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The Career of a Psychologist: Professional Honeymoon

The career of a psychologist unfolds through many phases.  How does the experience, including both the joys and the challenges of being a psychologist, change over time?  Borrowing Jeffrey Kottler’s (2012) depiction of the stages in the career of a psychologist, we asked MSP faculty to offer their perspectives.  Ryan Blackstock, PsyD talks Stage Five. 

Stage Five – Professional Honeymoon: “Hey, I’m really good at this!”

Ryan Blackstock, PsyDI remember when I first got my State License and Certification in Addictions Counseling.  It opened some doors for me and I had my first case load and shortly after that, my first unit.  I worked at an inpatient substance abuse facility (before “managed care” was a thing). I got to work intensely with clients for 4 weeks, groups everyday and individuals on most of the others.

We used to take Polaroid pics when they would come in, and then compare them to how the client looked when they left.  Usually, the difference was night and day.

I was seeing my therapy work, and people on the edge of death and self-destruction come back to life.  I still look back on my time at Parkside Lodge as seminal in my development as a therapist.


Kottler, J.A. (2012). The therapist’s workbook: Self-assessment, self-care, and self-improvement exercises for mental health professionals (second ed., pp. 10-16).  Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.