Alsana Staff Spotlight Series: Josh Ramsey – Director of Day Treatment Programs
Josh is the director of day treatment programs at our Santa Barbara, CA location. He brings to work his affinity for genuine relationships, his contagious humor, and his insightful perspectives on life. We are so grateful for Josh’s leadership at the Santa Barbara program and for his ability to create a safe and inviting space for our clients to heal. Getting to know Josh has been a pure delight for us, and we hope this spotlight helps you get to know him, too!
Why do you work for Alsana?
The simple answer is this: I like it here. I like the work that I do. I really do. I love the culture that we are developing. In Santa Barbara I have been a part of a team that is developing and implementing day treatment programs at the same time. That really scratches an entrepreneurial itch that I have. I love the team that I get to build with. The people around me are playful, talented, and productive. I get to do meaningful work. I am challenged in ways that help me develop personally and professionally. I could not ask for more!
When did you start working for Alsana?
I applied to Alsana in July of 2018, per the recommendation of a friend of mine. He was already a member of the Alsana family. I remember talking to him on the phone and hearing how excited he was about the work he was doing with this organization. I have a lot of respect for this person, so I was eager to get on board. Fortunately, it became apparent that this would be a good fit. I was able to start this new adventure with Alsana in August of the same year. At the time I was working as a school-based therapist in western North Carolina, which meant it was also an opportunity to embark on a new cross-country adventure. Journeying with Alsana has been a lot of fun for me!
Where are you from?
I am from a small town in western North Carolina. It’s a blue-collar place and very “Southern.” When it was thriving, it was a textile production area. Now there are abandoned mills all around. There was also a lot of undeveloped land around, so I often played in the woods as a kid.
What were your three favorite childhood activities?
Riding bikes with my friends around the neighborhood, playing baseball in the backyard, and going to friends’ houses to play video games.
What word or phrase do you find yourself saying frequently at Alsana?
“It’s an honor to sit with you.”
What’s your favorite part of helping clients?
I get to participate in something that is bigger than me. This is a process that affects individuals with eating disorders and the many, many eco-systems we are all member of. There can be a global ripple effect when a person finds healing.
How do you help individuals struggling with eating disorders?
As director of day treatment programs, I am a stage setter. I work directly with clients at times, but the majority of my work is either with staff or behind-the-scenes operations. That means I am more staff-centered than client-centered, which I believe enhances client-centered care. I try to create a welcoming environment, provide appropriate structure, and be a compassionate presence in the office; in the hopes of empowering direct care counselors, therapists, dietitians, and nurses to care for our clients using their unique talents.
What three words would you use to describe treatment at Alsana?
Relational, empathic, and innovative.
What do you do on the weekends?
I love my weekends! The activities vary. I like to be outside. The regular activity right now is on Saturday morning we walk to get coffee from a local bakery and then we take our 2-year-old to this epic playground near our apartment. That playground is awesome. If you have kids and you end up in Santa Barbara, take them to Kids’ World.
If a book was written about your life, what would you call it?
Lived: A Comedy About a Restless Guy’s Pursuit of Peace.
What do you believe is the most common motivator for healing?
Rapport, attunement, connectedness, spiritual relatedness, love, positive attachment—whatever you want to call that mystical element that is relationship. That paves the way for new neural pathways.
Where do you see clients get stuck in recovery?
Somewhere between trusting a care team and choosing counter-intuitive actions. If I am whole-heartedly convinced that a behavior (e.g.; eating) will adversely impact my being, then I really have to trust the people around me who are insisting that I engage in that behavior. Or, if my primary way of coping with invasive thoughts, stress, anxiety, etc. is to use a behavior (e.g.; purging) then, again, I am really going to have be able to trust the people who are suggesting I cope with all that pent-up stuff in a way that goes against my urges and impulses.
What should clients expect at Alsana?
Empathy, creative care, and the challenge of a lifetime.
What do you look forward to at work?
Meaningful conversations and learning something new.
What do you think is the worst part of living with an eating disorder?
There is this conundrum for people with eating disorders, I think. The eating disorder is trying its best to express some need in the best way that it can with the resources it has. And it is speaking in a dialect not many understand. It seems, to me, that the worst part for people living with eating disorders is that they are misunderstood. Being known and understood are universal human longings.
What has been your best day working at Alsana so far?
One of the most meaningful moments came recently when a direct care counselor was lovingly direct with me. Disclaimer: as a dad and the oldest child, I can take on unassigned parental roles. But I was proud to be on the other side of that interaction. I knew I was sitting across from someone who was on the precipice of a new stage of development.
You just got home from a camping trip, and you’re tired, hungry, and dirty. In what order do you eat, sleep, and shower?
Great question! First things first: I’ve got to shower and get into some clean, comfortable clothes. Then, I’m going to eat a bowl of cereal. I love cereal and I don’t try to carry milk with me when I’m camping. So I’ve missed my cereal, and now I’m going to have my cereal. Then, I’m cozying up under the covers and falling asleep a happy fella.
What’s your favorite part directing the Day Treatment Programs?
I love being able to promote the culture of Alsana through its Adaptive Care Model and its six guiding principles. That’s my favorite part of my job. The best part of my work-day, though, is just connecting with the people I end up across from, whether that be clients or staff.
Do you have any pets?
I have two betta fish. One is named Gingko the other is named Jerry.
What words of hope/encouragement would you give someone struggling with an eating disorder?
“You are one of the courageous truth tellers in the human narrative. I have a deep respect for your honesty. Having an eating disorder is like having a “hype man” for your pains and hurts. I can only imagine how powerful it is going to be when you are able to authentically express yourself and be yourself. You are so incredible!”
What could someone do to make you feel really appreciated?
Happy Holidays to me?! Grab me coffee beans from a local roaster. Talk to the roaster and ask them what single origin is good right now. Coffee varieties peak at different seasons, so the type of coffee to get will vary. But, if you’re in a rush, I’ll be happy with some Ethiopia Yirgacheffe. Or, you know what, just a gift card from the roaster. I’ll pick it out. ?
“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. We truly hope you enjoyed Josh Ramsey our Director of Day Treatment Programs Spotlight Series. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, call us today at 888-822-8938 to learn more about all our eating disorder treatment options.