The Role of the Adolescent Therapist in Eating Disorder Treatment
It takes a multidisciplinary team to treat eating disorders, and each member plays a vital role in getting clients on the road to recovery. That’s why we’re highlighting the various roles within our care team in this blog series.
Vanessa Sovine is one such team member. She’s an adolescent therapist at our Anna Westin House in Saint Paul, MN. She meets individually with clients, leads goals and psychoeducation groups, and attends supportive meals. For each of her clients, she serves as the main contact for their families and is responsible for communicating their treatment direction to staff.
“There are so many moving parts in an adolescent eating disorder treatment world,” said Vanessa. “I like to think that I’m the home base that all parts of their treatment world can come to for clarity and support. I also like to think that I can be the safe space for the resident to be vulnerable, which is how the healing starts.”
However, many of Vanessa’s duties start before the resident is even admitted. She begins with a review of the client’s intake to get a sense of the struggle and to plan possible interventions. She then meets with the family to begin building a trusting relationship with them and ensure they are on board with the treatment direction. She then completes an Assessment of Immediate Needs and an Individual Abuse Prevention Plan.
In her work, Vanessa strives to let her residents know that they are being heard because she believes validation in their journey and what they’re feeling is crucial to getting better. It’s her goal to create a partnership with her clients. It’s not her versus the client; they are battling the disorder together. She is only as successful as her clients.
“The best part is to start to see a resident coming alive again once they begin to get nourished,” Vanessa said. “You see the light in their eyes and hear the parents say, ‘There’s my child.’ That’s awesome.”