Systemic and Family Psychotherapist
Fighting an eating disorder is far from being a straight forward process, and young people are commonly quite ambivalent about it. Recovering from an eating disorder is the most difficult thing your child will ever go through in their lives. Needless to say, they can’t do alone, although they might try to convince you that they can.
Over the last decade, I specialised in the treatment of adults and young people struggling with eating disorders. As a Family Therapist, my role has been to involve families in the treatment, not because we see them as part of the problem, but because families are part of the solution; families are our golden key in the recovery journey. For that reason, part of the treatment involves helping parents understand what eating disorders are, and how they fit in the treatment; it also involves sharing our tools with them, so treatment and care can continue between sessions.
Having a loved one struggling with a mental illness turns your family-life upside down. Each member of the family will have a different relationship with the illness, and frequently parents/carers find themselves caught up in unhelpful interactions, which can be driven by guilt, sadness, or anger.
Some of the common issues parents bring to Family Therapy are:
Your child is not yet ready to acknowledge their relationship with food is a problem, or the gravity of that problem. In any case, they are not yet contemplating change. In the meantime, parents are desperate to help, to find ways in which they can support their loved ones. That, in turn, takes a toll on relationships and might result in the young person becoming more defensive and disconnected from parents or family.
Your child is talking about change and receiving individual support, but you are feeling out of the loop, without clear guidelines or directions on how to support them.
Your child’s illness has inadvertently accentuated conflicts and unhelpful patterns of communication, and you find yourselves escalating arguments, or treading on eggshells, and you are struggling to cope with your own emotions. In any case, an eating disorder puts tremendous strain on families’ coping strategies. If you are in this situation, do not hesitate and give me a call.
My story starts in Brazil, where I trained for five years to become a Clinical Psychologist. That followed a three years post graduate studies to specialise in Family Therapy. I then moved to the UK where I trained further and received a Master’s degree in Family Therapy from King’s College London. Since then, I have been immersed in the treatment of eating disorders within the NHS.
Adding to my clinical role I was also responsible for the coordination and facilitation of the service’s Family Support Package, which consisted on a 6-week workshop programme for parents, aiming to provide them with tools to help their child’s journey to recovery.
At the end of 2019 my family and I moved to New Zealand, where I now work privately and continue to support families getting through this process. I am fortunate to be able to also continue working with clients from the UK, as we benefit from online platforms for meetings and sessions. Online therapy is an incredible resource, especially if you find it difficult to commute and travel for appointments for any reason, or need appointments outside usual working hours.
For a detailed CV, please check my page on LinkedIn.
Therapeutic Care Worker
I worked in the Metropolitan Police for twelve years, the last eight as a serving Police Officer. Through my experiences, I discovered my passion for working with children and young people.
I began working as a Therapeutic Care Worker 6 years ago, and have worked in both Tier 4 (inpatients) and in Tier 3 (intensive outpatients) settings for children and young people with eating disorders: mainly Anorexia. The two approaches were very different, and the philosophy behind Eating Disorder's Home Care has evolved from these experiences.
I ensure that I keep myself updated with evolving eating disorder practices through attending relevant training courses, alongside my work in an NHS eating disorder's unit.
I hold a Level 2 Qualification in British Sign language (BSL), which enables me to work effectively with hearing impaired individuals and families.
I hold a BTEC Level 3 Award in Education and Training and work with The Inclusion Initiative Company as an associate trainer, delivering mental health and wellbeing training in the workplace. I am a qualified Mental Health First Aider.
Understandably, COVID-19 has had a profound impact on many of those who have a pre-existing vulnerability to mental ill health, and referrals to Eating Disorder's Home Care have increased. We have been able to fully support our patients’ needs, by providing daily meal support via FaceTime.
When a person is affected by an eating disorder, the whole family is impacted. It is my firm belief, supported by the evidence, that young peoples' recovery is greatly facilitated when remaining in their home environments, being supported to live their normal lives, whilst navigating the world of recovery.
Meal times are often very difficult and stressful, and this is where my help and support has proven to be the most beneficial. Over the past year and a half, I have worked with many young people within the context of Eating Disorder's Home Care, and the feedback I have received informs me that our mode of practice is very efficacious.
I’m an accredited practising dietitian with experience in both adult and paediatric nutrition.
My journey started in the acute adult setting, but my passion for paediatrics developed when I was lucky enough to experience paediatrics as a student. I now specialise in this area, specifically in Child and Adolescent Mental Health (Eating Disorders, Autism, ADHD), working alongside families to ensure they are involved in the care and treatment decisions.
I have also completed my post graduate certificate in Systemic Practices, working with individuals, families and organisations, foundation level. I also undertake various study days throughout the year to ensure I provide up to date evidenced based medicine.
Life experiences can cause us to lose touch with our natural instinct and intuition when it comes to food.
We are constantly bombarded with conflicting messages about diet and
health which can make eating and our relationship with food difficult.
I’m passionate about supporting people to find their way back and aim to provide a holistic, non-judgemental and supportive environment to help you achieve your goals.
I have been working in the dietetic field since 2015 gaining expertise in parenteral, enteral and oral nutrition support (for both adults and paediatrics) in a vast area of clinical conditions including gastroenterology (IBD, IBS), lower GI surgery, ITU, respiratory disorders, eating disorders, Type 1 Diabetes.