Sarah Blake, LCSW
Owner & Psychotherapist at Blake Psychotherapy & Associates
How did you get started in the eating disorders field?
I had always been interested in the field, but I was a bit worried. It is one thing to have an interest in something. It is completely different to dive in and “get your hands dirty,” so to speak, and do the actual work involved in it. I worked unbelievably hard to make sure that my field placements were both in women’s issues. My first was working in a battered women’s shelter. It was a great placement, but for my second year, I was able to get a field placement at the Belmont Center in Philadelphia, PA. I worked for that whole year on the eating disorder unit – running groups, providing family therapy, and working on discharge planning. I loved every minute of it. It was in that year that I knew this was the work I wanted to do with my life. Throughout my career, I have dabbled in some work with other populations and different kinds of work, to allow me to become a more well rounded clinician. However, every time I come back to working with eating disorders. It is the work I do best, and I never get tired of it.
What I cannot emphasize strongly enough is to get involved in the field early. You can get into the trenches by being a mental health tech. You can volunteer to work at events that the local chapter of NEDA puts on. You can find out what events are happening for eating disorders awareness week and get involved on that level. As a student, you can even go to professional conferences. There is so much you can learn. The more you have done and taken in, the more likely you will be able to get someone to take a closer look at your resume later. As this field has become much more of a “field” then it was when I started 17 years ago, there are also many more people in it. Thus, there is more competition. If you think this is work you want to do – get out there now and see how you can get involved, learn, and help. It will do so much for you later and you will be glad you started from the ground up.
Sarahs website is www.blakepsychotherapy.com.