Meet Janet Whitney, Eating Disorder Program Director
Janet Whitney, M.A., M.F.T.
Eating Disorder Program Director
Janet Whitney is a California-licensed marriage and family therapist with over 35 years of experience in the field. Her focus is positive psychology and challenging negative beliefs through the law of attraction, spirituality and mindfulness. As author of “Facing Your Fears, Following Your Dreams and Finding Success,” Janet leads patients toward a more fulfilling life while continuing to train other therapists in the “Facing Your Fears” program.
Eating disorder program in San Clemente
Sovereign has an amazingly positive energy that I felt right away. There is an element of friendliness, care and passion that motivates everybody to work diligently here.
We offer a warm and beautiful 11-bed home, with a swimming pool and comfortable furnishings. We have created a brand new, comprehensive Eating Disorder Workbook that includes detailed assignments such as writing a letter to their eating disorder and a letter of forgiveness to themselves. Our dietician individualizes each patient’s meal plan and takes them on experiential outings to get used to grocery shopping and eating in restaurants. Our clinical staff leads groups in mindfulness, self-esteem, body awareness and communication skills, among other group experiences. We also offer equine therapy and yoga training as part of our treatment.
The supportive and helpful environment at Sovereign will allow us to expand this program to a larger population here and in the other locations. An adolescent program for eating disorders in San Diego will be our next project.
My philosophy in a word: positivity. Individuals with eating disorders are a tough population to convince to enter treatment. Hence, it is our responsibility to create a program that people would want to come to. Our treatment is going to be their safe haven: one place where they will find hope, faith, care and a renewed belief in their strengths. If their three months at Sovereign are the best three months of their battle, then we have done our jobs right.
Eating disorders are intense, multifaceted illnesses. Keeping the program light and fun is the only way to keep the patients motivated and healthy. It is important for the team to maintain their health and spirits, too. Our thoughts have the energy to shape our lives and create reality. When we, as a team, see the potential of someone overcoming an eating disorder, the patients will see it too. Once we believe in them, they will too.
Personal connection with eating disorders
My passion comes from my personal history, taking my fifteen-year-old daughter into treatment 11 times for her eating disorder. Her health deteriorated in front of my eyes as I saw her weight drop to 79 pounds and her organs shut down. Seven years later, she still struggles every day but is better enough to go back to college.
Never giving up on my daughter has made me understand the pain that eating disorders cause in everyone they touch. As a program director, I consider it my gift to have this deeper understanding and the undying desire to heal that pain in anyone who is open to our help.
The motivation behind my career has always been to be a good mother. The way I see it in my three kids, everyone has a gift. They have to find their purpose and follow the pathway. I see patients coming in and getting well but I want to see more. I want to see them thrive, hope and dream. They have a vision of what their true potential is. We want to know what that vision is and encourage them to pursue it. The problem and solution lie in their hands.