Eating Recovery Center and Partner Program staff members are passionate about supporting patients and alumni, and they play an integral role in the recovery process by sharing their wealth of experience and wisdom with patients in treatment. We hope that by learning about their passion for lasting recovery, you will be encouraged and inspired in your own recovery journey. This month, Kelly Berg, Clinical Assessment Coordinator at Eating Recovery Center of San Antonio shares her passion for working with the eating disordered population. What is your role at Eating Recovery Center of San Antonio? My role at Eating Recovery Center of San Antonio is the Clinical Assessment Coordinator. I joined the team in August 2014. I serve as the initial point person for all new patients that are interested in joining treatment at Eating Recovery Center of San Antonio. I also complete the clinical assessments for patients to determine appropriate level care and program, as well as provide support and encouragement during their first stages of recovery. What inspired you to become involved in the treatment of eating disorders? In my career thus far as a clinical social worker, I’ve gotten to work with a variety of populations and have always had an interest in the treatment of eating disorders as it was something I often came across. When the opportunity arose for me to join Eating Recovery Center and Eating Recovery Center of San Antonio in a clinical assessment position, I was very excited for the opportunity to increase my knowledge and expertise in that area. What is your favorite or most rewarding part of your job? The most rewarding part of my job is being able to connect with patients who may be scared or reluctant to start treatment and getting to see them admit and progress through treatment and recovery. I love participating in Eating Recovery Center of San Antonio’s “goodbye ceremonies” for patients who are discharging and reflect on the transformation that has occurred with the patient from admission to discharge. What is the most challenging part of your job? The most challenging part of the job is connecting with and empathizing with patients who come in and are very ill, yet are unable or unwilling to commit to treatment or recovery at that point in their life. These patients often keep me worried about how they are doing and hopeful that they will eventually get into treatment and recovery. It is my hope that some part of the clinical assessment process connected with them and they will feel comfortable reaching back out once they are in a place in which recovery and treatment is more feasible for them. What is one piece of advice you would give to individuals in recovery? I would encourage all individuals in recovery to keep going and push through the challenges. I want them to remember that there is hope for recovery and keep their motivation for recovery in mind. I think it helps to hold on how their ED is most negatively impacting their life (i.e. work, school, medical or social interference) and remember that when faced with challenges during recovery. Also, when faced with these challenges, it’s imperative to utilize their support system which includes their treatment team. The treatment team understands that challenges and “bumps in the road” are a normal part of recovery and are there to support patients through these. What do you feel Eating Recovery Center of San Antonio offers to support “lasting recovery”? Eating Recovery Center of San Antonio offers lasting recovery by really embracing patients into the “Eating Recovery Center of San Antonio family.” We offer PHP and IOP levels of care, and set up strong outpatient teams for patients when they are ready to discharge. Former patients should know that there are alumni events and opportunities to reconnect with your team at Eating Recovery Center of San Antonio while you are in recovery. Patients also know that the door is always open for patients to call us or come back in if they are struggling. We are here to provide them with ongoing support in all stages of recovery. Tell us about PHP/IOP. How do you feel PHP/IOP is beneficial in eating disorder recovery, and life after treatment? PHP at Eating Recovery Center of San Antonio meets 7 days a week for 8-11 hours each day. PHP is the transition level between Residential treatment and IOP treatment. It provides structure but also incorporates factors to prepare patients for “real world situations.” This level of support offers medical and psychiatric support, in addition to group therapy, family therapy and individual therapy. The patients receive dietary support in the form of a meal plan, meal monitoring/meal support and individual sessions with their dietician. We also work with the patients on exposures and challenges for activities such as grocery shopping and restaurant outings. From PHP, patients step down to IOP. At Eating Recovery Center of San Antonio, IOP consists of 12-20 hours/week (3-4 hours/day). The IOP schedule is geared towards ongoing group support, individual or family therapy support and less intensive dietary support. Patients often plan their schedule (with the support of their treatment team) around groups and meals with which they would like ongoing support. IOP is readying patients to return to their full time lives, jobs and/or school, while still receiving support in their recovery. These levels of care of imperative in the recovery process as they help patients practice their recovery skills while still living their lives. This is the place where patients can engage in challenges and problem solve through real-world problems that arise in relation to their eating disorder.