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Meet Our Team: Giulia Suro

Posted on March 02, 2017 by Cassie Sullivan

Oliver-Pyatt Centers IOP/TLP Clinical Director Giulia Suro, PhD gives an inside look into her work at OPC. In her post, Giulia shares her personal journey to OPC and how she and her team support women on their journeys to full recovery. Read on to learn more about Giulia and the IOP/TLP team…

What is your name and what are your credentials?

My name is Giulia Suro and I am licensed clinical psychologist.

Please give us a brief description of your background.

I completed my undergraduate degree, receiving a BA in Psychology at University of Southern California and went on to pursue my Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling at Colombia University in New York City. It was during this program that I exposed myself to a wide range of clinical experiences including non-profit community mental health, inpatient psychiatric settings and even spent two years working in Rikers Island Jail. I realized I most enjoyed working with individuals experiencing severe symptoms of psychological distress and pursued my Doctorate of Clinical Psychology at University of Miami. I spent my third year as a doctoral student working in OPC’s Intensive Outpatient Program as a “prac” a few days a week. I really fell in love with OPC as a setting, its treatment philosophy as well as the meaningful work we’re able to do with the women who come here for care. I returned as a Postdoctoral Resident and spent two years as a primary therapist in the Comprehensive programs before transitioning to Clinical Director of IOP/TLP.

What does a typical day look like for you at OPC?

One of the things I love most about my job is that there is no real typical day. Time is divided between running groups, individual client sessions, supervision, family calls, seminars and administrative meetings. I recently established a weekly Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) consultation group with the other clinicians conducting ACT groups, and that has quickly become my favorite hour of the week.  

In your own words, please describe the philosophy of OPC.

I think there are several threads that come together to create the OPC philosophy. The first is a commitment to individualized care and treating the unique needs of each woman who comes here for help. Along these lines, I believe we are very open to thinking outside the box in our effort to fully eradicate the eating disorder. This may include specialized therapeutic approaches, passes and exposures. Additionally, I believe all of our providers convey the message that the women are deserving of a meaningful life free of shame and suffering. This is conveyed in therapy, groups, meals and all interactions with staff.

How does your team work together? How do your roles overlap and differ?

I am constantly blown away by the IOP team. We are small but mighty! Each of the therapists, dieticians and recovery coaches are so very passionate for and committed to their job. We are consistently discussing how we can creatively continue to support our clients in their recoveries and I love that every member of the team sets a bar of full recovery for each woman we treat. We often come together as a well-oiled machine in multidisciplinary treatment teams to tackle the ED from all angles and push our clients toward recovery as a united front.    

What is your favorite thing about OPC?

What first inspired me about OPC was the staff who work here and the culture they created. It is a daily gift to be able to work alongside brilliant, bold, women who are dedicated to helping those with eating disorders. We support one another in achieving our professional goals as well as in having a healthy work-life balance.

 

What are three facts about you that people do not know?

I usually wake up before the sun comes up to do yoga and meditate.

I love tomatoes so much I designed a garden where I could grow my own.

I have dog named Jack and he is truly magical!

For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers, please call 866.511.HEAL (4325), visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on FacebookLinkedInTwitter, and Instagram

Posted in Our Team

Meet Our Team: Carmen Bolivar

Posted on January 19, 2017 by StayConnected

Oliver-Pyatt Centers Primary Therapist Carmen Bolivar, MSW, LCSW gives a glimpse into the work she does at Casa Rosada Comprehensive Adult Program in this week’s Meet Our Team. She shares about her journey to joining the OPC team and the passion she puts into every day spent supporting women on the journey to full recovery. Learn more about Carmen and OPC by reading her blog post…

What is your name and what are your credentials?

Carmen Bolívar, MSW, LCSW. I am a Primary Therapist at Casa Rosada Comprehensive Adult Program.

Please give us a brief description of your background.

I’m originally from New Jersey and relocated to Miami, FL a little over a year ago. I received my BA in Sociology from Rutgers the State University and my Masters in Social Work with a concentration on International and Community Development from Monmouth University. I am also Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behaviorally Trained and have over five years of experience in residential settings. In addition to adult residential, acute in-patient and out-patient experience, I have also worked within different aspects of the Children’s System of Care of NJ. I have worked to provide wrap around services to children and adolescents with complex behavioral and/or emotional needs and their families. In the summer of 2015, I moved to the Sunshine State to pursue never ending summers and say good-bye to blizzards for good. I found OPC on my pursuit of happiness and am grateful to be part of such an amazing and dedicated group of professionals.

What does a typical day look like for you at OPC?

One day never looks like the next! In my role of Primary Therapist at Casa Rosada, I wear many different hats. I facilitate Body Image and Shame and Resilience groups, share meals with the milieu and collaborate with my colleagues. A few times a week, I put on my war paint (lipstick) and enter the battlefield (my office) and wage war (humbly request) for insurance coverage for my caseload. In the afternoons, I see clients individually, conduct family sessions and complete documentation.

In your own words, please describe the philosophy of OPC.

OPC has many strengths and the one that speaks to me the most is the ability to deliver quality individualized care to clients with unique needs. I believe the multidisciplinary approach provides the most comprehensive and effective care to our clients, giving them the opportunity to achieve sustainable recovery from their eating disorders. No two eating disorders are alike and therefore OPC treatment thrives because we approach each client’s treatment uniquely.

How does your team work together? How do your roles overlap and differ?

I feel truly blessed to part of the team at Rosada. We collaborate and work together to support each other when we are facing challenges, needing encouragement and especially, problem-solving. Our roles overlap in that we consistently collaborate and share our expertise to provide comprehensive and individualized care for our clients.

What is your favorite thing about OPC?

My favorite thing about OPC being able to work alongside my colleagues who share the same passion I do about the work we do. We are able to connect, learn and grow from each other. I am inspired by my colleagues and they motivate daily.

What are three facts about you that people do not know?

That I once completed a Tough Mudder and will probably never do that again.

I have performed with a Salsa team in NJ at Salsa Congresses.

I used to be very afraid of clowns…now I’m only moderately uncomfortable.

 

For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers, please call 866.511.HEAL (4325), visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on FacebookLinkedInTwitter, and Instagram.

 

 

 

Posted in Our Team

Melanis Rivera-Rodriguez_PsyD_Primary TherapistOliver-Pyatt Centers Primary Therapist Melanis Rivera Rodriguez, PsyD shares a glimpse into her work at OPC in this week’s blog post. As part of the Casa Azul team, Melanis works with other eating disorder professionals to offer the best care possible to the women in the program. Read more about Melanis in this week’s Meet Our Team…

What is your name and what are your credentials?

My name is Melanis Rivera Rodríguez, and I am a Doctor in Psychology (PsyD).

Please give us a brief description of your background.

My background is in Clinical Psychology with a particular interest in Clinical Health Psychology, which focuses on the combination of mental health and physical health in terms of the mind-body connection. Over the past three years, my focus has been on chronic illnesses, and I have had the opportunity over the past two years to work with eating disorders. This has allowed me to witness a client’s healing from the mind and body perspective as a whole.

