‘Recovery Means Hope. It Means There is a Light’: An interview with Galen Hope Clinical Director Jeanette Alonso

“You pursue this profession with a vision of helping others and making a difference. Along the way, you experience challenges, highs, and lows. After all, your job at times entails meeting clients in the depths of their despair and dysfunction. And then there are those moments when you see the light, and even more inspiring and fulfilling, when they see the light. When hope, healing, and happiness isn’t just a goal but actually a living reality.”

Part of what makes Galen Hope so special is our incredible team. To help you to get to know them, we sat down for a conversation with them. This is our chat with Galen Hope’s Clinical Director, Jeanette Alonso MSEd, LMHC.

During 17 years of working in the mental health and eating disorders fields, Jeanette has helped hundreds of teens and adults overcome eating disorders, and create a more positive relationship with food, exercise, and body image.

A licensed mental health counselor, Jeanette is one of the first Galen Hope team members that clients meet when they start treatment for anorexia, bulimia, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other complex mental health conditions. In therapy, she uses a wide variety of cognitive behavioral and psychodynamic approaches, combined with creative and expressive interventions, to help clients gain insights into their behavior and reach their greatest potential.

Jeanette’s previous experiences includes working for organizations that treat children who have been sexually abused, as well as adults who have experienced sexual trauma and PTSD. An expert in trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, she is also member of the Perinatal Mental Health Society and the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals,

What should clients expect as they embark on their treatment journey at Galen Hope?

On their first day, they meet with me, as well as the other members of the care team. We do a comprehensive orientation to help them feel comfortable and know what to expect. Right off the bat that first week, they’re starting their therapy sessions, groups, and meeting with their care partner and all the other members of the care team. During that first week, there’s also a lot of support given to the family. It’s giving the clients and families a lot of love and helping them understand what we can provide to them.

How do you get to know the clients and each of their unique clinical presentations?

Before they even come through our doors, we speak with their families and the providers who are referring them. I also meet with them individually on their first day, to start to get to know them, how we can support them, and what they need to get from our program. As a team, we all work together to understand their goals and help them achieve that.

What are some of the conditions that clients seek treatment at Galen Hope for, and who is part of the care team?

We see clients with eating disorders, PTSD, a history of trauma, depression, and anxiety. We also see clients with psychosis. We treat all their co-occurring conditions simultaneously. By treating the whole person, we’re able to offer the best outcomes for our clients.

The members of the care team are me (the clinical director), a therapist, dietitian, care partner and psychiatrist. Every client has their own individual care team that’s assigned particularly to them.

Can you tell us about how the team works with clients? How are therapeutic opportunities designed, and how do clients participate in them?

In the PHP level of care, they meet with their therapist three times a week. Two of those sessions are individual, and one is a family session. They also meet once a week with a dietitian and once a week with a psychiatrist. They meet with their care partner once a week or more, depending on what the client is working on at that time. When they step down to a lower level of care, they might have two individual sessions, and they would continue to meet weekly with the other members of their team.

Once a week, there is a treatment team meeting, where clients meet with the whole care team. We assess their goals, how they’re working on their goals, and we provide them with feedback as to how they’re doing. They also tell us how they feel they’re doing. We come together and continue to assess their needs and make sure that we are meeting them. This is an opportunity to create new therapeutic opportunities and set new goals as well.

What do you want clients to know about Galen Hope?

We want clients to know that when they come in through our doors, this is going to be their space. A safe space where they can reach out to anyone. All of us are accessible. We want them to know that we care. We want them to come here, do their work in a safe and loving environment. We want this to be where they’re going to get all their comprehensive needs met, do all their deep work, heal and be ready to thrive in their recovery.

Community is one of Galen Hope’s pillars of treatment. Can you talk a little more about what that means?

Community is the therapeutic community that we build in here. But it’s also the reintegrating into the community outside of here. It’s utilizing therapy and the support of the care partners to guide them and help them in having successful lives outside of here.

What does recovery from a mental health disorder, or an eating disorder mean to you?

Recovery for me means a second chance at life. An opportunity for growth. An opportunity to live life to their fullest capacity. Recovery means hope. It means there is a light.

THE ROAD TO WELLNESS STARTS BY SEEKING HELP. TODAY.

Built on the principles of assertive community treatment, Galen Hope is an eating disorder and mental health treatment center offering individualized treatment options that include Intensive Outpatient (IOP), supported housing, and Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP). As a “Community of Integrated Wellness,” we pride ourselves in fostering a thoughtful and meaningful care experience that can guide our clients on their road to recovery and increased quality of life, regardless of diagnosis. Galen Hope currently offers separate, age-specific programming for adolescents ages 12-17 and adults 18 and up, of all genders. 

To learn more, or to join our community for integrated wellness, please contact us today.

Belong. Heal. Grow.

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