Year of Graduation: 2003
Graduate School: PsyD, Minnesota School of Professional Psychology (Argosy University - Twin Cities)
Please give a brief description of your current position:
I am a psychologist for an outpatient mental health clinic in the Minneapolis area (Headway Emotional Health Services). I am actually co-located (meaning that my clinic contracts with another location for me to provide services to them) at a chemical dependency treatment program. I provide therapy to women (and their children) completing the CD program as well as provide outpatient therapy to adolescents and adults at my main clinic. I also complete psychological evaluations as needed, at both locations.
What path did you follow to arrive at your current job?
I was nearing the end of my internship for graduate school and was told about the position by a good friend of mine. She was actually moving from the state and was able to get me an interview for her position. Networking is HUGE in the field of psychology!
What advice/suggestions would you have for students who might be interested in your career?
Staying connected to professionals (professors, supervisors, peers) in the field is extremely important. You will likely need referrals for graduate school, internships, and jobs and having a variety of people with varying expertise is helpful. I would definitely research the graduate school you plan to attend and make sure that they have the area of psychology you are interested in (i.e. neuropsychology, industrial organization, child psych...) and that they have faculty in that area. I would contact current students to find out about the program and ask if they get adequate time with faculty. That's another important thing: get to know the faculty in your program. They will have to help you get an internship site and it's important that they know who you are...start developing a relationship with at least one staff member during your first year. I also think that it can be very beneficial to take a year or two off between undergrad and grad school. Work at a place that is somewhat related to psychology...it will help you understand people better and you will have more experience once you get to grad school.
What skills are important in your field?
It's important to enjoy working with people and be truly invested in helping them. It's also extremely important to know how to take care of yourself and engage in self-care. I think you have to really want to have a career in psychology if you enter grad school, because it's not always easy. There will be many ups and downs and you have to be able to see the goal at the end of all the hard work. Being flexible is also important when working with people and their behaviors.
What is the most satisfying/rewarding part of your job? Most challenging?
The most satisfying part of my job is actually seeing people make progress, do something they have never done or thought they could do, or simply feel happier with themselves. The most challenging thing is allowing people to grow/change at their own pace. I had to learn to be satisfied with "baby" steps! Working with insurance companies can also be challenging!
What activities/experiences were helpful at CSB/SJU (and elsewhere) in preparation for this career?
It was helpful being connected with the psych department of CSBSJU, particularly faculty. I got to know one faculty member pretty well and she was able to help me prepare for grad school. I was involved with PSI CHI and research projects; this looks good on resumes. I think being involved in activities can be helpful...it helps show that you are connected to others and the community of CSBSJU. After graduation, I worked at a group home for adults with Autism, which provided me with a ton of experience on behavior, working with individuals, and working with teams.