What does a typical day look like for you at OPC?

I work at the Comprehensive level of care at Casa Azul (shout out to all Azulians!), and a typical day can start between 9:30 am and 10:00 am with catching up on emails and checking in with the staff/recovery coaches about any events from the night before or early in the morning. On Monday mornings, I have the opportunity to facilitate the Dialectic Behavioral Therapy skills group (DBT), which depending on the milieu can be a crowd pleaser or difficult experience for some of the women. During the afternoon, I meet with the women in my case load individually and during the evening on Wednesdays join them for the support dinner which gives us the opportunity to relate as we would if we were having a meal at a restaurant or out with others. Whenever I have a chance during the afternoon snack, I sit with the women, chat, or maybe play a game. This is a great chance to know them at a different level even if I’m not working with some of them individually.

In your own words, please describe the philosophy of OPC.

I believe that OPC’s philosophy speaks to holistic healing, listening to yourself, your body and mind, trusting that over time there is more room for your true self to make the continued decision to recover and less room for the eating disorder to have control. The intuitive eating philosophy allows for that awareness of what our bodies need and over time making those choices naturally. From the medical and therapeutic perspective, it connects to viewing the person who is in treatment, not as a set of parts but as a whole human being that is attempting to synchronize, learn and develop a set of skills that will allow them to recover from an eating disorder and have an alternative approach towards moving forward in life.

How does your team work together? How do your roles overlap and differ?

In my experience, team work is and has been the root of what I have witnessed at OPC for over the last two years. Everyone understands their role and how to support one another when needed. I have noticed that roles might overlap when in therapeutic sessions a nutritional/medical message might need to be reinforced or vice versa the nutritionist, nurse or physician might need to help the client bring up the connection between the eating disorder, food and struggles with body image, family, etc… Communication has been key in being able to come together and join in our diverse roles and at the same time learn from each area such as: nutrition, medical, psychiatry and staffing support in order to provide the women with the best and most restorative treatment opportunity.

What is your favorite thing about OPC?

My favorite part of OPC is the teamwork component and interdisciplinary effort that is felt and provided. You never feel that you are working alone and help is always available in the joint effort of helping the women heal. Especially having lunch as a team allows for consultation, support and fun conversations that allow us to process the work that we do in a caring way.

What are three facts about you that people do not know?

Most people don’t know that I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, and I moved to Miami almost 4 years ago.

I was a college cheerleader for the University of Puerto Rico, Cayey campus team.

I volunteer for the Alliance for Eating Disorder Awareness outreach and education committee which has been a wonderful experience.

For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers, please call 866.511.HEAL (4325), visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on FacebookLinkedInTwitter, and Instagram

Posted in Our Team

Meet Our Team: Leslee Gilbert

Posted on October 20, 2016 by StayConnected

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Oliver-Pyatt Centers Primary Therapist Leslee Gilbert, MS, LMHC is passionate about the work she does with her teammates in the Intensive Outpatient/Transitional Living Program. Leslee shares how the team works together to help clients fully recovery. Learn more about Leslee and the IOP/TLP team in this week’s Meet Our Team installment …

What is your name and what are your credentials?

My name is Leslee Gilbert and I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Primary Therapist in our Intensive Outpatient/Transitional Living Program.

Please give us a brief description of your background.

I completed my undergraduate degree, receiving my BS in Psychology at Florida State University (GO NOLES!) and went on to pursue my Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling at Nova Southeastern University. I received training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy during my Practicum at University Hospital PHP Program. While I was completing my Master’s degree I started working as a Recovery Coach in our Residential Program where I began to learn more intimately what it really takes to recover from an Eating Disorder. Once I finished with my Master’s program I began working as a full time Primary Therapist in both the Residential and IOP Levels of Care. I have transitioned through many roles here and feel incredibly grateful for that. I have grown both professionally and personally with OPC!

What does a typical day look like for you at OPC?

There really is no typical day which is one of my favorite things about working here. On certain days you can find me facilitating a Relapse Prevention or DBT group. Sometimes I am catching up on emails or consulting with the team on a case. Afternoons are used for session times or family phone calls and every now and then, I will sneak out to the milieu to have snack or just sit and connect with the women before group time.

In your own words, please describe the philosophy of OPC.

To me, OPC is about full recovery. We believe that recovery from an eating disorder is possible and we strive to help women regain their lives and live fully. Each individual person and process is unique with a different set of challenges and strengths and we work together as a multidisciplinary team to ensure that those strengths are being utilized as part of the treatment, and the individual concerns and struggles are effectively treated.

How does your team work together? How do your roles overlap and differ?

The IOP team rocks!! We support and encourage each other, which sometimes includes hugs when needed. I have never felt alone in this challenging but rewarding work that we do day in and day out. Our roles differ in the day to day responsibilities but we all have the same desire and passion, to help these women regain their lives.

What is your favorite thing about OPC?

I have a lot of favorite things about OPC, I don’t think I can narrow it down to one! First thing that comes to my mind is being able to work alongside intelligent, compassionate, strong women that inspire me every day. I also have to add that being able to witness change and growth first hand, has been the most incredible experience and when that happens, I am reminded of why I love OPC and the meaningful work we do here.

What are three facts about you that people do not know?

Most people might know this but I am getting married in January!

I have a Golden Retriever that is basically my child.

Sometimes I put sprinkles in my oatmeal in the morning.

For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers, please call 866.511.HEAL (4325), visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on FacebookLinkedInTwitter, and Instagram.

Posted in Our Team

Meet Our Team: Lisa Jimenez

Posted on September 22, 2016 by StayConnected

lisa-jiminezOliver-Pyatt Centers Primary Therapist Lisa Jimenez, MS incorporates both her clinical and art background into her work with clients in group and individual therapy. Learn more about Lisa and her work at Oliver-Pyatt Centers in this week’s “Meet Our Team” article.

What is your name and what are your credentials?

My name is Lisa Jimenez and I am a Primary Therapist working at the Oliver Pyatt Centers. I am completing my hours for licensure as a Mental Health Counselor and have been with OPC for 2 years.

Please give us a brief description of your background.

A Miami native, I graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in Psychology and Studio Art. I continued my education at the university pursuing a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. While there, I worked with children and families at the Institute for Individual and Family Counseling. Additionally, I completed hours at the Family Resource Center working in an outpatient substance abuse program with court mandated individuals. Here at OPC, I am able to incorporate both my clinical and art background into my “Express Yourself” groups and individual sessions. I am also a co-facilitator of OPC’s Embrace programing which is an adjunct service offered to clients with binge eating as their primary diagnosis.

What does a typical day look like for you at OPC?

My days at OPC are usually filled with individual sessions, groups and a good amount of leg work including documentation, and serving as an advocate for continued insurance coverage. Between scheduled hours you’ll likely find me chatting with other staff members or touching base about clients and pressing issues. It is truly a team effort at OPC.

In your own words, please describe the philosophy of OPC.

