Spotlight on Lasting Recovery: Staff Profile with Kristine Suchan
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, Kristine Suchan, LMFT, Clinical Manager of the Intensive Outpatient Program at Eating Recovery Center of California, shares her passion for working with the eating disordered population as she says, “I want to make a difference in people’s lives…helping them find their true selves outside of their physical appearance.”
1. What is your role at Eating Recovery Center? (also mention how long you’ve worked for ERC and the different roles you’ve had!)
Currently, I am the Clinical Manager of Outpatient services at Eating Recovery Center of California (ERCCA) in Sacramento, CA which includes both Intensive Outpatient Programming and Outpatient Groups and Services. I have worked for Eating Recovery Center of California for almost 9 years and prior to my current role, I worked as a Primary Clinician in both the Partial Hospitalization Program and Intensive Outpatient Program.
2. What inspired you to become involved in the treatment of eating disorders?
While pursuing my Master’s degree in Clinical Counseling, I had the opportunity to work in a private practice setting where I counseled women of all ages who struggled with low self-esteem and related body image issues. I sought more knowledge on how to reach these extremely bright and talented women who were very focused on their perceived inadequacies related to their bodies, which determined their self-worth. Also, as a female myself and having raised two daughters, I knew our culture places great value on physical appearance only to the detriment of all females in our society. Again, I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives which encompassed helping people find their true selves outside of their physical appearance.
3. What is your favorite or most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my work is observing the internal changes that occur over time with patients’ insight and awareness and how this transforms them into believing in themselves!
4. What is the most challenging part of your job?
The most challenging part of my work is sitting with my patients and observing their painful process of not believing in themselves and not feeling the will to live. I see and feel their strength and want to empower them to love and accept their authentic selves.
5. What is one piece of advice you would give to individuals in recovery?
The one piece of advice I would give to those in recovery is to build your support system with your outpatient team’s help so when things get tough you have support to access!
6. What do you feel Eating Recovery Center of CA offers to support “lasting recovery”?
ERCCA offers lasting support in assisting patients, while in treatment, to build the tools and skills along with educating their support people on how they can best support the patient. We also emphasize the necessity of creating an outpatient team for lasting recovery, guiding them in this process during discharge planning, as evidenced based research indicates this as the best prevention for relapse.
7. Tell us about PHP/IOP. How do you feel PHP/IOP is beneficial in eating disorder recovery, and life after treatment?
I feel PHP and IOP offer the services to aid patients in starting on the road to recovery from a structured treatment setting with warm, compassionate staff along with the medical, psychological and dietary skills used to implement their foundation as they move through recovery.