Psychologist Christine Brendle
How did you get into this field?
Becoming a Clinical Psychologist takes quite a bit of education and training. I came to the field gradually as I fine-tuned my interests and values. I specifically wanted to work with children and teenagers who were struggling academically, emotionally, or socially. I specifically chose to become a psychologist because I wanted to have the training and skill to help students and families thrive. My career has been guided by these values thus far. Recently, I have been focusing most of my time on psychological evaluations, which allows me to provide much-needed diagnostic clarity and recommendations to students and families.
What do you love about the work?
I thoroughly enjoy working individually with my students to more fully understand their experiences and needs. In the testing environment, I am able to build relationships with students over several sessions, and I can bring clarity to long-standing difficulties. My favorite part of psychological evaluations is the feedback session. During this session we are able to discuss testing results, diagnoses, and recommendations. This is typically an affirming time for families to see that their concerns are valid and that there is a clear path to intervention.
Why do people hire you?
I am most typically hired when a student is experiencing difficulty at school and/or home, but the reason for the student’s struggle is unclear. As such, the family is not sure how to move forward. This may include weaknesses in an academic subject, problems with attention, difficulty regulation behaviors and emotions, developmental delays, depression, anxiety, etc.
How do you feel about study skills?
Study skills are so important! Regardless of the results of my testing, we have to learn how to learn. This is an area that is rarely taught in school, but we desperately need to learn well. I view study skills as an investment for the future. Once learned, study skills can carry us through higher education, and they often generalize to other phases of life (e.g., preparing for job interviews). Study skills teach us to develop reliable learning skills that increase our resilience.
What is your favorite piece of advice to give students?
Try things. Avoid falling into the mentality that you should determine your future before graduating high school and “follow your dream” at all costs. Although it sounds empowering to have one big goal, the most satisfied and happy adults are those who gain experiences in many areas and then choose how to spend their life. Although identifying and following goals is important, do not let this actually limit your potential!