Masters in Mental Health Counseling Graduate – Shondell Christian
Shondell Christian is a substance abuse therapist who holds a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling and a Certificate of Advanced Study from Alfred University’s Downstate program in partnership with CITE. Our Alumni Coordinator Joshua Davis recently caught up with Shondell to speak about her professional accomplishments.
To share your accomplishments with other CITE program alumni and students, please email Joshua.
Tell us about your professional drive.
I empower individuals to overcome personal obstacles to improve their lives. I have a passion for helping struggling adolescents, young adults, and adults. Having experienced the effects of alcoholism and illicit substance use, I have a deep compassion for individuals, as well as families who are impacted by the pain of mental illness.
Which program did you complete?
Why did you study mental health?
I was curious about how anyone could hurt an individual and think that behavior is acceptable. I wanted to gain insight into the emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing of people. I wanted to learn the effects of how people think, feel, and act, as they cope with life.
What drove your studies?
I wanted to be educated on the disorders which can affect thinking, mood and behavior, as well as gaining insight into family history and life experiences. CITE/Alfred provided me the opportunity to make my passion my reality.
Where do you work currently?
I am currently working as a substance abuse therapist, which means:
a. Meeting with clients to evaluate their substance use problems
b. Identifying issues and creating goals and treatment plans
c. Teaching clients coping mechanisms
d. Helping clients find jobs or reestablish their careers
e. Providing updates and progress reports to courts
f. Facilitating group sessions
g. Referring clients to support groups or higher levels of care.
What are your thoughts on the negative stigma surrounding Mental Health care?
Mental illness is a public health epidemic, which has been minimized in today’s society as a result of a negative stigma. In today’s society, it remains a powerful negative attribute across cultures and communities, especially the African American community. Stigma makes recovery from mental illness harder. The well-being of mental health keeps an individual active and engaged, and feeling accepted by others as part of the community. Stigma can damage self-confidence and make an individual shy away from engaging with others, fearing misunderstanding and mockery/scorn.
What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?
Things I enjoy doing in my free time: to travel with Dream trips Vacation Club. As a member, I enjoy all-inclusive adventures and luxurious travel around the world.
What would you say as a successful alumna of the Alfred University / CITE Master’s in Mental Health Counseling program, to someone who’s thinking about starting?
As an alumna of CITE/Alfred University, the program is awesome and great for people who work full time, as it offers flexibility — with classes on weekends and affordable pricing.
Thank you to Shondell for sharing your insight here!
To share your professional journey with other CITE program students and alumni, please email our Alumni Coordinator, Joshua Davis. For more information on our Mental Health Counseling Master’s Program, click here.
CITE is the Center for Integrated Training and Education. For over 25 years, CITE has and continues to train TEACHERS (Early Childhood, Professional Certification, Special Ed,Grad Courses, Bilingual courses, DASA); COUNSELORS (School, Mental Health Masters, Advanced Certificate); and ADMINISTRATORS (SBL, SDL, Public Admin, Doctorate) in all five boroughs of NYC, Yonkers, Westchester, and Long Island.
CITE PD offers CTLE-approved in-school professional development tailored to your school’s needs and your vision. Info: citepd.com
We now also offer an undergraduate degree completion program in psychology.