Here at MSP, we love to connect with alumni to find out more about the work that fulfills their passion for clinical psychology. Life After MSP is our feature column that highlights the career journey of our grads.
Name: Dr. Kat Lewitzke, PsyD, LP (Class of 2016)
Job Title: Clinic Director & Owner (Bright Pine Behavioral Health, a private mental health facility located in Clarkston)
Describe your work in clinical psychology:
Bright Pine was born in the fall of 2017, but our doors officially opened in Clarkston in July 2018. I was tired of working for “revolving door” practices, and wanted to create a place with a more intimate atmosphere. The clinic has a strong emphasis on treating children/adolescents and families.
We currently have a staff of 7, including myself. My husband, Arsen Sahakian, is our director of operations and co-runs the office with me. I specialize in psychological and neuropsychological testing for children and adults and I have a master level psychologist who assists with some of the administration of the testing. There are also 3 therapists with diverse clinical skills. We have two licensed counselors and a child therapist. We also always have a practicum student that works under my supervision that I train specifically in testing.
Bright Pine Behavioral Health offers both individual and group therapy, and we recently began our equine assisted therapy program that involves activities with horses and donkeys to promote human physical and mental health.
We also offer several groups (support group for young adults with high functioning autism, social skills group for children ages 4 to 8 with high functioning autism, anxiety, and/or ADHD, support group for teens with depression) and parent education classes to assist families with children diagnosed with behavioral, social, and emotional concerns.
What do you like about your work:
There is so much to love. I love that I established a practice that focuses on children and families, which is what I always wanted and that we provide additional services than just therapy (i.e., testing, various groups, equine therapy).
I feel that my clinical skills and ability to connect with the client have expanded since becoming a mother. My son is currently 16.5 months and has been there every step since the beginning of the business. I feel that our business model is setting a good example for him.
I am very connected and involved with my practice, and like to know every patient under our care. I never want patients to feel like a “number” at my clinic. I also love that I am training students. But I especially love that I have the opportunity to work alongside my husband.
How did MSP prepare you for success?
The classes provided an excellent education. Since I specialize in assessments, I found the cognitive, biological basis, and testing courses most useful. The psychometrics class inspired me to create screeners for our website.
The course work also prepared me for my licensing exam, and I actually took (and passed) the test while working on my dissertation during my final year of graduate school.