Clinician Spotlight: Marie Nemec

  • What is your current job title? President, Owner, Psychotherapist
  • What inspired you to become a clinician in the field of eating disorder treatment? I fell into it by accident. I was working as a graduate student intern at a private psychiatric hospital in Baltimore, MD on a general psych unit. The eating disorders unit was a separate program, but had closed down that year (1992) and merged with my unit. Thus, we got an influx of patients who had eating disorders. It was then that I began to learn about treating eating disorders from some of the top professionals at that hospital. I found that I enjoyed working with the eating disorder population.
  • Tell us about your journey as a clinician from your first role to your current role. After I completed my MSW program, I stayed in the mental health treatment field. A couple years later, I was honored to be offered a primary therapist position with the Center for Eating Disorders at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Baltimore, MD. The program was brand new and opened it’s doors in December of 1996. I was blessed to be part of the inaugural team that year and there is where I began getting extensive training and expertise in treating eating disorders. It also where I found my passion for working with this population!! I worked in both inpatient and out patient settings and enjoyed a wonderful 9 year tenure with them. In 2005, I decided to go into full time private practice near Annapolis, MD. I continued my work and expertise in treating eating disorders seeing children, adults, couples, and families all who were affected by an eating disorder. I had a very successful private practice and was well known in the community as an expert on eating disorders. In 2013, I relocated to Florida with hopes of again working in an eating disorder treatment center. However, at that time, there wasn’t much in the Central Florida area where I had settled. Thus, in 2015, I decided to once again open a private practice, Pathways to Peace, Inc. Since I was new to the area, it was tough at first because I didn’t know many people and the field of eating disorders was so small. However, I got connected with the Central Florida chapter of IAEDP (International Association for Eating Disorders Specialists) and quickly got on the board as the research chair. Not only did I make connections in the field, but it was an opportunity to stay abreast of the latest research on eating disorders. Shortly thereafter, I received my CEDS certification from IAEDP and I have continued to grow my practice, Pathways to Peace, Inc. Today, I am blessed to say that my practice has grown exponentially as I continue to work with clients who struggle with eating disorders and I am as passionate as ever about the work I do with this population!
  • What do you currently see as the greatest barriers to eating disorder treatment and recovery? Unfortunately, insurance remains a big barrier to treatment and recovery, not so much in the private, outpatient setting, but for sure when clients need the higher level of care. In addition, I am a Medicare provider, which means that I see alot of older folks who have had lifelong eating disorders. Most higher level treatment centers will not take Medicare, which is unfortunate as some of these folks really need that level of care.
  • What is your proudest moment as an eating disorder clinician? My proudest moment as an eating disorder clinician was receiving a Christmas card (in Florida) from a client I had treated MANY years ago in Maryland. This client was severely ill with Anorexia and was not only hospitalized on numerous occasions, but seemed to be more on a chronic path. She had an extensive trauma history, but I do believe I was a pivotal person in her life helping her to report some early abuse (as a teen) later in life as an adult. I worked with her for 7 years and eventually we parted ways about a couple of years before I left Maryland. Years later, I got a Christmas card from her along with a letter and pictures. She had tracked me down in Florida and wanted me to know that she had fully recovered from her eating disorder, was weight restored, and went on to get married, and had 2 beautiful children!! THIS was my proudest moment, hands down! I believe the work I did with her early on was pivotal in her eventually making her way out of her severe anorexia and it was such a joy to see that her body became healthy enough to have a family. It was a beautiful moment for me as a clinician!
  • What do your clients love most about MyClearStep? Whoever invented the Clear Step is a genius!! I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!! I thought it was only for dieticians until once day I asked a colleague of mine (dietician) if I could log in somehow to see the weights of my clients without having to bother her so much. She directed me to establish an account of my own which I did and have loved using it!! It is an easy, user-friendly way to see my clients’ weekly weights right before I go into session with them! It’s also wonderful for my clients to have a system of getting weighed without seeing the numbers! So, thank you Clear Step!!!!
  • What has changed since adding MyClearStep to your practice? I have always worked with dieticians and physicians as a team approach to treating eating disorders and thus, I would check in weekly with dieticians in particular to get my client’s weight. Although I still check in for clinical updates, the Clear Step allows me to quickly check in on the weights while waiting for the dietician to give me a clinical update.
  • What advice would you give to those considering a career in eating disorder treatment? This type of work is not for everybody. You have to have passion and patience. You also have to be educated and trained to understand the medical side of eating disorders and you have to be comfortable addressing that side of it. The recovery process also takes time, years.. and you have to be willing to be on that journey with these clients for a long time. Some will never recover and you have to be able to accept that, in spite of the best efforts. However, the majority can and do recover with proper treatment and THIS IS THE MOST REWARDING PART!!
  • What are some of your passions and hobbies outside of work? Outside of work, I am a proud, football mom to a wonderful teenage son who aspires to play football in college. I love football myself and much of my life is spent watching football in some capacity. I also enjoy going to the beach and spending time with friends.
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