At OPC, we work as a team to create a safe, recovery-oriented space, where we get to know each woman on a personal level. By understanding their specific struggles, this allows us to individualize the treatment process and support them throughout their time with us. By working collaboratively as a team to be thoughtful in our feedback and recommendations, we believe full recovery is possible. All women deserve to be at peace with food, their bodies, and themselves.

How does your team work together? How do your roles overlap and differ?

In IOP, we are constantly bouncing ideas off of one another. We meet twice weekly as a team to review client progress and to discuss how we are moving forward with their treatment. Although we each have our own unique roles, often times there is overlap. Useful information may come out of a group or meal setting which can later be processed with their individual therapist in session.

What is your favorite thing about OPC?

My favorite thing about OPC is the deep-seated passion that is evident in all of our staff. Helping women navigate through the recovery process can be some tough, however rewarding work. The OPC staff, across all houses, are relentless in helping these women regain control of their lives.

What are three facts about you that people do not know?

I have a spoon collection that I started in elementary school. My dog is named after a favorite childhood restaurant where I had many fond memories. And I really like gnomes.

 

For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers, please call 866.511.HEAL (4325), visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on FacebookLinkedInTwitter, and Instagram.

Posted in Our Team

Melissa_SpannOliver-Pyatt Centers Director of Admissions Melissa Spann, PhD, CEDS sheds light on some of the most frequently asked questions received by our admissions department. Thank you to the admissions team for sharing these questions and allowing us to provide some additional clarity on the at times confusing landscape of insurance and admissions. The entire Oliver-Pyatt Centers team is here to help guide you through every aspect of treatment and to support your loved one and family on the path to recovery. For any admissions related questions, please contact at 866.511.4325. 

Do you take insurance?
Yes! We accept and work well with most all insurance companies. One of our specialties is digging in really deep with every insurance policy to navigate the challenging nuances and come up with the best plan for each client.

We are in network with Blue Cross Blue Shield for all levels of care.

We are thrilled to announce we are now in network with Aetna for all levels of care. These in network contracts will help make our high quality care more affordable.

What does it mean to be an out-of-network provider?
Different insurance plans have different plan options to choose from. For some insurance plans, even when we are not in network, we have still have the ability to work with your insurance through the use of your out-of-network benefits.

What makes OPC different than other programs?
OPC takes an individualized approach to every client. Our philosophy is one in which we are emphasizing comprehensive care through medical, clinical, psychiatric, nutritional and family support. One of the cornerstones of our model, daily individual therapy, allows clients to develop a deeper therapeutic connection; it is through this vital therapeutic relationship that clients are able to delve into treatment fully and deeply for healing to occur. Our multidisciplinary team uses a bio-psycho-social-spiritual model to treatment – meaning, identifying the core issues that drive the eating disorder and addressing all of the co-occurring issues that may accompany it. Our treatment philosophy is centered around the idea of “If not now, when?”

How can I be involved in my loved one’s treatment even though I live in another state?
Your participation in treatment is critical to the overall process. We have weekly family therapy sessions via video conferencing, monthly family programming and as needed check-ins. For Clementine, in addition to all that was just listed, we also have family coaching, daily check ins, and bi-weekly family programming.

What can I do as a parent to advocate for my daughter’s benefits?
You are an essential advocate to your loved one’s treatment. There are so many ways in which family members play a critical role to long term recovery, navigating the challenges within our healthcare system is one. The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) has some incredible resources for parents on navigating our healthcare system, being an advocate, and articulating arguments to third party payers. I encourage every family to know their rights and advocate on their behalf. We are committed to helping you through this often challenging process.

For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers, please call 866.511.HEAL (4325), visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on FacebookLinkedInTwitter, and Instagram.

Choices

Posted on September 01, 2016 by StayConnected

AshliOliver-Pyatt Centers Recovery Coach Ashli Gonzalez has been with OPC for five years. She works closely with the clients and supports them in their journey to being fully recovered. Ashli offers some insight into her work as a Recovery Coach and the great impact the role can have on the clients.

Choice. Continuously choosing something or someone is so important. Every day, I wake up and CHOOSE to continue working at OPC. Working at OPC is kind of like the work it takes to be in any relationship or marriage. It’s filled with high’s and low’s (mostly high’s), can be very challenging but extremely rewarding, is filled with love and inspiration and pushes me to be my best self every day. It does all of this for me and I am not even a client. But because of this, it in turn allows me to be the best I can be for our girls.

There are two sides to OPC- our clients and our staff members. In order to have a fully functioning treatment center, both are crucial. My days consist of “good morning, sunshine”, with a mega-watt smile on my face, when I first see each of our girls in the morning. I’m also notorious for calling everyone “sweetie”- I just can’t help it- our clients are the best. I take what the girls now call the “scenic route” to the center, instead of the route flooded with traffic, and I always encourage happy music for the drive. How you start your day sets the tone for your entire day. The rest of my day is filled with snacks and meals and outings, amongst a few other things. But mostly, it’s filled with hugs, a simple smile, a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear and a few kind words that go a very long way. It’s filled with compassion, and compassion is key and paramount to the work we do. As a Recovery Coach, I am there to support our girls every step of the way. I make myself available and most importantly, I make myself relatable. Being relatable creates a sense of trust and allows for our girls to know that we are all just trying to make it in this great, big world. Inspiring others is my passion and making a difference is why I love what I do. There is no other way for me. Two of my favorite quotes, that I often share with our girls is, “Comparison is the thief of joy” by Theodore Roosevelt and “Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road” by Jack Kerouac. I’ve actually painted the Kerouac quote on small canvases, which sits in each apartment where the girls live. I am a firm believer in the power of positivity and I encourage it with our girls on a daily basis.

This is simply my role. There are many that make up our incredible team at OPC. I am only 1 of over 100 staff members that we have, and while each staff member brings their own unique, individual personalities to OPC, know that there are many other people like me working at OPC and we are waiting for you or your loved one’s to join us so that we can help YOU choose recovery. Remember, “Loving yourself through the process is where your courage lives.”

For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers, please call 866.511.HEAL (4325), visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on FacebookLinkedInTwitter, and Instagram.

Posted in Our Team

Meet Our Team: Jamie Morris

Posted on March 19, 2015 by StayConnected

Jamie-Morris-MS-LMHC

1. What is your name and how long have you been with Oliver-Pyatt Centers?
My name is Jamie Morris and I have been with Oliver-Pyatt Centers since opening day. I started working as a Recovery Coach and over the past 6 1/2 years have moved between many clinical positions including Intensive Outpatient Program Therapist, Intensive Outpatient Program Manager, and Comprehensive Program Primary Therapist.

2. Provide a few sentences about your role at Oliver-Pyatt Centers.
My current role is Senior Primary Therapist in Casa Azul. In this hybrid role, I have the privilege of working with a couple women as a Primary Therapist and with others as a case supervisor. I also facilitate one of the weekly Interpersonal Process Groups. In addition to my work as a clinician at Oliver-Pyatt Centers, I also work on various advocacy efforts and have traveled annually to participate in the Eating Disorders Coalition Lobby Days.

