We had the good fortune of connecting with Christine Popaj and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Christine, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I’ve always wanted to be my own boss- instill my own values into the workplace, set my own schedule, and so on. More importantly, I’ve always wanted a career that focuses on helping others. Once I started taking classes during undergrad, I realized I wanted to combine the two and build my own private practice as a therapist and I haven’t looked back since!

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am currently a registered associated marriage and family therapist (AMFT), which means I’m still gaining hours towards licensure. My ultimate goal is to have a private practice, and even a non-profit organization. However, I have a lot of work to do in order to get there. I am about halfway through getting my hours, and it has all been an incredible learning experience. As of right now, I am balancing three different sites where I’m gaining clinical hours- a private practice, a counselor at a high school, and a community clinic. I’ve been gaining all sorts of experience and it has been so rewarding. In order to become an AMFT, I had to earn a masters degree in clinical psychology, and I received mine from Pepperdine University. Hopefully this time next year I’ll be studying for my licensing exam and from there, start building my own private practice! It hasn’t been an easy road, but it’s been worth it. I’ve learned just how resilient and hard-working I really am, and how much I really want this. All of the struggles along the way just helped me become an even better therapist.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
What a fun week that would be! Thankfully, I live in the valley which is close by to everything. First, I imagine we would hit up the nearby cities. Santa Monica & Venice has some great places to eat and drink, such as Elephante, Great White, and Butchers Daughter just to name a few. I also love going up to Santa Barbara & Santa Ynez for some great wine! There are tons of amazing wineries, great restaurants, and even horseback riding. Plus, I am a beach gal and Santa Barbara has some great beaches. Hotel Miramar in Santa Barbara makes you feel like you’re on a European vacation.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
All of my success is owed to my family and the sacrifices they have made in order to get where I am today. Even though we have struggled financially, they have always pushed me to strive for more and to work hard for my dreams, no matter how impossible they may seem. Fortunately, my big support system also includes my wonderful group of friends. They have always been supportive and encourage me to keep pushing even when I’m feeling discouraged. I am forever grateful for my family and friends for being my constant cheerleaders.

Website: christinepopajtherapy.com

Instagram: @therapyteatime

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