Nido Founder Carolyn Costin originally created, and luckily – magically – we’ve been able to. This is my new family, and I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of our team.