Amanda is a direct care staff and the movement liaison at Alsana Amare in Santa Barbara. She has been with Alsana Amare since they opened in August 2018 and helped prepare the house for their first clients. We are grateful for Amanda’s consistent work with our clients as she guides them down their healing path. We hope you enjoy getting to know Amanda as much as we have!
Where are you from?
I am from Santa Barbara, CA. I lived here until attending college at UCLA. After graduating and working with children with developmental disabilities for several years, I decided I could no longer tolerate the 405 and moved back to where I belong!
Why do you work for Alsana?
I work for Alsana because I am passionate about using my experience navigating recovery from an eating disorder to help others on their journeys. I am fueled by the joy I have found in my authentic self, and I believe it is my purpose to support those struggling with eating disorders to take back their power.
What is your role at Alsana?
I am a direct care staff and the movement liaison at Alsana Amare. I provide encouragement at meals/snacks, help clients manage eating disorder urges, encourage mindful movement, co-lead exercise talk groups, and offer empathetic understanding.
What would you tell your 13-year-old self?
Don’t let the pressure of wanting to fit in change you, quirky one. You’re perfect just the way you are.
How do you help individuals struggling with eating disorders?
I help our clients by acknowledging how difficult the recovery process is while emphasizing the importance of “showing up” in every opportunity. Most importantly, I listen to their perspectives and hold space for the discomfort of challenging eating disorder thoughts and behaviors.
What advice would you give someone with an eating disorder?
SURRENDER! Reflect. Reframe. Recover.
Do you have any pets?
Yes! I just rescued the most incredible puppy from the Humane Society of Ventura! He is a German and Australian Shepherd mix. So far, he loves hiking, meeting new people, and laying in my lap!
What were your three favorite childhood activities?
Reading books, baking with my mom, and playing roller hockey.
What words of hope/encouragement would you give someone recovering from an eating disorder?
Trust that recovery gets easier and the eating disorder becomes less consuming. The ability to be fully present and joyful in your life starts to truly outweigh the fear of giving up your behaviors and sense of control. Let the mini-victories fuel you and don’t let setbacks deter you.
What do you believe is the most common motivator for healing?
The realization that the eating disorder is robbing you of showing up in life for yourself and for those you care about.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is when a client thanks me (after the fact) for noticing a secretive behavior or maintaining boundaries that upset their eating disorder. They may not always recognize the help or support in the moment, but I love when clients are able to reflect on a situation or experience and learn from it.
What has been your best day working at Alsana so far?
The best day I had working at Alsana was when a client apologized after having a tough time challenging a fear food at the table. While transitioning to bed, we laughed about the meal and created a cheer that resonated with her healthy self.
What was the best concert you’ve ever been to?
The best concert I’ve ever seen was The Avett Brothers at the Santa Barbara Bowl. The venue is amazing and I’m pretty sure I sang louder than the band.
What word or phrase do you find yourself saying frequently at Alsana?
“I see how hard you’re working, and I’m proud of you.”
How would clients describe you?
I have been told I’m “loving but firm”, “a holder of boundaries,” “proof that recovery is possible,” and a “bright light!”
What do you look forward to at work?
I look forward to witnessing every single “mini-victory” that clients have that lead to major changes throughout the course of their treatment.
What’s your favorite hobby?
FISHING! Although, my fiancé constantly reminds me that it’s called “fishing” not “catching.”
You just got home from a camping trip, and you’re tired, hungry, and dirty. In what order do you eat, sleep, and shower?
No contest–eat first. Shower…then sleep. And unpack my car three days later!
What three words would you use to describe treatment at Alsana?
Enlightening, Compassionate, Holistic
“Let your light shine” is a foundational principle of Alsana’s culture. We expect employees to come as they are and bring their whole selves to work, just as we want our clients to feel comfortable bringing their whole selves—exactly as they are—to their eating disorder treatment.
Alsana’s staff spotlight series highlights the way our employees let their light shine and the unique attributes only they can add to our clients’ recovery experience.