Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Lori Jasinski is an eating disorder sober companion treating clients in Los Angeles, New York City and abroad. In recovery for over 10 years, Jasinski originally came to LA for substance abuse treatment, then realized she wanted to give back what she had received. When she completed inpatient care, she began working at a treatment facility as a residential advisor and accumulated over a decade of experience interacting intimately with clients who were newly sober.
Jasinski developed a targeted passion for helping those needing eating disorder help, based on her own hurdles with food in early sobriety. She started with binging and purging, which later transformed into restricting. Eventually Jasinski realized she need to address the issue head on. At that time, the therapist she’d been working with was familiar with types of treatment for eating disorders, and worked with her on establishing what was triggering her in certain moments and what feelings came up. Through practicing the principles of intuitive eating and focusing on being present and aware of her emotional well being, Jasinski began creating a healthier relationship with food and explored more solutions to eating disorders. She had previously tried 12-step meetings but found they were not of much help to her—she instead found relief through therapy, where she learned tools and applied them to daily life. Through her own personal breakthroughs, she found herself at ease with helping others with management of eating disorders, advocating for the belief that there can be multiple avenues for eating disorder treatment plans.
Jasinski takes on clients who are sober from drugs and alcohol and struggling with food issues, but also offers her services to those who are strictly needing eating disorder help. It varies but for the most part, the cases she encounters aren’t so severe that the person needs to be in 24/7 treatment, but they do need a lot more hands-on help since they aren’t familiar with recovery and what that looks like. She can offer a number of eating disorder treatment plan examples and eating disorder intervention strategies.
She is able to have two clients at once if she’s not in a 24/7 live-in situation but usually only has one at a time. After living with the client and accompanying them in their day to day activities, her goal is to slowly step away and give the client more and more freedom, doing only check-ins and gradually tapering off her involvement.
The length of treatment varies case by case. She’s been an eating disorder sober companion to someone for as short as three weeks, and as long as six months. It really depends on the client and how quickly she’s able to get them to their goals.
New Client Protocol
When Jasinski first starts working as someone’s eating disorder sober companion, she asks them about themselves. While she is typically brought in by someone else— a family, member, an agent, or a manager, for example— she makes sure to still garner a clear understanding of the client’s personal goals and offer solutions to eating disorders. People usually mistakenly interpret an eating disorder sober companion as someone they will permanently have to rely on to function when, in reality, Jasinski sees her main purpose as laying out plenty of eating disorder treatment plan examples and getting them to where they eventually will not need her services.
Jasinski ensures she maintains regular communication between her client and any necessary professionals involved in their recovery, such as a therapist, psychiatrist, nutritionist and/or dietitian. If needed, she helps them create a treatment team, meeting with a therapist one to two times a week, and seeing a psychiatrist to make sure, if there is a co-occurring disorder, that they’re being properly treated. She is also available to serve as an eating disorder interventionist, if families are concerned about a loved one’s willingness to go to treatment or get help in a formal setting.
Eating Disorder Sober Companion Approach
One of the most crucial aspects of her job after executing an eating disorder intervention, if necessary, is to help individuals apply the solutions to eating disorders and tools their therapist have taught them in real life situations. Jasinski makes it her mission to remind clients of these tools when they are outside the cushioned bubble of a therapy session or 24/7 support like residential treatment. Her focus is getting them to open their tool box and use it, and truly apply what they learned in treatment.
While there are a lot of eating disorder intervention strategies and eating disorder treatment examples, Jasinski encourages participating in healthy activities like fitness or hobbies, helps them build their life with positive habits and, perhaps most importantly, tries to normalize everything around eating and food. For eating disorder help, Jasinski often eats meals alongside her clients, always eating whatever they’re eating. If the person has a private chef and/or nutritionist on staff, and have already made meals and a schedule for eating, she oversees the execution of that as well. Jasinski makes it her priority to be aware of the client’s current mood or disposition, and if it seems like the meal could trigger something, she helps them process those emotions and talk about it rather than allowing them to numb with food.
Jasinski makes it a point to never talk about weight. If the client expresses frustration with weight or body image, Jasinski relays the information to their therapist but also aims to redirect their thoughts. She reminds them of positive action they might have taken that day such as exercise. There is also a ready reminder that they are not doing anything wrong by indulging. One of the most often recurring issues that comes up in Jasinski’s work in the management of eating disorders and as an eating disorder sober companion is shame around indulgences, such as a cookie or a slice of cake. The inclination is for clients to beat themselves up after enjoying these foods, which triggers binging or restricting. Jasinski reminds them that they are human and allowed to treat themselves. In fact, she reiterates that if they don’t, they will more than likely cause a binging or restricting phase. What’s the common denominator in all her cases as an eating disorder sober companion? Teaching the client not to punish themselves for being human and having cravings.
Jasinski decided to launch her business upon seeing how little resources there were in terms of types of treatment for eating disorders and eating disorder intervention strategies, especially in terms of one on one treatment. It’s difficult to get into residential centers for eating disorder help, and many professional aspects of its treatment can be hit or miss. Oftentimes, one on one care for clients seeking solutions for eating disorders is very limited to a therapist or dietitian. People who are trying to stay sober from substances can hire a sober companion but their knowledge about ED recovery can be limited. An eating disorder sober companion or eating disorder interventionist is specifically geared toward ED issues, which in some ways are even more complicated than drug or alcohol addiction, since everyone has to eat to live.
Lori Jasinski sees one of the biggest parts of her job as an eating disorder sober companion or eating disorder interventionist as meeting people where they’re at and immersing herself in their daily lives. It’s important to support them through meals and daily habits, focusing on tools their learning in therapy or in treatment previously, to help strengthen their resolve to improve their health and their life.
Lori Jasinski, Eating Disorder Sober Companion
Los Angeles, California and New York, New York
*international clients considered upon request*
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Photo courtesy of Lori Jasinski; used with permission.