Maggie Meyers, MA, LPCC, is a Site Director at The Emily Program’s Anna Westin House for Adolescents and Young Adults (AWHAYA) in Saint Paul, Minnesota. AWHAYA will be expanding from a 10-bed facility to a 16-bed facility in September.
TEP: Tell us about yourself!
Maggie: I am a Minnesotan through and through. Here at The Emily Program, I have worked as a lead therapist in our Adult Intensive Day Program, done outpatient work, been a Program Coordinator for our Adult Binge Eating Disorder Intensive Outpatient Program, and have been involved in clinical management. I am currently the Site Director of the Adolescent and Young Adult Residential House in Saint Paul. I make sure that things run as smoothly as possible, working directly with providers in the building on a daily basis. I help provide our clients with the best care possible. Outside of The Emily Program, I have a small private practice where I see adults for a variety of mental health issues, and I am currently pursuing my Doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy.
TEP: Why did you choose to work for The Emily Program?
Maggie: Upon gaining my license to practice therapy, I wanted to work somewhere meaningful. Having struggled with an eating disorder in my own past, I knew what treatment was like. I knew what was hard, and what was not so hard. So I applied, and as luck would have it, I got the job! I, like many others, chose The Emily Program because I want to use my past pain and knowledge of recovery to help and inspire others that are currently struggling.
TEP: What’s your favorite part about your job?
Maggie: Seeing the resiliency of clients day in and day out is a given. But in addition, I have never met people more passionate about helping than The Emily Program staff. Every facility you go into is welcoming, and every person is genuine. Getting to come to a place like that every day should not be taken lightly or for granted, and I am grateful for that (shout out to AWHAYA staff!). I love having the platform to transmit knowledge and advocate for those I work with. Whether it is talking to people in the community about misconceptions or myths surrounding eating disorders, or talking to clients about empowerment and the myths behind the beauty industry, using our voices is powerful and important.
TEP: Can you tell us more about the Anna Westin House for Adolescents and Young Adults (AWHAYA) and the school options there? Can students pursue treatment during the school year without falling behind?
Maggie: ABSOLUTELY! We have a St. Paul Public School teacher on-site for the school year. Clients attend school every day, and the teacher works to really meet the client where they are academically as well as developmentally and cognitively. They also have time to complete homework during the evenings. We feel that treatment is so important, and so is education, so we want to create an environment that provides both!
TEP: What’s one thing you would tell someone who is going back to school with an eating disorder or while in eating disorder recovery?
Maggie: If you know you have an eating disorder, or think you may, reach out now. Don’t go back to school thinking it will “just get better.” Eating disorders are so much more than food, they are a mental illnesses, and they don’t just “go away.” Seek help now, so that you can enjoy the rest of your life! Advice to those currently in recovery: choose recovery every morning. This is long and challenging process. Be mindful of who and what you surround yourself with. And have grace for yourself. We are human and we falter, there is no shame in that. It is ok to struggle, just don’t stay there.
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