( Kim Hairston, Baltimore Sun / January 17, 2014 )
What does your job entail?
I provide counseling support to health coaches, medical providers, and directly to consumers through forums and blog posts regarding the behavioral and psychological aspects of losing weight and getting healthy. In addition, a large portion of my job is creating and conducting training for Medifasts weight control center counselors. Ive trained every Medifast counselor nationwide to give them the education they need to answer questions and solve problems for their customers. I am also a member of Medifasts corporate wellness behavioral health subcommittee and run events to help raise awareness for growing health issues.
What kind of schooling or training did you go through?
I received my bachelors of arts in psychology from West Virginia University and my masters in counseling psychology from Loyola University. Im a licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in Maryland and a National Certified Counselor, so I also attend seminars and training throughout the year to maintain my license.
What inspired you to this career?
I took a Psychology 101 class at West Virginia University and immediately found it fascinating. I decided to go to Loyola University Maryland to pursue my masters, but it wasnt until I interned at an addiction treatment program with the Greater Baltimore Medical Center that I knew I made the right choice. My supervisor Mike Prodey inspired me as someone who helped people make their lives better by encouraging them to take responsibility for their lives and control of their health.
I started my professional career in addiction counseling and eventually took steps to make myself healthier, including quitting smoking and eating better. Medifasts Take Shape for Life mantra, my training and own personal experiences lead me to my current role as a behavioral specialist.
What do you like best about your job?
When someone thanks me for helping them, its a humbling experience. Medifast truly changes lives by producing results and when I help someone get healthy and start on a path to transform their life, it is absolutely rewarding.
What are the challenges?
When I see potential in someone who could get healthy but is struggling, its disheartening. They arent sure how they can make changes since weight loss can be so daunting. Its difficult for everyone to maintain their weight loss eighty percent of people regain lost weight in 5 years. This motivates me to provide people with help and support to overcome the insurmountable odds and sustain healthy living for years to come.
According to salary.com, the median annual salary for a licensed professional counselor in the United States is $36,191.