Cynthia Hutchins MS, LPC
Therapist in Private Practice
How did you get started in your career?
I began my career in counseling at a general mental health care facility in Arkansas. I did outpatient counseling with individuals with a variety of problems, both acute and chronic. I did psychological testing for the court system and was on call at their in-patient hospital one day a week. At that facility, I ultimately opened two satellite offices, one in a rural area and another on a local college campus.
I applied for a job at West Oaks Hospital in Houston, TX and grabbed the opportunity to work as a counselor in their large eating disorder program. I was excited to specialize in something so complex and at that time, one of the few specialized eating disorder treatment programs in the south. I eventually became the coordinator of that program. Several years later, I moved to Dallas to become the coordinator of the Baylor Outpatient Eating Disorder Program.
What advice would you give to someone new to the field?
Begin your career in a general mental health setting because so many of the eating disordered population have co-existing diagnoses. This broad background will provide a firm foundation to build upon.
As you move into counseling eating disorders, affiliate with a group of treatment professionals to serve as mentors and build a team of allied professionals that you know have experience in treating eating disorders. I routinely refer my clients to a dietician, a cardiologist, a psychiatrist, and an internist who orders blood work and bone density scans. Become familiar with the network of local free support groups.
My final piece of advice is “feed your own mind, body, and soul as you guide your client to do the same.”