Niki DiCarlo, therapist at The Center for Eating Disorders, discusses her work, the importance of raising awareness for mental health, and more.
Q: What do you do at Sheppard Pratt?
I am a therapist at the Center for Eating Disorders. I work with patients in our inpatient program and our partial hospitalization program (PHP) and help them learn skills they need to cope with their eating disorders and rehabilitate their bodies before returning home.
Q: What is your favorite part about working for Sheppard Pratt?
I love working alongside so many people who are passionate about treating and raising awareness about mental health. I also love that we directly address the relationship between mental and physical health, and empower patients to manage them in unison. I am very proud of my team's efforts to educate others about eating disorders. They tend to be very misunderstood - did you know that eating disorders have one of the highest mortality rates of all mental health disorders?
Q: What advice to you have for the parents of youth with eating disorders?
Although it may be scary, try to be open and honest with your child's treatment team. We can help them best if we are planning their care with you involved. We also have a support group that is held weekly and is aimed at educating friends and family so that they can learn how to best support someone struggling with an eating disorder - take advantage of opportunities like these when you can.
Q: What motivates you?
My family, coworkers, and, of course, my patients. I see them going through the most difficult times of their lives, and being a witness to their strength and perseverance is truly an honor. My patients are waking up every morning and engaging in a program that challenges them to dig deep and make changes from within. How cool is it that I get to be a part of that?
Q: What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day starts with morning rounds, where we share information with other disciplines. Then, I schedule my day as I see fit so I can best meet patient needs. I meet with individual patients twice per week and lead four groups per week. I have to communicate and be ready for changes as patients' treatment plans can quickly change. I like that every day is different and that we as a team are all able to be flexible with one another.
Q: What was the last experience that made you a stronger person?
Definitely finishing my master’s. Being in graduate school while working and interning was very challenging, and forced me to go with the flow every day. It was difficult to manage my time, and I had to sacrifice nearly all of my free time, but it was definitely worth it! Now when I feel stressed, I remember how I got through the busiest time in my life, and I feel that much more capable.
Q: If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you meet and why?
Brené Brown because she is not afraid to explore the uncomfortable parts of the human experience. She also just seems so fun and down to earth!
Q: What do you like to do outside of work?
I am fortunate to have a wonderful family, an amazing partner, and great friends, so I enjoy spending time with them. I love being outdoors, singing, playing guitar, and trying new foods!
Job title: Therapist, The Center for Eating Disorders
years working at Sheppard Pratt
Three words to describe Sheppard Pratt: Adaptive, Dynamic, Inclusive