Meet the Staff - Justine Rickard
In this edition of "Meet The Westwind Staff", we are asking four questions of Justine Rickard. One of our newest team members, she is a therapist located at the Kelowna, BC location.
What led you to Westwind?
It was my own experience with an eating disorder that led me to Westwind. After my time in the residential program, I decided to switch into my university’s psychology program knowing that I had a new appreciation and interest in one day working in the field of mental health. After a few years of pursuing another career, I couldn’t ignore the pull toward counselling and decided to return to school for my masters, with the ultimate dream to work as an eating disorder therapist at Westwind.
What has inspired you about working in mental health?
Witnessing the courage and strength it takes to even make those first steps toward recovery inspires me every day. To have the privilege of bearing witness to clients’ stories – their struggles, triumphs, and everything in between – is something I feel tremendously grateful for. As cheesy as it sounds, watching folks start to (re)connect to and embrace their authentic selves is like watching a caterpillar become a butterfly before your eyes, and I can’t think of anything more inspiring than that!
If you could say one thing to someone seeking treatment, what would it be?
I know what it’s like to feel isolated, afraid, and helpless in an eating disorder. I also know what it’s like to reach the place of full recovery. It is not a linear or easy process, but it is easier than living with an eating disorder and is worth every challenging recovery moment to be able to reach a place of genuine freedom. I fully believe that every person is capable and worthy of living a life without an eating disorder.
What is one thing you practice to maintain positive mental health?
I don’t think I can choose just one! Practicing self-care for mental health is a daily priority for me. This starts off with a daily morning routine of wakeup snuggles with my maltipoo, Ruth, and journaling over coffee, followed by finding ways to engage in my values through things like being out in nature, meditation, knitting, dancing, listening to showtunes, and finding ways to connect with queer and feminist communities and activism.