John Edwards has a successful psychotherapy practice, treating patients with anxiety, depression, addictions and eating disorders, as well as those who come for relationship and marriage counseling. As a gay man, he particularly wants to work more closely with the LGBT community. In broadening his clientele, Edwards is intrigued to discover the prevalence of eating disorders in this population.
No stranger to UC Berkeley Extension—he has taken classes to earn CEUs—Edwards found that the Professional Program in Eating and Weight Disorders was a natural fit to better serve his clients.
"While I was completing the program, I was working at a local hospital in the inpatient psychiatric unit, where I gained experience and exposure with folks with eating disorders," Edwards recalls. "Through this experience, I told myself this is a population that I want to work with. I wanted to get more specific training; this isn't something you can just jump into. As a direct result of the program, I feel more competent. I have taken one other course beyond what was required to get the certificate. There's also a course on diversity and eating disorders that I'd like to take."
For those interested in working with clients struggling with eating and weight disorders, Edwards offers this advice: "Make sure this is a population that you want to work with because they're quite challenging. A lot of people don't realize, but of all the mental health issues, eating disorders actually have the highest mortality rate. And one of the reasons for that is that we have so many issues with food in our society, and people don't necessarily realize that there's something else going on."