Meet the Eating Disorder Associate: Jemina Nkwocha

Jemina joined the team as one of Orri’s Eating Disorder Associates. Her past experience working in inpatient settings, along with her passion for supporting those living with eating disorders, makes her a fantastic addition to the team. Read on to learn more about her role at Orri.

How long have you been an Eating Disorder Associate (EDA) for and what were you doing before Orri?

I have been working for Orri as an EDA for two months. Prior to this, I worked within a CAMHS inpatient unit supporting those dealing with psychosis and various mental health problems.

How would you describe your role to people outside Orri?

Being an EDA involves being the first point of contact for our clients. Our role is to ensure clients feel settled and safe during their treatment, especially outside of therapeutic groups. We offer both practical and emotional support to clients by developing a therapeutic relationship. Our role is primarily to offer 1:1 support when needed, particularly during mealtimes, and engage clients in therapeutic conversations around their experience of their eating disorder and treatment.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

It is an exciting role as you are given the opportunity to observe and work with all clients throughout the day. You witness the real life challenges that come with eating disorders, and from this you learn different approaches and ways to communicate, and most importantly, we get to witness their recovery and journey through treatment – we see the progress daily.

“…and most importantly we get to witness their recovery and journey through treatment, we see the progress daily.”

What do you feel is the most challenging aspect of your role?

From time to time you can face indirect rejection when clients struggle with their relationship to food.

Our role steps in to respond to those challenges and encourage clients to face aspects of their eating disorder that they have been comfortable in avoiding. As an associate, you are needed to exhibit the attitude of resilience as well as encourage resilience.

What do you feel is most unique about Orri?

Orri takes on a patient-centered approach, allowing the client to have autonomy over their choices as well as complying to a healthy agreement.

Our aim is to expand clients’ perception of food instead of control their attitudes towards food. Orri mirrors the outside world i.e. we aim to deliver both a therapeutic and naturalistic setting.

Outside of work, what do you do for your own mental wellbeing?

For my own mental wellbeing I meditate, read biblical devotions, and stay occupied with other creative hobbies which give me a balance besides my work life.

What is your favourite inspirational quote?

“Positive thoughts create positive things.”

Why did you decide to work in mental health?

Mental health and the study of psychology has always been strong interests of mine; exploring the abilities to change the ways in which people process and respond mentally to life events is subjective yet requires so many alternative approaches. I share a protectiveness over the importance of both wellbeing and the sensitivity of an individual’s mental state.

If you had one piece of advice for a therapy-seeker, what would it be?

Be patient with yourself, therapy is not a linear process. 

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