3. What is the role of a Senior Primary Therapist at Oliver-Pyatt Centers?
The role of Senior Primary Therapist involves being the Primary Therapist on a few cases, meeting with a few women individually for check-in sessions during the week, supervising fellow Primary Therapists on cases, supporting the Clinical Director, supporting the Recovery Coaches, and providing support with programming and scheduling.

An important part of the Oliver-Pyatt Centers philosophy is that the women and families that seek our services know all members of the treatment team are influential in the healing process and can be a source of support, even if not the primary point of contact.

4. What is your favorite thing about working as a Senior Primary Therapist at Oliver-Pyatt Centers?
I have a few favorite things about working in this role: (1) I enjoy working closely with my colleagues to facilitate healing and help the women we work with transform their lives, (2) I enjoy the opportunity to be a part of each woman’s treatment even if I am not working intensively as her Primary Therapist and finally, (3) I appreciate that each day brings a new challenge and another opportunity to witness faith, hope, and trust at play.

5. Tell us three things nobody knows about you.
I am excited for the day I get to be a mother to two English bulldogs who are already named! I love monograms. I have been bungee jumping and would probably do it again.

To read a few advocacy posts written by Jamie Morris, visit here and here

For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers please call 866.511.HEAL (4325), visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram

Posted in Our Team

Primary Therapist Amanda Countryman Strunin, PhD shares insight into the need for acceptance and change throughout life and recovery; particularly in the context of stepping down from a residential level of care to intensive outpatient programming. 

Amanda Strunin

I have worked at Oliver-Pyatt Centers for almost three years and have been blessed to work with a fantastic group of women and clients. One of the most challenging experiences I have witnessed for our clients is the transition from the residential level of care to intensive outpatient programming. Most often, women feel “discombobulated” as they navigate the step down and infamously, it has been compared to feeling like “a wedgie you just can’t pick.”

For all of us, change has many connotations, some pleasant and some quite unpleasant. As our women go through what looks like a relatively minor change on the surface, and what is in fact a vast change in their life and the context of treatment, my job is to help them find a balance of accepting their reality and changing what they can to improve their circumstance – essentially to pick the metaphorical wedgie. The concept of acceptance and change is one of the core dialectics in Marsha Linehan’s heralded and widely used dialectical behavior therapy. It is often explained as “The Purple Problem” – Imagine you hate the color purple and you buy a house that is purple. You must accept the color of the house, however despicable, before you can paint to suit your palate. Though I myself like the color purple, what we can infer from this valuable euphemism (for our clients and ourselves) is that life requires patience, willingness, and constantly being able to revise and change our status quo. Our patients encounter “the purple problem” in struggling with the delicate balance of accepting the changes that occur within their bodies, minds, and spirits during the process of recovery. It is our job to hold the hope that this acceptance can be achieved, that change is inevitable, and though frightening and painful at times, necessary for growth in life and recovery.

Perhaps watching my patients hold both truths – acceptance and change – as they reconnect with the world in intensive outpatient programming is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job. It also proves to me what we know from research and experience in our own lives, and that is we are resilient creatures.

For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers please call 866.511.HEAL (4325), visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram

Posted in Our Team

Meet Our Team: Mary Dye

Posted on February 12, 2015 by StayConnected

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1. What is your name and how long have you been with Oliver-Pyatt Centers?
Mary Dye. I have been with Oliver-Pyatt Centers for two years. Prior to working here, I had the pleasure of knowing Oliver-Pyatt Centers as an outpatient dietitian. I was so impressed by their work I had to move down and join the team!

2. Provide a few sentences about your role at Oliver-Pyatt Centers.
I oversee all of the nutrition services at Oliver-Pyatt Centers. I supervise the nutrition work in all levels of care and across our various programs. Additionally, I meet individually with all of the women participating in our Transitional Living Program. I also have the pleasure of meeting many providers around the country and speaking with family members about the treatment their loved ones receive at Oliver-Pyatt Centers. A big perk of my role is the ability to educate professionals and the public about eating disorders.

3. What is your favorite thing about working as the Director of Nutrition Services at Oliver-Pyatt Centers?
My team. I could not ask for a more passionate, dedicated, loving, creative, and smart group to work with every day. The entire OPC team, from our graphic designer and human resources department to the clinicians, chefs, and recovery coaches, has such a high level of dedication to patients and their families and true passion for helping our women succeed. The team puts a smile on my face every day and reassures me that every woman who enters our doors is in the best hands possible.

As a mother of two young girls, I feel a real obligation to help create a culture I want them to live in. Whether advocating against school BMI screenings, pointing out the dangers of photoshopping, or fighting for insurance coverage for eating disorder treatment, I have the pleasure of working on a team devoted to the same causes. For so many of us the work we do speaks to larger cultural issues we feel a personal obligation to change. This passion inspires and motivates my work.

4. Tell us three things nobody knows about you.
I grew up surfing and feel so blessed to have been raised near the ocean. I grew up in a family of pilots so many weekends were spent doing take offs, landings, and stalls in the air. It has resulted in a real love of spontaneity, travel, and roller coasters! The ice cream cone was invented in my hometown of Norfolk, VA (I am particularly proud of this one!)

For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers please call 866.511.HEAL (4325), visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram

We are excited to introduce you to the other two (of four) Head Recovery Coaches, Rebecca and Krystal. Our Head Recovery Coaches work directly with our women on a daily and overnight basis and provide a direct link from our clients to the entire treatment team. Meet Head Recovery Coaches Vero and Candy here

rebecca

1. What is your name and how long have you been with Oliver-Pyatt Centers?
Rebecca “Rebs” Garcia. I have been at Oliver-Pyatt Centers for over six years!

2. Provide a few sentences about your role at Oliver-Pyatt Centers.
I am the Head Recovery Coach of Casa Verde. As Head Recovery Coach, I manage the day-to-day logistics of the clients’ outings, transportation, passes, etc. I also try my best to be a strong leader and role model for the other recovery coaches at Oliver-Pyatt Centers.

3. What is the role of recovery coaches at Oliver-Pyatt Centers? 
The recovery coaches wear many hats. Working as a recovery coach may require you to be on your feet all day; supervising outings, preparing snacks, administering medications, being a shoulder to lean on, a listening ear, and sometimes playing a game (or two) of Bananagrams. There is no set job description for a recovery coach. Sometimes, working outside of the box makes all the difference in a client’s recovery process.

4. What is your favorite thing about working as a Head Recovery Coach at Oliver-Pyatt Centers? 
I have two favorite things. The first is the ability to work at a job that allows me to help women in recovery each and every day. I love the opportunity make a positive impact in someone’s life. My second favorite thing is being able to work with such an amazing staff. I have developed so many meaningful relationships and lifelong friends at Oliver-Pyatt Centers. To me, these two things are priceless.

5. Tell us three things that nobody knows about you.
In my spare time, I enjoy pet sitting and doing makeup. I love going to the shooting range for some target practice. I had my 15 minutes of fame on Samantha Brown’s 10th Anniversary Special. She made me ride Rockin’ Roller Coaster three times consecutively!

