The Journey to IOP: Exploring Acceptance and Change

Primary Therapist Amanda Countryman Strunin, PhD shares insight into the need for acceptance and change throughout life and recovery; particularly in the context of stepping down from a residential level of care to intensive outpatient programming. 

Amanda Strunin

I have worked at Oliver-Pyatt Centers for almost three years and have been blessed to work with a fantastic group of women and clients. One of the most challenging experiences I have witnessed for our clients is the transition from the residential level of care to intensive outpatient programming. Most often, women feel “discombobulated” as they navigate the step down and infamously, it has been compared to feeling like “a wedgie you just can’t pick.”

For all of us, change has many connotations, some pleasant and some quite unpleasant. As our women go through what looks like a relatively minor change on the surface, and what is in fact a vast change in their life and the context of treatment, my job is to help them find a balance of accepting their reality and changing what they can to improve their circumstance – essentially to pick the metaphorical wedgie. The concept of acceptance and change is one of the core dialectics in Marsha Linehan’s heralded and widely used dialectical behavior therapy. It is often explained as “The Purple Problem” – Imagine you hate the color purple and you buy a house that is purple. You must accept the color of the house, however despicable, before you can paint to suit your palate. Though I myself like the color purple, what we can infer from this valuable euphemism (for our clients and ourselves) is that life requires patience, willingness, and constantly being able to revise and change our status quo. Our patients encounter “the purple problem” in struggling with the delicate balance of accepting the changes that occur within their bodies, minds, and spirits during the process of recovery. It is our job to hold the hope that this acceptance can be achieved, that change is inevitable, and though frightening and painful at times, necessary for growth in life and recovery.

Perhaps watching my patients hold both truths – acceptance and change – as they reconnect with the world in intensive outpatient programming is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job. It also proves to me what we know from research and experience in our own lives, and that is we are resilient creatures.

For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers please call 866.511.HEAL (4325), visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram


Thank you to team contributor, Primary Therapist Jamie Blosser Morris, MS, LMHC, our participating Oliver-Pyatt Centers team members, and the Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness for hosting the 4th Annual celebrating everyBODY walk for eating disorder awareness. We look forward to seeing you all at the event! 


On Saturday, February 28th, Oliver-Pyatt Centers’ staff, alumni, and supporters will be participating in The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness 4th annual celebrating everyBODY: a walk for eating disorders awareness. We are excited to join The Alliance and the community at large in spreading the message of hope and recovery in South Florida!

All proceeds raised at this community event will directly fund the preparation, printing, and distribution of the Florida Eating Disorder Referral Guide. The purpose of the guide is to expand access to care for those struggling with an eating disorder and to provide thorough and easily accessible referrals to healthcare practitioners who specialize in the treatment of eating disorders. These invaluable resources have aided professionals across the state in aftercare planning and have supported in broadening our referral network.

We are so proud and honored to support this event. We believe that recovery is possible when individuals and families have the opportunity to access and receive treatment. And we believe that recovery is sustained with a strong community of support and care. These are a few of the reasons #whywewalk. We hope to see you all at the event next Saturday!

Participate, donate, and promote the event through social media here.



Date: Saturday, February 28, 2015

Time: Registration begins at 9:00 am, Program begins at 9:30 am

Location: The Pond Apple Pavilion, South County Regional Park, Boca Raton, FL

Distance: One mile


Adult (18 years +) $20.00
Child/Student (Under 18 years) $10.00
Pet $5.00

Register here to join OPC’s team. To donate ONLY visit here.

First 650 participants registered will receive event t-shirt* and gift bag. Pets will receive a bandanna with registration. *Requested t-shirt sizes cannot be confirmed after 2/5/15 per production order cut-off date.

Refreshments will be available for all participants.

For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers please call 866.511.HEAL (4325), visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram

Meet Our Team: Mary Dye


1. What is your name and how long have you been with Oliver-Pyatt Centers?
Mary Dye. I have been with Oliver-Pyatt Centers for two years. Prior to working here, I had the pleasure of knowing Oliver-Pyatt Centers as an outpatient dietitian. I was so impressed by their work I had to move down and join the team!

2. Provide a few sentences about your role at Oliver-Pyatt Centers.
I oversee all of the nutrition services at Oliver-Pyatt Centers. I supervise the nutrition work in all levels of care and across our various programs. Additionally, I meet individually with all of the women participating in our Transitional Living Program. I also have the pleasure of meeting many providers around the country and speaking with family members about the treatment their loved ones receive at Oliver-Pyatt Centers. A big perk of my role is the ability to educate professionals and the public about eating disorders.

3. What is your favorite thing about working as the Director of Nutrition Services at Oliver-Pyatt Centers?
My team. I could not ask for a more passionate, dedicated, loving, creative, and smart group to work with every day. The entire OPC team, from our graphic designer and human resources department to the clinicians, chefs, and recovery coaches, has such a high level of dedication to patients and their families and true passion for helping our women succeed. The team puts a smile on my face every day and reassures me that every woman who enters our doors is in the best hands possible.

As a mother of two young girls, I feel a real obligation to help create a culture I want them to live in. Whether advocating against school BMI screenings, pointing out the dangers of photoshopping, or fighting for insurance coverage for eating disorder treatment, I have the pleasure of working on a team devoted to the same causes. For so many of us the work we do speaks to larger cultural issues we feel a personal obligation to change. This passion inspires and motivates my work.

4. Tell us three things nobody knows about you.
I grew up surfing and feel so blessed to have been raised near the ocean. I grew up in a family of pilots so many weekends were spent doing take offs, landings, and stalls in the air. It has resulted in a real love of spontaneity, travel, and roller coasters! The ice cream cone was invented in my hometown of Norfolk, VA (I am particularly proud of this one!)

For more information about Oliver-Pyatt Centers please call 866.511.HEAL (4325), visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram