A big shout out goes to those eating disorder experts that teach or work in school environments. These experts are much needed for the education of our future experts and the education of collegiate athletes. When asked to give advice to those hoping to enter the field, they said the following:
“Be curious and read! Research is the foundation of evidence-based practice. If you learn how to read, think critically, discern and apply research, you are going to be a strong and respected clinician. These are skills learned largely in graduate school. These skills need to be practiced! So read, and read often; discuss research with colleagues; make it part of your commitment to being a lifelong learner. Read books and blogs in the consumer sphere also. Understand the lived experience and the diversity of the lived experience as much as you can. In addition, get as much specialty training as you can through webinars, podcasts, courses, conferences, clinical supervision, etc. Take your first job in an ED treatment center where you have lots of dietitian colleagues and a multidisciplinary treatment team at your side so that you can learn from their wisdom, experience and collaboration. This kind of on-the-job training and supervision is both invaluable and necessary to develop your clinical competence in this challenging niche of practice. Learn to be an effective listener. Your listening (and counseling) skills will endear you to your clients, allow you to build empathy, and cultivate effective and sustainable working relationships with your clients. Above all, practice consistent self-care. This work is demanding and hard but it is also incredibly rewarding.”- Paula Quatromoni DSc, RD
“Imposter Syndrome is very real. It is always good to balance that out with reminding yourself what you know and what you don’t while making sure to stick within your scope of practice. One of the things that has helped me the most is attending webinars, reading books, and just getting my hands on any ED-related material I can. This field is challenging and yet so rewarding. Always keep in mind the nature of eating disorders … progress in recovery usually has nothing to do with you as a clinician. Sometimes it’s good to remind yourself of that!” – Clair El-Jor MSc, LD
“Stay open to a complex and integrative perspective on body image and eating problems—one that explores their spiritual dimensions and that thinks critically about the cultural underpinnings of these problems. This openness will foster an understanding of eating disorders as responses to human suffering that tragically create more suffering. Such an understanding fosters the compassion that is necessary for the process of healing. I urge new professionals in the field of eating disorders to investigate the spiritual needs that obsessions with food and weight thinly veil, and I would encourage them to define “spiritual needs” very broadly (i.e., in non-sectarian terms), including the need for a sense of purpose, love, inspiration, courage, community, agency, and peace.” – Michelle Lelwica Ph.D
“Go for it…while getting training and support. I highly recommend Eating Disorders Boot Camp & Molly Kellogg’s Counseling Intensive, as well as Molly Kellogg’s phone supervision.”– Amy Culp RD, CSSD, LD
Check out these experts’ full interviews at https://eatingdisorderjobs.com/category/advice-from-experts/ and search the right column for their name.