 


 

krystal

1. What is your name and how long have you been with Oliver-Pyatt Centers?
Krystal Ferrer, I have been with Oliver-Pyatt Centers for five and a half years.

2. Provide a few sentences about your role at Oliver-Pyatt Centers.
I am the Head Recovery Coach in Casa Rosada. As Head Recovery Coach, I manage all the recovery coaches in Casa Rosada. I also act as the liaison between the recovery coaches, clinical, and medical staff. Part of my role is to work closely with the clinical team to ensure we offer loving, individualized support for each client.

3. What is the role of recovery coaches at Oliver-Pyatt Centers? 
The recovery coach position is made up of many roles. We are role models, friends, supports, nurses, and so much more. We spend every minute of the day with our clients in their journey through recovery.

4. What is your favorite thing about working as a Head Recovery Coach at Oliver-Pyatt Centers? 
I love the opportunity to make an impact in our clients’ lives; to watch them grow and overcome the eating disorder. I also love all of my co-workers and working with an incredible team every day.

5. Tell us three things that nobody knows about you.
I lived in the Florida Keys until I was seven. I worked in TV and Radio before joining the team at Oliver-Pyatt Centers. I have a significant fear of lizards, which can be quite the challenge living in Florida!

For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers please call 866.511.HEAL (4325), visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram

Posted in Our Team

We are so excited to introduce you to two (of four) of our Head Recovery Coaches, Vero and Candy. Our Head Recovery Coaches work directly with our women on a daily, and overnight, basis and provide a direct link from our clients to the entire treatment team. 

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1. What is your name; how long have you been with Oliver-Pyatt Centers?
Veronica Loman and I have been working at Oliver-Pyatt Centers for over four years. 

2. Provide a few sentences about your role at Oliver-Pyatt Centers. 
I am the head of the recovery coach in the IOP/TLP program. I facilitate the communication between the clinical team and the recovery coaches in order to ensure the best quality care for our clients. I also provide meal support and lead a cooking group once a week. 
 
3. What is the role of recovery coaches at Oliver-Pyatt Centers?
The role of the recovery coaches in the TLP program is to observe clients and report any behaviors to the clinical team. Also, providing clients with direct feedback while giving them enough space to make their own decisions and ask for what they need. 
 
4. What is your favorite thing about Oliver-Pyatt Centers and working as a head recovery coach?
I love seeing our women embark on a journey of finding who they truly are; feeling stronger, confident, and empowered. 
 
5. Tell us three things that nobody knows about you. 
When I was 10 years old, I lived on a boat with my family for two years. I would love to move to France and live there for a year. I love dancing Flamenco.
 

candy

1. What is your name; how long have you been with Oliver-Pyatt Centers?
Candy Leon-Vasquez, I have been at Oliver-Pyatt Centers for four and a half years.

2. Provide a few sentences about your role at Oliver-Pyatt Centers. 
I am the Head Recovery Coach for Casa Azul. I represent the recovery coaches in my house and act as the main means of communication between the recovery coaches and the rest of the team. Additionally, I ensure any necessary transportation is provided for our patients.

3. What is the role of recovery coaches at Oliver-Pyatt Centers?
Recovery coaches are the eyes, ears, and timekeepers of Oliver-Pyatt Centers as well as the staff in the trenches with our clients. We provide the women with support and loving boundaries.

4. What is your favorite thing about Oliver-Pyatt Centers and working as a head recovery coach?
My favorite thing about Oliver-Pyatt Centers is being able to provide support for our women. Often times all that involves is playing a game (usually bananagrams) or being able to sit with them and listen. What I love most about being a head recovery coach is being involved in the meetings; I love being a part of the team discussions that take place as we look for creative ways to support and aid our women.

5. Tell us three things that nobody knows about you. 
My grandfather was a Chinese immigrant in the Dominican Republic. I have nine stepbrothers and sisters. I like to practice yoga on my days off.

For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers please call 866.511.HEAL (4325), visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram

Posted in Our Team

benaaz 

What is your name and what are your credentials?
 Benaaz Russell, Psy.D.

Please give us a brief description of your background.
I am originally from Maryland. I received my doctorate from Argosy University in Washington, DC. My training included general outpatient, chemical dependency treatment, psychological testing, and psychiatric residential treatment. I moved to Florida for my internship and then stayed to complete my post-doctoral residency at a local treatment center, specializing in eating disorders. After completing my residency, I worked as a primary therapist in residential treatment for eating disorders. Additionally, I worked in private practice for many years before the opportunity of Clinical Director at Oliver-Pyatt Centers came my way. Lastly, I recently completed my service as a Board Member of IAEDP South Florida.

What does a typical day look like for you at Oliver-Pyatt Centers?
On a typical day, I am meeting with patients for sessions, meeting with different team members to discuss clinical issues, interfacing with various Oliver-Pyatt Centers departments, connecting with patient’s families and outpatient providers, attending to any staffing and scheduling issues that arise, and conducting insurance reviews as needed.

In your own words, describe the Oliver-Pyatt Centers philosophy.
Recovery that is grounded in compassion, dignity, and respect.

How does the team of clinical directors work together? How do your roles overlap and differ? What does your role look like within your own casa?
We work very closely to ensure there is consistency across the casas. We meet weekly to discuss any relevant issues related to clinical, staffing, programming, and leadership. We provide each other with a lot of support, and have a great overall connection. My role within Casa Verde is multifaceted. I have a bird’s eye view of all the different parts of treatment being implemented. I have the privilege of having a very unique role in the sense that I am working directly with patients providing group and individual therapy, along with supervision and administrative support to team Verde.

What would you say is the personality of your casa?
Quirky, creative, and dedicated.

What is your favorite thing about Oliver-Pyatt Centers?
Family style/oriented, close knit environment that fosters a strong belief that one can rise to the challenge and be the very best they can be.

What are three facts about you that people do not know?
I love roller coasters, I am a big fan of The Golden Girls, and from time to time I listen to holiday music throughout the year.

Any additional information you want to share with our readers? 
I am truly grateful for my OPC family.

 

For more Meet Our Team posts, visit here

For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers, newly introduced Embrace a binge eating recovery program and Clementine a residential program exclusively for adolescents girls, please call 866.511.HEAL (4325), visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram

Posted in Our Team

Dr. Kelli Malkasian, PsyD introduces her team of therapists, dietitians, recovery coaches, and case manager within the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) / Transitional Living Program (TLP) at Oliver-Pyatt Centers. For additional information on our IOP and TLP programs, please scroll to the bottom of the post and visit our website

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Meet our team:

Kelli Malkasian, Psy.D. IOP Program Director  I have been at Oliver-Pyatt Centers for over three years and have worked in the field of eating disorder treatment for 10 years. I am a licensed clinical psychologist; I earned my Bachelors of Science in psychology from Michigan State University and both Masters and Doctorate in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University. I find working with women at the IOP / TLP level of care to be most inspirational because I get to see the women develop a sustainable identity that is both fulfilling and meaningful. 

