Private Practice RD and Intuitive Eating Counselor Safiyya Suleman

What is your current position?

Registered Dietitian and Intuitive Eating Counselor for my Dietitian Saf (my own practice)

How did you get started in your career?

I worked as a Clinical dietitian and loved every aspect of it but as someone who struggled with her eating behaviors and confidence as a teenager, I always wanted to specialize in disordered eating. In 2020 I decided to start online coaching using my professional education and personal experience so that I could help women who feel stuck in unhealthy eating pattern and that want to break the cycle of dieting and binging.

What advice would you give to someone new to the field?

If you want to work in the eating disorder space you first need to reevaluate your food beliefs and if they are rooted in fatphobia or weight stigma. We live in a society drenched in diet culture, it is so important that any professional in this space is able to extract diet ingrained thoughts so that they can help their clients recover fully.

Some resources you can turn to include:

  • Health at Every Size by Lindo Bacon
  • Intuitive Eating by Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole
  • Anti-Diet by Christy Harrison

There is a lot of weight bias, thin privilege and internalized fatphobia that one needs to unpack before they are truly of service in this space. Once you are able to identify and process your biases, only then do you have the full picture of how you can support and help someone else.

This is my Instagram: https://instagram.com/dietitiansaf

Email: Safiyya@dietitiansaf.com

Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian Rachael McBride

Rachael McBride, MCN, RD/LD, CEDRD-S (she/her/hers) is a Registered & Licensed Dietitian

What is your current position?

I am a Registered Dietitian working in private practice and I work primarily with individuals with eating disorders. I also teach a nutrition class at UT Dallas.

How did you get started in your career?

Before going back to school to be a dietitian, I worked as a counselor in the substance use disorder field. Having the background in behavioral health was super helpful, but I still needed to learn about the new role I was taking on. It helped so much to seek out people who have been at this and have wisdom to share, like (obviously) Jessica Setnick. A lovely thing is that our field is that it is very supportive, so most people are willing to support and guide rather than try to compete with each other. From there, I was able to start finding my own voice as a clinician while drawing on the wisdom and experience of others.

What advice would you give to someone new to the field?

Go where the smart people are! In my dietetics program we barely grazed the topic of eating disorders. Knowing that is true of most training for dietitians and therapists, most of us enter the field with essentially no training. It is important that we seek this out ourselves, and thankfully there are SO many great places to learn: IFEDD, local iaedp chapters, webinars from many different treatment centers, and more. These resources were invaluable in helping me learn how to do this job and still teach me something new every time I show up.

Also, if you go into private practice, office with people you genuinely adore and trust. This work can get stressful and lonely sometimes, so your support system needs to be close. Plus it’s just more fun that way.

Learn more about Rachael:

Certified Eating Disorders Registered Dietitian
9535 Forest Lane, Suite 258, Dallas, TX 75243
214.226.8286 call/text
rachael@herenownutrition.com
www.herenownutrition.com

Regional Recovery Executive Dana Suitor

What is your current position?

I am a Regional Recovery Executive with Rosewood Centers for Eating Disorders.  I provide information about our program to professionals, families and potential patients interested in treatment with us.

 

How did you get started in your career?

I was very blessed that the Director of Business Development at a treatment center that no longer exists, saw something in me and gave me an opportunity to do outreach, that has been almost 13 years ago.  There was so many things to learn as far as business development, traveling and how to go about discussing treating eating disorders with professional but I knew in my heart that helping people is what I was meant to do, so I learned everything that I possibly could and have kept reaching for the stars ever since.

What advice would you give to someone new to the field? 

If your position is a traveling one, always have a toiletry bag in your suitcase, trust me, you will thank me for this one!

If you do not know the answer to a question about your program, its okay to say, I am not sure and get back to the professional in a timely manner.

Private Practice RD, Consultant and Podcast Jessica Jones

What is your current position?

I am the founder of my private practice and consulting business, Jessica Jones Nutrition. I’m also the co-founder of Food Heaven, a multimedia wellness platform and podcast. I help people from diverse backgrounds improve their health while healing their relationship with food.

How did you get started in your career?

I was a journalist first and then decided I wanted to become a dietitian as a second career. I started my nutrition career by taking all of the prereqs and while also working for the NYC department of health teaching nutrition education and conducting cooking demos in marginalized communities in Harlem, the Bronx, and Brooklyn. Once I received my RD and MS, I went on to work in-patient, then outpatient, and finally in University Health Services. It was there that I started working with clients who had eating disorders. This wasn’t something that I was originally interested in, but  I discovered that I had a passion for working with underrepresented folks within this population. My ultimate goal was to work for myself and open a private practice while also doing recipe development and co-hosting the Food Heaven podcast. I was so excited when that dream finally became a reality in 2019.

What advice would you give to someone new to the field?

Stick with it! Becoming a dietitian isn’t easy and I wanted to quit SO many times (and I’m not a quitter, it was just that intense). When you are feeling like it’s hard remember your why and try to take baby steps towards your goals

 

Learn more about Jessica Jones, MS, RD, CDE (she/her):

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Certified Diabetes Educator

o: 510.423.3636 I c: 415.572.1444

Food Heaven, www.foodheavenmadeeasy.com

Jessica Jones Nutrition, www.jessicajonesnutrition.com

 

Dietitian, Strength and Conditioning Coach, and Consultant Matt Stranberg

Matt Stranberg MS RDN LDN CSSD CSCS

What is your current position?

I am currently working as a dietitian, strength and conditioning coach and consultant, focusing on the intersection of nutrition, physical activity, and mental health. Although I work with a wide range of populations, most of my work involves addressing eating disorders, disordered eating, and problematic physical activity. My consultations typically involve helping athletes and non-athletes alike, translate the science of nutrition and exercise into pragmatic solutions to help improve relationships with food, exercise and ultimately build a life worth living! As of right now, I split my time between my consulting practice and the Walden GOALS Program.The GOALS program is a program that I helped create, specifically designed for competitive and recreational athletes who are struggling with eating disorders or disordered eating. To learn more about the work we do at GOALS, I would encourage you to read our most recent research publication.

How did you get started in your career?

Given the specificity of this niche, many people often assume that this was my life’s calling. My entrance into the field, however, was more so an idea that came to me during the inevitable existential crisis many students face upon completing graduate school. Towards the end of my dietetic internship training program at Brigham and Women’s hospital, I began to feel inspired.

During my experiences as a strength and conditioning coach, nutritionist, and counselor, I had always felt that nutrition, physical activity, and psychology were inherently intertwined. My experiences in the field, as well as my own personal struggles with disordered eating, eating disorder behaviors, compulsive exercise and body image issues, further reinforced these links. Although I was able to recover, during my time as a coach, I observed I was not alone. Many teams I worked for presented a multitude of similar problems related to mental health. Countless athletes I encountered were suffering in silence and had nowhere to turn for help. After reflecting on these experiences, I became determined to start working on solutions to solve this problem.

Based on my skills, research, and years working in the field, I was confident I could collaborate with other professionals to create a groundbreaking program that offered evidence-based treatment to an underserved population. The CEO and executive team at Walden Behavioral Care recognized and embraced this opportunity. With the help of my colleagues, we started the GOALS program. This ultimately started my journey to further developing my specialty position helping athletes and non-athletes alike heal their relationship with food, body image, and physical activity. Now that I have been in this line of work for over 5 years, I feel like this has become an actual life-calling. I never imagined working in a field that is so rich with learning, challenges and personal fulfillment while also making a great impact. I am excited to see how this field continues to evolve over time.

What advice do you have for someone new to the field?

