LIVINGSTON, NJ – A year after opening her practice, the Mindsoother Therapy Center, in Livingston in 2008, Danna Markson was contacted by the mother of one of her former clients with some sad news.
Judy Avrin, whose daughter, Melissa Avrin, had been treated by Markson, notified Markson that her daughter had passed away as a result of complications from bulimia. Although Markson could no longer help Melissa Avrin, she felt that she could still provide help to countless others and turn Melissa’s untimely death into something that might help others with the same malady.
Markson, who had a background in filmmaking, was inspired to produce the documentary feature, Someday Melissa; the story of an eating disorder, loss and hope.
“I suggested to Judy that we make a documentary about Melissa’s struggle and early death in order to spread the message of the insidiousness of eating disorders,” said Markson. “The film-making process had begun. That same year, Judy created a non-profit organization, Someday Melissa, Inc., in order to further spread the message, and Someday Melissa became the primary vehicle for the this accomplishment. I became one of the initial members of the board of directors (a position that she still holds).”
Mindsoother Therapy Center helps clients with eating disorders, but it also addresses body-image issues, anxiety and depression. Markson, who is certified in family therapy from the New Jersey Center for Family Studies, finally achieved her goal of opening her own full-time private practice five years ago.
“I trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills (in 2008) and began offering groups for teens and adults in the areas of eating disorders, body image and stress management,” Markson said. “Currently, Mindsoother offers seven weekly groups in addition to individual cognitive behavioral and dialectical behavior therapy, stress management, and bio-feedback sessions.”
Markson also offers complementary adjuncts to therapy such as mindfulness, meditation, guided imagery and aromatherapy in her practice.
Earlier this year, one of Markson’s colleagues was so impressed with her dedication to and energy for social work that she nominated Markson for the New Jersey National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Social Worker of the Year. Markson was awarded the honor in March.
Markson’s efforts in the social work profession and to eating-disorder recovery will be honored when she receives the New Jersey NASW Social Worker of the Year Award at the Annual Conference in Atlantic City in May.
In 1992, after a short career in film and television, Markson quit her job at an advertising agency and began working at a homeless shelter in New York. She soon enrolled at NYU School of Social Work full-time.
Her first internship was at the Manhattan Children’s Psychiatric Center on Ward’s Island New York, where Markson worked in the hospital-based elementary school, K-5th grade, providing counseling services to children with mental handicaps. Her second-year internship was at the NYU Counseling Center, where Markson provided individual and group psychotherapy services to students of the university
She earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work from NYU in 1994. To gain additional experience in community social work, Markson worked at the Brooklyn Heights Center for Counseling and then at the Carrier Foundation in New Jersey, first as a primary therapist on the Adolescent Inpatient Unit, and then as director of the Adolescent Outpatient Center.
For more information on the Mindsoother Therapy Center in Livingston, visit www.mindsoother.com, or call (973) 220-1885. For more information on Someday Melissa, Inc., visit www.somedaymelissa.org.
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