Mary Dye, MPH, RD, CDN, LC/N Director of Nutrition Services  I received my Masters and R.D. training in Public Health Nutrition at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. I came to OPC two years ago from a private practice in New York City, where I was also the lead dietician at NYU’s student health center and consultant for NYU Abu Dhabi campus, with a focus in eating disorders. In addition to overseeing all nutrition services for OPC, I also work individually with all patients in the TLP program. I truly believe with the right treatment, length of stay, aftercare plan and a solid outpatient team, each client can have a strong chance for a meaningful and sustained recovery.

Alyssa Mitola, MS, RD, LD/N Registered Dietitian  I have been working as a Registered Dietitian at OPC since June 2014. I completed my dietetic internship and earned a Masters of Science in clinical nutrition from New York University. I received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Villanova University. I recently moved from NYC to Miami and am thrilled to be a part of the OPC team! As a nutritionist, my passion is to help individuals cultivate a healthy relationship with food. Each day I am inspired by the women as they strive to rebuild this relationship on their journey of recovery. 

Sage Rubinstein, M.A., RMHCI TLP Case Manager  After studying psychology and child and adolescent mental health at New York University, I went on to receive my Masters in mental health counseling at Yeshiva University and am currently a Registered Mental Health Counseling Intern. Prior to beginning my role as the Transitional Living Program Case Manager at Oliver-Pyatt Centers, I worked as an addiction counselor at Hazelden NY and as a therapist at the Training Institute for Mental Health. OPC allows me the unique opportunity to merge my interests of study through my role in the Co-Occurring Program while challenging myself through new and exciting areas of growth.

Leslee Gilbert, M.S., RMHCI Primary Therapist  I have worked at OPC for four years; starting as a Recovery Coach and after finishing my Masters degree in mental health counseling from Nova Southeastern University, began working as a Primary Therapist in the comprehensive program. For the past year, I have worked as a Primary Therapist in our Intensive Outpatient Program. What I love most about working in IOP and at OPC in general is the closeness of the team, the overall positivity in my work environment, and the passion we share with treating our women.

Amanda Strunin, Ph.D. Primary Therapist  I am a licensed psychologist. I received my Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Miami, and completed internship at the Durham VA Medical Center. I have been part of the Oliver-Pyatt Centers team as a Primary Therapist since 2012, and completed my post-doctoral residency in Casa Rosada. I am specialized in adolescent and young adult intervention and enjoy working with individuals and their families to help find long-term recovery. Eating disorder prevention is one of my passions and why I am interested in building awareness in schools and communities.

Annie Hoffman, LMHC, ATR-BC Primary Therapist  I have worked at OPC since January of 2014 as an Art Therapist and a Primary Therapist. I have a Bachelors of Fine Arts from Florida International University and a Masters in art therapy / counseling from Drexel University. I am a Board Certified and Registered Art Therapist and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. I also serve as President for the Florida Art Therapy Association. I find it is truly a privilege to be a part of one’s process of self-discovery and growth and to walk alongside them on their journey on the path of recovery. 

Josephine Wiseheart, M.S., RMHCI, RMFTI Primary Therapist  I have worked as a Primary Therapist at OPC since May of 2014. I received my B.A. in psychology from Florida International University and a dual Masters Degree in marriage and family therapy and mental health counseling. My dual degree equips me with the skill set to appreciate each of my clients’ perspectives while also helping them to navigate through various relationship issues. I believe therapy is a place where people should feel safe to understand and express their feelings and values without fear of judgment. I feel so fortunate to have found a profession that I am deeply passionate about and in which I have the honor and privilege to work with such strong and inspiring women.

Veronica Loman Head Recovery Coach  I became a Certified Health Coach at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in 2013. I have been working at OPC for over four years. I have had the pleasure of learning from and working in different programs and levels of care at OPC and have a better understanding of the recovery process. I love seeing our women embark on a journey of finding who they truly are; feeling stronger, confident, and empowered.

 

What we do:

We offer a comprehensive and multidisciplinary Intensive Outpatient (IOP) level of treatment for clients who are either stepping down from our comprehensive level of care or clients who need more support than outpatient level of care. We offer daily group therapy and supported meals, along with individual psychotherapy, family therapy, nutritional counseling, and case management. In conjunction with our IOP programming we also offer a Transitional Living Program (TLP) for patients who need a supported living environment to help them transition from the comprehensive level of care back into their lives or to help the client create a new life for themselves. Clients in the IOP and TLP programs focus on integrating recovery into a sustainable lifestyle while developing life skills, independence and responsibility for their recoveries, establishing an identity outside of the eating disorder or patient identities, and continuing to progress in their recoveries. These programs are uniquely tailored to create an individualized treatment plan and goals for each client to help them solidify their recoveries and to prevent relapse and/or readmission to a higher level of care.   

For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers and newly introduced Embrace, a binge eating recovery program and Clementine, a residential program exclusively for adolescents girls please call 866.511.HEAL (4325), visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram

Posted in Our Team

A Shift in Perspective

Posted on October 08, 2014 by StayConnected

Dr. Karin Lawson shares her personal experience of transitioning from Clinical Director in our comprehensive program to our Director of Embrace, the new binge eating recovery program at Oliver-Pyatt Centers. Dr. Lawson is pleased to introduce you to Embrace. 

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As you may or may not know, I made a shift for myself at Oliver-Pyatt Centers this summer and left my beloved Casa Verde to open Embrace, the new binge eating recovery program at Oliver-Pyatt Centers. There are so many things that excite me about Embrace! I wanted to take this opportunity to share some of those and talk about my decision to change programs.

As expected, in Embrace we continue to teach and guide with a mindful eating foundation lending toward an Intuitive Eating approach and practice. We also have many similar groups as we do in our other programs; such as DBT, Family and Relationships, Body Image, and Interpersonal Process Group. In addition, we have added a new group to OPC, called Psychology of Movement, led by Senior Primary Therapist Megan Bendig. This group is based on an assessment Dr. Wendy Oliver-Pyatt created for her book Fed Up! which explores one’s history of movement, early messages around exercise, and identity with movement. Another special piece of Embrace is the twice per week grocery outing. Aside from navigating the logistics of buying groceries for the townhouse, our women work on any anxiety, fears, or triggers that correspond with the grocery store experience. My third, and definitely not last, appealing pull of Embrace was starting the Shame and Resilience group. Shame and Resilience is de-stigmatizing, empowering, and validating; addressing the fact that we all experience shame, but don’t have to let it paralyze us. We can become resilient to this difficult human emotion.
 
The programmatic change in my professional life is not surprising to me. I like change. In my opinion, change is energizing and adventurous. What did surprise me was how attached I had become to Casa Verde overall… the space, the schedule, and (not surprisingly) the clients and team. It goes to show even when you have yourself pegged and think you are predictable in one way or another, we are always growing and changing as people. Experiences impact us. People impact us. Even consistency and routine impact us. 
 
That is actually how our team creates change with our clients at Embrace. We show them love and support, boundaries and structure, new adventures and opportunities. So, while it can be uncomfortable, because there is attachment and loss of a former routine, there is an enlivening as women choose new options for their life. 
 
