1. What is your name and what are your credentials?
Stephanie Diamond, PhD, Licensed Psychologist, Clinical Director of Casa Azul.
2. What is your background (brief introduction)?
Growing up I had a few close friends who struggled with eating disorders. One of the main forces that drew me to the study of psychology was witnessing the depths of their struggles and feeling powerless in helping them. I received a masters degree in counseling psychology in 2003 at McGill University in Montreal, and moved to Miami in 2005 to pursue a doctorate at the University of Miami. Throughout my training, my interest in working with women’s issues and eating disorders never waned, and I continued to seek out experiences that would enhance my knowledge and understanding of eating disorders. I found Oliver-Pyatt Centers in 2009 while applying for fellowship positions and the rest is history!
3. What does a typical day look like for you at OPC?
I try to start my day with a quick round upstairs saying good morning to all of the women and staff in Casa Azul. Then it’s right to work! My days are fast-paced and my to-do list is usually long! Mornings involve administrative tasks, email/phone calls, and meetings with primary therapists and other team members to discuss the patients. Lunch time is typically spent in a meeting to plan programmatic changes, discuss admissions, or have some case consultation time. Afternoons consist of individual meetings with patients, phone calls to families and outpatient providers, and documentation. If I have a window of time, I try to squeeze in a game of Bananagrams or Scattergories with some of the women (I don’t often win.) My day ends with troubleshooting any clinical issues that may have arisen during the day. Before I leave I again round with the women to wish them a peaceful night.
4. In your own words, describe the OPC philosophy.
The OPC philosophy is grounded in fostering mindfulness and intuitive living. It is through the development of mindfulness and intuitive skills that the patient can shift toward trust in self and away from the eating disorder. We work with each patient, see her as the unique individual she is, and help her to connect/reconnect with and honor her true self. This requires developing trust in others and ultimately, trust in self. A goal is to help each woman become aware of what has been driving her eating disorder, and to help her learn how to identify and meet her unmet needs. Full and true recovery is possible when trust in self is established and when needs can be adaptively met.
5. 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?
Each week the clinical directors meet to ensure we are on the same page and that the programs are run consistently across houses. We also brainstorm ways to make our programs even better! Our roles and duties are the same, and yet we’ve all been told that each Casa has a unique vibe.
6. What would you say is the personality of your casa?
Calm, nurturing, friendly, efficient.
7. What is your favorite thing about OPC?
I can’t just pick one thing! So I will cheat and give you my top two; the staff, who are like family to me, and the privilege of witnessing many women’s transformative healing processes.
8. What are three facts about you that people do not know?
1. I was born and raised in Montreal, Canada. 2. I am fluent in French. 3. I love to play golf!
9. Any additional information you want to share with our readers?
I feel lucky to work at a place and with a team that I would confidently refer my closest friends and family to, if they ever needed this type of care.
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