Christine Mandich currently works as a psychologist at Macomb Family Services in Michigan where she works with adults addressing depression, anxiety, grief, substance abuse, and everything else in between. She was been a psychologist since 1993.
Psychologist Career Path
Although Christine’s path isn’t the most typical, she followed her calling to become a psychologist. “I knew at a very young age that I wanted to be a counselor, or a therapist as we called them back then,” she says, “but I didn’t get into the field until my 30s. Look back, that’s been a good thing, as I now have more life experience.”
Christine obtained her Bachelor’s of Art in addiction studies and her Master’s degree in humanistic studies. She says, “A required internship allowed me one-on-one experience with patients. Also, I received the guidance of a seasoned supervisor.”
Psychologist Degree Programs
“To practice, you need a Master’s degree or Ph.D. in psychology,” says Christine. “In some states you can practice with just a Master’s degree, while in others a PhD is required.”
Psychologist Job Description
Christine is a psychologist working with an adult population in mental health, substance abuse and marital therapy, working in an outpatient clinic.
Psychologist Daily Routine
“I see between eight and nine patients a day, with each session lasting 50-60 minutes,” says Christine. “I also have to chart progress notes, complete treatment plans, and obtain authorization of sessions if the patient’s insurance company requires it.”
Christine also has to complete discharge papers if the client is ending treatment. She needs to check in on patients from time to time, including returning calls, scheduling patients and helping patients that may be in crisis.
Psychologist Career: Steps to Success
“You need to have a true desire to want to help others heal,” says Christine. “Since you are dealing with people when they are emotionally vulnerable, you have to be extremely caring, patient, understanding, a good listener, and be able to guide without directing or judgment.”
“I also suggest that future psychologists sit in the chair as a patient. You cannot take the patient where you have not gone,” she adds.
Psychologist Job Opportunities
After you get past the many years of education that is necessary, Christine says that psychology is not a difficult field to get into. There are many different fields of psychology, each offering different opportunities.
“I practice mainly the humanistic approach because this field of study treats the whole person, not just the parts,” says Christine. “Medication and diagnosis are not primary; the focus is on the individual. This field of study looks into the patient’s past to explore and understand what behavior patterns the patient is repeating, and what is keeping them from meeting their full potential.”
Other psychology approaches include gestalt, transactional analysis, Jungian psychology, 12 step process, and dream analysis.
Psychologist’s Future Ambitions
Christine hopes to continue on in her psychology career. “I hope to have my own clinic that would offer a holistic approach to heal the mind, body and soul,” she says. “Along with therapy, my clinic would offer other services, such as yoga, tai chi, and massage.”
Advice for Future Psychologists
“Remember that as a therapist,” says Christine, “the patient has invited us to hear their story. And somehow in the telling of that story, the patient heals. Listen with intention, offer compassion and respect for the story that is being told and you will have a very successful and rewarding practice.”
Christine also suggests different approaches to studying psychology. “Study the attachment theory. Our journey begins with our attachment to our primary caregivers when we are young. Understanding this theory will open windows of understanding to your patients’ stories.”