First and foremost, I would strongly advise anyone entering the field to explore if this field is a good fit. This isn’t meant to discourage but rather encourage exploration to determine which field or section of a field best aligns with your overall needs, goals, style, and expectations. As someone who once worked outside the field, I conducted extensive research before treating eating disorders fulltime and even then, I was still floored by the stark contrast between what I heard and read versus my actual day to day. This is especially pertinent for differing levels of care, as each level of care on the continuum involves a variety of populations, settings, challenges, upsides, and downsides. A dietitian’s work treating eating disorders in outpatient will be radically different compared to inpatient and residential and so on. Additionally, although a lot of dietitians might think that working in the eating disorder field feels intuitively like a good fit, it is absolutely critical to understand if you are ready to counsel clients who struggle with eating disorders or problems related to body image and exercise. Traditional dietetic education does not adequately prepare students or dietitians to counsel this specialized population, which can pose a significant problem especially in relation to counseling effectives or transference and countertransference. In a counseling context, transference refers to “redirection of a patient’s feelings for a significant person to the therapist,” while countertransference is defined as “redirection of a therapist’s feelings toward a patient, or more generally, as a therapist’s emotional entanglement with a patient.” These phenomena are cornerstones to all therapeutic interactions and if the counselor espouses various beliefs regarding food, exercise, body shape and size or still struggles with these areas, it can interfere with therapeutic relationships or increase a chance of an anti-therapeutic relationship. For those interested in learning more, Dietitian Marci Evans, offers a quick, self-assessment. If the assessment determines this work might not be a good fit, please do not despair! It simply means, more work is required to enter the field, such as seeing a therapist to further explore these thoughts, feelings and beliefs. If you are motivated, Marci’s guide can help provide clues regarding areas to address before proceeding. This exploration also brings me to my next important point. It is monumentally important to establish networking and mentorship.

To best explore the field and adjust to the challenges present at every level, I would strongly recommend devoting time to networking and mentorship. Expanding and cultivating a network is essential for career success but will also increase chances of finding mentors. As previously discussed, traditional dietetic education is woefully insufficient for work with eating disorders, especially in relation to psychology and counseling challenging populations. Most trained professionals in the field of psychology and psychiatry agree that eating disorder patients are amongst some of the most challenging populations to treat and that is from the perspective of those who receive intensive psychological counseling training! Considering that most dietitians receive minimal training in these areas, it remains vital to address this deficit through self-study, mentorship, and additional training. Personal experience with eating disorders or a handful of counseling sessions is simply not sufficient. Finding mentors in the realm of dietetics and therapy, supplemented with self-study through reading peer reviewed research and professional therapeutic manuals will help you develop a general foundation before seeking further specialization. Counseling modalities such as motivational interviewing and the basics of psychodynamic therapy can help new clinicians develop a framework for counseling, while studying and incorporating therapies such as DBT, CBT, ACT and IFS can synergize with other therapist approaches or provide another layer of counseling depth. The latter however can take time to develop and frequently requires coaching and oversight. It should be known, that the knowledge and skills needed to be effective in this field will require ongoing practice and education, which only further stresses the emphasis on mentorship and continuing education. The silver lining with these seemingly daunting endeavors, is the immense reward derived from learning and engaging in incredibly fulfilling work.

Lastly, although there are possibly countless more tips I could advise, I will keep it simple and recommend another area that is crucial for success in the field but is rarely discussed; the need for boundaries and self-care. I am assuming that if you are interested in entering the field, you want to help others. This is great and one of the most critical components of your job. If your client or patient doesn’t feel that you care or want to help, there will be little chance of building trust and rapport. Without establishing trust and rapport, not much will change. Bringing your best self to your sessions and work is of the utmost importance. This doesn’t mean perfection, or that counselors don’t experience ups and downs in relation to counseling effectiveness. Counseling experiences and work performance will vary daily as, after all, we are all human. That being said, eating disorder work can be incredibly draining emotionally, physically and spiritually. It is incredibly meaningful to be someone’s support and witness during challenging times, and at the same time it requires considerable attention, energy and effort. If you are always pouring out your energy for others and rarely taking time to recharge and refill, you will increase your chances of burnout. When you first start, you might feel impervious and ready to take on the world, with endless optimistic energy. The reality of the work nonetheless is quite challenging and similar to intense exercise or study. All work and no rest will only result in decreased ability to perform, sickness or burnout. This will only negatively affect yourself and your ability to be effective or enjoy the work. Working with a therapist and mentor can help you develop an understanding of your energy levels, boundaries, provide room for processing difficult interactions and how to navigate the challenging work, life balance that typically challenges healthcare professionals. Although this might seem foreign for new dietitians, one of the major strengths of the eating disorder field includes a rich online community with listservs and resources to help providers connect. I am eternally grateful for these communities as I am unsure where I would be without them.

I could provide more tips beyond the ones mentioned above, but if you address these areas you will be off to a great start. If you have any further questions or concerns, feel free to reach out. I am always willing to help!

Learn more about Matt at:

Website: Mattstranbegconsulting.com

Research publications pertinent to topic: https://jandonline.org/article/S2212-2672(19)31025-1/abstract

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattstranberg/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/mattstranbergconsulting

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MattStranberg

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/matt_stranberg_consulting/

Owner of Pursuing Private Practice, Jennifer McGurk

Jennifer McGurk, RDN, CDN, CEDRD-S
Certified Eating Disorders Registered Dietitian
Clinical Supervisor & Business Coach

What is your current position?

I have two passions that I bring to my role as an entrepreneur. I am currently the owner of a group private practice, Eat With Knowledge, and lead a team of dietitians to support clients in eating disorder treatment. Our practice is virtual, but we are based out of Nyack NY. I also am the owner of Pursuing Private Practice. Pursuing Private Practice is on a mission to empower dietitians to start and grow a business rooted in a non-diet philosophy. Pursuing Private Practice offers many different resources for building a business. I have courses to purchase: Beginner Basics (all about starting a private practice) and also Help Your Clients Feel Fabulous About Food (all about nutrition counseling skills). I also run a membership program called Dietitian Business School. There is a collective energy among this group of dietitians rebelling against the dietitian “norm” to build a business and make money with a weight-inclusive approach to health. Dietitian Business School includes business education and training, group coaching and group supervision, self-care, accountability, and community all in one.

How did you get started in your career?

I will change this to “how did I get started with running my own business?” because I love that question! I honestly just took a leap of faith and started. I had no idea what I was doing and was so scared. But I knew the power of my mission would be stronger than any fear. I also got a lot of help and support along the way, and learned from all of the mistakes I made! I started out in diabetes education, and also worked for a college health center before opening my private practice in 2011.

What advice would you give to someone new to the field?

Hang out with dietitians that inspire you! Don’t be afraid to say hi on social media, introduce yourself at conferences, and learn from dietitians with supervision and joining groups/memberships/courses. We need more dietitian business owners that specialize in eating disorders, so don’t get discouraged with the current system that does not provide enough education, training, and support! Seek out your own opportunities to truly create the career (and life!) that you want to have.

Learn more about Jennifer at:

Eat With Knowledge (group private practice): www.eatwithknowledge.com

Pursuing Private Practice: www.pursuingprivatepractice.com

 

Dietitian Business Plan Roadmap

Congrats on starting a private practice!! I bet you are so excited, but I know the feeling to also be overwhelmed with all of the advice coming at you from all over the place. You can sign up for a free business plan roadmap that takes you through the key steps to start a business so you can focus on what really matters and leave the rest behind: https://www.pursuingprivatepractice.com/join

 

Marketing Bootcamp (3 day challenge)

Many dietitians have no idea they are actually marketing all wrong, without any official strategy in place for their business. This marketing bootcamp will give you 3 fundamental marketing strategies to get at least 3 new clients to your business: https://pursuingprivatepractice.com/challenge

 

Beginner Basics https://pursuingprivatepractice.com/beginner-basics/

If you’re ready to get the doors of your private practice open–even virtually- Beginner Basics is for you! This course will teach you how to get your private practice set up with CONFIDENCE and includes business education videos on everything from mindset to finances to setting up an office space–even the pros and cons of taking insurance.

Beginner Basics includes worksheets to help you create your own business plan, the exact forms you need for your business (that are all completely editable to make them your own), and how to do an inquiry call! Plus a bonus recorded workshop about marketing a virtual private practice!

 

Dietitian Business Schoolwww.dietitianbusinessschool.com

Dietitian Business School is a membership for dietitians that are growing a private practice and beyond! You’ll be joining a powerful group of dietitians who believe in a non-diet way of counseling.

 

Dietitian Business School includes business education and training, group coaching and group supervision, self-care, accountability, and community all in one. We encourage you to lean into the uncertainty and challenge yourself to do things for your business that will truly create change for you as a business owner. Come hang out with dietitians that will inspire you.