Follow me @jessthegriff
I am an Eating Disorders Practitioner and Trainer
I’m also an Expert Patient with lived experience
I am an eating disorders practitioner and trained therapist. My husband says that I made a ‘career out of a crisis’. I suffered with an eating disorder (purging anorexia), depression and self-harm in my teenage years and found it incredibly hard to get better. Getting better seemed like an endless journey, but I made it through to full recovery.
I’ve always wanted to help others and bring hope to their journey. I wanted to make sense of the dark years I lost. I try to bring strength, hope, courage and compassion to whatever I do. I try to do this in equal measure at home with my three children (who are 12, 9 and 6) and at work.
My working week can look quite different depending on what I’m up to! The things I do include running a private practice (where I mainly support and work alongside people with eating disorders offering 1-1 therapy), facilitating therapeutic groups at the local NHS eating disorder service (where I was treated), working as a senior clinical associate for beat (delivering and writing training), overseeing an early intervention eating disorders project in schools, developing an emotional overeating course called ‘what’s your hunger?’, working as a lead reviewer, advisory group member and accreditation committee member for quality network for eating disorders (QED) at the royal college of Psychiatrists.
More recently, I’ve started co-chairing the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) Delivery Group, implementing changes recommended in the ‘ignoring the alarms’ PHSO guidance. I’m also studying for a MSc in health research — I want to be able to bring the role of the peer support worker in eating disorders treatment and write papers on the impact it can have on treatment.
I enjoy having lots of fun and spending time with friends and family. I’m outgoing and am not afraid to laugh at myself when I do things that are silly (I seem to do this more than most people). I like to sing and play the piano and I also love to run. Running helps to clear my head and keep the negative thoughts at bay. I would say that I still work at keeping my mind positive and maintaining love and acceptance for myself. I have the propensity to be hard on myself and lack compassion for self at times. I’m still a work in progress in some ways (but I believe we all are).