I encourage you to be open to your own assumptions about yourself and allow some space for those things that may be more enlivening, even though it may mean letting go of the comfortable, predictable norm. 
 
“We can’t be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don’t have something better.”  – C. JoyBell C. 
 
For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers and newly introduced Embrace, a binge eating recovery program and Clementine, a residential program exclusively for adolescents girls please call 866.511.HEAL (4325), visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram
Posted in Our Team

What is an RD anyway?

Posted on September 29, 2014 by StayConnected

Director of Nutrition Services Mary Dye, MPH, RD, CDN, LD/N shares an informational post about the real difference between a nutritionist and a dietitian and clears up some of the confusion about these two differing titles along the way!

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I get asked all the time why I call myself a “Dietitian” if I claim to have a non-diet approach. Why not just say “Nutritionist”? What’s the difference anyway? First off, diet doesn’t have to be a dirty word. All the word actually means is “habitual nourishment.”  

I consider myself an expert in nourishment – studying both how we respond to food and food messages in our culture, and how food works in our bodies. I can also write a pretty stellar medically indicated meal plan. I just refuse to use the word diet in the restricting, shame-cycling, and crave-inducing manner to which people often associate it.

So what’s the difference in the titles various “nutrition experts” use? Pretty significant, actually. About a year ago, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND, which is formerly the American Dietetics Association (ADA)…confused yet!?) felt there was so much public confusion over what is a registered dietitian (RD) and what is a nutritionist that they decided we RD’s could just add an “N” to the end of our credentials and be called registered dietitian nutritionists. In my opinion, it has made things even more confusing but that is why I am trying to clear it all up. It is also why I’ve just been sticking with RD in my own title. The “N” is totally optional at this point.

RD and RDN are interchangeable and both are legally protected titles that can only be used by practitioners authorized by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) of the AND. Put simply, they are the food and nutrition experts, translating the science of nutrition into practical evidence based solutions for healthy living. The expertise, training, and credentials that back a registered dietitian nutritionist are their defining feature. All RD/RDN’s have taken years of science and nutrition courses. This equips us with the knowledge of the human body, digestion, absorption, and nutrients to prepare us to tackle any food and nourishment issue that comes our way. We then spend a full year in a dietetic internship learning among practicing RD/RDN’s and putting our knowledge to supervised use to prepare us to sit for our national certification exam through the CDR. Once we pass that, we’re ready for a life in the field putting evidence based interventions to use. We are required to keep current with the latest nutrition science and are re-credentialed every five years based on our ongoing learning plans and continuing education, all verified and approved by the CDR.

So, as Dietitians like to say, every RD/RDN is a nutritionist, but not every nutritionist is a RD/RDN. The title “Nutritionist” in itself is not legally protected or nationally credentialed. Often, a Nutritionist is someone who completes an undergraduate or graduate degree in nutrition and practices in a non-clinical setting. They typically may work as skilled research scientists, life coaches, wellness educators, professors, or food service consultants. Just be aware that some individuals who market themselves as “Nutritionists” have very little or no training in nutrition. You can often spot these individuals promoting or selling things like nutritional supplements and diet books. Before you take any nutrition advice be sure to check out the educational and professional background and training of the individual supplying that advice. In this day and age with so much sensationalized nutrition information and misinformation on the internet it is more important than ever to research the sources.

All of the clinical nutrition services staff at Oliver-Pyatt Centers are highly experienced Registered Dietitian Nutritionists.

For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers and newly introduced Embrace, a binge eating recovery program and Clementine, a residential program exclusively for adolescents girls please call 866.511.HEAL (4325), visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

Posted in Our Team

Bright Yellow Beach Ball

Posted on September 18, 2014 by StayConnected

 Dr. Bertha Tavarez, Clinical Director of Clementine, Oliver-Pyatt Centers residential treatment program exclusively for adolescent girls speaks to the benefits of experiential therapy techniques to be utilized within a therapeutic relationship as well as among professional colleagues. 

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I was recently invited to present at the 10th annual Latin American Eating Disorder Conference in Monterrey, Mexico. I was encouraged to present a clinical topic that was “different”, “new” and “cutting edge.” I decided to create a presentation on experiential therapy techniques and how to incorporate them into eating disorder treatment. Soon, my creative wheels were turning, and I planned on several therapeutic demonstrations, work samples, and props that may facilitate warm up therapy exercises.

I combed through a labyrinth of Walmart aisles looking for the perfect prop that I could use as an ice breaker. The prop needed to be accessible enough to quickly flow through a large audience with the power to break the monotony of hours of lecturing. Did I mention my presentation was at the end of the day? In a moment of inspiration I saw it! Among a myriad of seasonal toys I spotted a bright yellow beach ball with a large smiley face stitched on. The plan was to throw the ball at a person in the audience, asking them to state their name and one word that best represented their inner self before passing it to another person, and another, and so on.

The next morning, I boarded an airplane with my bright yellow beach ball safely stowed. After the beach ball was scanned for explosives residue (true story!) I was on my way to the conference, softly whispering talking points to myself as I took in the sights of the bustling city of Monterrey. I arrived in time to sit in on a presentation on the epigenetics of eating disorders. As I marveled at the research studies being presented, I stared down at the bag containing my ball, and became flooded with thoughts about how my bright yellow beach ball paled in comparison to talks of ventricular enlargement.

After a welcoming introduction, I approached the podium with a mixture of trepidation and resolve. I stated that no presentation on experiential therapies can be devoid of experience and action, and with a brief explanation, and a flick of the wrist, I tossed the bright yellow beach ball into a sea of audience members. Soon, the room lit up with a choir of voices. “Ana, Intelligent!”, “Carmen, Loving!”, “Sandra, Patient!” For days these people were introducing themselves by their titles and affiliations, but for one moment they connected on a universal human level with the help of one unsuspecting prop.

For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers and our newly introduced Embrace, a binge eating recovery program and Clementine,a residential program exclusively for adolescents girls please call 866.511.HEAL (4325), subscribe to our blog, visit our website, and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram

Posted in Our Team
What actually happens in an admissions department? Director of Admissions Melissa Spann, PhD is pleased to introduce you, our readers, to the who, what, and when of Oliver-Pyatt Centers’ Admissions.
 
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First, an introduction to who is in the admissions department and their favorite part of Oliver-Pyatt Centers:
Chanelle Alexander has been at Oliver-Pyatt Centers for three years. She currently works as Oliver-Pyatt Centers’ Administrative Assistant. She appreciates interfacing with clients from their very first call. Chanelle loves having the opportunity to hear the transformation in individuals through the admissions process.
 
Jenny Castellon is an Admissions Coordinator and has been at Oliver-Pyatt Centers for four years. She is completing her masters degree in social work. Her clinical background is in caregiving. Her favorite part of working at Oliver-Pyatt Centers is when the clients and families we have been working with arrive and she is able to meet them in person.
 
Jessica Gomez is an Admissions Coordinator and has been with Oliver-Pyatt Centers for over two years. In addition to her work at Oliver-Pyatt Centers, Jess’s background is as a case manager and mom of two! Jess’s favorite part of Oliver-Pyatt Centers is our individualized treatment approach.
 
