Alexandra Reveles’ Avalon Story
As an advanced graduate student in the Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychology Ph.D. program at Utah State University I was afforded the opportunity to receive some of my training with Avalon Hills. Initially, the ability to work with an adolescent population is what attracted me to Avalon and after hearing from a primary therapist about the innovative treatment being provided here, my desire to train here only became stronger. Avalon's Treat to Outcome stance was very appealing to me because it is so unlike other residential treatment centers for any type of psychological issue, let alone eating disorders. As a Multicultural Feminist therapist helping the whole person of my client is a high priority to me and I really feel like Avalon is providing this type of treatment. The inclusion of neuropsychological tools in a therapeutic setting is also something I've never encountered before. I was very excited as a clinician to learn about how these tools help the brain to heal and provide long-lasting impact to clients.
I was nervous to start working at Avalon because it is my first training site in residential treatment, but I was encouraged about working with teenagers and being able to learn about new techniques that we don't learn about in school. During the end of my second week at Avalon I experienced an overwhelming feeling that Avalon is where I should be. That populations with severe psychological disorders, like eating disorders, are the people I should be working with. After sitting with this feeling I felt both excited and foolish. How can I know where I should spend my career after only two weeks’ exposure? I still don't have an answer to that question, but that feeling has stayed the same and in some ways grown stronger. Being part of a whole team of people who are giving their best to support clients and get them healthy is a special experience that I don't think I can put into words. Walking with clients while they are struggling through one of the darkest periods of their life journey is a privilege that I also can't put into words. Feeling valued as a part of the team even though I'm only a student speaks volumes about the climate of Avalon, which I believe is inviting, warm, nurturing, and at times challenging.
Although I haven't been at Avalon for very long I can honestly say that I'm not only happy, but feel very lucky to be learning here with these wonderful, dedicated, compassionate people. I hope that I'll be able to be here for longer than this initial training year.
- Alexandra (Alie) Reveles