Anais Torres  is an Admissions Coordinator and has been with Oliver-Pyatt Centers almost a year. She has a masters degree in psychology and has worked in the mental health field for years. Anasis’ favorite part of Oliver-Pyatt Centers is our holistic approach to treatment. 
 

Melissa Orshan Spann, PhD – that’s me! I am the Director of Admissions. Prior to stepping into this role I was a Primary Therapist at Oliver-Pyatt Centers and have worked as a therapist in other treatment programs nationally. I love that everyone at Oliver-Pyatt Centers shares a common vision and goal. What I love about my job is that there isn’t really a “typical” day. I have the unique opportunity to interface with many people on a daily basis. I feel fortunate that I often have the chance to answer the first time someone is placing what is often the most difficult phone call to make – the call to decide if they should seek treatment. I have the opportunity to talk with people, listen to their challenges, and provide support through this process. Our goal is to provide support, consultation, and a therapeutic hand during every interaction we have. My days are filled with these interactions, in person visits from individuals and families, and working with the clinical teams to provide additional support in in any way I can.

What:
In the admissions department, our goal is to help clients, families, and providers navigate the challenging decision to seek treatment. We believe our intimate environment is most effective for the treatment of eating disorders. We are committed to working with you to make treatment possible.

During the admissions process, the potential client will be asked to complete our admissions packet (application, intake questionnaire, release of information, and medical evaluation forms). Once submitted, your questionnaire will be reviewed, and with your permission, we will contact your outpatient treatment professionals. We will assist you with the timing of your medical evaluation, and an intake assessment will be scheduled. We are here to talk with you every step of the way from insurance questions to what to pack on your journey to Miami.

When:
Whenever you need us, we are here. Please email or call us anytime, we are looking forward to speaking with you.

For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers, please subscribe to our blog, visit our website, and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram

Posted in Our Team

Meet Our Team: Dr. Tali Yuz

Posted on August 07, 2014 by StayConnected
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1. What is your name and what are your credentials?
Tali Yuz, Psy.D. Licensed Clinical Psychologist
 
2. What is your background (brief introduction)?
I was born and raised in Aventura, FL. I am very close to my family and friends and love being back in Miami after two years in the cold Chicago weather! I went to the University of Florida for my undergraduate degree (Go Gators!) and received my doctorate degree from Nova Southeastern University. I completed my internship and post-doctoral fellowship at Northwestern University’s Counseling and Psychological Services and have always enjoyed working with the college and graduate school aged population. I have a dear friend who struggled with an eating disorder for many years and was always drawn to learning more about her experience as I started my training to become a psychologist.
 
3. What does a typical day look like for you at Oliver-Pyatt Centers (OPC)? 
I don’t know that there is a typical day at OPC, but most mornings if I am not running group I am checking e-mails, writing notes, calling providers/family members, or completing an insurance review. The entire staff in Azul then eats lunch together which I find to be a wonderful break in the day. My afternoons are spent seeing patients, running a group, and also spending time in the milieu.
 
4. In your own words, describe the OPC philosophy.
You are loved and accepted from the moment you walk in the door. OPC is a place where women come to heal and grow to become the people they are meant to be without their eating disorders. Women are taught new skills in a supported environment and are given the opportunity to practice in a non-judgmental place so they are fully equipped to handle what they face when they leave. 

5. How does the team at OPC work together?
The team is in constant communication about each patient and each discipline collaborates to ensure that treatment is most effective. We have formal weekly meetings and also frequent informal check-ins with one another on a daily basis. Working within a close, multidisciplinary team is a hallmark of OPC. 
 
6. What is your favorite thing about OPC?
I can’t choose one! My favorite “things” about OPC are the incredible staff who have become like family to me in a short time, the amazing and courageous patients who I feel fortunate to know, and the laughter. Despite all of the hard work and struggles, both the staff and the patients always find time to smile and laugh. 
 
7. What are three facts about you that people do not know?
My name means “morning dew” in Hebrew, my sister and I are first generation Americans (our mother from Paris, France and our dad from Haifa,Israel,) and I can do the human pretzel! 
 

For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers, please subscribe to our blog, visit our website, and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram

Posted in Our Team

We are delighted to share a post from Clinical Director, Intensive Outpatient Program, Dr. Kelli Malkasian regarding the importance of continuing with a lower level of care after comprehensive treatment. Dr. Kelli Malkasian is clinical psychologist with 10 years of experience working within the field of eating disorder treatment at a variety of centers and levels of care. Kelli began at the Oliver-Pyatt Centers three years ago as a post-doctoral resident and Primary Therapist in the comprehensive program and has since became Director of the Intensive Outpatient Program for approximately two years. Her passion and joy in work come from seeing clients shed their eating disorder identities and develop whole, sustainable, and meaningful identities which is why she loves working with the women in the IOP and TLP programs.

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When residential, PHP, or as we call it comprehensive treatment is required to treat eating disorders and other co-occurring disorders it can be a long and tiresome process. So much physical and emotional work occurs during this process that often clients look forward to the “break” they imagine will happen after treatment. However, upon discharging and as reality is setting in, most clients also experience a sense of anxiety and fear about leaving the safety of the protective and caring environment that comprehensive treatment provides. Clients need this protective “bubble” and level of structure, monitoring, and support to initiate the process of recovery and to take the first huge leap towards a life without an eating disorder. However, some of the hardest work comes up after the comprehensive level of treatment, when the client is put to the task of generalizing what he or she has learned to his or her lives outside of treatment.

Enter intensive outpatient programming (IOP) and other step down programs such as the transitional living program (TLP), both of which are offered at OPC. Stepping down to a lower level of care is a very beneficial process in offering the structure and support needed to help with the challenging work of integrating recovery into one’s life, or for some going through a process of revamping their lives to better support recovery. Recovery is never a perfect process and the reality is that sometimes relapse happens. However, research and in my experience working at this level of care, we know that relapse is much less likely to occur if clients participate in step-down programs, such as IOP or TLP and follow the treatment team’s recommendations.

Providing clients with a feeling of safety, community, and an individualized level of structure allows them to develop confidence in their ability to recover, to enhance their identities outside of having an eating disorder or being a patient, and to navigate taking responsibility for their recoveries. These strengths can only come with exposure to opportunities that challenge them with the freedom to make pro-recovery choices. Additionally, with the support of the IOP and TLP treatment team, if slips or lapses do occur they can be easily caught and used as opportunities for learning and growth, further protecting the recoveries that many of these women have worked so hard to establish. At an outpatient level of care it can be much more difficult to catch and redirect slips or lapses and in the fragile time immediately following comprehensive treatment it is essential to have this additional support.

I have often used the following analogy to describe the necessity of IOP and TLP:  One would not spend months tirelessly creating a beautiful painting and then send it in its raw state out into the world before the paint dried. You would let it dry and seal it with a protective sealant first, right? IOP and TLP are that sealant over the dried paint. IOP and TLP help you to bring your work of art into the world which is full of things that could damage it, but because it is well set and protected, it is safer and better prepared.

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